Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pimp My Parliament

Jun 12, 2011

R1.4bn price tag for major parliamentary makeover 

Parliament is going ahead with an ambitious project to build a lavish and larger debating chamber, a banqueting hall and VIP lounges for foreign dignitaries.

The project, with a price tag of at least R1.4-billion, is the brainchild of former speaker Baleka Mbete. 

Negotiations began five years ago to acquire land and a number of buildings along Plein Street in Cape Town. New and expanded office space for administrative staff and extra parking space are part of the plan. 

Deputy Speaker Nomaindia Mfeketo told the Sunday Times an initial slice of the budget had been allocated, which would get the ball rolling. 

She said the project had been delayed by negotiations over whether parliament would remain permanently in Cape Town, as well as intensive talks with the owners of buildings earmarked to form part of the project. 

"There is a budget but it will be in phases," she said. "The last report we received was that they are going to start soon." 

A firm of architects and a surveyor appointed by the Department of Public Works in 2007 estimated the following project costs:
  • R487-million for a 1500-seat joint chamber and banqueting facility;
  • R312-million for a 16000m² office tower, restaurant and apartment complex;
  • R68-million for a "pavilion building" and visitors' centre;
  • R275-million for a three-level basement;
  • R174-million for furniture and finishes; and
  • R111-million for external works such as demolition and landscaping.
But Mfeketo said the present budget would cover only the erection of new offices and the renovation of others. If there was money left over, construction of the new chamber could begin. 

She said her grand vision was for MPs - now housed in a number of villages outside central Cape Town - to be relocated to a precinct in the city centre with apartments, restaurants, libraries, gyms and other facilities. 

But she said it was no more than an idea at this stage and no serious discussion had been held about whether it was needed or how much it would cost. 

Mfeketo is critical of existing accommodation for MPs, saying the villages were not ideal for the kind of work legislators do. 

MPs, she said, spend hours commuting between the villages and town and never have enough time for late-night work in their offices. 

"People just go there to sleep," she said. 

She said her vision was to see MPs spending more time in the office and having easy access to restaurants, gyms, libraries and other amenities that would make their lives easier when parliament was in session. 

"Why is it we spend a short time in committee meetings and people cannot stay in their offices until late and walk to the library, and walk to the gym that is nearby, and walk to their houses and flats that are within the parliamentary precinct? This is what was in my mind," she said. 

The precinct, if it becomes reality, would include turning Plein Street into a pedestrian zone with no access for motor vehicles. 

The Department of Public Works has started demolishing a building on the corner of Roeland and Plein streets to create additional parking space. 

But department spokesman Thami Mchunu said this was not related to the expansion of the parliamentary precinct. 

"The demolition of the building is a project currently standing on its own. It is required to create interim parking accessible from Roeland and Commercial streets," he said. 

DA chief whip Ian Davidson, who has for years been critical of the costs of the planned expansion, said an architect gave a presentation several years ago with a sketch of the proposed new chamber and banqueting hall. 

The building would take the form of a bee hive or African hut with a large, round glassed-in structure at the top giving views of Table Mountain. The banqueting hall, he said, would be based below the new chamber and a grand walkway, with orchids on either side, would connect the new chamber with the old one. 

Parliament spokesman Luzuko Jacobs referred queries to public works. 

Mchunu said they had not received instructions to put the project out to tender. 

ANCYL leaves R800 000 debt trail

Jun 12 2011

The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) goes to this week’s congress after allegedly leaving a trail of debt that has left a printing firm, businesses in the accommodation sector and a pub owed at least R800 000 after its last conference three years ago.

The guesthouses were allegedly unpaid when in 2008 the youth league hosted the second leg of its congress at Nasrec, Soweto.

The first leg of the congress, which saw youth league president Julius Malema being voted into his current position, had been disrupted in Mangaung, Free State.

Dudu Mngomezulu-Hlatshwayo, spokesperson for the unpaid guesthouses, said the league owed B&Bs R250 000 for accommodation that was offered by about 60 guesthouses in Orlando West and East, Zuurbekom, Dube, Diepkloof extension, Mondeor and Naturena.
She said each guesthouse accommodated a different number of people and charged R400 per person per night.

Mngomezulu-Hlatshwayo’s B&B was owed R10 000 and that the guesthouses even went the extra mile in supplying the delegates with free food.

She said a consultant had sought legal opinion on the matter, but was advised to drop it.
This Thursday, about 700 delegates are expected to attend the youth league’s 24th conference at Gallagher Estate, and guesthouses and hotels in Midrand are expected to swell with bookings.

The league’s treasurer, Pule Mabe, said the ANCYL had settled the debt and the allegations were being resurrected because the league was holding elections this week.

“What is your interest in the story? That story is long dead,” said Mabe. “We sorted out those people in 2008,” he said.

Mabe, however, declined to provide proof of payment.

“The youth league doesn’t have to prove anything to the media. I am just answering your questions as a courtesy,” he said.

He said if the owners of the guesthouses were not paid, they should have taken action against the youth league.

“Why have they not taken legal action against the youth league or come to Luthuli House to lay a complaint?” asked Mabe.

The youth league has also not paid R490 300 to Benoni-based Taj Printers for printing flyers, banners, posters, booklets and programmes between 2008 and 2009.

Political fallout

Taj Printers’ attorney Daryll Ackerman told City Press Business this week that the company took the youth league to court last April and won. According to Ackerman, the sheriff has not effected the judgment to attach the possessions of the youth league ostensibly because he is scared of the political fallout.

During the 2008 congress, the youth league also failed to settle a bill of R50 000 at a township pub.

“My business nearly collapsed after the youth league failed to pay me the R50 000,” said Meli Morewane, owner of Meli’s, a pub in Pimville near Maponya Mall.

Morewane said he went to the ANC’s Luthuli House, the ANC’s headquarters in Johannesburg, to try to recover his money.

“I went to Luthuli House many times, but I was sent from pillar to post until I decided to give up. I have made peace with the matter and I don’t want to pursue it any longer,” he said.

Morewane said he had barred the youth league from making bookings at his pub.

“The youth league is no longer welcome here as a group. If people want to come here, they can come as individuals who will pay cash for their drinks,” he said.

He said during last month’s municipal elections, he declined an offer from ANC members who wanted to book his pub.

Flossis B&B boss Florence Mondi said she was owed R3 500.

“The youth league is immoral and I can’t believe that the ANC has not acted on this issue because the ruling party has branded itself as a champion for small businesses,” said Mondi.
Jane Lebelo of Mookho’s B&B said she was still owed R1 500. She was incensed to hear that the youth league had decided to hold its conference at Gallagher Estate before they could settle the debt.

“Instead of hosting the conference in Soweto and paying the money what they owe us, the league is giving business to guesthouses in suburbs,” she said.

Nombeko Rwaxa, who owns the Zizwe Guesthouse, said the youth league incident had taught her a lesson. 

“I have learned to request payment upfront, especially when dealing with groups.”

South African Liquor Tourism and Hospitality Association secretary-general Monga Phaladi advised B&Bs and liquor outlets to ask for cash or credit card payments upfront.

“Patrons must also learn to respect entrepreneurs and their businesses. These entrepreneurs are making a living from their enterprises,” said Phaladi.

Horror of a Mob Murder


Surrounded by a jeering mob, 26-year-old Farai Kujirichita was bludgeoned to death in Diepsloot, his horrifying ­final moments captured on a video that thrust South Africa's violence back into the international spotlight.

A photograph of Farai, which his brother Clemence says was taken just weeks before he was killed.

The full footage, obtained by City Press from a freelance journalist, has never been released in South Africa, but made headlines in one of the world’s most influential newspapers.

 Kujirichita was still alive when a man in a white cap methodically destroyed his face and skull with a heavy wooden plank.

He was probably dead or dying when another man grasped his belt and punched him repeatedly in the groin and a grinning teenage girl raised a large chunk of cement above her head.
Kujirichita's "crime" was that he was a Zimbabwean in the wrong place at the wrong time.

His murder in January this year in Diepsloot - a community of 150 000 in northern Johannesburg, where ­instances of mob violence are ­commonplace and growing ever more so - was quickly forgotten.

The open space between two squatter camps where Farai Kujirichita was beaten to death by vigilantes.

Xenophobic attacks

It would have remained that way but for a New York Times Magazine cover story last weekend and the grainy cellphone video of his final moments, excerpts from which were published for the first time on the paper's website.

The article appeared just days after UN special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Jorge Bustamante, highlighted xenophobic attacks in South Africa and called on the government to implement more stringent hate crime legislation.

The story of
Kujirichita's killing made international headlines last week, including in newspapers in Zimbabwe, Taiwan and New Zealand.

In Diepsloot, the killings continued.

Two weeks ago, two Zimbabweans were kicked and beaten to death after being accused of robbery.

In another incident, a suspected thief ­narrowly escaped with his life when police arrived just in time to prevent a mob from killing him, an incident witnessed by a City Press reporter.

"The police should have given him to us. We know what to do with people like him. We will continue to kill ­tsotsis," resident Johannah Mofokeng said as police drove away.


"We get called out all the time," ­Diepsloot police station spokesperson Daniel Mavimbela said.

"People here take the law into their own hands."

All too often "foreigners" are the ­targets of their rage.

The wife of one of the five people arrested for the double killings, Tswanelo Ndlovu, says  Zimbabweans are to blame for crime in Diepsloot. She offers no
evidence to support her claim.

"Some of these people don't even live here. They come at night to rob us and terrorise our neighbours, and we will not stand for that," she said.

Asked how she could know beyond doubt that someone accused of a crime was guilty, she said: "I trust what my neighbour tells me and what other people I know say."


Freelance journalist Golden Mtika witnessed
Kujirichita's murder and, at great risk to himself, captured the mob ­frenzy on a cellphone camera.

"I have witnessed more than 300 mob justice cases, but that one is the scariest. I still can't believe that I shot that video," said Mtika.

Even children have become ­desensitised to the violence around them, Mtika said.

"They could be playing soccer on a field and there would be a dead body next to them and they wouldn’t be bothered."

Residents "don’t ask questions" when someone is accused of a crime.

"Mob justice is the people's way of dealing with criminals because they don't feel protected by the police. It is so common that people get necklaced almost every week."


Mtika is haunted by the images of
Kujirichita being kicked in the face and sjambokked, his features eventually reduced to a bloody, unrecognisable pulp. "It's hard for me to look at the video," he says.

The attack took place on January 22.

Led by a 15-year-old boy, a mob of ­residents searching for "criminals" had begun torching shacks and a ­caravan, and soon encountered
Kujirichita talking on his phone.

"He told them he was South African but they snatched his phone away from him, looked at the numbers on the phone and realised that he was ­actually from Zimbabwe.

"So they started beating him for telling a lie."

The mob tried to force him to throw himself in a fire.


"He couldn't do that so he tried to run away but they caught him and started beating him like a dog.

It was a shame watching him die like that,” said Mtika.

A 15-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl are the only suspects facing trial for
Kujirichita’s murder.

They will appear in the Atteridgeville Regional Court ­tomorrow.

The three main assailants seen in the video were never arrested. 

ANC offices torched in KZN


The offices of the ANC in the Moses Mabhida region of Pietermaritzburg have been torched, resulting in hundreds of thousands of rands worth of damage, the SABC reported on Sunday.

The regional ANC secretary's offices, as well as those of the municipality's deputy mayor, Alpha Shelembe, currently facing fraud charges, were extensively damaged.

Alpha Shelembe

ANC members recently held a sit-in at the premises for 13 days, in protest against councillors allegedly imposed on the region, and appointments of those accused of corruption.

Crime Statistics - Rapes

Showing latest available data.
Rank   Countries  Amount 
# 1   South Africa: 1.19538 per 1,000 people 
# 2   Seychelles: 0.788294 per 1,000 people 
# 3   Australia: 0.777999 per 1,000 people 
# 4   Montserrat: 0.749384 per 1,000 people 
# 5   Canada: 0.733089 per 1,000 people 
# 6   Jamaica: 0.476608 per 1,000 people 
# 7   Zimbabwe: 0.457775 per 1,000 people 
# 8   Dominica: 0.34768 per 1,000 people 
# 9   United States: 0.301318 per 1,000 people 
# 10   Iceland: 0.246009 per 1,000 people 
# 11   Papua New Guinea: 0.233544 per 1,000 people 
# 12   New Zealand: 0.213383 per 1,000 people 
# 13   United Kingdom: 0.142172 per 1,000 people 
# 14   Spain: 0.140403 per 1,000 people 
# 15   France: 0.139442 per 1,000 people 
# 16   Korea, South: 0.12621 per 1,000 people 
# 17   Mexico: 0.122981 per 1,000 people 
# 18   Norway: 0.120836 per 1,000 people 
# 19   Costa Rica: 0.118277 per 1,000 people 
# 20   Venezuela: 0.115507 per 1,000 people 
# 21   Finland: 0.110856 per 1,000 people 
# 22   Netherlands: 0.100445 per 1,000 people 
# 23   Denmark: 0.0914948 per 1,000 people 
# 24   Germany: 0.0909731 per 1,000 people 
# 25   Bulgaria: 0.0795973 per 1,000 people 
# 26   Chile: 0.0782179 per 1,000 people 
# 27   Thailand: 0.0626305 per 1,000 people 
# 28   Kyrgyzstan: 0.0623785 per 1,000 people 
# 29   Poland: 0.062218 per 1,000 people 
# 30   Sri Lanka: 0.0599053 per 1,000 people 
# 31   Hungary: 0.0588588 per 1,000 people 
# 32   Estonia: 0.0547637 per 1,000 people 
# 33   Ireland: 0.0542829 per 1,000 people 
# 34   Switzerland: 0.0539458 per 1,000 people 
# 35   Belarus: 0.0514563 per 1,000 people 
# 36   Uruguay: 0.0512295 per 1,000 people 
# 37   Lithuania: 0.0508757 per 1,000 people 
# 38   Malaysia: 0.0505156 per 1,000 people 
# 39   Romania: 0.0497089 per 1,000 people 
# 40   Czech Republic: 0.0488234 per 1,000 people 
# 41   Russia: 0.0486543 per 1,000 people 
# 42   Latvia: 0.0454148 per 1,000 people 
# 43   Moldova: 0.0448934 per 1,000 people 
# 44   Colombia: 0.0433254 per 1,000 people 
# 45   Slovenia: 0.0427648 per 1,000 people 
# 46   Italy: 0.0402045 per 1,000 people 
# 47   Portugal: 0.0364376 per 1,000 people 
# 48   Tunisia: 0.0331514 per 1,000 people 
# 49   Zambia: 0.0266383 per 1,000 people 
# 50   Ukraine: 0.0244909 per 1,000 people 
# 51   Slovakia: 0.0237525 per 1,000 people 
# 52   Mauritius: 0.0219334 per 1,000 people 
# 53   Turkey: 0.0180876 per 1,000 people 
# 54   Japan: 0.017737 per 1,000 people 
# 55   Hong Kong: 0.0150746 per 1,000 people 
# 56   India: 0.0143187 per 1,000 people 
# 57   Qatar: 0.0139042 per 1,000 people 
# 58   Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of: 0.0132029 per 1,000 people 
# 59   Greece: 0.0106862 per 1,000 people 
# 60   Georgia: 0.0100492 per 1,000 people 
# 61   Armenia: 0.00938652 per 1,000 people 
# 62   Indonesia: 0.00567003 per 1,000 people 
# 63   Yemen: 0.0038597 per 1,000 people 
# 64   Azerbaijan: 0.00379171 per 1,000 people 
# 65   Saudi Arabia: 0.00329321 per 1,000 people 

Emily Hobhouse

Emily Hobhouse was born on 9 April, 1860. She was raised in the tiny village of St. Ive near Liskeard in East Cornwall. 

Her father was rector of the Anglican Church while her mother was the daughter of Sir William Trelawney who represented East Cornwall in parliament. After her mother's death Emily took care of her father who was often unwell. After his death in January 1895 she left for the United States where she did welfare work among the many Cornish emigrants working in the mines in Minnesota. She became engaged to John Carr Jackson but broke off her engagement in 1898 and returned to England. When the war with South Africa broke out in October 1899, Leonard Courtney, a liberal MP, invited Emily to join the women's branch of South African Conciliation Committee of which he was president. In July 1900 she learnt about the plight of the Boer women in war torn South Africa. She now started the South African Women and Children's Distress fund. She also learnt about the existence of a camp for women in Port Elizabeth. She sailed for South Africa on 7 December 1900 and landed at Cape Town on the 27th. Here she learnt of camps in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Potchefstroom, Norvalspont, Kroonstad, Irene etc. She immediately applied for permission to visit the concentration camps. 

Her chances of visiting the camps were not good as martial law had been declared over large parts of the Cape Colony. Lord Milner agreed that she could visit the camps, subject to the approval of Lord Kitchener. He granted her permission to proceed only as far as Bloemfontein. She left Cape Town on 22 January 1901 and arrived at Bloemfontein on the 24th where she stayed at the home of the Fichardt family. The camp was "dumped down" as Emily put it, "on the southern slope of a kopje (small hill) right out on the bare brown veld." When she arrived in the camp she finally met the women she had come to help. There were then almost two thousand people living in the camp: the majority was women and children with a few surrendered men known as "hands-uppers." She had come with the object of providing such articles as could not be expected to be provided for by the authorities, "but I soon found out", she wrote, and, that there was a scarcity of essential provisions. The accommodation was wholly inadequate. When the eight, ten or twelve people who lived in the bell tent were squeezed into it to find shelter against the heat of the sun, the dust or the rain, there was no room to stir and the air in the tent was beyond description, even though the flaps were rolled up properly and fastened. Soap was an article that was not dispensed. The water supply was inadequate. No bedstead or mattress was procurable. Fuel was scarce and had to be collected from the green bushes on the slopes of the kopjes by the people themselves. The rations were extremely meagre and when, as I frequently experienced, the actual quantity dispensed fell short of the amount prescribed, it simply meant famine." Sicknesses such as measles, bronchitis, pneumonia, dysentery and typhoid had already invaded the camp with fatal results. There were very few tents who did not house one or more sick persons, most of them children. 

When she requested soap for the people, she was told that soap was a luxury. She nevertheless succeeded in having it listed as a necessity. She was aware of the difficulties involved in obtaining supplies from the coast on a railway line constantly threatened and disrupted, but she could not forgive what she called :"Crass male ignorance, helplessness and muddling " I rub as much salt into the sore places in their minds" because it is good for them; but I can't help melting a little when they ...confess that the whole thing is a grievous and gigantic blunder and present almost insoluble problems...

She also visited the camps at Norvalspont, Aliwal North, Springfontein, Kimberley and Orange River and Mafeking. Everywhere she directed the attention of the authorities to the inadequate sanitary measures, meagre rations, and to inefficient organization. When she returned to Bloemfontein the military operations of March and April had brought a large number of extra families into the camp .She wrote that the population had redoubled and had swallowed up the results of improvements that had been effected. The appalling increase in illness and death and the fact that nobody in authority listened to her pleas, led to a decision to return to England. She hoped that once back in Britain she would be able to persuade the Government and the public to make an end to the conditions of misery and distress in the camps. 

At the request of the Minister of War, St John Brodrick, she submitted her report on the camps to him in writing. Her report was also made known to the public by the committee of the Emergency Fund. It directed the attention of the public to the concentration camps and created a deep feeling of sympathy in all parts of the country but the debate on the report in the Houses of Parliament, was extremely disappointing as it was a picture of "apathy and impatience." In spite of fierce opposition from newspapers supporting the Government's standpoint Emily continued to address meetings about the plight of the women and children. The Government appointed a ladies' committee under Mrs. Millicent Fawcett to inspect the camps in South Africa. Hobhouse was not part of this committee. The committee's report however repeated her findings and resulted in important improvements.
In October 1901 she decided to resume her work in South Africa. She steamed into Table Bay on 27 October 1901 but was not allowed to land. Five days later she was deported. The disappointment caused by her reception came as a great shock to her. She retired to the south of France to work on her first book "The Brunt of the War and where it fell".

When the war ended in 1902 she saw it as her mission to support every effort aimed at rehabilitation and reconciliation of the war ravaged country. With this objective in view, she visited South Africa once more in 1903. Back in England she finalized her plan, conceived during her visit, of starting Boer home industries. She, accompanied by two helpers, returned to South Africa in 1905. They came equipped with the required apparatus to teach the women and girls the art of spinning and weaving. The first school was set up at Philippolis in the Free State. Eventually 27 schools were established in the Transvaal and the Free State. A lace school was also established at Koppies in the Free State. 

The unveiling of the Women's Monument at Bloemfontein took place on 16 December 1913. Emily Hobhouse was asked to unveil the monument but eventually her ill health prevented her from completing her journey and personally delivering her speech. On the initiative of Mrs. Steyn, a sum of {Pounds} 2,300 was collected for her in 1921 with which she purchased a house at St. Ives in Cornwall. She died on 8 June 1926. Her ashes found a final resting place in a niche at the Women's Memorial at Bloemfontein on 26 October 1926. 

General Louis Botha

Louis Botha was born in Greytown, Natal on 27 1862 and died in Pretoria on 27 August 1919. 

He was the son of Louis Botha and his wife, Salomina van Rooyen. In 1869 the family left Natal and settled near Vrede in the Orange Free State, where Louis lived until he was twenty-two.
Although Botha had little formal education he mastered the ways of the veldt and developed an eye for terrain - a decisive factor in his later success as Boer commander. His first experience of warfare was in May 1884 when he helped to establish Dinizulu as Zulu king. In 1886 he settled on his farm, east of Vryheid in the newly established New Republic. On 13 December 1886 he married Annie Emmett. Botha was elected field-cornet for Vryheid and retained his office when the New Republic was united with the ZAR in 1888. In 1896 he entered politics when he and Lucas Meyer were chosen to represent Vryheid in the First Volksraad. 

With the outbreak of the war in October 1899 Botha joined the Vryheid commando. At the battle of Talana (20/10/1899), Botha took part as an ordinary burgher. He showed the first signs of military genius when General George White, commanding officer of the British garrison at Ladysmith, launched an attack on the Boer forces surrounding Ladysmith on 30 October 1899. With Lucas Meyer ill, Botha thwarted the planned attack of Pepworth Hill. Botha now took over Meyer's command and was appointed general in a permanent capacity. On 14 November he crossed the Tukhela at Colenso. On 15 November he took part in the train derailment at Chievely where Winston Churchill was taken prisoner. On 23 November his men succeeded in routing the troops under Colonel FW Kitchener from Brynbella Hill. When General Piet Joubert became ill Botha was placed in command of the burghers along the Thukela. 

Sir Redvers Buller's main objective was the relief Ladysmith. By mid-December he had amassed more than 21 000 troops equipped with forty-six guns south of the Thukela. In the hills along the northern bank Botha and his 4 500 men armed with five guns dug themselves in an excellent position because of the vantage point it offered. From 13 to 14 December Buller directed a heavy bombardment at the hills north of Colenso. Inadequate reconnaissance however, on the British side had failed to detect the positions of the Boer entrenchments. On the morning of the 15th the Boers unleashed a hail of rifle and gun fire from their concealed positions on the advancing enemy across the Thukela which ended in a general British retreat.
In January 1900 Botha deployed his men in a line, 24 km long, opposite three fords on the Upper Thukela. After British troops under Lieutenant-General Sir Charles Warren crossed the Thukela at Trichardtsdrift on 16 January, Botha set up positions on the crest of Tabanyama that were invisible to the enemy. The British attacked on 20 January and for two days mercilessly bombarded Tabanyama. On 22 January they decided to take Spioenkop. Here the column of 2000 men under Major-General E.R.P. Woodgate was pinned down by the Boers on the morning of 24 January. The Boers stormed up Spioenkop and opened fire on the British with deadly accuracy. They were also supported from the surrounding hills. Losses on both sides were severe and by nightfall the British had to evacuate. 

On 6 February, Botha resumed command on the upper Thukela. Through careful planning and tactical skill, Botha, who only had 3 510 men and eight guns at his disposal, managed to outwit the British and to keep them guessing as to the true strength of his army. Buller's final assault on the Boer positions at the Thukela however proved too strong. After the conquest of Cingolo (17 February) and Monte Cristo (18 February) the Boer's resistance crumbled. Botha nevertheless offered stubborn resistance at Wynne's Hill, Pietershoogte and Railway Hill (27 February). The British were victorious and the Boers had to retreat, leaving the road to Ladysmith open. A day later the demoralized Boers were on their way to the Biggarsberg and Van Reenen. 

By the end of the month was appointed Commandant-General after the death of Joubert. Botha was then placed in charge of the Boer forces in the Free State who were to check Roberts' advance on Pretoria. He arrived at the Sand River with 3 000 men on 7 May 1900 and deployed his men. The numerical superiority of the British proved too great and after French had pushed past Botha's right flank, Roberts' main force was able to break through with ease and to occupy Kroonstad on 12 May. 

On 22 May Botha crossed the Vaal River and decided to defend Johannesburg at Kliprivierberg and Doornkop but the British broke through the Boer lines on 29 May and two days later Johannesburg and the mines of the Witwatersrand were in Roberts' hands. Roberts marched into Pretoria shortly afterwards. Botha now took up position at Donkerhoek, east of Pretoria. He made certain that his flanks were strongly manned despite the 48-km line he had to defend. The battle raged for two days (from 11 June to 12 June 1900). After Ian Hamilton broke through the Boer lines the Boers retreated in an easterly direction along the railway line. 

In July and August 1900 he was involved in a series of skirmishes with British divisions in the South-Eastern Transvaal always with the protection of the strategically important Delagoa Bay railway line in mind. When the British occupied Middelburg on 27 July 1900 Botha set up his headquarters close to Belfast where he was involved the battle at Bergendal (Dalmanutha) on 27/08/1900. Roberts's superiority in artillery was decisive and the Transvalers were forced to retreat further to the east. Firmly convinced that he had dealt the Boers a mortal blow, Roberts formally annexed Transvaal on 1 September 1900. Although many of Botha's officers were considering surrender at this time, both Presidents Steyn and Kruger bolstered Botha's courage. After Bergendal he abandoned conventional deployment methods. With renewed zeal he moved to Lydenburg where he took up position. Buller routed him from there on 8 September but not before his guns and supplies had been sent away. He now retreated to the Nelspruit railway line. The Boers' prospects looked grim: they were cut off from their supply base and from communication with the outside world. President Kruger had left for Europe and many Boers had fled across the border to Mozambique. Botha nevertheless still had the hard core of his men at his disposal and he was determined to carry on fighting. 

In November 1900 Botha reorganized his commandos again; announcing punitive measure for Boers evading commando service and from 2-12 December personally took part in attacks on Utrecht, Wakkerstroom and Vryheid, and Nooitgedacht (12-13 December). After the successful raid on Helvetia (28/29 December) Botha planned a large-scale attack on the various stations on the Delagoa Bay railway line for January 1900 but his forces were too spread out to inflict much damage. 

After a meeting with Lord Kitchener at Middelburg in February 1901 he rejected the British peace proposals and continued with the war. He undertook a daring but unsuccessful raid into Natal in September 1901. On 30 October 1901 Botha defeated Lieutenant-Colonel GE Benson at Bakenlaagte. Though there where several skirmishes in Eastern Transvaal during the latter part of 1901 they had little effect on the outcome of the war. 

At the Klerksdorp peace discussions and at the negotiations at Vereeniging (15 May -31 May 1902) he agreed with the decision that peace should be declared. During the negotiations with Kitchener and Milner he insisted on an honourable peace for all parties. Two months later he accompanied Generals CR de Wet and J.H. de la Rey to Europe to collect money for the economic recovery of those Afrikaners whom the war had impoverished. 

In May 1904 Botha was a founder member of the political party, Het Volk. When self-government was finally granted, Botha became Prime Minister of the Transvaal and with the establishment of the Union of South Africa (1910) he was appointed Prime Minister of the Union. Botha commanded the Union troops during the rebellion of 1914 and the South West African campaign during the First World War. He and General Smuts attended the peace conference in Europe in December 1918 as members of the British delegation, but took their seats as full-fledged delegates in their own right. On 27 August 1919 he died unexpectedly of a heart attack in Pretoria. 

President Paul Kruger

Stephanus Johannes Paulus (Paul) Kruger was born in Bulhoek, Cradock on the 10 October, 1825 and died in Clarens, Switzerland on 14 July, 1904. 

His parents were Casper Kruger and Elsie Steyn, fairly well-to-do, but landless stock-owners, compelled by drought, locusts and migrating herds of buck to lead a nomadic existence. Young Paul and his brothers were responsible for the stock. Nature hardened him and the Bible was his schoolbook and his daily companion from a very early age. He had a few months of formal instruction in reading and writing but could express his thoughts on paper. 

In 1836 they joined the Potgieter trek. The young Paul underwent his baptism of fire at battle of Vechtkop. After a spell in Natal they moved north to Transvaal. When Paul was 16, he received his own farm, Waterkloof, near present-day Rustenburg. In 1842 he married Maria du Plessis who died of malaria in 1846. A year later he married Gezina du Plessis. Kruger served as a field-cornet during his teens and was the commandant of Rustenburg from 1854 onwards. He took an active part in punitive expeditions against various rebellious black chiefs, e.g. against Makapan in 1854 and Mapela in April 1858. 

He was scarcely 25 when he became interested in political matters and was present at the Sand River Convention in 1852 where the South African Republic (ZAR) was granted its independence from Britain. Three years later he helped draw up the constitution of this new republic. He played a prominent role in pacifying and uniting the Boer communities in the early 1860's when there was a vehement dissension amongst the burghers about ecclesiastical matters as well a political struggle following the election of M.W. Pretorius as president of the OFS. Kruger was elected commandant-general in April 1862. Peace was restored when an election was held in 1864. Pretorius became president for a second time and Kruger retained his position as commander-in-chief.

President T.F. Burgers came to power in 1872 and as Kruger could not identify with his liberal- mindedness he tendered his resignation early in 1873. Burgers suffered a gradual decline in popularity. Kruger was elected to the Volksraad with a small majority in November 1874. He became reconciled to Burgers's government to a certain extent. When they planned a new presidential election for early 1877 Kruger decided to make himself available for office. The election never took place as Shepstone annexed the republic on behalf of the British Empire. When Burgers left the country Kruger was elected vice-president by the Volksraad. 

In an attempt to have the annexation set aside he visited London twice but both the journeys were in vain as the British government was adamant that they would not revoke the annexation. At a series of meetings addressed by Kruger the increasing opposition to British rule was evident Kruger went to work very diplomatically to restrain people from premature violence on the one hand and on the other hand to manoeuvre the British leaders into a morally untenable position. When Piet Bezuidenhout's tactics of tax evasion, however, supported by Commandant Piet Cronje, at Potchefstroom, led to a riot in November 1880, Kruger was no longer able to restrain the people and at a gathering at Paardekraal in December 1880 they restored the republic. Kruger, Piet Joubert and M.W. Pretorius now formed a triumvirate to lead the government. 

During the First War of Independence Kruger controlled the political fortunes of the ZAR from his temporary headquarters at Heidelberg. The invading British forces were defeated by Jobber's burghers at Lang's Nek, Ingogo, and Majuba Hill in 1881. The Gladstone government was unwilling to restore British authority by the further use of force and accepted Kruger's proposal of qualified independence. This formed the basis of the negotiations that led to the Pretoria Convention in August 1881. The independence of the Republic was restored, subject to the suzerainty of Great Britain. 

The Volksraad decided in 1882 that the office of State president should be re-instated according to the constitution. In the subsequent election of 1883 Kruger stood against Joubert, with Kruger the winner. One of the most important tasks awaiting him was the amendment of the Convention. During his visit to Europe, accompanied by General Nicolaas Smit and Reverend S.J. du Toit the London Convention was signed on 24 February 1884. Britain, however, still controlled the foreign policy of the republic.
The discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand caused radical economical and political changes. Kruger was again reelected as President in 1888. The most vexing problem for Kruger and his State Secretary, Dr W.J. Leyds, was the influx of the Uitlanders (foreigners). Kruger was afraid that they would outvote the older white inhabitants of the Republic. To counter this possibility he made the conditions of naturalization more difficult. In 1890 the government restricted the Uitlander franchise for presidential and Volksraad elections to naturalized citizens who had been in the country for fourteen years. To satisfy Uitlander interests a second Volksraad was created, to be elected by naturalized citizens of two years standing. Though relatively few Uitanders were genuinely concerned about the franchise question, this nevertheless became a central issue between the British government and the government of the Republic. 

From 1890 tensions in the country increased. Many mining executives realised that to enable deep-level gold production to prosper a much closer relationship between the industry and state had to be established and that this was only likely if they could realise a change of government. Kruger, on the other hand, was willing to do anything in his power to preserve the Republic's independence. By 1893 Kruger's popularity had suffered a sharp decline and he only narrowly defeated Joubert in the presidential election that year. 

Relations between the two governments deteriorated further, following the abortive Jameson Raid in December 1895, set up by the then premier of the Cape, Cecil John Rhodes and a group of associates, many of whom had links with deep-level mining. In his handling of the crisis the President revealed great wisdom and statesmanship. Despite the urging of many of his people, he refused to execute Jameson and delivered him with his officers to the British authorities to be punished. Kruger, on the whole adopted a tolerant attitude to the Raiders and their leaders. 

Sir Alfred Milner, the newly appointed High Commissioner and an ardent imperialist, became committed to the issues set forth by the British South African League in 1896. They agitated for the relaxation of the franchise laws and were soon urging the British Government to intervene directly in the affairs of the republic. Milner's strategy from 1896 onwards was directed at the strengthening of the loyalty and political cohesion of the English-speaking South Africans and channelling Uitlander discontent and opposition to Kruger's government. 

While the situation progressively worsened Kruger turned to the Orange Free State for support and in 1898 a defensive and offensive alliance was negotiated between the two republics. This meant that in case of a war they would present a united front. Through President Steyn's mediation a conference was held between Milner and Kruger in Bloemfontein at the end of May 1899. Here Milner made increasingly difficult demands as Britain was determined to create a unified South Africa. It was clear that the rights of the Uitlanders were no longer the main issue.
Both sides now prepared for war. The British troops in the country were reinforced. After consulting Steyn the ZAR sent an ultimatum to Britain, on 9 October 1899 demanding that they remove their troops from the ZAR's borders within 48 hours. War broke out on 11 October 1899. As the aged president (he was 74) was too old to go to battle he prepared himself for the most strenuous work of directing, encouraging and commanding. 

Kruger addressed the Volksraad for the last time in May 1900, pleading for continued faith in the national cause. As the enemy was close Kruger was obliged to leave Pretoria and to move east with General Louis Botha and the retreating army. For a time he was stationed at Machadodorp and Waterval Onder. 

After the battle of Dalmanutha it was decided that the President was too old and frail and that he should leave for Europe to attempt to obtain sympathy and help from foreign rulers. On 11 September 1900 he crossed the Transvaal border on his way to Lourenco Marques and was soon on his way to Marseilles on board the "Gelderland" sent by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. He stayed in the Netherlands for the remainder of the war. He and his retinue finally moved to Clarens in Switzerland where he died on 14 July 1904. His body was embalmed and conveyed to Cape Town on board the "Batavier VI". On 16 December 1904 he was interred in the Heroes' Acre in Pretoria. 

President MT Steyn

Marthinus Theunis Steyn was born at Rietfontein, Winburg on 2 October 1857 and died at Bloemfontein on 28 November 1916. 

His father was Marthinus Steyn and his mother Cecilia Wessels. He first attended a farm school and then went to Grey College, Bloemfontein. At the suggestion of Judge James Buchanan he continued his education at Deventer in the Netherlands. Before sitting for the admission examination to the University of Leyden he decided on legal training at the Inner Temple in London, where he was admitted early in the 1880's. In 1882 he was called to the bar. He now returned to Free State and soon had a flourishing practice in Bloemfontein. On 10 March 1887 he married Rachel Isabella (Tibbie) Fraser. His public career began in 1889 with his appointment as Attorney-General. He rose rapidly through the ranks and on 5 May 1892 he was promoted to first criminal judge. 

When FW Reitz resigned as president in 1895 Steyn seemed to be the obvious choice for the succession. J.G. Fraser, the other candidate opposed closer cooperation with the South African Republic (ZAR), while Steyn supported it. The Jameson Raid put the result beyond any doubt. Steyn won and was sworn in as president on 4 March 1896. Although he was just 39 years old his decisions and the naturalness with which he adapted to his high position bore testimony to an already mature attitude to life. He also displayed a strong sense of mission and duty. 

Closer cooperation with the South African Republic did not exclude cooperation with the rest of South Africa. Steyn believed that, after the Jameson Raid, political feeling in the Cape Colony supported the republics. Sir Alfred Milner, the new British High Commissioner soon challenged this relationship as he was an ardent imperialist. From 1896 onwards he was busy with the strengthening of the loyalty and political cohesion of the English-speaking South Africans and to channeling Uitlander discontent and opposition to Kruger's government. Steyn, however, considered British imperialism a danger to the independence of the Orange Free State. At a conference in Bloemfontein in March 1897, attended by Pres Kruger, Steyn proposed that they should extend the political alliance of 1889 by adding a clause to the effect that the two governments would consult with each other on all matters that could lead to war with Great Britain. 

Steyn attempted to persuade the Transvaal government to become more flexible in their policies regarding Uitlander franchise and the dynamite monopoly. In 1899 the situation came to a head when Milner broke off talks with Kruger about the franchise question during the Bloemfontein Conference (31 May-5 June 1899) - a meeting instigated by Steyn. War was now clearly imminent. On 27 September 1899 he presented to the Free State Volksraad a clear and final report on the negotiations and concluded that he would rather lose the independence of the Free State with honour.
During the first months of the war he solved innumerable problems and visited the commandos to encourage his burghers. After the catastrophic surrender of general Piet Cronje at Paardeberg Steyn called on the demoralised burghers to make a determined stand: first at Poplar Grove (07/03/1900) and then at Abrahamskraal (10/03/1900) but without success.
On 13 March Lord Roberts entered Bloemfontein. Steyn and the government had left Bloemfontein on the 12th. At Kroonstad Steyn was chairman of a joint Council of War where Kruger and General Piet Joubert were also present. Here they decided to abolish wagons and to employ mounted commandos in future thus giving the Boers increased mobility.
The OFS government now had to fall back repeatedly before the advance of Lord Roberts. 

When Bethlehem fell into British hands on 7 July the seat of the government was 
"in the field." Steyn and his executive council now remained with De Wet throughout the war.
Steyn often had to intervene when Transvaal wished to open negotiations with the British. In May 1900 he went to Pretoria to encourage a dejected president Kruger. When peace negotiations were mentioned Steyn remained adamant that the war was to continue. At Senekal a deeply upset Steyn heard about Botha's negotiations with Kitchener at Middelburg (28/02/1901). Although nothing came of this, it was a clear indication that Transvaal's resolve to continue with the war was again wavering. Steyn met with the Transvaal government at Klipdrif near Vrede and they decided to continue with the struggle. After being informed of another round of negotiation between the ZAR and Kitchener in May 1901 he forcefully protested that the OFS had not been consulted about the meeting with the Transvalers at Waterval. 

On 31 October 1900 he rejoined De Wet in the Western Transvaal. and returned with him to the Orange Free State. Near Bothaville they almost fell into the enemys hands. In December Steyn accompanied De Wet during his first unsuccessful attempt to invade the Cape Colony. He also accompanied De Wet during his second abortive attempt to invade the Cape Colony in 10 February 1901. 

When his term of office expired he insisted that they should hold a presidential election. Steyn was the only candidate and at Doornberg they solemnly administered the oath of office and reconstituted the executive council. 

On 11 July 1901, Steyn, through the efforts of Ruiter, his personal servant, managed to evade capture at Reitz. His bodyguard and the members of his government however were captured and he had to reconstitute his cabinet. 

Steyn's official replies to British proclamations were legally well-reasoned, and were worded in a way that encouraged the burghers. On 19 March 1900 the President delivered his answer to Roberts's annexation of the Free State. In this he solemnly declared that the republic of the Free State still existed, despite the so-called annexation. On 7 August 1901 there was another one of Kitchener's threatening proclamations in which all who did not surrender before 15 September were threatened with banishment and confiscation of property. In Steyn's reply of 15 August he pointed out to Kitchener his inadmissible methods of warfare. 

After a few Republican victories towards the end of 1901, e.g. Tafelkop (20 December) and Groenkop (25 December) Steyn joined the commando of General de la Rey at Doornspruit in March 1902 to consult Dr von Rennenkampf about his eyes, which showed the first symptoms of the serious disease that subsequently afflicted him. Here Acting President Schalk Burger informed him that the first steps towards final negotiations for peace were under way. On 9 April 1902 the governments of the two republics met at Klerksdorp. Although his legs were already semi-paralysed, his will remained indomitable. His only condition for peace was the retention of independence. When the governments met Kitchener on 12 April at Pretoria it was decided to summon representatives of the burghers in the field, because only the people, according to the constitutions of the republics, could decide the question of their independence. Kitchener was extremely impressed by Steyn and said of him: "He is head and shoulders above the others, and has great influence." On 15 May, when he arrived at Vereeniging he was almost totally paralysed. He only attended two meetings but Rev J.D. Kestell and his generals kept him informed and consulted him regularly. On 29 May, he left for Kroonstad where medical attention was available. He resigned as president and was thus spared the bitterness of signing the treaty of Vereeniging. By the time his wife joined him on 11 June 1902 he was completely helpless. With the financial aid of friends they left for Europe to seek medical aid for his condition. For the next three years Prof. C. Winkler and various other physicians treated Steyn. In 1903 he had recovered sufficiently to return home where they settled at Onze Rust. 

He welcomed self-government in 1907 as the movement for a united South Africa was very dear to him. Steyn was to serve as one of the Free State delegates at the National Convention at Durban in October/November 1908, where he was elected vice-chairman. He exercised great influence both in and out of the conference hall. He was a candidate for the premiership but because of health reasons he declined and retired to his farm. He, however, was not aloof from national affairs. His door was always open and friends and leaders often sought his advice.
On 16 December 1913 the National Women's Memorial for which he, more than anyone else, had worked, was unveiled in Bloemfontein. On 28 November 1916 he died suddenly while addressing the Oranje Vrouevereniging in the Memorial Hall in Bloemfontein. He is buried at the foot of the Women's Memorial. 

General Christiaan Rudolph de Wet

Christiaan Rudolph de Wet was born at Leeukop in the Smithfield district on 7 October 1854 and died at Klipfontein, Dewetsdorp on 3 February, 1922.
His father Jacobus de Wet was married to Aletta Strydom. In 1854 they settled in the Smithfield district where Christiaan was born. As a child he received very little formal education. In 1873 he married Cornelia Kruger. When Transvaal was annexed in 1877 they moved to the Vredefort district, to be on the spot in case of hostilities. He again changed farms before settling in the district of Heidelberg (ZAR) in 1880. When war broke out in 1881 between the ZAR and Britain he took part in the battles of Laingsnek, Ingogo and Majuba. 

After farming in various districts of the ZAR he returned to the Free State and purchased Nieuwejaarsfontein, formerly his father's farm. In 1896 he moved to the farm Rooipoort in the Heilbron district. He was elected to the Free State Volksraad in 1889, a position he held until 1898. 

In September 1899 he acquired his famous grey Arab, Fleur. With the onset of war De Wet left for the front as an ordinary burgher of the Heilbron command under Lucas Steenkamp. When Steenkamp fell ill De Wet was elected acting commandant. At the battle of Nicholson's Nek (30/10/1899) he managed to drive the British troops from their positions with only 300 men.
In December 1899 President Steyn appointed De Wet as field-general under General PA Cronje on the western front. De Wet and General J.H. de la Rey tried in vain to persuade Cronje to go on the offensive. Cronje was finally pinned down by Lord Roberts's forces at Paardeberg. De Wet, however, managed to avoid being caught up in this debacle. Although he managed to help Commandants J. Potgieter and C.C.Froneman to break out from the trap, his attempt to free Cronje failed. Cronje surrendered on 27 February 1900. Steyn now entrusted the command of the Free State commandos to De Wet. On 7 March 1900 he tried in vain to check the British advance on Bloemfontein at Poplar Grove. A further attempt at Abrahamskraal (Driefontein) on the 10th also failed and on the 13th Roberts occupied Bloemfontein. 

De Wet now disbanded the commandos, with orders to reassemble at the Sand River on 25 March. A new spirit prevailed among the burghers when they reassembled. They were also informed that cowards and deserters would be strictly disciplined. In accordance with the resolution passed at the council of war at Kroonstad (17/03/1900) De Wet urged the burghers to get rid of their wagons as this seriously impeded their progress. From now on he planned and carried out his operations with complete secrecy. Treachery and lack of discipline were greater obstacles to him than the enemy's superior force. He was a strict taskmaster, demanding total dedication from his burghers. Although he was not always too popular, his unerring certainty when summing up a situation and issuing commands and his uncanny sense of timing and direction, combined with his many successes ensured his men's complete confidence and support. 

On 31 March 1900 De Wet dealt the British a severe blow when he defeated Brigadier-General R.G. Broadwood's forces at Sannaspos near Bloemfontein. After the railway bridge across the Vaal River had been damaged, huge stores of provisions, destined for the British army, accumulated at Roodewal station. De Wet launched a direct attack on the station on 7 June 1900 where he managed to capture supplies worth {pounds} 500 000. 

To counter De Wet's operations the British army assembled more than 15 000 men and marched on Bethlehem where De Wet put up a gallant defence. He had to retreat to the Brandwater Basin as the odds were too great. On 15 July De Wet, Steyn and the government managed to escape unscathed from the trap set by the British generals in the Brandswater Basin. General Michael Prinsloo was not as fortunate and had to surrender with 3500 burghers on 30 July 1900 

Roberts concluded that he can probably end the war if he succeeded in capturing De Wet. He now initiated a large scale operation known as the "First De Wet Hunt." About 50 000 men were soon on the trail of the ever elusive Boer general who crossed into Transvaal, and succeeded in shaking of his pursuers by crossing the Magaliesberg at Olifantsnek on 14 August 1900. 

After a thorough reorganisation of the Boer forces burghers who had taken the oath of neutrality were called up again. De Wet headed the drive in the Free State and through his efforts and encouragement many a Freestater rejoined the commandos. For De Wet the adoption of guerrilla tactics heralded a period of reverses e. g at Frederickstad (20-25 October 1900) and Doornkraal (6 /11/1900) near Bothaville. 

To relieve the pressure on the Eastern Free State De Wet invaded the Cape Colony. Three columns under General CE Knox took part in the second De Wet hunt. Heavy rains and a flooded Orange River thwarted Wet's plans. He managed to evade capture and on 14 December he broke through the British lines near Thaba Nchu. At the end of January 1901 he again attempted to invade the Cape Colony. Seventeen flying columns (14 000 troops) now took part in the third De Wet hunt. De Wet finally crossed the Orange on 10 February 1901 but the lack of horses and torrential rain frustrated his plans. On 28 February he returned to the Free State. This second invasion was a dismal failure as he lost the strategic initiative and from then on he would be largely committed to defensive warfare. 

To bring the war to an end Kitchener had a formidable line of blockhouses built and he started flushing out the Boers in a series of systematic drives. Even these measures proved ineffective against De Wet as he broke through the lines at will. Shortly after inflicting heavy losses on the British forces at Groenkop (25/12/1901) he managed to evade one extensive drive only to be caught up in another. Again he managed to escape. 

During March 1902 he operated in the western Free State, but the end was in sight. The scorched earth policy and the plight of the women and children in the concentration camps brought the Boers to the negotiation table. Although De Wet was still prepared to carry on with the relentless struggle it was clear that most of the delegates at Vereeniging were opposed to prolonging the war. De Wet signed the peace treaty in his capacity as acting president of the Free State (29-31 May 1902) as Steyn was by then too ill. He then visited the commandos to persuade them to lay down their arms. In July 1902 De Wet, J.H. de la Rey and Louis Botha left for Europe where they raised funds for the reconstruction of the country. While on board the Saxon he wrote his wartime reminiscences" De Strijd tusschen Boer en Brit" (1902), aided by Rev JD Kestell. 

Back in South Africa De Wet was a founder member of the Orangia Unie. He was Minister of Agriculture after the Orange River Colony was granted self-government. In 1910 De Wet retired from politics and settled on his farm, Allanvale, near Memel. 

When the First World War started in 1914 De Wet was against Botha's attack of German South West Africa. The situation was aggravated when Martial Law was declared and men were called up from all over the country. This created the impression that the Government had departed from its undertaking to use only volunteers. De Wet now favoured a form of armed protest which became a reality when the government started with the commandeering of burghers. During a skirmish at Doornberg (8/11/1914 his son Danie and several other rebels were killed. De Wet evaded his pursuers and was finally captured at Waterbury near Vryburg on 30 November 1914. He was held in the Johannesburg Fort. Six months later he was found guilty on a charge of high treason and sentenced to six years' imprisonment and a fine of 2000 {pounds} which was soon paid from voluntary contributions. In response to representations made by several influential people the Government granted him a reprieve and he returned to Allanvale on parole. 

He sold Allanvale and after settling for a few years near Edenburg, he returned to the Dewetsdorp district where he settled on Klipfontein. He died on 23 February 1922 and was laid to rest at the foot of the Women's Memorial.