Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why ANC hates a free press

15 August, 2010 

There has been anger, consternation and disappointment over the ANC's two-pronged move to gag the media through a tribunal and a "protection of information" bill.

I am surprised there has been so much surprise. These attempts to gag the press have nothing to do with the need for accuracy on the part of journalists, or protecting the dignity of South Africans, as claimed by ANC spokesmen.

They have, however, everything to do with the fact that the ANC right now has the weakest, greediest, most corrupt and compromised leadership since its birth 98 years ago. These so-called leaders want to shut down the medium that exposes their corruption, looting and hypocrisy.

In Polokwane, the ANC had a choice between a high road and a low road. It could, in thumping Thabo Mbeki's ambitions for a third term, have elected a leader more talented and better equipped to deliver on the promise of a free, united, non-racial and democratic South Africa.

But, as happens in all kangaroo courts and mob slayings, in its rush to destroy Mbeki the ANC chose a man whose most marked traits were a talent for populist rhetoric and an inability to lead effectively. The ANC went for the lesser man, someone whose moral, intellectual and leadership skills remain a mystery to the nation.

The ANC did not stop there. Many in its current leadership know nothing but the world of the jackboot and violence: securocrats dominate the top echelons of the party. These are not leaders who enjoy the light shone by a free press. They prefer the dark; they like secrets and the cover-ups that allow corruption to flourish.

A man who sleeps with his friends' children - one of them with mental problems and HIV-positive - cannot tolerate a free press that keeps putting the spotlight on the reprehensible behaviour of elected representatives.

Such a man cannot understand or tolerate the watchdog role of the press, hence President Jacob Zuma's utterance this week: "The constitution talks about the privacy of people. At times, things that are private are not made private in the manner in which the reportings are done."

It is in this context that one must understand the virulence of the ANC and the president on this matter. Zuma would much rather have had the country be silent while he spoke with a forked tongue on moral regeneration (a programme of which he was a government leader), safe sex (an issue on which he was supposedly a government leader) and the dangers of having multiple concurrent relationships without using protection.

This is not an elected leader who wants to be examined. The continued spotlight on him, every day and every hour, ensures that he will be found wanting. So we should not be surprised that he does not like the light. He likes things to remain "private" despite the fact that he occupies a public office.

The ANC leadership is aware that the rot has spread through the whole organisation. 

The party's discussion documents for its national general council meeting paint such a damning picture that it is amazing that an organisation so committed to secrecy should have made them public.

But debate is one thing and action is another. This is an ANC that is ready to acknowledge in public that corruption is destroying it - but, as evidence mounts that all is not right with the business dealings of its senior leader and Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda (the Public Protector has called for an investigation of the man) - the party stands frozen.

This is the party that wants the press to stop pointing out these wrongs. Nyanda himself wants a media tribunal. Of course he would. The press is the only entity that has dared to expose his extravagant lifestyle at taxpayers' expense: buying hugely expensive cars, living it up on champagne and sleeping at five-star hotels. All this in a country where millions go hungry every day.

We should not be surprised. When Zwelinzima Vavi pointed out that Zuma was dragging his heels on Nyanda and allegations of corruption against another minister, the ANC decided to haul Vavi before a disciplinary hearing.

We should not be surprised. Blade Nzimande, a communist leader who disgustingly chose to buy himself a car worth more than a million rands, wants a media tribunal. This is understandable. His hypocrisy in buying himself the car while teachers, doctors and nurses earn a pittance is exposed by the press. He wants these things to be "private".

We should not be surprised. 

This is what the ANC is today: a rotten, greedy, corrupt and compromised leadership which wants to muzzle the media to hide its looting of the country.

Table Mountain might be 'tapped'

14 June, 2011

Water shortages have been a problem for the country's oldest city since Jan van Riebeeck arrived.


Jan van Riebeeck

Ten years after the Dutch ship's captain settled in Cape Town he was forced to build a reservoir to deal with the problem.

Professor Jenny Day, director of the Freshwater Research Unit at the University of Cape Town, said much has to be done to ensure that the Mother City does not dry up.

This could even include pumping water from under Table Mountain.

"The Table Mountain Series Aquifer stretches from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town and up to the Cederberg. We think there is an awful lot of water but we don't know what we can exploit without causing any damage. Or how much of it would be replaced by rainfall," she said.
The city is currently investigating this option.

Day's views have been backed up by the Department of Water Affairs which on Monday announced that the Western Cape could face dire water shortages within the next six years.
But these shortages will not bring the city to a grinding halt if Capetonians "use water more sparingly".

In the mid-1980s, Day co-authored Vanishing Waters, in which he predicted that, by about 2015, many of the country's larger cities will experience permanent drought conditions.

According to the department's latest Western Cape water supply system study, few surface water development options are available "for augmenting water supply to the City of Cape Town and surrounding towns".

"Population growth and the subsequent growth in the economy have been identified as major factors that are placing exponential strain on the water available for users," the department said in a statement.

"The users include the City of Cape Town, as well as municipalities of Stellenbosch, Drakenstein, Swartland and Saldanha as well as agricultural users."

But it is not all doom and gloom for the city. Millions have been invested in infrastructure upgrades and replacements, water metering and water pressure management among other measures to reduce water losses.

The city also plans next month to issue a tender for a feasibility study to build a "large scale" seawater desalination plant. And feasibility studies on a large-scale re-use programme are also on the cards.

Day said desalination, although expensive, was not far off.

"In my opinion it is going to have to happen in Cape Town not very long from now. But because it is so expensive, they have to look at other options first."

Phil Mashoko, director of water and sanitation for the city, said it was pivotal to start planning for the future supply of water.

"There is no reason for people to panic. We are being proactive by putting plans in place now to ensure that we don't run out of water six years from now," Mashoko said.

Last year the city embarked on a water conservation campaign which will be intensified.

Take Back Land Without Paying

Jun 14 2011

South Africans must take back the land that belongs to them without having to pay for it, ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema said in Cape Town on Tuesday.

"Willing buyer, willing seller is not an alternative...  

The alternative from the youth league is that we take the land without paying. 

 That is what we are proposing," he told the league's provincial council at the University of the Western Cape.

While blacks had forgiven the previous regime for apartheid, he did not understand why they had to pay for what belonged to them.

"They never bought the land, they stole the land. They did not only steal the land, they converted the owners of the land into slaves... now we must pay for that with the willing buyer, willing seller... ."

At the rate the land redistribution programme was currently going, in 100 years the government would only have delivered 25% of the land, he argued.

He was speaking ahead of the league's 24th national congress, which would start in Midrand on Thursday. Delegates were expected to push for the nationalisation of the mines and land redistribution.

 Mr Malema - you are a Sotho - you come from a VERY small tribe, if you learned your history you would know that you were chased away by the Xhosa and Zulu tribes - so if I were you I would rather be glad that I do have a piece of land that somebody is not going to chase me away on!

Fantastic news!! Now I don't need to keep paying the bond on my house anymore. Anyway i'm off to the ATM down the road so I can draw a whole lot of cash with the special card that only whites have, so i can have a really great party.

Malema cousin's tender ripoff. (On this same paper...)Is this thief taking back? Taking back what did not belong to you? The KhoiSan were hunter-gatherers, never "owned" the land. You guys came later and sold slaves, like all the others, or we don't know? You want more Mercedes, BMW's, mansions in Sandton, like your mentors Mugabe and Gaddafi, that's what you want! We know you so well it's uncanny, you fool...

Fine...and all the improvements, buildings, tilled land, cleared of rocks and trees...we'll turn it all back to that, then give it back..Like everyone giving North America back to the Indians in it's original state.....and when you are starving or living in caves.. then who will you blame???...Still an enemy of the people....Moron!!

When will people stop thinking that they have a "right" to own things simply because of the colour of their skins?
All aboard the Zimbabwe express...

Malema, take a lesson from Zimbabwe and see what happens to a country that is ruled in such a manner. It's people suffer and ultimately the country dies in poverty.

I believe your forefathers SOLD the land to the Boere for a few cows, after chasing OTHER tribes off the land...

Malema, Zuma, Kunene, all the tenderpreneurs...all thieves, stealing from the poor and the ignorant...only because they can and think to get away with it.....Pathetic...and you wonder why the rest of the world looks at Africa as a land of no future, just a place to take the resources out.....really sad....

So... Any more questions why we should stay in South Africa? Zuma backs him... The ANC backs him... And that my friends... Is about 70% of South Africans... And I don't want to be part of this circus anymore... South Africa is a criminal state...

mental midget, maybe africa should start repaying the west for all the food, medicine, education and infrastructure the west gave them for free, africa is a burden on the world, they don't want to earn anything, least of all respect, i say we leave them to their fate, let them starve on fertile agricultural land, they will still blame us but hey by this time we're used to it ...

Stop the Secrecy Bill

To South African MPs and the Government:

As citizens across South Africa, we call on you to protect our Constitutional commitments to accountability, freedom of information and the media in the "Protection of Information" Bill. We urge you to ensure that the bill only applies to core state bodies in the security sector, and that intelligence agencies are held to account by public scrutiny. Secrets with a bearing on national security must be determined by an independent panel appointed by Parliament and not the Minister of State Security. Penalties for unauthorised disclosure should apply only to those responsible for keeping secrets, and investigative journalists and legitimate whistleblowers should always be protected to release information in the public interest. Our democracy was hard-won, and we will not give it up lightly.
Right now a Parliamentary Committee is steamrolling through an unconstitutional secrecy bill that could take South Africa back to the dark days of impunity -- allowing government institutions to operate without public scrutiny, and stopping the media from exposing corruption, and abuse of power.

But public pressure is pushing back! Last week, after hundreds of media outlets and civic organisations had submitted amendments to Parliament, COSATU, Fedusa and the former Minister for Intelligence Services, Ronnie Kasrils condemned the bill, which forced ruling party MPs were forced to prolong the Parliamentary debate. But the interests of the security sector are at stake, and to ensure this current bill is stopped will require an avalanche of public opposition.

The bill would undermine the Constitution and destroy key pillars of a vibrant democracy -- free media, open government and an informed public. Let's tell the political leadership that the people of South Africa vehemently oppose this Bill. Sign now, then forward this to everyone -- when it reaches 50,000 signers it will be delivered to Parliament, the Executive and key international allies.

Right now ruling party MPs are forcing the Committee to vote clause by clause on a secrecy bill that entirely counters the African and emerging economies movement towards more open government. The Bill would empower officials in nearly every state body to classify any document as secret on the basis of a vague definition of 'national security'. Poor communities could be denied requests of information about service delivery and where their tax is being spent, and if abused, a local clinic, municipal office or national ministry could use the bill to cover up corruption or misuse of public resources. The Bill would also lock up anyone who possess or publishes anything that is classified for a minimum of 15 years, even if that information is clearly in the public interest, deterring investigative journalists, and whistle-blowers from exposing official crime and corruption.

The Protection of Information Act of 1982 needs to be replaced, but there is a formula that would not flout citizens' constitutional rights and would protect secrets. A democratic and strong law would: have an independent panel appointed by Parliament to determine what secrets had a bearing on national security; only apply to institutions in the security sector; endorse public scrutiny of the intelligence agencies; and would ensure that legitimate whistleblowers that disclose secrets in the public interest are always protected.

Last year we worked with citizens and organizations across the country to raise the alarm and together we halted the bill's progress. And last week a surge of public criticism pushed ruling party MPs to take their foot off the accelerator. People power works! Basic freedoms and democratic rights are on the line and we have no time to lose. Let's build a monumental movement to oppose this regressive bill. Sign the urgent petition and forward this message to everyone.

South Africa's Constitution is held up around the world as a model foundation for democracy. Let's stand together now to protect it, and oppose those who are attempting to throw a shroud of secrecy over government and use this bill to protect power and privilege.

Right now a Parliamentary Committee is steamrolling through an unconstitutional secrecy bill that could take South Africa back to the dark days of impunity -- allowing government institutions to operate without public scrutiny, and stopping the media from exposing corruption, and abuse of power.

But public pressure is pushing back! Last week, after hundreds of media outlets and civic organisations had submitted amendments to Parliament, COSATU, Fedusa and the former Minister for Intelligence Services, Ronnie Kasrils condemned the bill, and on Friday ruling party MPs were forced to prolong the Parliamentary debate. Vested interests are at stake, and to ensure this current bill is stopped will require an avalanche of public opposition.