Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Jacob *Litigation* Zuma

  • JULY 2006, sued Highveld Stereo for R7-million for broadcasting the song My Name Is Zuma, which commented on his rape trial.

  • August 2006, sued The Citizen for an article alleging that Zuma slept with a prostitute procured for him by Schabir Shaik; sued Sunday World for a humorous article with a punch line suggesting that Zuma was an incessant liar; sued Rapport for a reader's letter saying he was a "rapist"; and sued the Sunday Independent for an article in which commentator William Mervin Gumede opined that African culture was being invoked to justify rape or to silence rape victims. The four claims totalled R20-million.

  • January 2007, two claims against The Star for Zapiro cartoons. A third claim filed against the Sunday Sun for a cartoon by Mvuyisi Wilber Mfebe that depicted Zuma in a boxing ring, having lost a round to "Women Against Rape". The claims totalled R15-million.

  • March 2007, two claims against Sunday Times columnist David Bullard for a total of R6-million.

  • December 2008, R1-million claim against Rapport for alleging that Zuma used the services of a prostitute. Quickly followed by another against The Star for the article "ANC gags Zuma".

  • December 2010, sued Rapport for publishing a photograph depicting Zuma at a braai alongside Steve Hofmeyr and Leon Schuster, and captioned "Dingaan's picnic". - Andile Ndlovu

Friday, October 26, 2012

Joburg Becoming City of Ruins

Friday Oct 26, 2012 
Joburg becoming city of ruins as historic properties fall into disrepair
There is hope, and despair, for some of the finest heritage buildings in Johannesburg's inner city. Four that have raised concern are the Drill Hall, the Rissik Street Post Office, the Marshall Street Barracks and the MOTH Hall.

These days the historic Drill Hall in Joubert Park is surrounded by illegal businesses.

The most concerning of all is the Drill Hall in Noord Street, which was proudly refurbished and restored at a cost of R10 million 10 years ago as an iconic building steeped in history. But it has since been hijacked by people purporting to be caretakers and who are collecting rent.

The heritage building is now partially vandalised, completely neglected, dirty, and surrounded by illegal businesses such as mechanics and street traders. Illegal adverts and vagrants are everywhere. There is no security or caretaker.

Its history dates from 1904 when it became headquarters of the Transvaal Volunteers, South African soldiers who fought alongside the British in the Anglo-Boer War in 1899 to 1902.

It is also known for the Treason Trial in which 156 anti-apartheid activists, Nelson Mandela among them, were charged with high treason.

The DA in Joburg has expressed concern that the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC) is allowing this, and other heritage buildings, to go to rack and ruin.

"Less than 10 years ago, the city spent all this money refurbishing and restoring the historical building. We cannot believe that a heritage site building with such enormous history for the city is completely neglected by the JPC," said DA Joburg councillor Bongani Nkwanyana.

It was not clear which local government department or municipal entity should take responsibility for such neglect, he said.

The City of Joburg says the Drill Hall is a provincial government property that is being transferred to the city under the auspices of the JPC. All renovations and improvements will be a joint effort by the province and council, said City of Joburg spokesman Nthatisi Modingoane.

The Marshall Street Barracks was damaged in a fire in 2002.

A good news heritage story is that finally there is hope for the Marshall Street Barracks.
Anchen Dreyer, DA spokeswoman on public works, says R233.5m over a three-year period has been allocated for the rehabilitation of the dilapidated old barracks.

"While an undisclosed amount has been allocated in the current financial year for designs and documentation for rehabilitation works, an amount of R53.1m has been allocated in the next financial year for consultants and a contractor for the commencement of rehabilitation works on the building," said Dreyer.

"This emerged from a written reply by the minister for public works, Thulas Nxesi, to a question I sent to his department in Parliament."

The barracks have been vacant and vandalised for more than a decade. In 2002, the damaged building was almost gutted by a fire.

While it is legally protected by the National Heritage Resources Act of 1999, the national Department of Public Works has been negligent and has allowed the building to deteriorate to such an extent that is now practically in ruins, Dreyer said.

"The building is an eyesore in an area that has otherwise been refurbished by the private sector; with many previously abandoned buildings now being put to good use.

"It is only by highlighting the issue and applying pressure on the minister that the DA managed to get a commitment that this once beautiful building will be restored to its previous condition."

Some renovations have taken place at the Rissik Street post office.

There is also good news for the Rissik Street post office.

According to historian Flo Bird, an agreement on the fate of the post office is in the final stages of negotiations and will be decided this week.

Bird said she was told by the council that the agreement would then be signed and the development for Rissik Street would be under way.

The development lease agreement would be signed on completion of negotiations and site handed over to the developer.

There would be a six-month wait to obtain necessary approvals. Construction would take a maximum of 18 months after that.

"This is disappointing as we had hoped the agreement would be signed by the end of this month. They have been discussing it since July. We have to hope the deal won't fall through because time is money for property developers, even if not for the [council]," she said. The building has been empty since 1996. In 2002, the clock hands and bells were stolen from the tower.

Its brass light fittings, switches and wooden balustrades have been stripped.

The building, built in 1897, has been badly damaged by three fires in recent years, but renovated.

The old MOTH Hall, a derelict three-storey building, stands in the shadow of the monument for fallen soldiers on Remembrance Square, just off Loveday Street.

Once a monument to glory, today it has about 700 destitute occupants. Conditions are shocking. The building was supposed to be used as a temporary shelter for desperate people streaming into the city in search of food and shelter, and to relieve pressure on the Central Methodist Church. The building is governmentowned.

The City of Joburg did not respond to individual queries about the Rissik Street Post Office, the Marshall Street Barracks or the MOTH Hall.


Up to R30bn in State Money Stolen

David Lewis

25 October 2012
Governments are failing to tackle entrenched violence and corruption: International crime conference considers success factors for addressing crime in Africa

Leading international researchers are today examining why government policies on crime are failing and what could be done to affect improvements. They are speaking at the third annual international crime reduction conference, hosted by the Crime and Justice Programme of the Institute for Security Studies. Some of the key themes arising concern the government's tendency to provide simplistic solutions to the factors that lead to violence and corruption. For example, by relying on the police as the primary response to emerging challenges of crime and violence. This approach simply does not work in most contexts and can lead to other destructive consequences such as increased police brutality and repression.

Paul-Simon Handy, Deputy Executive Director at Institute for Security Studies, opened, saying: "Violence, crime and corruption have the potential to severely undermine a country's development. To develop good criminal justice policy we need to better understand crime by exploring the complicated social, cultural, economic and political factors that drive or hinder it."

"The work presented comes at a time where we, particularly in South Africa, need to reflect on the issues which potentially threaten our democracy, our freedom and our future." These include increased levels of public violence as a desperate response of communities who have had enough of corruption and resulting service delivery failure by the state. Sadly, as the Marikana tragedy highlights, those with political power were quick to deploy state violence to respond to a problem that needed understanding, compassion and negotiation.
Dr Anthony Collins, University of Kwazulu Natal said that whilst we may criticise violence, SA is a fundamentally violent society, which sees violence as an acceptable way of solving problems. Research has shown that 90% of people support hitting children; 80% support the death penalty; 74% think violence is appropriate in interpersonal relationships; and 60% of young adults think coercion is appropriate in sexual encounters. We only dislike violence when we are the victims but think it is appropriate to use against others. The failure to draw the link between acceptable and unacceptable violence is behind our policy failure in addressing violence in society.

Solutions start with children, and ensuring they become healthy, non-violent adults. Professor Mark Tomlinson, Stellenbosch University presented research showing that home based mother-infant intervention using community health workers significantly improved mothers interaction with their children, and their children were therefore less likely to experience insecurity in their attachment to the parent. Insecure attachment has been found to be associated with high rates of behavioural problems such as bullying and violence.
Looking at how we address this problem as young people enter society, Chandre Gould, Senior Researcher for the Institute for Security Studies, said that if we are to reduce crime and violence in South Africa, we need to reduce the barriers for young people to enter the economy. Many young people lack both the hard and soft skills to enter the job market. This problem is exacerbated by the high levels of violence children are exposed to in their homes as a result of high levels of domestic violence.

This exposure results in depression, fear, anger and anxiety that impacts on young people's ability to cope, make friends, and engage in constructive civic activities. Interventions at a community level are one way to address these problems. There are enormous challenges to non-governmental organisations who seek to support young people. However, by rethinking how local initiatives could be better supported by the state, for example by providing predictability in funding, there is potential for great opportunities to strengthen resilience amongst our youth.

Discussing the role of legislation in addressing violence, Bill Dixon of Keele University, UK, said that governments like to legislate because it looks as if they are doing something about an emerging crime problem. However, legislation can't just overturn social or organisational culture. Hate crime legislation for example, where it has been implemented, is open to interpretation and can be a double edged sword to be misused by the police to punish ‘troublemakers', rather than to more fairly punish genuine hate crimes.

Furthermore legally entrenching differences based on race, gender or sexuality can be profoundly unhelpful. The counter argument was that legislation can provide vulnerable groups with leverage to advocate for greater attention to be given to a problem of discrimination.

Gareth Newham, Head of the Crime and Justice Programme at the Institute for Security Studies, considered the threats to the rule of law in South Africa. In addition to ongoing statements made by powerful politicians attacking the judiciary, there is a profound absence in political will to improve the functioning of the criminal justice system.

The carefully considered recommendation emerging from a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system in 2007 have largely been ignored by the current administration. Rather than appointing skilled and experienced people with integrity to head the police and the prosecuting authority, and strengthen these agencies, the opposite has happened.
Those appointed have inadequate experience and in the case of NPA head Menzi Simelane, were known beforehand to lack integrity. As a result of poor leadership, these agencies have been engulfed in controversy rather than improving public safety. Arguably, this is happening because corruption at the highest levels of political power.

The police made 1.6 million arrests in the last year. Most of these arrests were against poor people for crimes less serious than shoplifting. In spite of up to R30 billion in public money being lost to corruption each year, the police only made 56 arrests and achieved 11 convictions for crimes covered by the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Act. It is increasingly clear why professional people who are known for their integrity and expertise are not being appointed to head up the police or the National Prosecuting Authority.

Statement issued by David Lewis, Proof Communication, on behalf of the Institute of Security Studies, October 25 2012


Civilians Called For Active Service ?

Reservists face call-up to African war zones

GRAEME HOSKEN | 26 October, 2012 00:361 Comments

Civilians who have undergone military training could soon be called up for active service and be deployed on potentially deadly peace-keeping operations.

The South African army - already overstretched by peacekeeping deployments across the continent - is fast preparing for the deployment of hundreds of additional troops, including civilian reservists, to peacekeeping missions. There are some 15000 army reservists.

Prior to yesterday's announcement, President Jacob Zuma said he would strongly consider deploying soldiers to Mali on an African Union peacekeeping mission. If Zuma gives the go-ahead, the deployment could happen early next year.

Army chief Lieutenant-General Amos Masondo yesterday confirmed the urgent requests by Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"We are waiting to hear what needs to be done," he said.

Masondo said the appointment of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as AU Commission chair would lead to increased demands for South African forces to be deployed elsewhere Africa.

Via Gordon Fox /BKA
"Unfortunately, we are limited by our numbers. If the request is approved, the forces will have to include lots of reservists.

"We simply do not have enough permanent force members. We are already overstretched in Africa, with hundreds of our troops deployed internally on our borders."

Masondo said vast amounts of money were currently being spent on training, and that the upgrading of equipment was a priority.

Army force preparation commander Major-General Luvuyo Nobanda said serious focus was being put on the reservists.

"Currently a company of reservists (150 soldiers) is deployed on every mission. We have no other option. Unfortunately, they are also facing big challenges," he said.

Mali's government is currently embroiled in violent confrontations with al-Qaeda linked groups trying to overthrow the state.

The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, along with the UN, is currently involved in bloody battles against rebel forces who are armed with heavy artillery and tanks.

The proposed deployments are being considered while 3000 South African soldiers take part in an exercise at the combat training centre in the Northern Cape.

A senior officer - deployed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2010 - said the missions would require more than just a few hundred troops.

"These rebels are not playing around. They have serious numbers and serious fire-power. They are battle-hardened and have been at war for years. If we don't do this right we will be bringing body bags home," he said.

Army reserve chief, Major-General Keith Moloape, said ideally there would 65000 reservists available rather than 15000"

Daily in South Africa

Robber found in full police gear.
With the identity of a white policeman (Grobler).
Plus a stolen police cap.
Plus stolen police shoes.
Plus a stolen firearm.
Plus a stolen police bulletproof vest.
And dressed in many layers of other clothing ..... to get rid of it (and confuse his pursuers) as he fled.

Please forward this ....... because no one dare officially publish this.
To show South Africa and the world what happens here EVERY DAY !!!!!!
Robber found in full police gear.
With  the  identity  of  a  white policeman (Grobler).
 Plus a  stolen  police cap.
 Plus stolen police shoes.
 Plus a stolen firearm.
Plus a stolen  police   bulletproof   vest.
 And  dressed   in   many layers of other clothing  ..... to  get  rid  of  it  (and confuse his pursuers)  as  he  fled.

Please  forward  this   .......   because   no  one   dare  officially   publish  this.
 To  show  South Africa  and  the  world  what  happens  here  EVERY  DAY    !!!!!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

South Africa - Over the Rainbow

It has made progress since becoming a full democracy in 1994. But a failure of leadership means that in many ways, South Africa is now going backwards.

ON JUNE 26th 1955, 3,000 South Africans gathered in a dusty square in Kliptown, a district of Soweto, a sprawling black township on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Members of the African National Congress (ANC) congregated alongside their anti-apartheid confederates to proclaim a new vision of the future. The next day police broke up the meeting (Nelson Mandela disguised himself as a milkman to escape). But the dream had already been declared. “The people shall govern,” announced the Freedom Charter. South Africa would belong to all of its people, no matter what their colour. There would be work, education and security for all. Everyone would be equal before the law. It was an extraordinary affirmation, full of hope and the promise of a better future.

Today the square is named after Walter Sisulu, an ANC hero and mentor to Mr Mandela. It boasts shops, offices, a conference hall and a pricey hotel. As the birthplace of the new, inclusive South Africa, it has become a stop on the tourist trail. But just across the railway track, rickety shacks huddle together. The roads are rutted and muddy. Communal latrines stand useless, their doors open and rubbish piled inside. Next to them on the uneven ground wobbles a portable toilet, its door padlocked against vandals. A sludgy stream trickles past, fouled by children unable to find the key in time. Walter Sisulu Square is close by, but the aspirations of the Freedom Charter are nowhere to be seen.

In the 18 years since black-majority rule began and South Africa became a full democracy, its people have made progress. Many more now have access to clean water and electricity. Between 1996 and 2010 the proportion living on less than $2 a day fell from 12% to 5%. The racist legislation of apartheid has been abolished. The new constitution is liberal and inspiring.

And yet in other ways South Africa is in a worse state than at any point since 1994. In August police shot dead 34 miners on strike at a platinum mine near Marikana, in North West province. Since then wildcat strikes have broken out at other mines. Some operations have been suspended. Thousands of miners have been sacked. In September Moody’s, a credit agency, cut South Africa’s sovereign rating, citing the declining quality of the government, growing social stresses and worsening conditions for investment.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s leaders have floundered. The ANC’s leadership is up for re-election at a party conference in December. South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, faces possible ejection as party leader—which would prevent him from being the ANC’s presidential candidate in elections in 2014.

The past two months’ industrial strife is about more than just pay or perks. The protests are a symptom of the deep malaise that has taken hold of South Africa. The ANC was dealt a bad hand in 1994, and it has played that hand badly. South Africa’s difficulties are now so entrenched that the ANC looks incapable of solving them.

The starkest measure of South Africa’s failure is the yawning gap between rich and poor. Under apartheid, such inequality was by design. Since apartheid came to an end, a tiny black elite has accrued great fortunes. But that has only widened the wealth gap. South Africa’s Gini coefficient—the best-known measure of inequality, in which 0 is the most equal and 1 the least—was 0.63 in 2009. In 1993 it was 0.59. After 18 years of full democracy, South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world.

Unchartered territory

Persistent inequality is in part down to the government’s failure to educate young South Africans, particularly black ones. In the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, South Africa ranks 132nd out of 144 countries for its primary education and 143rd for the quality of its science and maths. In the Department of Basic Education’s national literacy and numeracy tests last year, only 15% of 12-year-olds (sixth graders) scored at or above the minimum proficiency on the language test. In maths just 12% did.

Nokubonga Ralayo, a 20-year-old university student from Khayelitsha, a vast black township on the edge of Cape Town, says success comes down to being able to afford a better school. “It is hard to escape your background when you are growing up,” she says. Three-quarters of white pupils complete the final year of high school, but only a third of black pupils.

Schools suffer from poor equipment. Only 20% have libraries, and only 7.5% actually have any books. Almost half of all schools rely on pit latrines instead of proper toilets. In July textbooks that pupils should have received in January were found tossed into rivers in an effort to hide the failure to deliver them.

The standard of teaching is low, too. Training is inadequate. South Africa needs 25,000 new teachers a year but only around 10,000 qualify. Maths and science teachers are in particularly short supply. Many arrive late to school and leave early, spending barely half their allotted time in class. Many fail to turn up at all on Fridays. The teachers’ union is more concerned with protecting its members, even the incompetent ones, than with training them. There is little political will when it comes to improving education and few repercussions when those in charge perform badly.

These failures represent a colossal waste of money as well as talent. Education accounts for about a sixth of all government spending—more than in Rwanda, say, which does much better in rankings. Since 1995 South Africa has spent 5-7% of its GDP on education. Today the figure is 6.7%, more than in Brazil.

Chronically poor education means that thousands of jobs go unfilled. Almost half the 95,000 or so nursing jobs in the public sector are vacant, according to the South African Institute of Race Relations. Meanwhile, official unemployment is about 25% and the real figure nearer 40%. (In 1994 unemployment was 20%.) Unequal education creates unequal employment. The unemployment rate among blacks is 29%, compared with 6% for whites. Youth unemployment is over 50%. Young people who fail to find work by the age of 24 will probably never have a full-time formal job.

Skills shortages are a brake on growth and are just one reason why the country’s inclusion in the BRICS (albeit as an afterthought) looked incongruous. In September the Reserve Bank reckoned that South Africa’s growth rate for 2012 would be just 2.6%. Countries such as Nigeria and Angola have galloped ahead in recent years, with growth pushing 10%, albeit from a lower base. The economy, much smaller than that of the other BRICS, is likely to be toppled from its spot as Africa’s biggest by Nigeria’s in the next decade.

The recent wave of industrial action will only bring that moment nearer. After the miners at Marikana won a handsome pay rise, 75,000 miners, chiefly of gold and platinum, went on strike, mostly illegally. Anglo American Platinum, the world’s largest platinum miner, has fired 12,000 workers. Gold One has sacked over 1,400. Industrial action has now spread beyond mining. In September 20,000 lorry drivers went on a three-week strike, affecting deliveries of petrol, coal, cash and other goods. A deal was signed on October 12th, but textile workers in Newcastle, the third-largest city in KwaZulu-Natal, are on strike, along with municipal workers in North West province. There is talk of a nationwide strike by local-government workers.

In October Gill Marcus, governor of the central bank, said that the past two months had hurt South Africa’s reputation as a place to invest. She pointed to R5.6 billion ($643m) in net equity-market outflows on October 8th as evidence of a loss of confidence.

“The outlook at the moment is deteriorating rapidly,” she said. Mark Cutifani, chief executive of AngloGold Ashanti, the world’s third-biggest gold producer, says the strikes in the mining industry could lead his company to shrink its operations in South Africa.

Corporate investors have come to expect trouble, says Peter Attard Montalto, an emerging-markets analyst at Nomura International, an investment bank. South Africa used to see large, if infrequent, foreign investment, but it has seen virtually none since the beginning of the year. Investors are worried about labour laws, the prevalence of strikes and the unions’ close relation with the ANC. Increasingly, they have somewhere else to put their money.

The trouble with politics

Economic malaise and the chronic failure of government services are an indictment of South Africa’s politicians. Under apartheid, a role in the ANC was about sacrifice and risk. Today it is a ticket for the gravy train. Jobs in national and local politics provide access to public funds and cash from firms eager to buy political influence. For someone from rural South Africa, who has a poor education and little chance of getting a good job, a seat on the local council may be the only way out of poverty. Higher up, the rewards are even greater. The public protector, who looks into public-sector misconduct, is investigating reports that hundreds of millions of rand are to be spent on improving Mr Zuma’s private homestead in the village of Nkandla.

Because the stakes are so high, competition for power is bitter and sometimes bloody, particularly at the local level. In the past five years over 40 politicians have been killed in KwaZulu-Natal, a province with a history of political violence, and at least five more in Mpumalanga, a province in the north-east of the country. The killing is often about money. Sometimes whistle-blowers are murdered to stop them revealing corruption; sometimes rivals are disposed of. In 2009 Moss Phakoe, a municipal councillor in North West province, was shot in Rustenburg after handing over a file detailing corruption in the municipality to a high-ranking ANC official. Phakoe had been trying to get senior ANC members to investigate the matter. The former mayor of Rustenburg and his bodyguard were jailed for the murder.

In August Lindiwe Mazibuko, the parliamentary leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), accused the ANC of creating a class of “tenderpreneurs,” in business to get state contracts using their connections in government. Outright bribery of low-level officials is common.

No one knows how much money corruption costs the country but the effect on its democracy is devastating.

Whether people are prosecuted for graft seems to depend on whom they know. Few think Julius Malema, a populist former leader of the ANC Youth League now excommunicated from the party, would be facing charges for money laundering had he not turned against Mr Zuma.

That lack of accountability is partly down to the country’s system of party lists at general and provincial elections; individual MPs are not answerable directly to voters, but solely to the party managers who determine their ranking on the list. Only at the lowest level—the municipalities—is there a system of constituencies (or “wards”) and then only for half the seats. This means politicians have little incentive to provide for their voters.

The gap between leaders and voters is mirrored inside South Africa’s unions. At the annual conference of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in September, Zwelinzima Vavi, Cosatu’s boss, warned that “different lifestyles and material realities are creating a leadership which is not fully in tune with what members are facing.” This has arisen, in part, said Mr Vavi, because Cosatu has become preoccupied with politics and its relations with the ANC, rather than with standing up for workers’ rights. There was, Mr Vavi admitted, a sense that some union leaders were loth to take up issues for fear of embarrassing the ANC. Disenchantment with unions makes wildcat strikes more likely.

A call for something new

So far the opposition poses little threat to the ANC’s dominance. In the 2009 general elections an ANC splinter group, the Congress of the People, won just 7% of the vote. It has since spluttered on, amid infighting, financial difficulties and the return of some prominent members to the ANC. The Inkatha Freedom Party, which controlled KwaZulu Natal until 2004 when it lost control of the province to the ANC, has withered away. In the 2009 election it won less than 5% of the vote.

That leaves the DA, which won 17%, as the main political opposition to the ANC. But so far it has failed to win over poor, black voters. It runs the Western Cape but no other province, though it has its sights on Gauteng, the richest, at the next poll. Despite having a black deputy leader, it is still seen as a white party. Ms Ralayo, the Cape Town student, says she would never vote for the DA, as she still believes the party’s policies discriminate against black and coloured (mixed-race) people.

The DA must therefore find a way to broaden its appeal without losing its existing supporters. In September Helen Zille, the party leader, called for a new movement based on a commitment to the constitution. She asked those members of the ANC who rejected populism to join her. The response has been muted. The ANC’s constitutionalists are unlikely to jump ship unless the party looks to be on the verge of losing power. At the moment it is not.

The solid support for the ANC, which still regularly attracts over 60% of the vote, is partly due to its liberation credentials and partly down to race. It also helps that the ANC has more money than any other party. It can afford to go to townships days before elections and hand out food parcels. It still convinces a diverse range of black South Africans that it has their interests at heart. Poor black South Africans have benefited from social grants, the working class from the party’s pro-labour stance and the power of the unions, and the middle and upper classes from its policy of “black economic empowerment”.

Thus the most important check on the ANC comes from outside party politics. Lobby groups and NGOs have a commendable history of holding the government to account and stepping in where it fails, although funding, whether it comes from the government or from donors, is limited. One NGO, Section 27, is taking the education department to court over the textbook fiasco. Rape Crisis supports victims of rape, of which there are many, offering them counselling and helping them pursue justice. The Social Justice Coalition, which works mostly in Khayelitsha, is calling for improved policing and better sanitation. Abahlali base Mjondolo, or “shack dwellers”, campaigns for public housing.

The media, too, remain critical. Some fear that the “secrecy bill”, a law intended to protect state information, will be used to stifle criticism of the government. The law has not yet been passed, and in the meantime newspapers, in particular, continue to nag the government about its poor performance and lambast it over corruption.

Most important are South Africa’s courts—especially the constitutional one—which have long been hailed as a bulwark against the ANC’s authoritarian and corrupt tendencies. By and large, the judiciary is still independent and committed to the laws and constitution, but the ANC repeatedly tries to pack it with its friends.

The weakness lies in the police and the national prosecuting authority, both essential to upholding the rule of law. They are not independent, nor perceived to be. Whether the government’s influence over prosecution is direct or indirect, the authority does not always act without fear or favour in politically sensitive cases, says Pierre de Vos, a constitutional-law scholar at the University of Cape Town.

The judiciary will be a test of the ANC’s democratic credentials. Some within the government seem increasingly uncomfortable with the Constitutional Court’s independence and the tendency of its judges to criticise the party. Last year’s appointment of Mogoeng Mogoeng as the court’s head was not encouraging. The rejected, more experienced, candidate was Dikgang Moseneke, the deputy chief justice, who insists that judges are accountable to the people, rather than politicians.

The young ones
They would welcome some textbooks

Almost one-third of South African voters are now too young to have any direct memory of the oppression of apartheid, or of the popular struggle against it. Their loyalty to the ANC is not as inevitable as that of their parents or grandparents. Ms Ralayo admits she is disappointed in the party. “Power changes people,” she says. “Looking at where we are now, it is hard not to feel depressed. You see people fighting over power, people who will do anything for money or power.” She believes that change will come when citizens feel the government is no longer untouchable.

But so far there is little sign of change from the ANC. Marikana should be a wake-up call to the government, but South Africa’s leaders, engrossed by factional infighting, appear deaf. If the government does not respond more vigorously, the country could see a surge in the kind of populism peddled by Mr Malema.

The immediate test of the ANC is its leadership election, to be held at its conference in December. Kgalema Motlanthe, the deputy president, is Mr Zuma’s most likely opponent. Some think he would be a more competent leader, but he is less popular than the president and has not officially said whether he will stand.

That leaves Mr Zuma unchallenged for now. He came to power promising to tackle unemployment and corruption, but has accomplished little. He owes so much to South Africa’s vested interests that it is difficult to imagine him embarking upon radical reform. If he is simply re-elected without promising anything new, it will be a worrying sign that the ANC has failed to grasp what ails their country. The tragedy of Marikana appalled South Africans and outsiders alike. If it does not jolt the government into action, what will?


Cry, the beloved country - South Africa

South Africa is sliding downhill while much of the rest of the continent is clawing its way up

NOT so long ago, South Africa was by far the most serious and economically successful country in Africa. At the turn of the millennium it accounted for 40% of the total GDP of the 48 countries south of the Sahara, whereas Nigeria, three times more populous, lurched along in second place with around 14%. The remainder, in raw economic terms, barely seemed to count. Despite South Africa’s loathsome apartheid heritage, solid institutions underpinned its transition to democracy in 1994: a proper Parliament and electoral system, a good new constitution, independent courts, a vibrant press and a first-world stockmarket.

Nelson Mandela, whose extraordinary magnanimity helped avert a racial bloodbath, heralded a rainbow nation that would be a beacon for the rest of Africa.
Since then, Africa, once harshly labelled by this newspaper as “the hopeless continent”, has begun to make bold strides (see article). Meanwhile South Africa, though still a treasure trove of minerals with the most sophisticated economy on the continent, is on the slide both economically and politically. By some calculations Nigeria’s economy, messy as it is, will overtake it within a few years.

What went wrong with South Africa, and how can it be fixed?

Gathering gloom

In the past decade Africa to the north of the Limpopo river has been growing at an annual average clip of 6%, whereas South Africa’s rate for the past few years has slowed to barely 2%. Rating agencies have just downgraded South Africa’s sovereign debt. Mining, once the economy’s engine, has been battered by wildcat strikes, causing the biggest companies to shed thousands of jobs in the face of wage demands and spreading violence. In August a confrontation at a platinum mine in Marikana, near Johannesburg, the commercial capital, led to 34 deaths at the hands of the police.

Foreign investment is drying up. Protests against the state’s failure to provide services are becoming angrier. Education is a disgrace: according to the World Economic Forum, South Africa ranks 132nd out of 144 countries for its primary education and 143rd in science and maths. The unemployment rate, officially 25%, is probably nearer 40%; half of South Africans under 24 looking for work have none. Of those who have jobs, a third earn less than $2 a day. Inequality has grown since apartheid, and the gap between rich and poor is now among the world’s largest.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) is not entirely to blame. South Africa has performed worse than its African neighbours in recent years partly because its mature economy is linked more tightly to the rich world, and thus to the rich world’s problems. And the ANC has notched up some genuine achievements—including housing and some welfare services often denied to the poor black majority under apartheid. But the party’s incompetence and outright corruption are the main causes of South Africa’s sad decline.

Since Mr Mandela retired in 1999, the country has been woefully led. For nine years it endured Thabo Mbeki’s race-tinted prickliness, so different from Mr Mandela’s big-hearted inclusiveness. Mr Mbeki’s denial of the link between HIV and AIDS cost millions of lives. After he was deposed by his party in 2008, there was a brief stand-in, Kgalema Motlanthe, before Jacob Zuma took over the presidency in 2009.

Mr Zuma arrived with a mixed reputation. He had had a string of close shaves with the law for both grand corruption and squalid sexual behaviour; in his favour were his charm, homespun intelligence and canny ability to mediate between people and the many factions that make up the ANC. But stuck between the impatient masses stirred up by racial populists such as Julius Malema on the one hand, and anxious capitalists and greedy party bigwigs on the other, he has drifted and dithered, offering neither vision nor firm government.

Worse, Mr Zuma has failed to tackle the scourge of corruption. The ANC under his aegis has sought to undermine the independence of the courts, the police, the prosecuting authorities and the press. It has conflated the interests of party and state, dishing out contracts for public works as rewards for loyalty—hence the bitter jest that the government is in hock to “tenderpreneurs”. This has reduced economic competitiveness and bolstered a fabulously rich black elite. As a result, too little wealth trickles down.

Nearly two decades after apartheid ended, South Africa is becoming a de facto one-party state. The liberal opposition—the Democratic Alliance (DA), led by a doughty white woman and former anti-apartheid journalist, Helen Zille—has the right ideas, calling above all for the ANC to respect the constitution. The DA has made electoral gains, climbing to 17% of the vote in the last general election in 2009 and 24% in local elections last year. It runs Cape Town and the encompassing Western Cape province better than the ANC runs most of the rest of the country. But most blacks see the DA as too white, and still have a deep-seated loyalty to the ANC—whatever its failings—as the party of Mr Mandela and liberation. That still gives the ANC over 60% of the vote. For the foreseeable future the DA has no earthly chance of national power.

Call for competition

Some simple changes could help spur change and integrity. One of the parliament’s worst features is its party-list method of choosing members, who are thus entirely in thrall to ANC bosses rather than to the voters: a constituency-based system would make them more accountable. Although the ANC still has no obvious alternative leader, the party should look to chuck out Mr Zuma when it holds a party election in December, though pollsters consider that unlikely.

Most of all, South Africa needs political competition. Its neighbours to the north are moving away from the one-party systems that dragged them to corruption and stagnation for decades. South Africa is heading in the opposite direction.

The best hope for the country in years to come is a real split in the ANC between the populist left and the fat-cat right to offer a genuine choice for voters. Until that happens, South Africa is doomed to go down as the rest of Africa goes up.


Poverty and Neglect

Harsh social conditions in South Africa - single-parent families, poverty and a history of violence - are fertile ground for breeding serial criminals.

With the country ranked second in the world for the number of serial rapists and third in terms of serial killers, Wits University psychology department's Giada del Fabbro has warned that serial rape and killing have reached "epidemic proportions".

The situation is compounded by poverty and the disempowerment of citizens.

"Our society is being affected by an unprecedented level of suppressed rage," Del Fabbro said.

Increasing poverty compromised care-giving, he said.

"With the inability of caregivers, such as mothers, to give 100% of their attention to children . and the growing absence of fathers, there is an increasing breakdown in the development of empathy in children."

She said a society focused on administering harsh and punitive discipline was being created. This, combined with violent parenting, was leading to people seeking revenge on those who were perceived to be linked to what had been done to them as young children.

"There is incredible rage within our youth .

"We are breeding a society of serial criminals of epidemic proportions, which, with a crumbling and overburdened social welfare system unable to implement the necessary intervention systems, will go undetected until it is too late," she said.

Childline director Joan van Niekerk said the biggest contributing factor to violent adult behaviour was a lack of relationships in childhood.

"We know that children - especially boys - who grow up exposed to violence, parti-cularly sexual and physical, are at risk of becoming extremely violent adults."


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Nelson Mandela’s ANC becomes the disease...

By Jonathan Manthorpe, Vancouver Sun columnist 

October 16, 2012

Jonathan Manthorpe: Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress becomes the disease, not the cure

A policeman reacts as flames and smoke emerge from a truck after it was set alight by striking truck drivers near a main highway leading out of Cape Town, South Africa, last week. South African truck workers have been on strike for the past three week with sporadic violence reported.

Photograph by: Schalk van Zuydam , AP

South Africa seems no longer able to contain the contradictions and frustrated expectations that have been swept under the carpet since the country’s first freely elected government came to power in 1994.
With new elections due in 2014, there is increasingly evident public anger at the governing African National Congress (ANC) — the party of liberation from apartheid and white minority rule — over its failure to meet its pledge to provide a better life for all.
Instead, the ANC has become a deeply corrupt party of cronyism and patronage. Indeed, holding ANC positions in governments at all levels has become such a sure route to wealth that aspirants will murder to get them.
Last week, Reuters news agency reported that an internal ANC report states that in KwaZulu Natal — the largest of South Africa’s nine provinces and the home base of President Jacob Zuma — 38 party members have been murdered since February last year in fights for lucrative positions.
There are similar murderous contests among ANC members all over the country.
The spoils are enormous.
A potent image of the benefits of power now enraging many South Africans is that the equivalent of $27 million of government money is being spent on renovations to President Zuma’s private KwaZulu Natal home.
An auditor’s report from another major province, the Eastern Cape, in 2009 found three quarters of all government contracts went to companies owned by government officials or their relatives.
A report by the national Auditor General last year found 95 per cent of all municipal governments could not account for their spending.
Yet while South Africa has acquired this hugely wealthy and arrogant black aristocracy — and one of the widest disparities between rich and poor anywhere in the world — most of the country’s 50 million people live in the conditions of extreme poverty that marked the era of apartheid.
Despite a lot of talk and some accomplishments involving improved housing and social services, most South Africans continue to live in tin shacks without running water or electricity.
The health care system is a nightmare, and the school system is incapable of producing talent. The unemployment rate among young people is over 50 per cent.
By some estimates, about 65 per cent of South Africans live at what the United Nations calls levels of extreme poverty, even though this is the largest and most sophisticated economy in Africa.
And as has been seen in the last two months, even those with jobs often cannot make ends meet.
The strike at Lonmin’s platinum mine at Marikana in August by miners demanding a living wage has spurred a wave of wildcat strikes involving at least 100,000 miners across South Africa’s essential ore extraction industry.
The grimly compelling images from the Marikana strike were straight out of the worst years of apartheid, with police lobbing volleys of rifle fire on the strikers, killing 34.
The violence has continued, and the strikes have spread to the trucking industry and among municipal workers.
Predictions that South Africa belongs with Brazil, Russia, India and China as a future economic power are being re-thought fast.
The lack of response to the Marikana massacre by President Zuma and his government has reinforced his image as an ineffectual leader of an administration concerned only with its own bank accounts and assets.
Zuma, who came to the ANC leadership and the presidency in 2009, has been under attack from within the party for some time.
Most evident has been his very public fight with the radical former leader of the ANC Youth, Julius Malema.
Since his expulsion from the party, Malema has set up his own youth league, and his brand of direct activism — such as the forced expropriation of the remaining white-owned farms — assures him a strong following among young ANC members.
But Malema — who at 31 has acquired a substantial real estate empire, wears lots of gold, drives opulent cars and likes to drink expensive Scotch — is hardly a poster boy for reform of the ANC.
Neither are the other challengers to Zuma’s leadership who are quietly but purposefully lining up ahead of the ANC’s national meeting early in December, when its presidential candidate for the 2014 national election will be chosen.
Chief among them is the current Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, 63.
He has good credentials for an ANC leader. He spent 10 years in Robben Island prison with Nelson Mandela after being convicted of membership in the ANC’s armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe.
But while Motlanthe is behaving like a man who is a candidate, he has not come out and said so.
Also, he is just as much a member of the ANC’s corrupt ruling class as is Zuma.
Already some of the ANC branches in the smaller provinces have chosen to back Motlanthe at the December conference to be held at Mangaung near Bloemfontein.
But it will be the brigades of delegates from the big provinces that decide the issue, and for the moment it is likely that Zuma will get a second term as president.
What seems unlikely is that South Africa will get a second crack at the promise of renewal made 20 years ago.