Wednesday, October 14, 2009

They Needed Something to Placate the Masses!!

The new mantra of the new administration has been crime fighting and how the police are constrained in fighting crime. Elsewhere I have written how this is just a ruse to placate the masses because they need to be seen to be doing something different from the much loathed and never supported Mbeki administration.

Below is excerpt from Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 51 of 1977 on the use of force by the police. This section is very clear on when and how the police may use force and or deadly force. Pay particular attention to section 49(2)(c) which clearly states how and when the police may use deadly force.

49. Use of force in effecting arrest.—(1) For the purposes of this section—

(a) “arrestor” means any person authorised under this Act to arrest or to assist in
arresting a suspect; and

(b) “suspect” means any person in respect of whom an arrestor has or had a reasonable
suspicion that such person is committing or has committed an offence.

(2) If any arrestor attempts to arrest a suspect and the suspect resists the attempt, or flees, or resists the attempt and flees, when it is clear that an attempt to arrest him or her is being made, and the suspect cannot be arrested without the use of force, the arrestor may, in order to effect the arrest, use such force as may be reasonably necessary and proportional in the circumstances to overcome the resistance or to prevent the suspect from fleeing: Provided that the arrestor is justified in terms of this section in using deadly force that is intended or is likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm to a suspect, only if he or she believes on reasonable grounds—

(a) that the force is immediately necessary for the purposes of protecting the arrestor, any person lawfully assisting the arrestor or any other person from imminent or future death or grievous bodily harm;

(b) that there is a substantial risk that the suspect will cause imminent or future death or grievous bodily harm if the arrest is delayed; or

(c) that the offence for which the arrest is sought is in progress and is of a forcible and serious nature and involves the use of life threatening violence or a strong likelihood that it will cause grievous bodily harm.

What S49(2)(c) says in simple language is that if the police in attempting to effect an arrest are confronted with deadly force from the alleged perpetrators then it is well within their rights to use deadly force. What part of this section constrains the police from effectively doing their job, I don’t understand.

The South African public is being taken for a ride and they have been gullible enough to believe that the law as it currently stands is a constraint for the police in doing their job. In the meantime innocent people are being killed in the name of taking a fight to the criminals. We have already seen media reports of people who have been shot at and mortally wounded or killed for not stopping on time when stopped by the police.

Unfortunately a lot of the innocent people who are being murdered by the state belongs to the black majority and we know for a fact that a black life is easily expendable. Wait until a member of the lighter race is killed in this name of fighting crime, then we will see “respect for human rights” in action and an outcry about police brutality.

In the meantime this populist administration has dismally/conveniently failed to identify the root cause of crime in this country. Shooting and maiming innocent people will not drive away crime. Shouting at the rooftops that you will deal with crime once and for all while criminal bosses cut deals with the state not to be prosecuted is showing people the middle finger. To state that the state is serious about fighting crime when the state has actively encouraged the cutting of these deals with hardcore criminals really smacks of shameless opportunism, which has unfortunately become a trend in South Africa.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Celebrating mediocrity

I love my sport and I have convinced myself that had it not been because of apartheid I would have been the best sportsman there was ever going to be in South Africa. So because this self delusion never became a reality the closest I can be is a coach potato and an armchair coach. Nothing satisfies my ego than watching Kaizer (or is it Zimbabwe) Chiefs getting beaten every weekend. That is not what I want to talk about anyway....

This weekend Bafana Bafana will be playing Madagascar, I hear. We keep on being bombarded by analysts and journalists about how Bafana has lost six straight games and how it is time for the coach, Joel Santana to be sacked. A few weeks ago during the confederations cup he was celebrated by the self same analysts, journalists and fans for being the best thing that happened to South Africa. Just shows you how fickle and spineless these professional commentators can be. But then they will tell you that they are expressing what ordinary citizens they easily get blown by a gentle breeze!!. I must say I am happy that for once SAFA have learned their lesson and have expressed confidence in the coach.

South Africans are so used to celebrating mediocrity such that they cannot see a good thing in front of their eyes. In my opinion Santana has taken one of the most mediocre teams in Africa and the world and turned them into something that can punch above their weight. Bafana might have lost six straight games but they were neither outclassed nor disgraced in any way, and you have to look at the quality of the opposition they were facing...Spain, Brazil, Italy, Germany...just to name a few. South Africa has mediocre players who often grace benches in unknown teams that they are playing for overseas. Out of all the overseas contingent of SA stars only one player, Steven Pienaar, has consistently made the starting line up at his team, the rest are part players or never get an opportunity to run onto the field. And we call them our international stars!!

Here at home top teams like Mamelodi Sundowns, Zimbabwe (sorry Kaizer) Chiefs and Orlando Pirates get beaten regularly by lowly teams in the African competitions. They get beaten by a bunch of part timers from part time leagues around Africa but we keep deluding ourselves that we are the best. Even most of the African players who ply their trade here never make it into their national teams squad but they are regarded as indespensible by the teams they play for here. Sundowns, Chiefs and Pirates are the richest teams in the league but except for Pirates they are playing pathetic football. The only thing that Pirates can celebrate is consistently coming up second on the log over the past 10 years or so, the other two are so pathetic you never know which team will turn up on match day.

Now if you think that Bafana Bafana can be world beaters looking at the mediocrity of our league and the lack of success of our biggest stars on the international scene then you need your head examined or you don't know anything about football. But wait a minute, Bafana Bafana are well on the road to be world beaters thanks to the one Brazilian, Joel Santana. Having regard to all I have said above I always get impressed by the professionalism and the tactical awareness shown by Bafana Bafana everytime they step onto the field....Yes Santana has taken our mediocre players and is slowly moulding them into world beaters. Sure we will lose games but the dream is there and with every game it is becoming within reach. For the first time Bafana can actually string together about 15 passes without losing the ball and all the time moving forward, Bafana can defend as a unit and most of the goals they conceded have come from set pieces. Here in the local league teams struggle to string together 5 passes and a striker has to miss 10 clear cut chances before he can score goal and this can be seen at national level.

Santana has shown us that there is so much talent in South Africa but what is lacking is the mentality to go with it. With every game of Bafana I can see that self belief, that perseverance and that winning mentality developing. Most of our players fail on the international stage not because of lack of talent but because of lack of mental toughness and the lack of ability to overcome all the obstacle. In the meantime we can throw all the money into the game but if we do not develop that winning mentality, if we don't develop that self belief then we might as well continue the trend of appointing new coaches on the eve of big international tournaments.

But then the 1994 "miracle" made us belief that we can be world beaters without necessarily applying ourselves. We have become so used to celebrating mediocrity but it shall not be done on my name!

Friday, August 14, 2009

What and Who is a Criminal?

There is this buzz these days amongst the country’s top echelon about the need to effectively deal with crime and to render South Africa safe for its citizens. There is talk doing rounds that police must shoot to kill and talk of amending legislation in order to make this possible is gathering momentum. Talk that criminals are enjoying more rights is also rife and the president has been the main driver of this view. This leads one to ask what and who is a criminal and what rights are are being referred to. The police have always shot at criminals in order to defend their life and limb, why the sudden need to increase their powers. In attempting to tackle crime isn’t this talk of “shoot to kill” barking up the wrong tree?

A person is presumed innocent until the state proves his criminality beyond reasonable doubt and a court of law declares him a criminal. Otherwise before that we cannot label people criminals even if they were caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Our president, Jacob Zuma was accused of corruption and other crimes and he and his supporters rightly found it offensive to presume him a criminal before he had his day in court. He used all the rights provided for in the constitution and other legislation to ensure that his right to be presumed innocent and to a fair trial was protected. What right does he then have say that people that are criminally accused are enjoying more rights when he was, rightly, a beneficiary of that protection. When he says that criminals enjoy more rights who is he referring to because all criminals are serving all sorts of sentences that are meted out by the courts. Before a court of law declares somebody a criminal, the president, the Minister of Police or the Commissioner of Police, have no right to call anybody a criminal. That is the law and they should know!

In an effort to be seen to be doing something about crime our government is resorting to populist tactics which will not serve them good in the long run. A lot of crime that is happening does not need any use of force in order to prevent it nor does it need police to brandish their might in order to indicate who is in charge. In order to tackle crime in South Africa what is needed is the capacity and political will to deal with criminality at all spheres of society. So called criminals are walking the streets because they are able to buy dockets from the police or because it is easy for them to get bail because somebody did not do his job properly and place sufficient evidence before the court to prove that such a person is a flight risk. They are walking the streets because the majority of the police are functionally illiterate and cannot take proper statements that will stand the rigor of close scrutiny in a court of law. They are walking the street with impunity because the police force is overwhelmed by the amount of work that they have to do and there is serious lack of capacity.

As an example it is a well known fact that the Department of Home Affairs is rotten to the core and one just needs a few hundred rands to acquire a South African passport or ID. Over the years the Auditor General has exposed the corruption that is rampant within the government departments and municipalities in the awarding of tenders and billions of rands meant for service delivery have been lost. Senior Civil servants moonlighting as service providers have not been brought to book despite overwhelming evidence and many politicians are implicated in one scandal or another but nothing is done about it.

Guns that are used in armed robberies and hijackings have most of the time been stolen from the police or are AK-47 that were used in the liberation struggle by people who most often have skipped bail or are on some wanted list of the police. Surely there must be something fundamentally wrong when the state of affairs is like this and resorting to shoot to kill policies is not going to solve the problem.

The Commissioner of Police is implicated in a case of obstruction of justice because he allegedly interfered with the work of the police in a case where his friend is accused of drunken driving and culpable homicide where the friend skipped a red robot and collided with another motor vehicle, killing its occupants. How is the law going to bite this Commissioner and his friend? Isn’t it the duty of the state to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Commissioner obstructed the implementation of justice and that his friend was drunk beyond the legal limit and as a result caused an accident where people lost their lives.

Mind you the constitution is the supreme law of this country and all this posturing by politicians will amount to nothing if the courts pronounce that all this machoness they are showing is unconstitutional. The Constitution is god and if god says so, it cannot be.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Apparently there is something called Africana Existential Philosophy!

Apparently African philosophy is not recognised by academia as a discipline. Western, Chinese and Indian philosophies are for example, recognised as academic disciplines and a lot has been written on those. You can grudgingly count African Philosophers with your one hand.

Our culture and traditions is one that has been handed from mouth to mouth through the centuries and as a result all the philosophical concepts and thoughts have been handed down through oral tradition.

As an example when growing up we were told that in the olden days there used to be a place called Lowe (pronounced lo-we). It used to be a place of great wisdom and vision. Different cultures and traditions of African people were formed and perfected by the great wise men who lived during this time. These wise African men (and I also include women in this meaning) came up with great proverbs and idioms as a guide to the way of living during those times. These proverbs and idioms have withstood the test of time and are now part of our written languages.

I would like to believe that these idioms and proverbs reflect the philosophy and cultural practices of Africans ancient and present. They were coined as a result of observing and trying to understand human behavior. These proverbs were used to explain human behavior and to try and prescribe how individuals and societies should behave.

I call all these great people who lived during the time of Lowe philosophers, African philosophers to be precise and I would like to believe that the philosophy they espoused was existential in nature. Existentialism is a philosophy that posits that individuals create the meaning and essence of their lives, as opposed to deities or authorities creating it for them. Now we know that Jean Paul Sartre, to mention but one, is one of the famous 20th century existentialist philosophers.

Sartre, the French philosopher, had this to say about man (human being) “Man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world - and defines himself afterwards". Contrast this with the Setswana proverb “Moremogolo go betlwa wa taola, wa motho o a ipetla”. In a nutshell this Setswana saying means exactly what Sartre is saying. Very loosely translated it means that while masterpieces can be created by man, man alone is a master of his destiny. He has to design his own destiny in this world of hours. Basically you are a master of your own destiny.

Moremogolo is one of the most important and precious bones that are used by traditional doctors (healers, councilors?) to heal their patients. It has to be crafted in a certain way in order to be a masterpiece.

If you look at all the other proverbs you will see a recurrent theme of existentialism in them. Perhaps somebody might argue that it is a different kind of philosophy but philosophical these sayings are. I believe that this is a discourse that can be debated and arguments for and against advanced. There is a need for us to take a deliberate effort in advancing our culture and I believe looking at it from this perspective is a way to go.

I call this consciousness raising and pursued vigorously it can come to occupy the consciousness of the people. Feminism, as an example, is a recent movement which raised the consciousness of the people of the world and it has come to occupy an important space. Whether one agrees with it or not it has entered the world’s outlook. Ubuntu (botho) is one such concept that is gaining momentum. In fact you could also contrast Ubuntu with another strand of philosophy which is called humanism and you will find that they share the same basic principles.

There is therefore a need for consciousness raising when it comes to our culture and traditions. We need to elevate them to the status of other philosophies. Before Christianity our forefathers had their way of life that were based on the principles of Ubuntu and making the best of yourself. If we do not call those philosophical views perhaps somebody can venture an apt description.

In order to uphold our dignity we need to plant these seeds of consciousness raising and nurture them to fruition. That way we can become equal citizens of the world, with proud histories and cultures.

P.S This post was first published in MoaFrika's blog and is being reproduced here

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This is what happens when you protect your friends!

The case of Judge John Hlophe, the champion of transformation and a revolutionary, is one hell of a mess that has left the judiciary at a crossroads. It is going to take men of fearless courage to rescue the situation and political correctness will have to fly out the window. The Judicial Services Commission has to once and for all rescue their good name or forever be regarded as a faction in the battle for the soul of the African National Congress (ANC).

It all started one balmy day when the Judge was accused of receiving kickbacks, sorry, a retainer, from Oasis. Oasis wanted to sue another judge for whatever reason and the rules required that they must first get permission from another judge, usually the judge president. Judge Hlophe, as the judge president, had to adjudicate this matter but did not recuse himself because of a conflict of interest because he was receiving a sizable chunk of money on a regular basis from this company. He allowed the company to sue the other judge. This matter was referred to the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) on the basis of the transgression of a rule that require a judge to obtain written permission from a Minister of Justice before he can enter into any contract with members of the public to render a certain service and on a conflict of interest also issue. Impeachment was sought. It emerged during the hearing that there was no written permission from the Minister as required by the rules and in his defence Judge Hlophe alleged that he had obtained verbal permission from the Minister to render services to Oasis.

The unfortunate thing is that the Minister who gave the permission had long passed away and this allegation was difficult to prove. It also emerged that the transaction between Hlophe and Oasis was entered into at the time the said Minister was no longer the Minister of Justice. An important point to mention is that the said Minister was also a lawyer by profession and had been a successful one at that.The JSC ruled that there was nothing irregular that Judge Hlophe did and agreed with him that he got verbal permission from the Minister and therefore that he could not be impeached. The hearing was held in camera!

One of the principles law students are taught is one of the reasonable man test. The principle is taking everything into account what would a reasonable man have done. You have two lawyers, one is a judge of eminent repute and the other is a Minister of Justice. Would a reasonable man expect them just to have a verbal agreement about something that goes right into the heart of the administration of justice without reducing it to writing as required by the rules they ought to be aware of and they took an oath to uphold? What about the fact that the transaction was entered into long after the said Minister was no longer the Minister of Justice? Be that as it may it seems that the JSC failed to apply this basic principle in arriving at its decision.This decision was taken at a time when Judge Hlophe "exposed" the rampant racism prevalent on the Cape bench and this was seen as an attempt to deal with him once and for all. The champion of transformation won!

In scene two where the Judge is accused of improperly trying to influence the judges of the Constitutional Court (CC) and this is where things become messier. It becomes difficult to classify this as a plot by racists aimed at distabilising the revolution. But in a related matter the judges of the CC have already been called counter revolutionaries. Some role players in the legal profession chose to take sides and the Black Lawyers Association (BLA) as an example firmly take sides with Hlophe. Conspiracies are abound and in the process of trying to dispense with the matter speedily, the JSC messes up on another important principle: Hear the other side. They dismiss Hlophe’s request for a postponement because he is sick and he has a sick note to prove it. There are accusation and counter accusations between Hlophe and the JSC, the JSC members itself and the situation deteriorates further and a court of law intervenes.

Another mess is added in that while these shenanigans are going on elections for the new JSC are held and new members are elected to serve, some of whom have had an interest in the matter or have expressed an opinion on the matter and this brings in issues of conflict of interest. As an example Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza is a new member of the JSC and he represented Hlophe in this matter. Another new member of the JSC Advocate Andiswa Ndoni, as a representative of the BLA, went publicly to say that they supported Hlophe in his fight against the CC judges. More fuel into the fire, which I don’t think the JSC will come out of with flying colours.

Now they have decided to start the whole thing afresh and they want to hold the preliminary hearings in camera! Don't they learn!The JSC continues to stumble from one crisis to another because they consider of their making. Champion or no champion of transformation just apply the rules as they are supposed to be applied and stop looking over your back. Hold the inquiry in public and if the media distorts the information you can set the record straight on your website or the SABC!Save your reputation!!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Everybody owns a piece of Michael Jackson

Death is something human beings will never get used to, unless of course it is the death of animals we eat on a daily basis. It is amazing how the death of somebody you’ve never met can profoundly affect you. I normally sleep with my radio on as it is the quickest way to get me to sleep. This morning at three o’clock, while in deep sleep, I was awoken by the news bulletin on Radio 2000 that Michael Jackson had died. I kid you not one second I was fully asleep and the other second I was wide awake contemplating what I just heard and it was sad news indeed.

I am sure we all have a tale about how Michael Jackson’s music had an effect on us. I remember as a kid, not that I have matured that much, in Senior Primary (I don’t know what they call it these days) Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie and Quincy Jones worked some magic with the song “We are the world”. I had this friend who was hyperactive but couldn’t sing even one note correctly but he loved music. We had this little music group and I was sort of a leader and he approached me with lyrics of " We are the world " and the only way we could get them was if he became part of the group.

Being a spineless individual that I am I allowed him to join the group but other group members would have none of it and pulled out. Me and my friend practiced the song with the view of performing it at the year end function of the school that was to be held in a week or so. And being a feisty individual that he was he convinced me to let the organizers of the concert let us have a slot and boy what an embarrassment that was. Not that I am a good singer but man, I tried to compensate this guy’s lack of talent by trying to accommodate his note that were off the window but boy he would come back with another crap note. We ended up not finishing the song because I had to drag him from the stage and there went my attempt at being a singer.

As young ones we would imbibe ourselves with MJ’s music and we would choose the songs that talked to our souls. Thriller is a timeless classic. My favorite was from his Bad album was “Man in the mirror” amongst a whole lot of his good songs. We grew up on MJ and even through varsity years he was still king of the dance floor. In Black South Africa there is a new dance graze that will grip the whole townships for a year or so and we would dance to that with MJ’s songs. I remember one day spoiling a hectic party circle with “Remember the Time” playing. I got into the circle and just stood there and downed my beer and everybody hated me for that. And people remembered me as Moremogolo who can’t dance. Ja, those were the times.

Aah! And “Speechless”!!. There's a girl who used to leave me speechless and I would play her that song every time we met. And she truly left me speechless such that she never new that she truly left me speechless. Well, she probably knew but felt that at some point I will have to have a tongue. I wonder if I met her today I would still be speechless.

You are dead now MJ and you did what you did out of your profound love of music and humanity. Though they tried to call you many things your profound love of music and humanity will be there for generations to come. (This is really meant for those who are living)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

When modesty means creating one's own legacy

I was reading Nikiwe Bikitsha’s article in this weekend’s Mail & Guardian’s newspaper. My week is not complete without a copy of the M&G, there is some serious journalism going on there. Hers is one of the columns I like reading because I think she is seriously sexy upstairs. She was on about her family history and how her great grandfather was just great and what legacies he left. She ended up by saying she has been inspired to also leave a great legacy. Her great grandfather by the way assisted in ensuring that the missionaries succeed in “civilizing” this “Dark Continent”.

Coupled to her column was a whole section about the top 300 young South Africans and a Prince Mashele’s column about the youth of today and what they would answer in future if asked where were they when these top 300 young South Africans were rocking the boat. I must confess I did not read his article and don’t see the need to read it. I also passed a cursory glance at these top dogs to see if there’s somebody I know or to check that maybe my name might appear there (in my dreams of course). I most of the time read my M&G from cover to cover but I did not pay much attention to those 300 bright souls and their conquests…jealousy perhaps!!, and I will not pay any further attention to that section of the paper (more envy, maybe?).

But all this really gave me some existential moments. Why is recognition so important? Why do we have to concern ourselves with legacies when once you are dead you are dead? When Jesus wakes us all up from the dead what is going to happen to those who just were because they were? Why are we so obsessed with reward, be it now or in the afterlife? Why can’t we just be good beings just for its sake? Goodness is a good thing, right? You should not do good because you have been promised a reward, right? One should do good because it is a good thing, isn’t it?

But then there is this pervasive culture of wanting recognition for the good that one does, be it a blessing from god or the receipt of some medal or some bestowing of some honour or some legacy. This might not be a bad thing but in this now world material possession is the best form of recognition you can get. You have to be a Bill Gates or Warren Buffet before you can think about giving to the poor, and the poor and everybody else have to respect you. You have to be respected and respect is earned through having a name, like a Mandela, a Bikitsha and so on and your path to stardom will be easy. Some people earned recognition through their hard work and it has become important to jealously guard the name they have made for themselves and their offsprings should never let them down….legacy!! I should give Mr. Buffet some recognition because according to him any other Buffet or his relations must make their own names if they want to and he is not going to use his name or wealth to prop them up except for the bare minimum required of a parent.

Do we really have to celebrate stupidity because some of the well known people, be it because of their money or because he happened to be at the right place at the right time were or are incredibly stupid. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see on one of these famous people/celebrities/trendsetters an epitaph that reads “herein lies an incredibly stupid person”. If truth be told this world has been led and continues to be led by incredibly stupid people. Now that would be a true testament to that person’s legacy and to us as a people, because sometimes our stupidity comes out through these leaders. Just look at the USA, Germany, Italy, South Africa, and Soviet Union for examples of stupid leaders who have left and will leave legacies behind.

Is it really necessary to teach our generation and those to come about heroes or should we just be teaching kids about the inherence of being good for its sake.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fuck off, we are preparing for the World Cup

“The World Cup is going to bring so many things to the people of South Africa. In fact it has already done so by giving job opportunities to a lot of people since preparations began four years ago.” Joseph S Blatter, the FIFA president recently told a press conference and went on about how successful the Confederations Cup has been up to so far.

In the meantime the preparations for the 2010 Soccer World Cup is well underway. Billions have been pumped into ensuring that everything runs smoothly and the Local Organising Committee and the government have ensured that all obstacles towards preparations are removed as soon as they occur. This involved ensuring that despite the tripling of the budgeted amount for the world cup, money would always be available. Where does all this money come from, after all poor people have over the past 15 years be told to be patient with service delivery because government can only do so much with a limited budget. Over the years some government departments have had to cut back seriously on the anticipated expenditure as there was not enough money in the fiscus.

There have been crippling strikes over the years where workers were trying to assert their muscle but they have been effectively told to fuck off over the years because there is no money. We know of the terrible conditions our public hospitals are under and recently doctors have taken matters into their own hands because they are tired of being shunted from pillar to post. And all of this is because they have been told time and time again that there is no money.

The SABC – I admire Dali Mpofu, that big shot lawyer who took the corporation from a profitable entity under Peter Matlhare and in a couple of years turned it into a huge deficit and he is seen as a hero in the corridors of power, even by the self same employees of the SABC who cannot get their promised bonuses as a result of their bosses messing up – has always relied on government for bail out after squandering money but this time it is proving difficult because the really is no money. The world cup budget has gobbled up everything.

Hard working civil servants, even those lazy ones, have had to wait for performance bonuses to be paid to them because there was no money. There has been a lot of uncertainty over the budgets the departments would get because there were other priorities. Within the social development sector NGO and CBO that provide a vital service to the community and rely on government for funding have had to wait for up to 6 months for their grants to be paid and they were given all manner of reasons for the delay.

Negotiations over the Occupation Specific Dispensation has been dragging on for long because if truth be told these striking doctors are viewed not as a priority and as a nuisance because there are important matters of the world cup to attend to. The government is still trying to check where it can get the money to shut up these ungrateful loudmouths.

Our government has shown that where there is a will there is a way. Against all odds preparations for the 2010 preparations are way ahead of schedule and its like there is no recession or global financial crisis. In the meantime everything has taken the back seat and the poor and everybody else will just have to wait for 2010 to pass. In a period of less than 4 years insurmountable problems have been overcome and we have shown the skeptical world that Africa can do it. Contrast this with the track record of our democratic government over the past 15 years. The poor have been told over and over that they have to be patient because apartheid cannot be undone in 15 years.

It has been announced that doctors will get up to 53% pay hikes with effect from July but nothing has been said about the poor conditions our state hospitals are in or the doctors have to work under. I hope that they will take the strike to another level and ensure that they work under conducive circumstances. They should wring out of government and undertaking that coupled with salary increases the government will ensure that the state hospitals are well equipped.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A very happy belated birthday

It was my birthday on Tuesday and I got a belated present in the form of Barcelona thrashing and outclassing Manchester United. Barca dished out football that was out of this world and for the first time the Man U players never knew what hit them and they panicked, the manager panicked and Barca dished out precision football.

I think it is only fitting for purists to watch that game over and over again and being a fanatic that I am I will ensure that there is a second, maybe third viewing. I will watch it as if I do not know the score.

Football is such a simple art and Barcelona showed how that can be done. You just need a ball, brains, composure and self belief and each and every Barca player had loads of that.

If only our stars from here could learn!!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bling, god and the Black sisters

Religion is a very important cultural practice the world over and many people do not feel complete without acknowledging their god or giving him some sacrifice. Christianity is big business and this is evident in South Africa where there is a mushrooming of charismatic churches all over. In the not so distant past we used to talk about priests but now pastor is the in word. Pastor Macaulay, Pastor Zuma, Pastor Niehaus and Pastor whoever wakes up and finds that he has been inspired to open a church.

Women have always been the devout types that have kept churches going for ages. Men have always been on the sidelines and their involvement has always been in pursuance of some material benefit, be it a powerful position in the church or getting a beautiful woman he has been eyeing for some time.

Young and upwardly mobile sisters are very religious in a new kind of way. Out is the traditional way of worshipping and in is the style where god is hip and happening and is rewarding the sisters abundantly. Traditional churches are losing membership as fast as you can say hi because they were caught napping…and there is a lot of skeletons in their closets. And it is fashionable nowadays to punctuate every conversation with praise to the lord or a need to acknowledge him. Worshipping god in this new kind of way is like newly found success. It is like it’s a new consciousness.

As I said earlier on you will invariably find men as leaders in these churches, no matter how few they are, and women will be the followers. I find this disempowering to women and perpetuating the practice that man shall always lead and women will follow and this permeates society as a whole. I suppose it is an old age practice that keeps reinventing itself. The old apostolic churches are gone and now it’s your chick, charismatic churches where bling is the thing. But there is one constant, the few men that are there are occupying leadership positions or are fighting for those positions and women are taking one side or another in these fights.

Am I bonkers to see this ‘new found’ spirituality in women just as an illusion that helps keeps them subjugated. It is like a makeover where after some time the impurities that you were trying to hide always have a way of showing. That is why the church will always keep reinventing itself in order to be palatable to new ways of life, while keeping their most important constituency, women, firmly in their place – at the bottom of the heap.

Honestly, this new fad of our Black sisters needing to acknowledge god for their fortunes makes me sad and mad. It is like emulating the tannies in the apartheid days who were devout church members but had racism inscribed in their every bone. But then again us black brothers are just like the ooms that used to oil the apartheid wheels. Where there used to be blacks and whites, it is now reach and poor. We have opened a little crack where a few of us can creep in.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Leadership is action, not position" - A call to the PAC and BC formations

“This is one country where it would be possible to create a capitalist black society, if whites were intelligent, if the nationalists were intelligent. And that capitalist black society, black middle class, would be very effective….South Africa could succeed in putting to the world a pretty convincing, integrated picture, with still 70 percent of the population being underdogs.”
(Steve Biko, 1972)[1]

I think it is a moot point that today South Africa has put across a pretty convincing, integrated picture, with 70% of the population still living in abject poverty. The difference is that the nationalists did not have to raise any finger or be intelligent for that matter, they just had to give power to the ANC, or chaterists as Biko and his colleagues would call the ANC.

The ANC came into power with an overwhelming majority in 1994 and in 2004 they received a two-thirds majority and with the 2009 elections one has for all intents and purposes seen the demise of the two liberation movements, the PAC and AZAPO together with all their splinter groups that could challenge the moral authority of the ANC. What happened, besides the fact that we know that the nationalists were brutal in crushing these nascent movements? What happened to that alternative view that got South Africa reinvigorated and changed how the struggle was viewed?

The formation of both the PAC and Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) resulted in a fundamental shift in the fight for liberation in this country. Both these organizations had visionary leaders and philosophers in Robert Sobukwe and Bantu Biko respectively. Both died at a critical time in the history of their organizations and the history of the struggle. With both their death there was stagnation in the philosophies and the policies they were espousing. In my view the politics of expediency took over and replaced what had been noble intentions. The leaders who remained panicked and totally lost the plot. This is evident in the result of this year’s elections. Whatever support these organizations have was based on their history as liberation movements. Going forward they had no alternative to offer from the ANC. Why, when it was clear to them from the beginning that the ANC would never bring true liberation to the majority of South Africans?

It is clear that although the ANC has tried to relegate the contribution of these organization and their two leaders to the footnotes of history, they have failed because of the forcefulness of their ideas. The ideals that these organizations were founded on are very much alive today and need much more forceful articulation. It is however clear that these organizations are not equipped to articulate such ideals. If not them who will then? There needs to be a serious introspection by these organizations and their leaders and it needs to start from the beginning. The introspection needs to first acknowledge that the leadership of these organizations post Sobukwe and Biko dismally failed to carry forward their ideals. They will be forgiven because the apartheid government was brutal in dealing with their leadership in particular and membership in general.

It is Frantz Fanon who said “ It so happens that the unpreparedness of the educated classes, the lack of practical links between them and the mass of people, their laziness, and let it be said, their cowardice at the decisive moment of the struggle will give rise to tragic mishaps”.

This is so true of the Black society in South Africa today. Taken with the quotation from Biko above one can see that there is a total lack of intellectual discourse on whether what we have is what the struggle for liberation sought out to achieve. When Mandela came out of prison in 1990 the first thing he said was to shout “nationalization” and two days down the line he changed his tune without any consequence. Mbeki is lazily dismissed as an intellectual president who was out of touch with the masses, just as the BCM was dismissed as a group of intellectuals who have no touch with reality. Looks like in South Africa intellectualism is frowned upon and this has its roots in the liberation struggle. Anyway I digress.

These organizations needs to go back to the starting blocks and examine their decline, right from the moment their influential leaders died. They need to intellectualize influences that were brought to bear on them by events outside their organizations like the fall of communism, the relevance of Marxism, the formation of the UDF and the role the ANC played in their demise. Importantly these constant fights for leadership positions need to be critically examined. A lot of historical texts that are outside the mainstream by leaders past and present need to be revisited and the history of the liberation movements needs to be properly contextualized.

Strini Moodley, one of the founders of the BCM, had these profound words to say “You see, the ANC had a program, together with the SACP, that there is a two stage revolution. The first stage is to capture capitalism, and the next stage is then to transform it. Now that’s bullshit argument. It defies logic. Because once you’re involved in state power without changing the economy, you’re fucked. Because now you’ve become part of the program.” (2005).

The existence of the PAC and BC formations is very important but it will take leadership to recognize that they have been barking up the wrong tree.

[1] Quoted from “Biko Lives: Contesting the Legacies of Steve Biko” A. Mngxitama, A. Alexander and N.C. Gibson, eds, 2008

Friday, May 15, 2009

Alternative Medicine - how alternative is it

Growing up comes with its own wear and tear. Being a young man and very impressionable I fell in love head over heals with this certain lady and a few months down the line she dumbed me for a sugar daddy teacher. This really got to me such that for more than a year or so I developed and carried stomach ulcers without realising it. I only became aware after I befriended a food nutritionist and he explained to me what was bugging me and how I got to get it.

I have since then been to doctors to help me cure me of this incurable disease. I have had minor altercations with some of the doctors because I became a bit of an expert on what was needed to control this affliction. I have been in and out of doctors consultation rooms for many a years until a friend recommended acupuncture as a possible remedy. He told me that he had been suffering from back problems which also made him a frequent visitor to doctors consultation room until he was referred to the acupuncturist and the problem was gone there and then. He has never had the problem since.

I tried the procedure and you know what, I could feel the difference the minute I worked out his consultation room. That was about three years ago and I have never had a problem since until about three weeks ago. I could not sleep peacefully at night and this past weekend was worse and Monday I rocked up at my trusted acupuncturist and I could feel the difference the minute I walked out of his consultation room. I have been sleeping peacefully since.

Now I asked him and he explained to me in broken English how the body works and what the needles do to blood flow and it made a lot of sense. You will be impressed about how knowledgeable these guys are about the functioning of the body.

Now my problem came when I had to pay. I produced my medical aid card and was promptly told that they do not accept medical aid cards because he is not recognised as a doctor by the medical establishment. Why? because theirs is alternative medicine! Why is it called alternative medicine because they are pretty scientific in their approach? Well because the establishment says so! What I know is that these people can heal your ailments and it can last forever.

And by the way while I was still there, there was this young lady in a wheelchair who came for treatment. She could not walk for whatever reasons which I never found out but man! was she screaming while she was being attended to. I heard the good doctor tell her that she must feel pain in her legs and the mere fact that she is feeling pain shows that the treatment is working and she is improving. And all this she could explain scientifically!!

I remember growing up as a young boy it was common in the township for boys my age to get STD's. It used to be called a "drop", I don't know the scientific name for it. There were always these old men who would provide these unlucky young men with some medicine which would make the STD disappear plus they could also cure some other ailments. But I suppose the case for African Traditional medicine is different because some of these doctors don't want to expose their cures to scientific testing yet. But to view acupuncture as alternative medicine and therefore not worthy of medical aid coverage smacks of protectionism. It sucks big time!

There is also a black lady in downtown who mixes her physiotherapy practice with acupuncture. She tells me that she went to China (or is it Japan) to study acupuncture for a number of years and she has got qualification to show for it but her practice is not recognised. And she is nursing the poor and the marginalised of Soweto back to health through this practice of hers but for her pains she is not recognised as a doctor by the medical establishment. Governments suck!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The past two weeks or so have been hell because I have been without internet. As you might know I have recently changed jobs and location. I am staying in a beautiful part of the country where people are friendly and everybody seem to know everybody. It seems to be the norm that the mill grinds slowly and there is truly no hurry in South Africa.

So many events have happened over the past two weeks since my last blog and being an opinionated son of a mother it has been so frustrating that I couldn't say my piece of mind. I also means the great South African blogs that I am addicted to. I had to be hospitalised in order to handle my withdrawal symptoms. Am back and hooked once again.

I will definately blog a little about this lovely town and its lovely people and the not so lovely. In the meantime let me catch up with blogland.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I am going to vote

Though I have become disillusioned by this need to vote because it is really pointless, I have decided that I am going to vote. As I said in one of my earlier posts the only party that appealed to my senses was the PAC but given the history of their infighting it will be pointless to vote for them.

I have always voted AZAPO since I was allowed the franchise but they have since morphed into a mini ANC. The leadership of AZAPO does not inspire any confidence. One thing for sure is that they will not be getting my vote this time. I am also sure that I will not vote ANC, their arrogance knows no bounds and statements by Zuma should get everybody worried. I will definitely not vote DA, it has never crossed my mind and I will never vote for a white party. I will not vote ID, except for the Arms deal investigation they really have nothing to offer. I will not vote IFP and all these other parties. I will not be COPING as well.

A party I am likely to vote for is the UDM. Not because they have anything to offer but because I have to vote for someone at the end of the day. Bantu Holomisa is the most honest politician in the country in my view and that is the only reason that I have considered his party. I have listened to him since his days as the General in the Transkei through his tenure in the ANC up until now. If you want an honest opinion from a politician, Bantu Holomisa is a man you can go to. His opinions on the arms deal, Zimbabwe, the ANC, on anything has been honest.

I honestly do not see the need to vote because this is just a hype that will die after a few weeks and we will be back to politicians being politicians, trying to outdo each other to line their pockets. Some will create laws to do it while others will have no regard for the law. After every 5 years politicians suddenly remember that they need our votes in order to fatten themselves on our taxes. Have you seen how obese they have become since getting into power. It is tiring to be voting fodder.

Being an aspirant anarchist this is probably the last time I will vote. There is a need for a vibrant movement in this country and I will dedicate my cause to this for the next few years.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Things to look out for

  • I Recently watched an Afrikaans movie, Poena is koning, and it is a laugh a minute comedy about Afrikanerdom and their place in this liberal country. It examines topics like Afrikaner conservatism and sexuality, homophobia, racism and many more. And there is that Afrikaans rap song, Leeuloop, which I think is cool.

  • There is a very important documentary about health care in Cuba and the world and how the Cubans contribute towards better health care for all in the world. The film is called Salud! and it is a must watch. What strikes me about the film is this entrenched phenomenon in South Africa of accumulation of wealth at all costs. There is an interview with Dr. Kgosi Letlape who uttered the famous Smuts Ngonyama words, "I did not go to university to be poor". It also compares the Cuban health system to the rest of the world and it is a must see.

  • While still on Salud you must also read Fidel Castro's autobiography, it is also riveting reading. Even if you detest him you get to hear his point of view. And there is also another documentary called "Cuba: The African Odyssey" about the role of Cuba and Che Guevara in the liberation of Africa from colonisation.

  • If you are a religious person visit Kara Heritage Institute on the role of Africa on things religious and cosmological. Interesting reading. It is an institute that was created by Dr. Mathole Motshekga, former premier of Gauteng, and it is also a must read.

  • Also check out a compilation on Steve Biko called "Biko Lives: Contesting the Legacies of Steve Biko" edited by Andile Mngxitama, Amanda Alexandra and Nigel Gibson. Read an interview that was done with Biko just before he was killed and you will realise that South Africa lost a giant in the mold of Sartre and Frantz Fanon. He was a philosopher of immense intellect.

Now that I have promoted material for these few people I must go and claim my share. After all the culture in South Africa is to get rich by all means. I'm off to write an invoice....

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Dullness of Radio

Radio in South Africa has become boring and even more boring. Except for a few shows here and there on different radio stations there is nothing much on offer. Radio could be used as an escape from the terrible programmes and repeats that are offered on TV but there is nowhere to run to anymore. All you get is loudmouthed presenters with no substance at all.

A considerable number of months back I stumbled into a newly revamped Radio 2000. Besides keeping me up to date on my addiction, which is sport, they played all kinds of music across the board and their shows were vibey. It was love at first listen. The presenters and their pairing was refreshing and out of this world. I know that there are those who lamented the passing away of the old Radio 2000, but I felt that they were just stuck in the old South Africa, which is none of my concern. The chemistry between the presenters was something fresh and engrossing. But alas, the powers that be at that radio station have decided to change the line up.

The first I got wind of it was listening to KG Moeketsi and Ernest Pillay. That show is so dull. Well granted I listened to it once and that was it, couldn't stomach it and switched off my radio. The worst show ever must be Bertha Charuma and Kenny Niemach, my goodness, what were they thinking giving Niemach a show, was it because of his good looks or knowledge for soccer (which is the only thing he is clued up about in my opinion).

I have since stopped listening to radio. Maybe it is also because my jalopy doesn't have one since someone decided to take it twice without my permission.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Our President needs parental supervision

I have come to the inescapable conclusion that our president in waiting, Jacob Zuma, has no appreciation of how the law works. This is borne out of the many utterances he has made about constitutionalism, the fight against crime and conspiracies abound.

He has recently stated that the Constitutional Court judges think that they are god and they need to be engaged. He has said that they cannot have as much power as they have now. He has also said that the power of the Judicial Services Commission needs to be checked. Reading this I got very scared that our president in waiting can be so blase' about things that goes to the heart of our constitution. He has said that he is unlikely to appoint Dikgang Moseneke, the current Deputy Chief Justice, because he has said unsavoury things about the ANC. Moseneke is reported to have said at a private party that he does not serve the ANC but serves the country. What is unsavoury about that I don't know.

Poor old Jessie Duarte has had to come to the President in waiting's rescue to explain what he meant by these statements (as has become the norm). It has become a full time job for the ANC to manage Jacob Zuma and his embarrassing utterances. Carl Niehaus was good at it. This started with that infamous and embarrassing interview with some British journalist who asked whether Jacob Zuma was a crook and he gave out that laugh that Thabo Mbeki apparently dislikes and said that he will have to look the word up in the dictionary.

He has said that the Constitutional Court outlawed capital punishment and this needs to be revisited while it was the ANC that vehemently pushed for the removal of the death penalty. He has said that he saw nothing wrong with his involvement with Shabir Shaik. He has said that the laws of the country are soft on crime and they need to bite. How soft they are he could not say.

Clearly our president in waiting needs to be managed tightly and he should never be allowed to give of the cuff interviews, he can be rather embarrassing by his lack of appreciation of things legal. He must always read from prepared notes and questions from journalists should be vetted first.

Unless all his embarrassing utterances are what the ANC is about. If that is the case be very, very afraid because Jacob Zuma would take out his whip ala' Jesus and whip all those who have been bad to the ANC church.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mundane Observations - only in SA

  • If you want to make a quick buck and in the process get a golden handshake, become the CEO of SAA. Just ask Ncqula, Viljoen, and Andrews how it is done.
  • You can also run a healthy organisation into billions of debt, get a golden handshake for your efforts and still fight for reinstatement in court, ask Dali Mpofu how do to it.
  • You can divert funds that have been earmarked for provision of water for a trip of 14 kids to Brazil worth a million and when they ask why you can tell them that we have had good rains recently, ask the Mayor of a rural Ngaka Modiri Molema in Mafikeng how to succeed at that.
  • Jacob Zuma has been saying that the our laws are soft criminals and they must begin to bite. I thought you were only a criminal once it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law....hhmmm...wonder who he was referring to, definitely not Shabir Shaik and definitely not himself. Is he referring to those accused persons out on bail or in jail. he needs to be clear
  • Send a crook to catch a crook, just ask the NPA on the Selebi saga. Shouldn't they ask Zuma as state witness to catch bigger fish. After all they have learnt a lot from the Selebi matter. It has always been said that Zuma is a small fish.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Anarchy - a compeling choice

I have read a bit of the Batswana history and an interesting fact is that they have never had a paramount Chief like your Moshoeshoe or Shaka. This was borne out of a fact that since they were nomadic they preferred to have loose relations and they would change their allegiance to leaders depending on their needs at a particular time. Batswana were slave traders and chieftainship arose out of people owning slaves and fights over slave trade. Slaves would be freed and they would group themselves into a tribe but these would disintegrate or get assimilated into other groupings depending on what interests the group wanted to protect. In short there were no rigid governing authorities, a group of individuals could move away from a certain authority and from their own authority. Batswana are the people who are least dogmatic about their culture.

Now what does this have to do with the topic above. I believe Batswana practiced some form of anarchy before the majority pledged their allegiance to the Queen during the wars of conquest. Because of their loose alliance practice you will find Batswana in most of the SADEC countries, though they go by different names. Here in South Africa you will find them scattered in all the provinces.

Anarchy is derived from the Greek word "anarchos", which means without rulers. Anarchist believe that the state as compulsory government is unnecessary, undesirable and harmful. Anarchist are diverse in their outlook and you have to choose which strand you identify with best. I have not delved much in which kind of anarchism I am comfortable with but this from of government is becoming more appealing to me.

Anarchy is becoming more appealing to me because indeed the state and its monopolies does not have the interest of the masses at heart besides control and exploitation. Morden states have committed a lot of attrocities in the name of national security and self determination. One has to look at the behaviour of countries like America, Israel, Russia to see how many people have been made to suffer under the banner of homeland security.

Here in South Africa apartheid is a prime example of how the state can be used to subjugate other groupings. The end of apartheid has also seen the emergence of a democratic state where people have become even poorer. Corruption and cronyism is becoming much more entrenched. Our country is facing banananisation and every day comes with new examples of how state structures are used to benefit a few. Prime example is how the state has dealt with the scorpoins, the travelgate scandal, Shabir Shaik, Tony Yengeni, corruption within municipalities, the prison department, the land bank and so forth. There are so many examples of the subversion of the rule of law by the state in pursuit of partisan interests. In the end one has to ask whether it was really worth it.

The opposition parties do not offer any alternatives from what the ruling party is offering. Elsewhere in the world we are seeing the adoption of communist tendencies by the state in order to bail out the rich and the monopolies that are struggling as a result of their collapse. These tendencies are meant to benefit the rich only, however.

I am getting more attracted to the idea of a stateless society, where people will rely on their inherent goodness to conduct relations. There is a lot of goodness in this world but the existence of a state has corrupted this goodness.

Friday, March 20, 2009

"'Twas the best of times, 'twas the worst of times"

I can't remember who uttered these words but they were said by a prominent writer I believe? Charles Dickens perhaps? Anyway that is how I can sum up the last few weeks of my existence.

I lost my father after a very short illness and this came as a blow. Seeing him lying helpless in a hospital bed left one feeling empty and gutted because he has never been a sickly person. One day it was a routine check up, one day he needed to be operated on urgently, one day he was too fragile to be operated and the other day he was gone. Very jolly person, who was content with the world and who lived for his family, my father. I was part of the delegation that went to dress him before the burial rituals and that experience is forever imprinted in my mind. Having to deal with my mother throughout the whole process was difficult and heart breaking. But I've known her to be a strong person. It is an experience one is never prepared for and words can never be enough to express the emotions.

During this time I had already taken a conscious decision that I was leaving my cushy job and was going to do my articles in order to be admitted as an attorney. It was a huge decision taken after many years of contemplation. Part of the decision involved relocating and leaving my family behind in order to pursue this dream of mine. It is heartening to know that there is a lot of support from family and friends and one will not be left in a lurch.

I have had to give up all the privileges that comes up with being in management and have gone back to using my old laptop that in my opinion belongs in a dustbin. For the past two weeks or so I could not access my emails and the Internet because of an unidentifiable problem with this dinosaur of mine. I have been advised not to do automatic updates because it seems that every time I do that then my access to the Internet is gone. Am I going to lose all my information once it crashes? I believe it is a matter of time.

In all this madness I have also registered with the Law Society and Unisa to do my Practical Legal Training through distance education and am also finishing my masters with UWC. I have already missed a number of deadlines for assignments, research proposal and so forth. My life is a right mess. So begins my life of being a student in the true sense of the word. I will conquer though, I will make it.

And in the meantime life has been happening, the elections, the never ending Zuma saga, the world cup and the world economy, and oh!, there is still that debate between me and Laura on education that I still have to respond to. I think it is a debate we need to take further.

In the meantime I enjoyed reading all my favourite blogs although I was not in a position to add tlhware logonyana....lets continue blogging!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Am still here

The past four weeks or so have been very hectic and major things have happened in my life. Things are still hectic and it is going to take some teeny bit of time for them to settle down. In good time I will tell you what has been up with me over the period I have been away from this infant of mine called Tlhware logonyana.

The politics of the day get interesting by the hour and there is sure a whole lot that I want to say. But I am here and we will get to interact soon.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Now who do you Believe

Rhema Church and their spokespeople! Now Vusi Mona (remember he was exposed as a pathetic liar at one of those many commissions of enquiry that was instituted by government) tells us that Mr. Niehaus is liar and he does not owe Rhema a cent. Who do you believe? The church or disgraced high flier. For now I will believe Mr. Niehaus until Rhema produces proof to the contrary. My sentiment is that Rhema are liars and they are pathetic at it. They should just have kept quite or they should have taken a stance that they do not address affairs between the church and its employees in public. Believe you me when it comes to money Rhema is ruthless and it will hunt you down until they get the last cent you owe them.

Many people and mostly white people on the comment pages of newspapers have commended Mr. Niehaus for his courage of coming out and confessing to his misdeeds. Now before I get accused of bringing race into a purely political issue I will urge you to go read up on the comments of readers of news 24, electronic M&G and other Internet publications. And while still there read up any story on the government or the ANC and the comments that follow to find out how racist the readers of news 24 are. Mr. Niehaus did not confess, he was caught with his hands in the cookie jar and the only way out was to cry that it was all because of a woman.

Oh! and it turns out that Mr. Niehaus lied about having a guilty conscience and approaching Mr. Mashatile about forging his signature. Turns out that he was found out and shown the door. So much for a remorseful person. Now Mantashe has counselled us not to kick a man when he is down. I believe that we need to kick Mr. Niehaus as hard and as long as possible while he is still down in order to make an example that corruption will not be tolerated at all.

He is a priest and if he needs to be humbled he needs to be redeployed to go live in one of the hundreds of squatter settlements that are prevalent in South Africa without the prospect of receiving a job or a salary until he learns what poverty is and he stops paying lip service to poverty. That he has a sharp mind should not be used to shelter him. But maybe this is not such a good idea because being such a smooth talker he will rob the poor of the little that they have.

Now we have Mr. Reddy who goes out bailing out all the cadres who have fallen on hard times because it is in his nature. Man! the man must be having a very deep pocket because there are countless cadres who have fallen on hard times since they came back from exile or since the new dispensation. And man! there's so much poverty in KwaZulu Natal. It would be interesting to find out how the compassionate Mr. Reddy is addressing these issues.

I bet you we have not heard the last of the entrepreneurial Mr. Niehaus, his intelligent mind knows no bounds. I am looking forward to tomorrow's headlines.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Nee Fok, dis al kak

Have you ever felt how enlightening it is when suddenly something makes sense to you. Well, I had that feeling after reading Carl Niehaus' story in the Mail and Guardian. We all know by know that the man is a crook who leaves mayhem wherever he goes, a smooth talker par excellence, legwaragwara (in Setswana). I think he has also perfected the art of feeling sorry for himself. This morning we wake up to more revelations of the mayhem he is sowing all around.

Anyway, it dawn on me why this man hates Thabo Mbeki so much. This Man was a South African Ambassador in the Netherlands and he was recalled or fired by Mbeki (mind you it was very rare for Mbeki to fire his subordinates, no matter how incompetent). Since Polokwane he has been consistently writing opinion pieces in newspapers casting aspersion on the personality of Thabo Mbeki. The man has been relentless in his attack of Mbeki and you how elitist he is. And yes at the same time he was this ardent praise singer for anything Zuma.

Turns out that this man was recalled by the Chief because he is a common crook who can even take companies like Deloitte and Touche for a ride, the smooth talker that he is. Interestingly the ANC goes out and hire him with the full knowledge of his sordid past (it's present actually, he continues to cry crocodile tears while reaping off whoever he comes across).

Now interestingly, that worst Secretary General in the history of the ANC, that one of counter revolutionary mutterings, says that they will assist a cadre who is down and out. Carl Niehaus down and out? When he continues to live in a house the rent of which is R45 000 a month? For a moment i thought he was talking about the MK veterans who are languishing in the townships stripped of their humanity by the ANC. For a moment I thought he was talking about children and parents who are in abject poverty as a result of their children dying in exile or at the hands of the security forces. Hell, no, he is talking about a fat cat who does not know what poverty is. A fat cat who pays lip service to addressing the plight of the poor....makes me wanna puke....ek wil kots!!....And the fat cat blames all his corruption and lavish spending on the charms of a woman...ek wil kots!!

That the ANC can harbour criminals and appoint them to be spokespeople for leaders who have been accused of corruption shows how low the ANC has sunk in their morality.

I cannot write clearly because I am deeply disgusted....ek wil kots. If you were on the fence about voting ANC, surely this saga has assisted you in making your decision clearer. I will return to this topic with clearer emotions though. In the meantime ek gaan kots.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My Vote is up for Grabs

It is a silly season as far as manifestos go and it is also a period where people are being taken for ride. Here are my minimum demands for the party that needs my vote:

1. Free education. And free education here does not mean the kind of education that our students receive in the townships. Free public education should become the envy of all and there should be minimum standards for a well resourced school. education should become the pride of the nation Teachers should be well remunerated and well trained. And schools should be well resourced and if parents want to contribute to the resourcefulness of the school they should be allowed to do so. Tertiary education should also be free or at least every student who meets the minimum requirements of getting tertiary education should be assured of a study loan and there should be bursaries for top students.

2. Free Health care. Being healthy should not depend on how fat your bank balance is at payday. Every hobo should be able to go to any doctor or hospital of his choice to receive quality health care. We should not be at the mercy of medical aid companies who are making millions on a daily basis but are giving us with appalling service.

Imagine a situation where as a parent you know that your taxes are going towards paying for your kid’s education and towards their health care. It is my belief that once these two basic rights are taken care of then we have better things to worry about. Quality health care and quality education should not be for the rich.

3. Creation of a Ministry to deal with rural development issues. The departments of Land Affairs and Agriculture have failed in the last 15 years in the implementation of land reform and this is largely as a result of their divergent policies. A single ministry of Rural Development which will cater for the needs of subsistence farmers, small scale farmers and commercial farmers should be created. This ministry should also play a significant role in the formulation of development plans of local authorities. It will be a cross cutting ministry that will not only focus on agriculture but also on other development issues like access services for rural areas.

4. Abolishment of provinces. Resources should be diverted to local government as it is the part of government that interfaces with people on the ground. Provinces should just be administrative bodies with regional administrators being the interface between national government and local government. In this way it would be easy for national government to intervene in provinces like the Eastern Cape where there has been no delivery over the past 15 years and the fights we are witnessing in the Western Cape between parties would be a thing of the past. There will also be a huge cut in the bureaucratic red tape we are currently seeing with these layers and layers of government.

5. Streamlining the public service for effective service delivery. Public servants should be answerable to parliament and not politicians. They should be able to tell a politician that “sir, what you are asking for cannot be done unless you change the legislation”. The mandate of public servants should therefore derive from parliament and only parliament should rubber stamp the removal or swapping of senior civil servants (more like what is currently happening with the NPA saga where parliament has the last say on whether Vusi Pikoli should be fired or not-mind you the ANC will not always enjoy the majority it is currently enjoying and parliament will be a real watch dog for the interests of the people). The saga of the swapping of the DG’s of Correctional Services and Sports will also not have happened

The only party that comes close to meeting my minimum demands is the PAC. Their election manifesto comes close on the issue of education, creation of the ministry of rural development and the abolishment of provinces. But am I willing to waste my vote and vote for a party that cannot get its house in order? That is a real tough question….The other party that comes close is AZAPO as far as the abolishing of provinces is concerned. Do I also want to vote for a party which a week after launching its election manifesto it is not available. I have requested them directly to send me their manifesto but they are still looking into it. The issue on provinces I heard from news clippings, one is yet to see their manifesto. And AZAPO in my view is slowly morphing into the ANC and very soon it will be difficult to notice the difference.

The ANC, COPE, DA, UDM have very similar manifestos with the only difference being emphasis on one issue over the other. In my view they are not bringing anything new to the table and I do not see myself voting for them. Theirs is a song that has been sung over the past 15 years and in my view their policies benefit the elite in society.

So this leaves me with a very difficult choice to make….do I vote for either AZAPO or the PAC, two parties who have shown their ineffectiveness over the years and who have not used their presence in parliament to any good effect or do I go for one of those parties who are singing the same song but would have us believe that theirs is a different song. Or do I go the third option and not vote at all. Maybe I should vote UDM because Bantu seems the most honest politician of the lot…..hhhhmmm...decision, decision…..MY VOTE IS UP FOR GRABS, ANYONE….

Friday, January 30, 2009

Traffic fines

I just paid my long outstanding traffic fines because they were reduced by 50% and tomorrow (31 Jan) is the last day for this reduced offer. Their website has been busy since morning and it is only late in the aafternoon that I managed to get through. How clever of them to bleed us dry. some of the tickets were on the verge of expiring. They must have made a killing collecting all that revenue from tickets.

And then there are these guys from the Traffic department in a a godforsaken place called Warrenton in the Northern Cape who keep on bothering me to pay a speeding ticket I got in 2005. I don't even remember being there. I told them that as far as I am concerned that ticket should have expired and they told me that prescription is 30 years....I must go read up on the Road Traffic Act.

Damn! they bled me dry these cops.....

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The charade called Land Reform: A personal experience

Apartheid is the most demeaning policy to black people that was adopted by the National party government. Erasing the psychological scars it has inflicted on the majority of the people of this country is going to take ages.

I grew up in a farming area in the former Western Transvaal called Schweizer Reneke in a township called Ipelegeng. The town is named after two Boer war veterans but the history of this town is much more than that but that is a topic for another time. My grandparents were staying on a farm about 30km North of Schweizer Reneke. My grandfather was a labour tenant, but growing up we knew that he worked for the baas (I never really knew the baas name because his name was baas and his kids were oubaases). (I think I met oubaas in Cape Town while studying in there and he was practicing medicine).

My grandfather had lots of livestock and planted his own field and during school holidays all his grandchildren would go spend the holidays there (and we were a tribe on our own). We used to look forward to school holidays because there would be plenty of food, hunting, fireside stories and interaction with nature.

My grandfather passed away in the 80’s and my grandmother against all advice decided to relocate to the newly established “paradise” called Bophuthatswana. She was so happy to be relocating and meeting with some of her family that were staying there. She relocated with lots cattle, sheep, goats, a few horses and donkeys. Within a couple all years all the livestock was gone because of the harshness of the conditions and lack of grazing in her new home. I think this must have broken her because very soon she suffered from a stroke from which she never recovered until she died. She was a strong woman.

The reason why I am telling this story is to show how under apartheid one had to be owned by a baas in order to survive and how trying to “beat” the system could break one’s spirit. This is a typical story of the erstwhile Western Transvaal.

Fast track into the new dispensation and the dawning of the land reform programme aimed at giving people like my grandparents rights independent of the landowners. What is happening is the exact opposite; people like my grandfather have been systematically removed from the land and the only vocation they know in this new dispensation.

As an example one of my uncles used to stay on a farm about 10 km west of the town. We used to go there once in a while to get fresh milk, fresh vegetables and fresh everything. The uncle and his kids would look at us boys from the township with pity because of our supposed superiority whereas they were sustaining us. With the introduction of land reform they were illegally evicted from the farm like slaves they were without any government intervention. The same happened to my other uncle who was in his late 70 when he was evicted; he also stays in the squatter settlements and relies solely on governments handouts where he could previously provide for his own food.

A study was done some few years that revealed that between the period 1994 and 2004 close to a million farm dwellers were evicted from farms without any assistance from government. Most of my family are included in that number, which in my view is very conservative.

But some of my family have benefited from the land reform programme. My other uncle who also stays in Ipelegeng township, has always had a few livestock which was grazing in the outskirts of the township because there were no grazing camps. As part of the land reform programme the government bought a 100 or so of them a farm about 30km from town to keep their cattle. Now imagine the conflicts that arose as a result of 100 people having to share a farm. As a result of the intractable conflicts that arose my uncle decided to take his few livestock back to the township for peace of mind and to be closer to his livestock. The problem is that land for grazing is no longer available because all the space has been taken up by the squatter settlements and the forever expanding township.

I was once a government employee with the Department of Land Affairs as a projects officer. As one of my projects we bought a prime agricultural land for about 30 or so farm worker families who were staying on that farm as a going concern. These 30 or so uneducated families were expected to continue with the farm as business as usual and come up with complex business plans and the like.

Within a few years the farm was a squatter camp because the surrounding white farmers evicted people and dumped them on this farm. So yes, I was part of this charade that systematically set up black people for failure. Me! with no agricultural background at all expected to be a project manager on an agricultural enterprise!

Less than 5% of agricultural land has been transferred to blacks in the last 14 years against an always shifting target of 15% by 2014. 80% of the projects initiated in the land that has been transferred resulted in failure. Those that are a success are because the land has been given back to white farmers (either through lease or some contract).

People who have benefited from this programme are estimated to be a few millions. Now close to a million farmers have been evicted from the land and a few millions (maybe 1-2 million people) have benefited from this programme. You do the maths.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Reflections of.......

I started jogging today (well it was more of walking really!!) after more than six months of excuses and it feels really good to be out pounding the road. The main reason for this procrastination is that Jo'burg roads are not friendly to joggers, unless you wake up very early in the morning to avoid the harassment from taxis and other drivers. We are so selfish and ruthless once we are behind the wheel, perhaps because we feel macho once inside the vehicle. I believe it is called road rage. And the layout of towns and cities in SA does not cater for pedestrians and in Joburg it is worse because there are cars everywhere and people are just impatient.

I met fellow joggers along the way and I was passed by two old ladies while I was doing the walking leg of the jog. I could just admire their stamina, I tried to catch up but ended up giving up. There were greetings and acknowledgements with other joggers and I felt that I belong.

But I also came across a lot of security guards in full uniform either walking or jogging to work. And none of them neither greeted me nor looked me in the eye so that I could greet them. You could see that they were avoiding my gaze and it made me sad. I asked myself whether these people feel so dehumanised and belittled in their uniform such that they can't look other fellow human beings in the eye. Or is it because they know that even if they look the joggers in the eyes they will not get any acknowledgement. Other people wearing their own clothes and presumably going to work were just fine.

This reminded me of a conversation I had with one of the security guards at the complex where I stay. Ours is a small complex and though we do not know each other (as residents) the security guards know each and everyone of us. It was just a simple conversation really where he was telling me who greets and who does not greet them at the gate when they enter or leave....and they know a lot more I tell you. And the abuse they have to undergo under their employers......

Anyway today's observation has reinforced my belief that each one of us should belief that no job is beneath us and that we should show appreciation for the "lowly" jobs that others engage in.

And on another matter....apparently the Zimbabwe government of unity is on again and the sticking point of ministries has been resolved. Apparently MDC has agreed to share the Home Affairs portfolio with Zanu PF subject to a review after six months. This is nothing new!! It was part of the agreement that was signed last year. The constitutional amendment will also be effected for the creation of the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister's post....again nothing new. One is bound to ask....what was the impasse really about. Lets hope that this time MDC does not unilaterally pull out of the agreement...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Something must give

Zimbabwe is on the verge of total collapse and something must give. The two sides, the MDC and Zanu PF represent two polar opposites who are not willing to give an inch, but one will have to relent. It is a supreme battle where one party is holding out with the hope of wearing another down. Reminds me of the "Thriller in Manila" where Mohamed Ali and Joe Frazier slugged it out and wore each other down but they kept on going for 14 solid rounds until Frazier gave up. Who will give up. The proposed SADEC summit next week will be the 15th round and something must give.

Zimbabwe represent a fight between the West and Africa for Africa's self determination and both parties are slugging it out to see who will emerge victorious. In the MDC corner is the West represented by the US and UK (with Botswana giving vital advice, Kenya, in the form of Raila Ondinga has ran out of steam and fallen by the way side). In the Zanu PF corner is Africa represented by SADEC and the AU. No party is willing to give an inch.

You see Mugabe is to Africa what David was to the Israelites, he took on the mighty Goliath that is the West and he is smelling victory. And his fellow leaders are urging him on. He has done what no African leader could do, albeit fortuitously, and went to the heart of the African problem....take control of the land and its resources and give it to the indegenous people. Even the mighty ANC could not even attempt to do confront the land issue head on. Confronted by the devil and the deep blue sea, the ANC chose the devil (an easy path in my opinion). Mugabe's is the difficult path and the results are there for everybody to see.

Now every third Zimbabwean I meet here in South Africa has a piece of land back home and they are just holding out in SA until the situation returns to normal so that they can go back home to their piece of land. Those who did not acquire a piece of land did so out of choice or because some undue infuence. Now imagine what this means for Zimbabwe in the next 10-20 years. Remember they are a well educated kind, these Zimbos.

In my opinion Mugabe, with the encouragement of the African leaders, is willing to ride out the storm with a view to the future. In my opinion, Zimbabwe represent, in the eyes of the African leaders, what Africa should strive for but are very afraid lest they offend their "friends" in the West and encourage their population to turn against them. These leaders know that Zimbabwe chose the route they all should have chosen but they did not have the courage of their convictions to take it. That is why Mugabe can call the UK and the US all manner of names and get away with it; he can derogatrorily invite any African country to come and topple him and get away with it.

In the final analysis it is true that Mugabe took advantage of the situation in the late 1990's and implemented the fast track land reform but then which leader won't. You just have to look at 9/11 and how Bush manipulated the situation to suit his agenda or how the ANC took advantage of the Nicholson ruling to topple their intellectual leader. Every leader will take advantage of a situation.

Have you asked yourself how it is possible that somebody in America could by fuel for somebody in Zimbabwe or a person in Zimbabwe have to go to the Internet to access fuel that is stored somewhere in his country. Why are the commodities made in Zimbabwe freely available in our supermarket shelves but are very scarce in Zimbabwe. Now I am no economist but this tells me that somebody is deliberately withholding these commodities to the ordinary Zimbos for a few more dollars.

The government in Somalia has collapsed and pirates are running the show, the situation in Darfur and DRC are even worse that in Zimbabwe but all the preocupation of the world is with Zimbabwe...why are the leaders of the world not concerned about these situations which require urgent attention. Why is Mugabe such a devil yet almost half of the population support him.

Mugabe has messed up the Zimbabwean economy and Zanu PF became complacent and arrogant at some stage. This was to the detriment of the Zim economy and it is a road that it going to be difficult to finish. African leaders have realised this and I think they are chastising Mugabe behind close doors but they are telling him that it is in their interest that he wins this battle. Is it possible that they could settle for a draw?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Facts about life

True story 1 – The psychiatric ward

The nurse was doing her usual rounds in the psychiatric ward of the then Bophelong hospital in Mafikeng. This included giving medication to the psychiatric patients in the ward. She went on giving the patients medication until she arrived at this other patient who was busy biting and licking his lips and tongue. The patient refused to take medication and continued the licking and the biting. The nurse asked “Jaanong o dirang wena?” to which the patient replied “Ke ja nnyo staff, ke ja nnyo!”

True story 2 – BoMme ba ko Motseng

Mme yo le motho wa gagwe(ka gongwe e ne e le monna wa gagwe) ba ne ba dula mo mengweng ya metsana ya ko Mafikeng. E ne e le balekane ba dingwaga di ka balwa mme ba ne ba ithatela ntshe. E ne e tle e re mo maitsiboaneng ba be ba itlhadia ka metsi a masetlhana go fitlhela bosigo tota.
Ka gale fa ba fetsa go tagwa go tla be go tsoga kgotlhang magareng ga bona. Ka gale Rre o tla be a solofetsa mosadi gore o tla mo tswalela ko ntle. Ka Letsatsi le, ga diragala gore rre a tswalele Mme ko ntle. Mme o ne a simolola a bua dipuo tsa baswi le batshidi. A simolola a tlhapatsa rre yo. E rile fa a tla go feleletsa are “selo se se potswana se”.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Siphiwe M - A response to my "The Sober Judge" posting

Not being from a law background, a lot of the arguments below seem to go right over my head, although I would like to believe that the crux of the ruling was around the Judge from the lower court passing judgment on issues that were not even on the table in the first place, and in the process taking liberties/being very creative with the interpretation of acceptable legal aspects/code/procedures.

That aside, it only dawned on me that this sad episode in the movement's history has at its core, the "class" divide that has always existed within the movement. I stand to be corrected on the facts, but it appears that the movement has being led for the past century by the "black elite"... the mission school educated (from the likes of Lovedale, the "Eaton of Africa") type, that went on to enroll and earn degrees from the likes of Fort Hare, Wits or even international universities... in many instances, the "black Englishmen more English than the English themselves"... priest, teachers, medical doctors, etc. If not, then they had some claim to being "royalty", and foregoing the comforts that such claims brought for them to take up the fight on behalf of their less privileged fellow black South Africans (backward rural peasantry, disorganized urban proletariat) was their leadership ticket. Yes, I may have taken some liberties and over-generalized a little bit.

But to illustrate my point, take a look at the lineage since formation (an extract):
1912-17: JL Dube, , US university degree, teacher, "businessman"
1927-30: JT Gumede, mission-schooled, teacher
1952-67: A Luthuli, mission-schooled Adam's College, teacher, "chief"
1967-91: OR Tambo, mission-schooled St Peter's College, Fort Hare, teacher/lawyer
1991-99: RN Mandela, mission-schooled, Fort Hare, lawyer
1999-2008: TM Mbeki, mission-schooled Lovedale, UK university degree
2008-?: J Zuma, rural peasant background, formal education - primary school to standard 2/4?

If indeed, the ANC is the political home of the ordinary masses, then JZ is the first leader to come from within this mass. Yes, there are corruption charges hanging over his head. Yes, some of his peasant-type views has resulted in others questioning his judgment. Also interesting is that, the birth of COPE was around personalities... "we cannot be led by a 'fool'" they proclaim. Let me be controversial for a moment: how different is this stance from that of the former colonial masters, "we will never be ruled by a black man; too backward, too barbaric"? I'm only asking the question here, so do not shoot the messenger. Interestingly, the majority in this very network will probably identify more with the long lineage of ANC leaders before JZ, well-educated, with university degree(s)... finding the idea of being led by someone who failed to excel in academia repulsive. When the people proclaimed "The people shall govern", they never meant nor intended to have it interpreted as "The people with a good academic backgrounds, that excel in their professions of choice, that speak the Queen's language fluently through their nostrils, from privileged background, of royal blood, shall govern".

Let us stop this madness (read: COPE), let the people determine their own future even if in your "learned" opinions would only result in doom and gloom. The correlation between leadership and academia is a poor one, else all important leadership positions would have been occupied by professors. JZ is a leader chosen by the masses, it is about time that the masses take their rightful place at the forefront of the struggle to self determination. If we think they are not capable of it, then we are no different to our former colonial masters (we become "more English than the Englishmen themselves").

As we continue to provide commentary on what 2009 will hold for the nation, I urge all of you to introspect... take a step back and ask one's-self the question: how much of this unconscious class bias is clouding my judgment and opinions on matters relating to the leadership of the movement? Only if that commentary passes the litmus test, then pen it... if not, think carefully whether it's worth penning in the first place.

It is just by coincidence that it is JZ, it could just as well have been another peasant....

That said, I would like to wish Msholozi well in his legal battles. He always contended that he wanted his day in court, well that day is not far away. Even if he pulls out of the race, after TM.... the masses do not want another one of those know-it-all, intelligent type and aloof leaders. Just a simple person, that will understand our day to day issues, someone that will converse with us in our language, and not talk at us in a language only a few select elite would understand.

For the masses, aluta continua............