Friday, September 08, 2006

UCT defends 'extreme' admissions policy

Sumayya Ismail | Johannesburg, South Africa
08 September 2006 11:47

through employment or education, transformation and affirmative action
strategies have become part of daily life in South Africa, and recent
media attention on the admissions policies of the University of Cape
Town (UCT) has raised some important questions.

are these measures vital to atone for the apartheid past or are they
just another form of discrimination, aimed at a different group of

Following a bout of letters published in Cape Town
newspapers last week, Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon attacked the
university's policies in his column on SA Today, criticising its use of race as a primary admissions requirement to certain medical and law degrees.

assesses its undergraduate applicants based on a points system --
similar to that used by other South African tertiary institutions.
Unlike other institutions, however, UCT's 2007 admission requirements
clearly distinguish between different race groups in stipulating the
number of points required for specific degrees.

A BSc in
physiotherapy, for instance, requires that black and coloured
applicants obtain 34 points in order to be considered, while Indian
applicants need to obtain 41 points and "Open" applicants need to
obtain 43 points.

An almost 10-point advantage for black and
coloured applicants in some cases saw Leon chastising the university
for "cravenly enacting the ANC's [African National Congress's]
obsessive, race-based reclassification of South Africa".

"I think there is a lot of pressure from government," Leon told the Mail & Guardian Online. "UCT goes way beyond … these measures are very extreme."

are UCT's measures. We believe in them," UCT registrar Hugh Amoore
affirmed, "Whether they happen to tie in with the transformation and
affirmative action or agendas of the day is of secondary concern."

'Appropriate measures'
37 of the 1997 Higher Education Act states that in their admissions
policies, all South African universities are required to comply with
"appropriate measures for the redress of past inequalities", but they
"may not unfairly discriminate in any way".

"We believe that
they [the admission requirements] pass constitutional muster," said
Amoore, "[and] that the discrimination in them is fair and

Leon wrote, however, that through these
measures "the university is actually carrying out government's
programme with a zeal far in excess of the Act's section 37 (1)".

is the mandate of each individual institution to publish and implement
an admissions policy that is both fair and transparent," said Professor
Duma Malaza, CEO of Higher Education South Africa.

The M&G Online
looked at the admission requirements of medical faculties of similar
institutions and found that although previously disadvantaged race
groups are preferred in most instances, UCT is the only university with
such formal affirmative action measures written into the application

Like UCT, the universities of the Witwatersrand, Free
State and Pretoria also assess applicants based on a points system.
However, at these institutions the same number of points is required
for all applicants, regardless of race. They all maintain that
applicants are judged academically, and no differentiation is made
between racial groups.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal,
however, does work within a quota system. "But there is competition
within the race groups," said admissions officer Deliwe Ikalila, with
black students competing with each other, white students competing with
each other, and so on. Those who reach the highest percentage in their
matric results, in each of the four race groups, are accepted.

Selection methods
well as attaining the required number of points, applicants to UCT's
health sciences faculty are also expected to complete a questionnaire
and take a national placement test that assesses their suitability for
their chosen field of study.

"These selection methods are the
result of conscious policies to ensure, first, that those we admit are
able to succeed and, secondly, that the resulting class will have
significant numbers of African [black] and coloured students.

UCT admissions policy of the year 2007 is an attempt to ensure we move
to such a [equal opportunity] society," Amoore said, to which Leon
responded by saying he "disagree[s] absolutely, profoundly and

"Categorisations using racial difference are very bad news for non-racialism," the DA leader said.

the university's policies a "crude racial system", he questioned
whether children of Cabinet ministers who live in upmarket areas,
attend private schools and happen to be black should qualify for these
rewards. "There should be measures to help the best people who can
benefit from the education system."

Amoore said the university
weighs past educational adversity at the level of racial groups as
opposed to individuals, and its policies are based on this. Different
requirements are set for applicants of different backgrounds "to
compensate for generations of educational and socio-economic

"It is too easy in the constitutional state in
which we live to forget the ravages caused by the educational
provisions of native affairs, bantu education and the Department of
Education and care training, or of coloured affairs," Amoore said, "too
easy to forget that even today most township schools and many rural
schools still reflect this legacy in provision, in the qualifications
and experience of the teachers, and in the socio-economic conditions
[poverty] of their communities."

But Leon
was adamant in his weekly column that "not only does UCT's current
approach to admissions not recognise individual worth, it [also]
insults the gifted black student by negating her high marks and
insisting that her place is not dependent on her particular effort or

"Without these policies, the MBChB class, for
example, would be predominantly white and Indian; there would be very
few black men and women doctors in the graduating class," Amoore said.

these measures in place, black students accounted for 72% of UCT's
MBChB classes last year, but Amoore said that "institutionally we
believe we need to do more".

"It's not the job of a university to churn out exact proportions of the population," Leon told the M&G Online.
The university "reinforces the baleful notion that some race groups are
innately inferior to others, because they require special treatment",
he wrote on SA Today.

"Access to higher education is
invariably controversial and politically fraught in contexts such as
South Africa where parity in educational provision has not yet been
achieved," Higher Education South Africa's Malaza explained.
"Extraordinary measures are needed to achieve the kind of equity
targets that will reflect … the demographics of our society."

Numerous attempts to contact the Department of Education for comment on this matter failed.

Comment:  They might as well put up a big sign that reads: "Blacks only".

Tourists warned against SA

08/09/2006 11:36  - (SA)

Wellington - New Zealand's foreign ministry stepped up warnings
about travel to South Africa on Friday, saying crime was a serious
issue with muggings and hijackings prevalent.

The ministry's travel advisory on its website said there was "some
risk" in travelling to South Africa and advised visitors to be vigilant
at all times, especially at bus stations and airports where organised
gangs operated.

It specifically mentioned the key cities of Johannesburg, Durban and Pretoria.

It also warned of the danger of hiackings on roads leading to Kruger
Park and said visitors should only go to Table Mountain in groups to
minimise the risk of attack. - Sapa-dpa


Saturday, September 02, 2006

SA nuke moves alarm US

Nic Dawes
01 September 2006 08:16
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
South African support for Iran held firm this week as a United Nations deadline for Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment programme expired, potentially triggering sanctions by the UN Security Council or the United States and its allies.

A flurry of diplomatic activity followed last week’s visit to Pretoria by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottak, and the renewed insistence by South Africa on Iran’s “inalienable right” to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Iran is high on the agenda of President Thabo Mbeki’s meeting next week with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced this week.

Russia is the major supplier to Iran’s nuclear programme and is eager to broker a diplomatic solution to the crisis. It is part of the “P5+1” coalition of permanent members of the Security Council -- plus Germany, which has offered Iran economic incentives to halt its enrichment activities, but is hesitant about sanctions.

As the crisis escalated last week top US nuclear diplomat James Schulte met South Africa’s representative at the International Atomic Energy Agency, Abdul Minty, in Pretoria. He was followed this week by representatives of the EU 3 -- the British, French and German component of the P5+1. No details of either meeting have been released, but during his trip Schulte publicly called on the South African government to bring its influence to bear on Iran.

Citing South Africa’s 1991 decision to end its nuclear weapons programme he told University of Pretoria’s Centre for International Political Studies: “South Africa’s example and leadership position you to help Iran’s leaders to think hard about Iran’s future and to consider two different models: the first, North Korea -- nuclear-armed, but impoverished, isolated, insignificant; the second, South Africa -- nuclear weapons-free, but secure, dynamic and a respected player in your region and the world.

“The choice should be clear. You can help Iran’s leaders make the right one.”

South Africa’s response, guided by complex domestic and geopolitical considerations, contained little to please the US. Local officials stress that the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) decision to report its concerns about Iran’s programme to the UN Security Council was -- in a departure from precedent -- reached by majority vote, not consensus. They say Iran has no legal obligation under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to engage in further “confidence-building measures”.

Writing in the latest issue of ANC journal Umrabulo, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Aziz Pahad argues that the nuclear weapons states (the US, Britain, France, Russia and China) are undermining the “balance of rights and obligations” underpinning the treaty.

South Africa played a leading role during the 1995 negotiations that lead to the treaty’s extension. The major Western powers argued for it to remain in force indefinitely, while non-aligned countries, led by Indonesia, wanted it scrapped unless the nuclear powers agreed to disarm.

South African representatives crafted a compromise extending the treaty indefinitely in exchange for a commitment from the nuclear powers to disarmament measures, including the implementation of a comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, a deal on the hand­ling of fissile material, and systematic efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons. Further revisions in 2000 added undertakings.

“There has been limited, if not minimal, progress,” Pahad writes. “In some areas there was, in fact, a reversal of these undertakings.”

During a treaty review last year South Africa sought a text balancing criticism of the nuclear weapons states’ failures with concerns about proliferation, particularly the contribution of “non-state actors” like the AQ Kahn smuggling network to the illegal spread of weapons technology.

Instead, Pahad stresses in apparent reference to George W Bush’s administration, proposals were made “to impose restrictions on the inalienable right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes [including] a cap on new enrichment and reprocessing facilities”.

South Africa’s sensitive diplomatic moves dovetail with the development of plans to expand the capacity of the local nuclear industry.

The timing of Friday’s announcement by Minister of Minerals and Energy Buyelwa Sonjica that South Africa was considering restarting uranium enrichment has not escaped Western diplomats. But the government insists that there is no connection between backing for Iran, activism around the Non-Proliferation Treaty and South Africa’s plans to expand its nuclear energy capability.

“We believe in multilateralism; that is the principle we are defending here,” one official said. But others in the government are privately irritated by US-led attempts to limit the use of highly enriched uranium for civil purposes and to further cap enrichment by non-nuclear weapons states.

Security of supply will become increasingly important as the proportion of nuclear power in the energy mix grows. Brazil, the South Africans point out, recently began enriching uranium.

Briefing editors in Pretoria this week, Minister of Public Enterprises Alec Erwin said a study was being conducted into the “full uranium value chain”, from fuel production to medical research.

Erwin stressed that enrichment would be for peaceful purposes. “South Africa has said unequivocally that we have withdrawn our capacity for weapons-grade enrichment. Whether we should now go back to enrichment for civilian uses is a matter we are going to have to study very carefully,” he said.

*Original source

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Africa has no conscience

Albert Brenner
August 28, 2006 10:00 AM EST

What makes a human being choose a specific course of action when faced with a moral choice? To give an example; what impels a man in Austria to fastidiously separate plastic from paper rubbish before disposal, and what impels a man in South Africa to rape and murder a baby? The cynicism of the world-weary will now raise its paw and state that all moral behavior is based on the avoidance of pain. This is true, for the most part. The fear of physical pain certainly still tops the list in ensuring compliance with socio-cultural norms and values. A person will definitely think twice about transgressing when faced with severe pain in the form of whipping or, ultimate pain in the form of being 'drawn and quartered'. The threat of physical pain surely goes a long way in ensuring moral compliance in primitive societies.

When this threat is gone, all hell breaks loose. This can be witnessed in South Africa where more people have been murdered (250 000+) after 1994, than all the people who met violent deaths in the whole of the country's 20th century history. South Africa boasts a staggering 50 murders and 43 child-rapes per day. Similar break-downs of law and order are evident when African dictators are toppled by new ones. The aftermath of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans also showed similar patterns of behavior.

The second, more civilized, inducement not to transgress is the fear of psycho-social and socio-cultural humiliation in front of one's peers. For example, the Austrian man's efforts (separating waste) are motivated by his assurance of not being humiliated by his peers when accused of being environmentally-unfriendly. Having always regarded themselves as Westerners, white South Africans ended Apartheid because they just couldn't stand the humiliation by their peers in the West anymore. In short: the West demanded adherence to human rights, and they complied.

It goes without saying that the peers in one civilization are not necessarily the same peers in another. China, for example, doesn't give a damn about democracy or human rights, but they enjoy favored trade nation status in America. Different strokes for different folks, it would seem. Thabo Mbeki's refusal to believe that AIDS is caused by a virus is a very good example of a non-existent fear of peer humiliation across cultures. Being African (Xhosa), the socio-cultural matrix of his society's belief-systems have zero relation to the high status the scientific world-view has in more advanced civilizations. In other words, he certainly has no fear of being humiliated in the West when postulating similar idiocies.

This also applies to moral sanctioning in Africa. Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and innumerable other African dictators have no compunction whatsoever to trample on western-induced norms and values (e.g. human rights) because these moral imperatives have never been part of their socio-cultural belief-systems. One cannot compare apples to pears, and African leaders certainly don't fear humiliation by those in the West who they do not regard as peers. Mandela's dismal failure to humiliate Mugabe is but one example of Africans looking at the same bearings on the same moral compass.

The West has always been the fiercest in safeguarding its most preciously held moral convictions. And given the West's soul-piercing introspection after moral regressions, it is no wonder that this civilization has, for the most part, progressed past the phase where fear of physical pain is the only guarantee of moral rectitude. "There can be no more poetry after Auswitsch", these words by the philosopher Theodor Adorno encapsulate the hell the West's conscience went though after the horrors of WWII. We instinctively cringe when we hear about rumors of torture like in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. This is not so in other civilizations.

Getting back to Africa; has any African intellectual or political leader ever displayed the depth of moral anguish of an Adorno, when confronted with African horrors like, for example, the genocide in Rwanda, the mutilations in Liberia and the 2.4 million people who have been slaughtered in the Congo in the past 10 years? No. Having only the fear of physical pain to guide them, African dictators will only start criticizing their peers once their own physical security is threatened. This is the reason why African dictators cling to power with all their might; they will suffer physical pain (mostly death) when losing power.

This is not a problem in the West. It suffices to say that Western morality has never played a major part in any of the careers of 99% of African leaders and their people. Whether the morality of the West is the best, is obviously another story. Today's terrorist is tomorrow's freedom fighter (e.g. Mandela and Nazrallah), and the moral 'axis of evil' and 'coalition of the good' certainly stays in tune with the flux of time and the will of the powerful. But, the fortitude of the individual conscience will always be the cornerstone of all civilized behavior.

It is this entity which guarantees that the individual will think of the welfare of his fellow man, even if the consequences of his/her actions cannot be traced back to him/her. To give an example; why not rape a baby if you know the police will not catch you. South Africa has a 10% conviction rate for murder and a 4.3% conviction rate for rape. And why not partake in the mind-boggling corruption and graft that is part and parcel of Africa's mind-set? In short; why stop when you have no fear of physical pain or psychosocial and socio-cultural humiliation?

The third, and even more advanced, regulator of individual moral behavior is the fear of divine retribution – i.e. I'll suffer eternal pain when I join the after-life. This uniquely religious impulse is the motivating factor behind singularly self-less and self-sacrificing moral behavior. The individual with this conscience fears neither physical pain, nor public humiliation. And in combination with the Christian idea of brotherly love, this conscience is the stuff of legends, to put it bluntly.

The 'formation' of the Western conscience has a very long history. It started with the Biblical Adam and continued with Noah's righteousness, Socrates' refusal to bow to the non-questionable norm, Jesus' brotherly love, Luther's reaffirmation of human choice, the French Revolution, the abolition of slavery, de-colonization and the demolishing of Apartheid. All these paradigmatic moments have resulted in a conscience which is the most self-regulatory existence has ever seen. It is the reason why Hitler was defeated, it is the reason why white South Africans abolished Apartheid and it is the reason why whites didn't loot and shoot after hurricane Katrina.

The humanism of the liberal will now raise its hind-leg and state that human beings are inherently good (innocent) and that the fear of punishment actually causes morally 'bad' behavior. To give an example; liberal educators and psychologists firmly believe that a good smack on the bottom of a child who is sticking his fingers into a live power-socket, will lead to the child becoming a violent human being when he grows up. It suffices to say that all of recorded history has shown that human beings are not inherently good, and can therefore not be trusted do the 'right' (and sane) thing without some or other fear of pain to regulate their behavior. Yes Mbeki, AIDS is caused by a virus!

What regulates moral behavior in one civilization definitely does not regulate moral behavior in another. Does China really want to give universal suffrage and human right to its citizens, does India really want to uplift its lower classes and do African leaders really give a damn about the individual fates of their people? We would like to say yes, but that is only because we have the conscience of the West. And this conscience will also be our downfall.

Having stripped the God part from the true meaning of life ' Love God, and love your neighbor', we are stuck with the insecurities of a conscience solely motivated by loving our neighbor – i.e. the existential-humanism of postmodernism. Have we ever seriously asked ourselves the question whether our neighbor is also doing his utmost to love us as well? Even a cursory glance at the moral anarchy in post-1994 South Africa, clearly illustrates what is in store for the West in the next 50 -100 years. The loss of the regulatory power of the civilized conscience will cause such societal degeneration that serious inter-civilization and inter-racial conflict would be inevitable.

The individuals of other civilizations, Africans in particular, should seriously start asking themselves the question whether they are treating their neighbor, like they want to be treated themselves? The way Africans treat each other makes one ashamed to be human being. It is an open sore in the conscience of all that is civilized. And milking the conscience of the West for every tear that's is worth because Africans are slaughtering Africans on a daily basis, can never suffice as an excuse for the fact that Africa's conscience refuses to progress past the phase of fear of physical pain. What about moral pain? That pain which Africa causes the civilized world every time one switches on the TV and is forced to witness the horrors of primitive behavior unleashed. Grow up! Real pain comes from within. It is called a conscience.

*Original Source

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Pretoria university and student body in stand-off

Pretoria, South Africa
11 August 2006 03:31

The University of Pretoria's management and the Pan Africanist Movement of Azania (Pasma) refused to budge from their respective positions on Friday.

The student body said they would continue with their protest, while management said it would not reopen the campus unless violent protests came to end.

"The students have contravened the agreement we had with them on Tuesday, that there [would] be no violent protest on Thursday," said campus director Edwin Smith.

Pasma provincial spokesperson Vusi Mahlangu said the violence seen on campus on Thursday will be like a picnic if management continue with their arrogance and do not respond positively to its demands.

"We are prepared to meet them on the battlefield and allow blood to flow, should there be a need," Mahlangu said in a statement on Friday.

The university reported damage worth R40 000 caused when students threw stones and broke windows on campus on Thursday, said Smith.

Issues raised by students could not be resolved overnight, but management will continue holding talks with them, Smith said.

Pasma is protesting against the mid-year academic exclusion of more than 30% of students.

"We are not prepared to go back to the table until the University of Pretoria agrees that all excluded are brought back to the system while the negotiations continue," Mahlangu said.

The university must also reverse the decision of changing the campus into a community centre.

Smith responded: "Academic exclusions are instruments to ensure that the university is not bloated with undeserving students, but students who perform well.

"The students who are academically excluded are afforded a fair hearing to explain their performance to the university," said Smith. -- Sapa

*Original source: Mail and Guardian Online

Monday, August 07, 2006

Rage, rage against the dying of the light

Dear Afriforum

Congratulations on the new campaign. May it be a huge success and a turning point in South Africa's history.

You have taken the first steps in the fight against South Africa's huge crime epidemic. Recent initiatives, such as your own, have done a lot to expose SA's staggering crime levels to the international community. However, merely writing about the problem and signing one or two petitions will neither be efficient enough to persuade the SA government to act decisively against crime, nor to cause an international outcry against the murders. The SA government will only get it's act together once it is forced to do so... and the international community will only start to support your efforts once they see that you are "seriously fighting for your lives".

We suggest that you take the following steps:
  • Hold a nationwide strike against crime. Special emphasis should be placed on big corporations such as ESKOM and SASOL.
  • March through Pretoria and stop at every embassy to hand over a declaration against crime and other media (such as documentaries) to the appropriate ambassadors. Include a request for diplomatic assistance with each of the handovers. Get local celebrities, that support the cause, to join in.
  • If the above do not yield the desired effects, increase the frequency and duration of such actions until you are satisfied that you have succeeded.

Such strikes should be held regardless of whether you have the appropriate permissions/clearances or not. What kind of message will it send to the outside world when the SA government is unwilling to act against crime, but willing to act against normal citizens?

Your friends

*This e-mail was sent to Afriforum, the civil rights movement of the Solidarity trade union. You can e-mail them at or visit their website.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Auditors find Kebble millions paid to ANC

Mail & Guardian Online reporter and Sapa
Johannesburg, South Africa   
06 August 2006

Forensic auditors have uncovered records of more than R25-million listed as having been paid to the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and its structures by Brett Kebble and companies linked to the slain magnet, the Sunday Independent reported.

However, the ANC says it has not been quizzed about any such alleged funds, according to the report.

The investigations by the auditors -- Umbono Financial Advisory Services and KPMG -- into the pillaging of shares and black economic empowerment (BEE) fraud uncovered details of a range of consultants' fees, loans and bonuses listed as paid by Kebble and his companies to a number of prominent individuals in the ANC and BEE circles, the report added.

Their reports also list apparent payments being made to the ANC totalling more than R25-million, including R5 570 000 to the ANC in the Western Cape, R930 000 to the ANC Youth League and R250 000 to the ANC in the Eastern Cape.

Of these payments, totalling R6 930 000, at least R1,4-million was paid by Consolidated Mining Management Services (CMMS), and investigators are probing whether Kebble also claimed the rest from CMMS.

The ANC also features on a list of payments apparently made at Kebble's instruction from a subsidiary company, Tuscan Mood, that is under close scrutiny by investigators, the Sunday Independent said. Tuscan Mood is listed as having paid the ANC R18 619 296.

ANC spokesperson Smuts Ngonyama told the newspaper the party had not been informed of any such official inquiries into donations made by Kebble or his companies to the party.

Several people who are prominent in ANC and business circles are also listed as having received payments from Kebble and his companies.

'Come clean'
The Democratic Alliance has urged the ANC to "come clean" on the allegations that it received millions of rands Kebble and his companies.

DA spokesperson Douglas Gibson said on Sunday many South Africans were impressed last week at President Thabo Mbeki's hard-hitting speech about social values. His condemnation of the "get rich at all costs" sickness was particularly impressive.

However, the ANC government is becoming known for never-ending sleaze, Gibson said.

It has never come clean about the so-called Oilgate scandal, former deputy president Jacob Zuma's problems are well known, the arms deal seems murky to say the least, and now there is the Kebble millions.

"It is time for the ANC to come clean. If they received an improper advantage with money which should have gone to the Kebble creditors, the ANC must pay it back.

"If they do not, President Mbeki's fine words will be revealed as nothing more than pious and pompous platitudes," Gibson said.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Crime in SA and the 2010 Soccer World Cup

According to, South Africa ...
  • has the most rapes (per capita) in the world
  • has the most murders with firearms (per capita) in the world
  • has the second most murders (per capita) in the world
  • has the fourth most robberies (per capita) in the world
  • is a transshipment center for illicit drugs and an attractive venue for money launderers due to increasing levels of organized crime and narcotics activity
Can FIFA honestly say that soccer fans will be safe during the 2010 World Cup?

Zim to set up new political school for cadres

Harare, Zimbabwe
02 August 2006 12:01

Zimbabwe's ruling party is to set up a political school to train cadres along the lines of China's communist party, it was reported on Wednesday.

Elliot Manyika, Zanu-PF's national commissar, made the announcement following a lecture by visiting academics from the Communist Party of China (CPC), said the state-controlled Herald newspaper.

Manyika said Zanu-PF would draw on the experiences from the CPC and the good bilateral relations between the two parties to set up the school, the newspaper reported.

This is the first time there has been talk of a dedicated Zanu-PF party school, although President Robert Mugabe's government in 2001 launched a number of youth training camps he said were meant to teach young people patriotic values.

The camps have been mired in controversy following allegations that graduates were used to intimidate members of the opposition party. Many of them are reported to have closed down because of lack of food and supplies.

Manyika said students and academics had an important role to play in conducting research for Zanu-PF.

The authorities in Zimbabwe are vocal in their admiration of China, specifically following China's recent drive to invest in projects in the Southern African country, particularly mining.

Mugabe has encouraged businessmen and all Zimbabweans to look east for inspiration, instead of turning to former colonial power Britain and other Western powers who are critical of Zimbabwe's human rights record and land-reform programme. -- Sapa-dpa

Friday, July 21, 2006

Solidarity declares war on crime

"Stop the murders", a campaign designed to force the South African government to act decisively against crime, was recently launched by Solidarity's civil rights wing, Afriforum.

The campaign follows the gory murder of a member of Solidarity, Frans Pieterse. The campaign's website ( describes the attack as follows:

"Mr. Pieterse was tortured for more than four hours. His attackers burnt him with boiling water, cut open his head and strangled him with a shoe-lace. The murderers also dripped molten plastic on Mr Pieterse's ten year old son, Gideon. The murder took place in the presence of Mr Pieterse's wife, Daleen, and his children Gideon and Anuscka(3)."

SA crime site 'hacked'

A controversial website called Crime Expo SA, was 'hacked' during the past week, according to it's owner.

Mr. Neil Watson said that the site was broken into on Thursday and that someone "planted" a virus.  The site is partially operational again, but it is said that the website will be  fully operational in the near future.

According to mr. Watson, the site received more than 20 000 hits since it's launch on 4 July 2006.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

South African politicians and the feel-good history of Africa

Ever since the postmodern/poststructuralist French philosophers, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault, equated truth with art, the world has witnessed a plethora of revisionist attempts by the West to placate its self-induced feelings of guilt vis a vis its self-determined non-humanist treatment of other races and their places. It is therefore hardly surprising that the 'conquered' in history have grasped this self-recriminatory attitude with both hands (and feet), and are exploiting it like a hooker who has stumbled on a shipload full of gold-laden sailors on an around-the-world-in-eighty-days voyage. It goes without saying that modern popular culture is feasting on this cornucopian quagmire of bad conscience on the part the West.

Kevin Costner's Dances with Wolves showed us that cowboys were the barbaric eco-unfriendly murderers who slaughtered the nature-loving and peaceful Red Indians. Jane Seymour's Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman, showed us that Afro-Americans were actually part of the higher social strata in 19-century America. And Clive Owen's Arthur showed us that Guinevere was actually a tattooed kick-ass 5 ft 2 feminist killing-machine. Art is art, and one shouldn't take the extravagances of its dramatic-license too seriously. It is only when historical facts are blatantly distorted by powerful people, like politicians, that any intelligent person is morally obligated to take them by their delusionary collars and press their faces to the grindstone of implacable reality.

The 'most conquered' in recorded history will obviously spin the tallest tales. South Africa is currently the most virulent example of the feel-good fallacy characterizing the current politically-fashionable marathon to 'rewrite' history. Thabo (AIDS-is-not-caused-by-a-virus) Mbeki, the President of South Africa, is desperately trying to underpin his African Renaissance endeavor by firstly, stealing the limelight from the ancient Egyptian Empire who built the only meaningful non-Western and Non-Arab structures that made Africa part of verifiable history (anthropology/archeology). Secondly, he is having a whale of time in/by accusing the West (ala the Black Athena liberal idiocy) of deliberately whitening all the black faces that supposedly adorned all the vases, murals and paintings of the Macedonian, Greek and Roman Empires.

Even if we are forced to swallow the latter unsavory serving of historical un-truths, Mbeki is still left with the rather unenviable task of trying to explain why his hallowed Egyptian-linked forefathers mysteriously forgot the wheels and written language they used once they crossed the equator. This turn of politically-correct historical events is rather sad, but quite true. Mind you, isn't it curiously reminiscent of the fisherman who came back to tell his friends about the 'big one that got away'?

The best example of aestheticism leading truth by the nose is the recently-unveiled statue of King Ndebele in Pretoria, South Africa. This 'real-life' hero is credited with having known the evil intentions of the diabolical white settlers 200 years before he was actually supposed to have been born. Fiction is definitely more palatable than the truth in our 'everybody-is-a-victim' day and age!

It suffices to say that history is being taken for a very bumpy ride by those who have conveniently forgot that it is not a dish best served warm in order to stroke the egos of the faint-hearted. History is nobody's fool, and it will certainly not be bamboozled by the mesmerizing escapism offered by two French philosophers who have all but succeeded in selling guano as croutons to a civilization that has forgot that which has made it the most enlightened and advanced in the history of mankind. The truth, and nothing but the truth!

Albert Brenner

Sunday, July 09, 2006

SA 2010 'far behind schedule'

09/07/2006 21:34 - (SA)

Pieter Malan, Beeld

London - South Africa's preparations for the 2010 soccer World Cup tournament are far behind schedule, according to an article in the German weekly Der Spiegel.

The SA authorities are so disorganised that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing, the newspaper reported.

In Germany, planning was so advanced four years before the 2006 World Cup tournament that the officials knew precisely which streets would be closed before matches, the weekly, the largest in Europe, reported at the weekend.

However, "in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town chaos and confusion are the order of the day at the moment," according to the article.

Der Spiegel reports that Delron Buckley, a South African playing in the Bundesliga, said South Africa was completely behind schedule and had not built or repaired anything.

Members of the German organising committee told the weekly they had had several visits from the SA delegation but that the South Africans would not listen to advice. "I have to start at the beginning every time," a German official said.

According to the report many German soccer officials are starting to believe that the only way to save the 2010 tournament would be to send members of the German committee to South Africa to get things in order.

This, apparently, is a view shared by some South Africans. According to the report, Mpumalanga premier Thabang Makwetla said during a recent visit to Germany the 2010 tournament would be "Germany's next tournament".

Der Spiegel reports that Danny Jordaan, the chief of the SA organising committee, professes, as could be expected, that everything is in order.

Jordaan told the publication that he did not want to elaborate upon the progress made in South Africa because he did not want to steal the limelight from the tournament in Germany while it was still in progress.

Fifa, the body controlling world soccer, should bear some of the blame because "they have created their own version of the reality," the report says.

Der Spiegel alleges that Fifa's progress reports about the 2010 tournament do not reflect the reality.

The reports refer to suburban train systems that are very popular but do not keep in mind that no other significant transport systems exist and that mini-buses are old and dangerous.

The SA authorities have also admitted that the planned Gautrain, an express train between Johannesburg and Pretoria, will not be completed by 2010.

And to make things worse, the South Africans are playing poor soccer and cannot really justify their participation in the 2010 tournament, according to the report.

*Original Source

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Crime Expo SA: Good news and bad news

The good news: the website is up-and-running at .

The bad news: it seems that it is still under construction (at least partially).

Crime Barometer: What happened?

According to the Afrikaans newspaper "Die Beeld" the Neil Watson "Crime Barometer" website's real domain name ( was "kept secret" after it came to light that someone was trying to sabotage the registration of the website.

According to Watson, the website received 1280 hits on the first day. An additional 231 e-mails and 318 SMS messages were received. However, by the time of writing this article, the website was found to be "unreachable".

Any information regarding this issue can either be posted under the comments section or e-mailed to

Monday, June 26, 2006

Controversial website to expose crime

South Africans are no strangers to crime, but even they are shocked by the recent spate of violence in their country.  One South African, mr. Neil Watson, has had enough.  He is the mastermind of a controversial website, entitled "Crime barometer of South Africa", which is due for launch on 4 July 2006. 

Mr. Watson intends to raise awareness of crime in South Africa, especially among potential tourists.  Despite some harsh criticism from government officials (some of which accused him of being unpatriotic) and several death threats, he is intent on fulfilling his plans for the website.

The website will contain cold, clinical information and statistics on crime in South Africa.  Watson has warned that it will contain some graphic crime-scene images and is not intended for sensitive viewers.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

China's Booming Energy Relations With Africa

By Wenran Jiang, Jamestown 21/6/06
Jun 22, 2006, 10:11

Africa, on the other hand, has been left behind in the global quest for industrial modernization, economic prosperity and political stability. Yet, into Africa the Chinese are coming. They are coming for trade, investment and joint ventures, and they are consuming all the energy, minerals and other raw materials that the continent can offer.

An Evolution of Traditional Sino-African Ties

Africa's importance to China is reflected by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's ongoing tour of Africa. According to China's Ministry of Commerce, the seven countries on his itinerary—Egypt, Ghana, the Republic of Congo, Angola, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda—have a combined trade volume of over US$20 billion with China, or 50.6 percent of total China-Africa trade last year. Only two months earlier, Chinese President Hu Jintao visited three other African states—Morocco, Nigeria and Kenya—following his trip to the United States and Saudi Arabia.

Such high-profile visits, a recurring practice over the past few years, have aroused speculation that Beijing's pursuit of great power status may include a new grand strategy regarding Africa. After all, top Chinese leaders have done the same extensive tours to Latin American countries since late 2004 when President Hu first visited Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Cuba. China's ties with African countries, however, can be traced back to the 1950s when newly emerging African states declared their independence. From the 1950s to 1970s, China developed close relations with many of these countries based primarily on shared ideological belief and political identity: anti-colonialism, national independence, economic self-reliance and Third World cooperation. Beijing provided substantial aid and other assistance to struggling African states in order to demonstrate that China was on the side of the Third World.

Things changed in the late 1970s. China's economic reforms gradually moved China away from its radical revolutionary worldview of the past. Beijing's open-door policy, primarily designed to attract foreign trade, investment and joint-venture opportunities from Western countries and to facilitate China's entry into the World Trade Organization, moved China much closer to a market economy where profits, not political agendas, drove most of the economic and trade activities. In this process, China's relations with African and other Third World countries have also evolved from anti-colonial brothers-in-arms to economic and trade partners based on market principles. Yet, many things have remained the same. Beijing continues to pay and train young African diplomats in the Chinese Foreign Ministry's prestigious Foreign Affairs University, a practice that has continued for many years; China continues to present itself as a member of the Third World; and since 1991, every Chinese foreign minister's first visit abroad each year has been to an African country. Beijing has even named 2006 the "Year of Africa," and it is getting ready to host a Sino-African summit toward the end of this year. Furthermore, according to Beijing's report to the People's Congress, most of China's foreign aid—totaling 7.5 billion yuan ($950 million) last year—has gone to more than 50 African countries. In fact, Wen claimed that China has offered Africa more than $44 billion in aid over the past 50 years to finance 900 infrastructure projects (AP, June 18). Meanwhile, all signs indicate that China-African relations are entering a new phase centered on energy and raw materials.

The New Focus on Energy

China's relentless pursuit of economic development turned the country into a net petroleum importer in 1993, and by the turn of the new century, its dependency on foreign oil had jumped to about 40 percent of its demand. Beijing's new target is to quadruple its economy again by 2020, as it did from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s. To achieve this goal, however, China must rely even more on external energy supplies as the Middle Kingdom already burns through 6.3 million barrels of oil a day. Although still far behind the United States, which consumes some 20 million barrels a day, the International Energy Bureau projects that Chinese consumption will reach a daily level of 10 million barrels within the next two decades or so.

Thus, China's quest for energy and other resources has brought China to Africa with urgency. Chinese customs statistics reveal that from 2001 to 2005, China's trade with Africa increased 268 percent, slower only than the growth of China's trade with the Middle East in the same period (367 percent), but faster than China's trade growth with Latin America (238 percent), ASEAN (170 percent), European Union (184 percent) and North America (163 percent). In the first quarter of 2006, the Ministry of Commerce reported that China's trade with the seven countries on Premier Wen's current African touring list amounted to $6.56 billion dollars, a surge of 168.2 percent. It is not surprising, therefore, that in such a broad economic context, Africa has turned into a major energy supplier to China in recent years. Back in 2003, both President Hu and Premier Wen visited several oil-producing African states with Chinese energy company executives, and since then China has become involved in an increasing number of energy deals on the continent that bear a number of unique characteristics.

Energy Security with Chinese Characteristics

First, Beijing is willing to get into the "troubled zones" with bold investment and aid packages in exchange for energy. When Angola ended its 27-year civil war in 2002, few foreign countries and firms were willing to invest in the country. China, on the other hand, committed a $3 billion oil-backed credit line to rebuild the country's shattered infrastructure. Beijing also made Angola its largest foreign aid destination. Now, Angola is the second largest oil producer after Nigeria in sub-Saharan Africa, producing 1.4 million barrels per day with one-third of its oil exports—13 percent of total Chinese imports—going to China. In the first four months of this year, Angola was also the largest supplier of crude to the Chinese market after Saudi Arabia (AFP, June 20). Similar arrangements have been made with Nigeria and other countries as well.

Second, Chinese energy companies are committing large amounts of funding and labor for exploration and development rights in resource-rich countries. Sudan is one of the earliest and largest overseas energy projects by China's major energy companies. Chinese operations in Sudan include investment, development, pipeline building and a large number of Chinese labor deployments. Today, China has $4 billion of investment in the country. The China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) has a 40 percent controlling stake in Greater Nile Petroleum that dominates Sudan's oilfields. Last year, China purchased more than half of Sudan's oil exports, and earlier this year, China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) announced that it had bought a 45 percent stake in a Nigerian oil-and-gas field for $2.27 billion and also purchased 35 percent of an exploration license in the Niger Delta for $60 million. Chinese companies have made similar investments in Angola and other countries.

Third, Chinese energy companies enter into joint-ventures with national governments, state-controlled energy companies or individual enterprises in order to establish a long-term local presence. It appears that the Chinese companies are often willing to outbid their competitors in major contracts awarded by African governments because their concerns are not in short-term returns but rather in strategic positioning for the future.

Fourth, China does not take into consideration the particular concerns of the United States or other Western countries when selecting energy cooperation partners and has a different set of standards on how to advance political reform and human rights in Africa. Most notoriously, China has been willing to engage in energy deals with the Sudanese government despite the ongoing crisis in Darfur. Likewise, China has just reached an energy and mining deal worth $1.3 billion with Zimbabwe. In exchange for building three coal-fired thermal power stations, Zimbabwe is likely to repay the Chinese investment with its rich deposits of platinum, gold, coal nickel and diamonds (The Guardian, June 16).

A Model for Future Cooperation or a Return to the Past?

In the past few years, the demands from China and other developing economies for oil and natural gas have become the major factor, although not the only one, that has driven up world energy prices. Chinese energy companies' extensive activities in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Central Asia in search of oil and gas assets have created anxiety regarding the world's future supply of energy. Discussions of a new "great game"—a term traditionally associated with competition among major world powers for the control of Eurasian oil resources since the late nineteenth century—have become frequent among observers of energy security.

Today, Africa supplies China with nearly a third of its oil imports. Beijing's extensive engagement and its ascending status in Africa also raises important questions on the nature of China's involvement in the continent as well as Beijing's long-term objectives in the region. Critics charge that China has pursued mercantilist policies in the region for pure economic benefits without human rights or environmental concerns. Due to China's support, they argue, the Sudanese government has been able to continue its genocidal policy in the Darfur region, and the Mugabe regime has been able to survive and carry on its abuses of human rights in Zimbabwe.

Officially, Beijing rejects the criticism with two arguments. The first is China's trademark policy of non-interference in domestic affairs. As Premier Wen stated, "We believe that people in different regions and countries, including those in Africa, have their right and ability to handle their own issues" (South China Morning Post, June 19). The second is China's emphasis that its involvement in Africa is different from the colonialism of the past, and that an affluent China is now putting money back into the local African economy. As Chinese leaders like to say, it is a win-win situation.

With China speedily expanding its activities in Africa, international concerns over Chinese behavior are also deepening and calls for Beijing to be a more responsible world power are becoming stronger. There are also indications that Chinese policy makers, academics, NGOs and even enterprises are beginning to reflect upon China's role in Africa. Many African countries are benefiting from a "China boom," but they would be better served if Beijing were to take further steps in balancing between economic interests and the welfare of the African people. Only by doing so would China be able to demonstrate to the world that its arrival in Africa is indeed different from the old colonial powers.

*Original source

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

SA minister defends crime remark

South African Security Minister Charles Nqakula has defended a controversial remark in which he accused people of "whinging" about crime.

On Tuesday, Mr Nqakula reiterated that his remark had been directed at certain opposition MPs, and not the public.

"I was politicking - they were politicking. I would never say people who complain about crime should leave the country," he said.

South Africa has one of the world's highest rates of violent crime.

Mr Nqakula has been under pressure since the publication earlier this month of remarks in which he said people who complained about crime could leave the country.

"They can continue to whinge until they're blue in the face, they can continue to be as negative as they want to, or they can simply leave this country so that all of the peace-loving South Africans, good South African people who want to make this a successful country, continue with their work."

A day later Darryl Worth, an MP from the opposition Democratic Alliance, spoke of a "tsunami of crime" during a debate in parliament.


Mr Nqakula replied by saying that opposition members were only now belatedly seeing "the ugly face of crime".

"Apartheid so insulated them, that they did not see crime at all," he said, referring to the fact that most DA members are from the white minority that was privileged under apartheid.

"So they think therefore that our country is tottering under such a wave of crime that they refer to it as a tsunami."

Community Police Forums, as well as opposition groups, were among those who reacted with shock to what they saw as a cavalier attitude by the minister towards a serious crisis facing the country.

Sam Mangena, of a Community Police Forum in the Pretoria township of Mamelodi, told the Pretoria News newspaper that criminals, and not whingers, were the problem.

"They are the ones who are hurting our people. They should be the ones to leave the country. The perpetrators have to go away," said Mr Mangena.

Apparently trying to debunk the myth that only wealthy white people have cause to complain about crime, the Mail & Guardian newspaper ran a report by Hazel Makuzeni, a resident of Cape Town's poor Khayelitsha township, on how she was robbed at gunpoint while walking to the station on her way to work.

"A gun was pressed against my chest, hard, and I was ordered to hand over my cell phone and my backpack," Ms Makuzeni wrote.

"Then the two young men simply turned away and robbed another woman who was coming behind me. I heard her cries, but I couldn't do anything."

The response from the police, according to Ms Makuzeni's account, was: "Hayi sisi, [no, sister], these things happen."
Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/06/21 13:25:07 GMT


De Lille aims verbal barrels at China

Donwald Pressly | Cape Town, South Africa   
21 June 2006 12:26

South African President Thabo Mbeki should take China "to task" over its weak human rights record at home and abroad, said opposition Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille.

She said on Wednesday -- coinciding with the official three-day visit of the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who is meeting Mbeki at Tuynhuys in Cape Town on Wednesday -- that while Chinese investment in Africa has taken place at a time when many of the continent's countries have achieved record growth rates, there are costs to the relationship.

The types of African governments that were the first to do business with the Chinese were in most cases "the biggest violators of human rights" and were shunned by African democracies. She charged that China has blocked the punishment of Zimbabwe's government -- led by President Robert Mugabe -- for his so-called "clean-up" campaign, which deprived an estimated 700 000 people "of their homes or jobs, or both".

De Lille, who has led campaigns against government corruption in South Africa, including in the country's arms deal, said China has little respect for human rights at home and the idea of China having a strong foothold in Africa "represents a grave threat to the African renaissance and our vision of true upliftment of all our people".

She argued that China has repeatedly protected its African business partners against punishment by the United Nations. As a member of the Security Council it had "threatened to use its veto" to prevent sanctions against Sudan, "whose government has committed genocide in Darfur and continues to supply the Sudanese Government with arms".

De Lille said China had "propped up the murderous Liberian president Charles Taylor, which drew out that country's devastating civil war", while in Angola, where the government continues to persecute journalists and ignore the poor and democracy, the Chinese Government has handed over R2-billion worth of aid in exchange for oil rights.

"Sadly, because of his refusal to meet Tibet's Dalai Lama, who was kicked out of his homeland by the Chinese in a similar manner as to how our president's own family was exiled by the National Party, President Mbeki has already lost some of the culture of human rights that was so loved by Madiba [former South African President Nelson Mandela]," said De Lille.

"In a continent where wave upon wave of colonialism and neo-colonialism has devastated our beautiful cultures and natural environment, we can simply not afford to be subjugated by another colonial power," she said.

Mbeki should deal with the South African concerns over "the massive" trade surplus China enjoys "over us", said De Lille, noting that in 2005 South Africa imported over R18-billion in goods and exported only a little over R5,5-billion, which "needs to be corrected over the next few years".

"In just two years we have already lost over 25 000 jobs in the South African textile industry. Because our clothing imports from China are directly responsible for this, we need to fix a quota of imports at a maximum of 25%," said De Lille.

China 's violations of human rights at home and its business dealings with rogue African states "should be lambasted by the South African government, using the newly established Human Rights Council, of which China is a member, as the proper platform". -- I-Net Bridge

*Original source

Monday, June 12, 2006

China exploits Africa

Backgound information:

China's meddlesome history
Over the past few decades China has been actively involved in African conflicts and politics. The range of their activities includes the supply of arms and training to terrorists and militia during conflicts (such as the South African Border War), active manipulation of elections (provision of signal-jamming equipment and election T-shirts to Mugabe's Zanu-PF) and supporting nefarious regimes, especially that of Mugabe's Zimbabwe.

Worrysome trend
China's support of marxist militarists, autocrats and dictators seems to be motivated by more than their shared ideologies. After aiding them to take complete control of a country, China becomes their main trade-partners, thereby gaining mostly uncontested access to that country's mineral wealth and other valuable resources. Two such recent examples is that of South Africa (the ANC tripartite-alliance enjoys a two-thirds majority vote) and Zimbabwe (Mugabe's Zanu-PF has absolute power).

China, the worlds fastest growing economy, needs to sustain economic growth with the acquisition of minerals. Exploiting Africa seems to be a cheap-and-easy way of doing so.

Dire consequences

The consequences of China's growing stronghold over African countries is significant. The obvious is grossly incompetent, inhumane totalitarian regimes. The second is the expansion of China's political influence on world matters, which can be expected to advance even more if African countries manage to lay their hands on more seats in the UN. The wealth that China gains through the exploitation of African countries may also be applied to "buy" themselves more political power or to exploit more countries.

Zimbabwe signs China energy deal

China has signed a $1.3bn deal with Zimbabwe to help relieve an acute shortage of energy.

The Herald newspaper says Chinese companies will build
new coal mines and three thermal power stations in the Zambezi valley
on the Zambian border.

In exchange, Zimbabwe will provide China with chrome.
Zimbabwe's Vice President, Joyce Mujuru, attended the signing ceremony
in Beijing.

Zimbabwean industry suffers from hours of power cuts every day.

"Right now we are beginning to experience power
shortages in the country," the state-owned Herald newspaper quoted
Vice-President Mujuru as saying.

Zimbabwean officials and representatives of the China Machine-Building International Corporation (CMEC) signed the deal


President Robert Mugabe, who has been shunned by Western
countries in recent years, embarked last year on a policy of
strengthening ties with China.

Chinese companies are also to rebuild Zimbabwe's rail network and provide trains and buses.

Zimbabwe is suffering from shortages of food, fuel and
foreign currency. In April, inflation passed 1,000% per annum for the
first time.

President Robert Mugabe blames domestic and foreign
enemies for the problems, while his critics point to the collapse of
agricultural exports following a controversial land reform programme.

The country is struggling to pay civil servants and is
thought to owe money to neighbours such as South Africa and Mozambique
from whom it has been importing electricity and fuel.

*Original source (BBC)

See also: "China arms sales 'fuel conflicts'"

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Zimbabwe demolition images shown

Amnesty International has released images showing the destruction caused in Zimbabwe by the government's policy of forceful house demolitions in 2005.

The satellite images show the destruction of one settlement near Harare, which had contained some 850 structures before last May.

The human rights group says the photos are irrefutable evidence how entire communities were obliterated.

The UN says some 700,000 people were directly affected by the demolitions.

These images... are a graphic indictment of the Zimbabwean government's policies
Kolawole Olaniyan
Amnesty International

The Zimbabwean government launched Operation Murambatsvina (Restore Order), saying that informal settlements around the capital were not desirable and their residents should return to the rural areas.

'Horrifying transition'

Amnesty commissioned the satellite images to demonstrate the complete destruction of one particular area, Porta Farm, a large informal settlement some 20km (12 miles) west of the capital, Harare.

It also showed detailed video footage showing the forced evictions and destruction in June.

Porta Farm was established 16 years ago and contained about 850 structures, including schools, a children's centre and a mosque.

Amnesty says that last June, in the middle of winter, armed police arrived with bulldozers.

Porta Farm - that had been home to up to 20,000 people - was destroyed and the residents evicted.

Amnesty says that the images - taken last month - show the horrifying transition of an area from a vibrant community to rubble and shrubs in the space of less than a year.

"These satellite images are irrefutable evidence... that the Zimbabwean government has obliterated entire communities, completely erased them from the map, as if they never existed," Amnesty's Africa Programme director Kolawole Olaniyan said.
Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/05/31 03:13:04 GMT


Original Source

Monday, May 29, 2006

'Big Brother' Bills on agenda

Published in: Legalbrief Africa
Date: Mon 29 May 2006
Category: African Focus
Issue No: 182

South Africa and Zimbabwe are both coming under fire over proposed legislation that will allow the government to monitor private e-mail and telephone communications, writes E-Brief News.

The laws are aimed at fighting crime, say both governments. South Africa's biggest cellphone operator, Vodacom, has been vociferous in its criticism of the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-related Information Bill which requires cellphone operators to monitor and intercept communications. It warns the Bill is impractical and places an onerous and expensive burden on the industry and clients. The Bill requires cellphone operators Vodacom, MTN and Cell C to put in place systems for the interception of cellphone communications, and to keep detailed information of all their clients, as well as phones and SIM cards, says a report on The Citizen site. Companies could face fines of R100 000 a day for non-compliance. But Vodacom CE Alan Knott-Craig said although Vodacom was willing to bear this cost if the law required it, it was practically impossible to obtain the names, addresses and ID numbers of all prepaid customers and to verify this information. There were about 20 million South Africans using pre-paid cellphones, most of whom worked in the informal sector and lived in far-flung rural areas, said Knott-Craig.
Full report on The Citizen site
The Bill

The outcome might be that 20 million prepaid users are barred from networks, noted Knott-Craig in a Business Day report. "Most of those don't have the luxury of living in homes with addresses that made any sense, or they're employed in the informal sector," he is quoted as saying. "Getting that information is a task that would be difficult for a government, never mind a company," he said.
Full Business Day report

The Bill will impose fines of R100 000 for each day cellphone service providers fail to obtain and keep information on their clients, according to State law adviser Ina Botha. In turn, says a report on the News24 site, customers who sold or gave away their cellphones or SIM cards could be imprisoned for up to 12 months for failing to obtain and relay the recipient's personal information to a service provider. The information obtained in this fashion would be stored on a central electronic database, making it easier for law enforcement agencies to trace all previous owners of a phone or SIM card.
Full report on News24 site

Zimbabwe has also unveiled its proposed law to give it the authority to monitor phone calls and mail – including e-mail – to protect national security and fight crime. Rights groups said the Bill, proposed in a Government Gazette on Saturday, was part of a crackdown to stifle criticism over a severe economic crisis many blame on the policies of President Robert Mugabe. The Interception of Communications Bill would give the Communications Minister authority to monitor the phone calls and mail of anyone suspected of threatening national security or involvement in criminal activities in the country, says a report on the News24 site. The government said the proposed Bill is similar to laws in other countries and will be put in place to fight international crime and terrorism.
Full report on the News24 site

*Original source

Sunday, May 28, 2006

SA running out of options over Zimbabwe crisis

Carole Landry | Johannesburg, South Africa
28 May 2006 08:04

South Africa is running out of ideas on how to pull Zimbabwe out of its crisis, turning to the United Nations to take the lead after a series of failures in tackling its biggest foreign policy headache.

President Thabo Mbeki is now pinning his hopes on outgoing UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to resolve the Zimbabwean imbroglio, although Harare has rejected UN intervention.

"This reflects the growing frustration of President Mbeki in trying to address the crisis in Zimbabwe," said analyst Chris Maroleng of the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies.

"It is a very opportune time for President Mbeki to try to hand over the reins to somebody else, given that there has been little progress with South African-led initiatives."

Mbeki seized upon his visit last week to London to disclose in a Financial Times interview that Annan would be visiting Harare in July or August to inject new impetus into efforts to help Zimbabwe.

"We all await the outcome of the intervention of the secretary general of the UN with regard to Zimbabwe," Mbeki said.

But President Robert Mugabe's spokesperson George Charamba flatly declared that "Zimbabwe is not a UN issue" and that an invitation to Annan to visit following last year's slum demolitions campaign was no longer valid.

A similar attempt last year by the African Union to enlist former Mozambican leader Joaquim Chissano as an outside mediator was also rejected out-of-hand by Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain 26 years ago.

South African attempts to mediate talks between Mugabe and the opposition have broken down, partly due to squabbling within the Movement for Democratic Change party which split into two factions earlier this year.

Mbeki's government late last year offered a $500-million loan to Zimbabwe on condition that Mugabe take steps to ensure economic recovery and political stability.

Harare refused to take the money and Mugabe instead announced plans to take a majority ownership stake in mines, including platinum ones partly owned by South African giant Implats, the world's second-largest producer.

Overall, South Africa has watched helplessly as Zimbabwe has descended into political and economic disarray.

Three elections since 2000 have been deemed undemocratic by Western governments which have slapped a travel ban on Mugabe and his inner circle and branded the regime as a pariah.

A seven-year economic recession has sent living standards in a freefall, with about 70% of Zimbabweans unemployed as inflation crossed the 1 000% threshold earlier this month.

About two million Zimbabweans, according to unofficial estimates, have crossed the border into South Africa in search of means to survive.

South Africa's failure to halt Zimbabwe's descent into hardship should serve as a message to Zimbabweans that they must seek their own home-grown solutions to the country's problems, said Sehlare Makgetlaneng, of the Africa Institute of South Africa.

"The resolution of Zimbabwe's problems is the task of the people of Zimbabwe. The opposition and civil society should not expect much from outside players," said Makgetlaneng.

The opposition has called for mass protests in June or July, blaming Mugabe for the country's economic meltdown that has resulted in severe shortages of basic goods such as maize, sugar and fuel.

Pretoria-based analysts see mounting pressure within the ruling Zanu-PF party for a leadership change that would pave the way for Zimbabwe to break out of isolation.

"There is a need for Mugabe to be replaced. There is no doubt about this," said Makgetlaneng.

"There is no quick fix," said Maroleng about prospects for a solution.

"This is going to be a long drawn-out process that will go into the next term of the South African presidency." - Sapa-AFP

Original source

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sky news on Farm murders

You might have noticed a bit of a hiatus in our blogging activities. That's because we have been monitoring recent developments and are awaiting further developments before we deliver our comments on those. Meanwhile, a bit of good news for our regular readers:

Sky news recently reported on the Farm Murders ("Plaasmoorde") in South Africa. It seems that the world media are at long last opening their eyes to what is already "old news" to readers of this blog. A video-clip can be found here.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The gory regime of the ANC

South Africa again made the headlines these past few days. Once again, a spate of brutal murders plagued the country. Areas that were previously considered to be "safer-spots" in South Africa suffered the most horrendous acts of vile barbarism.

Once again, people had to identify the mutilated bodies of friends and family. Again, people had to stand beside an open grave. Again, they had to return home to the photo's, smells and memories of a murdered loved one... crying themselves to sleep and waking up to the recurring nightmare that is called "the New South Africa".

White South Africans are especially despondent about the situation. Unfortunately, there is little or no evidence to support any hope that the violence might subside.

The ANC, that controls the country with an almighty two-thirds majority vote, is either too incompetent to deal with the problem or they are intentionally ignoring it, thus allowing it to continue.

One third of the South African voters-roll did not vote for the ANC and another portion did not bother to cast their vote (mostly because they believed that it would prove to be futile). The Afrikaners, a minority group who falls mostly under the latter category, are claiming a nation state where they can enjoy the freedom of an autonomous government and their own judicial system.

Why is it that the ANC ignores these people's claims, despite the fact that they are legitimate under both UN regulations and the South African constitution? Why is the ANC forcing these people to live under their rule, under such horrific conditions?

By doing this, they are undeniably oppressing the Afrikaners. Furthermore, they are effectively executing a gradual and systematic genocide by forcing Afrikaners to immigrate or to accept the ANC's rule and stay in South Africa, in which case they stand a good chance of being murdered.

Friday, April 21, 2006

'Does any grievance now justify any violence?'

Cape Town, South Africa
21 April 2006 01:30
Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon has castigated the government for refusing to acknowledge the reality of crime and not doing enough to address the issue.

President Thabo Mbeki and senior leaders of the African National Congress do not understand because they are almost completely insulated from crime, he said in his weekly newsletter on the DA website on Friday.

Leon cited a litany of recent murders, including that of actor Brett Goldin and his friend Richard Bloom in Cape Town last weekend. "This terrible crime has sent a shudder throughout South Africa and around the world.

"The awful reality is that Brett and Richard are not alone among the recent victims of South Africa's crime wave," he said.

Other incidents include several people murdered in recent days in a gang war in Cape Town, last month's murder of the four-year-old granddaughter of Transvaal Judge President Bernard Ngoepe, the murder of renowned South African Broadcasting Corporation producer Ken Kirsten, and three workers at a laundry in Vereeniging who were murdered in January and their bodies stuffed into a washing machine.

"Last week in KwaZulu-Natal, an elderly couple was attacked on their farm by a group of armed thugs who burnt the 82-year-old farmer's feet so badly with scalding water that his soles came off.

"What kind of society has ours become? Does any grievance now justify any violence?

"And where is the outrage and the concern of the government at this moment of crisis for our communities and our people?" Leon asked.

He accused Mbeki of attacking those who speak openly about crime.

Instead of railing against racists -- real and imagined -- Mbeki and the rest of Cabinet should spend less time roaming the world and a little more time tending the fences at home, which have been breached by the army of violent criminals performing acts of gratuitous violence almost at will.

"There is no doubt that global issues such as peace in Israel/Palestine and the reform of the United Nations are important.

"But ask the average South African whether he would prefer the president to concentrate his time on those issues, or to secure his neighbourhood or township from the scourge of criminality, and for his wife and daughter to be free from the fear of rape -- and the answer is, as they say, a no-brainer.

"But the president and the senior leaders of the ANC do not understand, because they are almost completely insulated from crime. They surround themselves with bodyguards and VIP protection officers.

"President Mbeki himself has more protection officers, and travels with more security vehicles, than any president in our country's history.

"The big men and women of government live in a safe and luxurious bubble and have no idea what ordinary South Africans go through every day," Leon said.

Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad even dismissed crime as nothing more than "an ever-handy swart gevaar tactic".

"Perhaps he should visit victims of crime -- white and black -- and repeat that comment to them."

The reality is that crime haunts black communities just as much as, if not more than, other communities.

The ANC boasts of statistics that indicate a steady decline in murder and some other categories of crimes.

"But government refuses to acknowledge the reality beyond the numbers, the fear that stalks our streets and homes, the danger that those of us who must live without VIP protection must face."

Leon said even reinstating the death penalty for particularly heinous crimes would not be enough. "It is almost useless to talk about sentencing when less than 10% of violent crimes result in a conviction.

"More than the death penalty, what South Africa desperately needs is bold leadership in the fight against crime.

"But the president and the ANC have responded with evasion and indifference. How many more must die before they take notice, and act?" he said. -- Sapa

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

New discussion forum

We have once again created a discussion forum. Air your views here! Feel free to e-mail us with your comments or criticism.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Zimbabweans have 'shortest lives'

Life in Zimbabwe is shorter than anywhere else in the world, with neither men nor women expected to live until 40, a new UN report says.

Zimbabwe's women have an average life expectancy of 34 years and men on average do not live past 37, it said.

The World Health Organisation report said women's life expectancy had fallen by two years in the last 12 months.

Correspondents say poverty because of the crumbling economy and deaths from Aids are responsible for the decline.

Zimbabwean women have the lowest life expectancy of women anywhere in the world, according to the report.

Women in the country are also more likely than men to be infected by the HIV virus.
'Economic meltdown'

According to the report, all 10 countries with the world's lowest life expectancy were in Africa.

People in Swaziland and Sierra Leone are also expected to die before they reach the age of 40, the report said.

Japan was said to have the highest life expectancy in the world, with people there living on average until 82.

According to the BBC's Africa editor, David Bamford, the latest figures are extraordinary for a country like Zimbabwe, which until 20 years ago, had a relatively high standard of living for Africa.

The HIV/Aids epidemic sweeping across southern Africa cannot alone be blamed for this - especially as recent figures show a slight drop in HIV infection rates in Zimbabwe.

Our correspondent says the key reason behind the drop in Zimbabwe's average life expectancy is the fall in the standard of living, triggered by an economic crisis.

Zimbabwe's economy has shrunk by an estimated 40% in the last seven years under President Robert Mugabe. Story from BBC NEWS: Published: 2006/04/08 10:35:56 GMT © BBC MMVI

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Africa's Killing Fields

The British magazine, "The Sunday Times", shocked the British public this Sunday when it published an excellent article entitled "Farms of Fear". The magazine's frontpage featured a full-sized photo of an Afrikaner family of farmers, along with their personal security guard. The photo is accompanied by a big, bold heading which reads: "AFRICA'S KILLING FIELDS".

The article will significantly contribute towards raising awareness among the British population of the Farm-murder dilemma. The author, Brian Moynahan, definately did an outstanding job. We look forward to any follow-up articles that his pen might produce, since there is a lot more that needs to be told.

Read the article here,,2099-2100080,00.html

Monday, April 03, 2006

SA bars Aids group from UN talks

South African HIV campaign group Treatment Action Campaign says the health minister has excluded it from a United Nations discussion on HIV/Aids.

The UN's envoy on Aids in Africa has expressed support for the TAC.

South Africa is thought to have between 5m and 6m of people living with HIV - the highest in the world - representing over 12% of the population.

The TAC has often clashed with Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang over her approach to Aids.

Health ministry spokesmen were not immediately available for comment.

"TAC and the Aids Law Project [at the University of the Witwatersrand] have learnt that we have been excluded from accreditation by the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Aids (UNGASS)," a TAC statement said.

TAC enjoys credibility with everyone - apart from the South African government
Stephen Lewis, UN special envoy
"We suspect that this occurred because the South African government objected to our participation."

The statement said TAC and ALP had been on a list of organisations submitted by UNAids - the UN agency dealing with HIV/Aids - for participation in the general assembly session.

National governments have a right of veto over this list.

"We suspect that TAC and the ALP were excluded by the South African government," the TAC said.

TAC spokesman Mark Heywood later told the South African Press Association the minister herself was responsible for the ban, since other senior officials he had spoken to had no knowledge of the decision.


UN special envoy on HIV/Aids in Africa Stephen Lewis said it was "absolutely outrageous" that the TAC had been excluded from the global gathering.

"The TAC is the single most credible non-governmental Aids organisation in the world," he said.

"It carries enormous credibility with NGOs and governments and enjoys credibility with everyone - apart from the South African government."

The TAC has led the campaign for South African government clinics to provide free anti-retroviral drugs, which help people with HIV to live healthy lives.

Under such pressure, the government began supplying ARV drugs at some clinics in 2004, but deep differences remain between the TAC and the government, principally over the health ministry's support for vitamin supplements as a means of treating HIV.

Mrs Tshabalala-Msimang has suggested that those with HIV should eat more beetroot and garlic.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/04/03 11:35:49 GMT


Saturday, March 25, 2006

Are communists running the country?

A summary on communism's influence on the Republic of South Africa's current government.

Click here to download the first draft in PDF format.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

And the Oscar goes to...

Zuma trial: More sordid details
09/03/2006 11:59 - (SA)

Johannesburg - An ANC court docked six months pay off two men who had sex with Jacob Zuma's rape accuser - not because the court found she had been raped, but because she was a child.

The Johannesburg High Court heard on Thursday that one of the men to this day denies he had sex with her when she was in her early teens and feels he was dealt "rough justice".

These details emerged from a draft of an autobiography that the defence handed in as evidence, to the shock of the woman, at the start of the trial.

The woman insists that they had sex with her without her consent but the court heard that the ANC court, conducted in exile, said that she had agreed to sex.

Both men were members of the exile community at the time and were in their 20s and 30s.

One of the men, who'd been living in her parent's house, said her mother had "given her to him", by allowing her to walk around the house improperly dressed.

'Even if I was a prostitute he wouldn't have the right'

The woman also said that the man's girlfriend had beaten her and that he hadn't intervened. At one stage he stood at the door and said "that's enough".

The woman, who alleges Zuma raped her on November 2 last year, said her mother was devastated to hear that the man (living in her house) had had sex with her and would never have allowed it.

"I very clearly remember my mother saying he has no right to do it and that even if I was a prostitute he would not have the right."

The ANC court was established after the women close to her got to hear that the man had forced himself on her.

When 16 pages of the autobiography were produced on Thursday, the court fell dead silent, with only the turning of pages in reporter's notebooks audible.

The few people present for the in camera hearing leant forward to catch every word.

The case continues.

Source: News24

*How did Zuma's defence get a hold of this 'evidence'? Surely it didn't just appear out of the blue!

What is that other word for 'autobiography' again? Oh! Right! 'Diary'. Regardless of whether this is the case, one feels that Zuma should get a standing ovation at the next Oscar's for his current production, entitled "Trial by Media". Wait a minute... that's the tag to his other trial... the corrupt armsdeal scandal!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A stroke of genius!

Click on the image to read this unique take on hijackings in South Africa...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

SA Heritage council spends R4.5m on trip to Ghana

An emissary of South Africa's National Heritage Council recently spent R4.5 000 000 on a luxurious trip to Ghana. The emissary, which consisted only of a small group of officials, flew business class and also stayed in a five star hotel.

The apparent cause for this trip was to study Ghana's "cultural policy". The study produced a whopping half-page report.

This trip follows closely on the heels of a recent political scandal in which South Africa's deputy-president, Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, spent more than R750 000 state money on a glamorous trip for her-and-her-family to Dubai.

*A big "thank you" to the reader who e-mailed this to us. Apparently this is a shortened translation of an article that appeared today on the PRAAG website.

Zimbabwe 'running out of wheat'

Zimbabwe has only two weeks of wheat supply left, while citizens are faced with soaring bread prices, Zimbabwe's main milling organisation has said.

The cost of bread has risen by 30%, pushing Zimbabwe's inflation rate to more than 600%.

Zimbabwe has been in economic decline since President Robert Mugabe began seizing white-owned farms in 2000.

The government is reported to have put its security forces on alert in the rising discontent leads to protests.

David Govere, deputy chairman of the Millers Association, told AFP news agency the scarcity of wheat has meant a reduction in supplies to bakeries.

"Due to depleted stocks, GMB [state-run food distributor Grain Marketing Board] is now giving us 400 tons of wheat a week, down from 600 tons," he is quoted as saying.

Shortages of wheat could force bakers to import flour from South Africa, which could lead to more price rises.

A loaf of bread in Zimbabwe currently costs $66,000 Zimbabwean (66 US cents), having risen 30% in just one week.

President Mugabe denies that his land reform programme has contributed to the crisis, blaming the effects of drought instead.

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says the situation is becoming unbearable.

"It's terrible right now because of shortages," Arthur Mutambara, leader of one of two factions of the MDC.

"Fuel is not available, commodities are unaffordable, unemployment 80%, inflation above 600%.

"It's a travesty of justice that the country has been so run down by Robert Mugabe's regime."

Food aid

Zimbabwe's leading millers - National Foods, Blue Ribbon and Victoria Foods - have shut production at most of their mills because of the wheat shortage, according to AFP.

International aid agencies say about 4.3m out of Zimbabwe's 13m people will require food aid until the next harvest in May.

The country has suffered increasing food shortages, rising unemployment and runaway inflation since the government began redistributing seized white-owned farms six years ago.

Economists say the rate of inflation could reach 1,000% by April.
Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/03/04 12:51:41 GMT


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

"Failed states" fail because of too much government power

Alvaro Vargas Llosa

(Not too little as contended by Foreign Policy and the Fund for Peace)

A recently published index by Foreign Policy and the Fund for Peace ranks countries that are considered "failed states." These areas pose a serious threat to world security, say the researchers, because of an absence of state power. But this view is false, says Alvaro Vargas Llosa of the Centre on Global Prosperity. He contends that it is precisely the presence of centralised power and the lack of individual-based rights that creates insecurity in these countries.


# The Ivory Coast tops the index, but its problems are not due to a lack of centralised power; indeed, the centralisation of the state has created various factions vying for control.

# The Democratic Republic of Congo, which ranks second, was a highly-centralised dictatorship for three decades under Mobuto; in 1997, his replacement, Kabila, still retains a centralised power structure.

# Rwanda and Burundi, which rank 12th and 17th respectively, are other examples of stratification caused by too much state power; after the Hutus gained independence in Rwanda, they used government power to oppress the Tutsis, who eventually came to power and forced the Hutus to flee to the Congo.
# Venezuela, which ranks 21st, is another example of too much state power; the government owns the oil, which accounts for 85 per cent of the country's exports.

Also among the "failed states" is Peru, where excessive government regulation and taxation have created a black market that comprises about 70 per cent of the economy.

Foreign Policy correctly warns, "2 billion people live in insecure states." However, it is too much government, not too little, that accounts for such instability.

Source: Alvaro Vargas Llosa, The Failure of States, The Independent Institute, September 8, 2005.

For text:

For Failed States Index:

For more on International: Culture and Political Systems:

FMF Policy Bulletin/ 20 September 2005

*The ANC in South Africa enjoys a two-third majority vote, which gives them absolute power.