Monday, April 15, 2013

Grade 12 Mathematical Literacy Paper

Minister of Basic Education:

Angie Motshekga

The question reads as follows: State whether the following event is certain, most likely or impossible: Christmas day is on December 25 in South Africa.

No wonder education in South Africa has gone down the tubes..........Fire the idiot.....

On Zuma's Efforts To Blame Apartheid


In comments that he made to mark the 20th anniversary of Chris Hani's assassination, President Zuma alluded to the recent debate regarding the impact of apartheid on the current problems confronting South Africa.

He said that "to suggest we cannot blame apartheid for what is happening in our country now, I think is a mistake, to say the least. We don't need to indicate what it is apartheid did. The fact that the country is two in one - you go to any city, there is a beautiful part and squatters on the other side - this is not the making of democracy and we can't stop blaming those who caused it."

Jacob Zuma's "Nkandla" in the back ground and a simple mud house in the foreground.

"While wanting to see change happening fast in every corner of the country, we are under no illusion that South Africa will automatically and comprehensively change in only 20 years. That is impossible. The legacy of apartheid runs too deep and too far back for the democratic administration to reverse it in so short a period."

President Zuma's remarks were a repetition of what has become a central refrain in ANC communication: that the legacy of the past - i.e. apartheid or "colonialism of a special kind" - is responsible for the triple crisis of inequality, unemployment and poverty. The remarks are usually accompanied by simplistic comparisons between whites who live in the "beautiful part" and blacks who live "on the other side."

We are all the products of our past - and there can be no doubt that apartheid created serious distortions in the normal development process that black South Africans would otherwise have experienced. However, the roots of inequality and poverty are far more complex than that. They include, in particular, lack of access to decent education, employment and effective government services - all factors that have been within the sphere of government policy since 1994.

The inequality that characterised our society in 1994 may certainly be ascribed to the complex legacies of the past. However, the fact that, 19 years later, we are an even more unequal society is the consequence of the failure of government policy. Unacceptable levels of inequality have their roots - among other things - in:
  • the dismal performance of our education system caused overwhelmingly by government mismanagement and the depredations of SADTU; 
  • the fact that almost 40% of black South Africans are unemployed - primarily as a result of   rigid labour policies; policies and attitudes that discourage foreign and domestic investment and the refusal of COSATU to countenance competition in freer labour markets;
  • the inability of government to deliver decent services - which is attested to by service delivery protests throughout the country almost on a daily basis; and
  • the implementation of inappropriate policies to promote equality - which have greatly benefited the top 10% of the black population - but which have done nothing for the bottom 60%.
Attempts to blame these failures on "apartheid" will simply divert government and public attention from the urgent need to implement the kind of realistic solutions called for in the National Development Plan. They also serve intentionally or unintentionally to stir up racial animosities that we simply cannot afford. When President Zuma says that "we cannot  stop blaming those who caused it", he is playing the very dangerous game of making whites the racial scapegoats for the manifest failures of his own government.

The reality is that many of the beautiful parts to which President Zuma refers are now increasingly inhabited by the emerging black elite and middle class. In 1995 whites accounted for 69% of those in the top earnings decile. By 2007 their share had diminished to 43%. By now it will be even smaller. The nature of the squatter camps is also changing: several are now inhabited by impoverished whites. The country may be "two in one" as President Zuma observes but they can no longer be simplistically characterised as 'rich white' and 'poor black'.

Clearly we South Africans need to engage one another in frank discussions about the legacy of the past, the challenges of the present and  our vision for the future.

Return of the Poor White Problem

The ANC's policy has led to an increase in the poor White problem

The African National Congress (ANC) has assisted in ushering in a new democratic dispensation, but has failed dismally to create a non-racial and equal opportunity society. 

Whilst the ANC had a moral and constitutional responsibility to empower the previously disadvantaged, it should not have done that at the expense of the minority groups. You don't extend your house by building new rooms while at the same time destroying the old rooms. Otherwise your house will never be fully extended. The ANC government has become a master at solving problems by creating new ones.

Badly implemented empowerment policies have led to a rapid growth in poverty amongst our white people. The poor white problem is exacerbated by the sharp rise in unemployment of white South Africans by more than 200% since 1994. 

The government is very indifferent to the impoverishment of these citizens because, according to ANC thinking, they were previously advantaged. 

This kind of thinking is wrong and it leads to new forms of apartheid.

South Africa's overall unemployment rate is estimated at between 28 and 40%, and is most severe among poor rural blacks. On the other hand, more than 10% of the white population lives below the poverty line. South Africa is one of the world's most inequitable countries and the income gap is widening. The triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment are increasing drastically while ANC leaders spend most of their time jostling for positions and accumulating personal wealth.

Way back in 2004, President Thabo Mbeki was traumatised after realising the white poverty problem. Prior to this Mbeki was not aware of the poverty amongst some of our white people and he had assumed the standard of life of white people was higher than the national average and thus every white person lives better.

Mbeki confessed to City Press (11/04/2004): "It has been quite disturbing where, for example, in Cape Town, young white women actually came to the minister and said: ‘Minister, we have to work as prostitutes because we can't maintain ourselves, we can't maintain our children, but the police harass us in the streets. Can't you please talk to the police to just leave us alone, for there's no other way to make a living?' You can see the level of poverty and desperation among whites". Unfortunately, poverty levels amongst whites have not subsided since 2004.

Had the ANC managed the economy properly, the unemployment and poverty levels amongst all our people would have been far less. Except for the services sector, the manufacturing and agriculture sectors have been declining steadily since 1994. Sadly, the South African economy still relies on its exports of raw minerals.

The exportation of raw minerals yields low financial margins and disadvantages South Africa in terms of beneficiation. This has led to unemployment, which in my own estimation is around 40% and, at the same time, 25% of the population depends solely on government grants. The ANC government failed to turn South Africa into the industrial hub of the whole African continent by reviving the manufacturing sector and creating millions of jobs.

South Africa has now become a net importer of food because agricultural production has also decreased under the ANC's government. Actually, this country needs an Agricultural Revolution before an Industrial Revolution. Personally, I would like to see several interventions being implemented concurrently. Be that as it may be, it is important to note that East Asian economic development was preceded by the freeing up of agriculture. Once productivity gains and food security were achieved, Asian countries moved to manufacturing.
This was the same trajectory in Europe where the Agricultural Revolution laid the base for the Industrial Revolution. Something good about agriculture is that, unlike manufacturing, it does not necessarily require huge investments in technology. Agriculture is also not capital intensive and thus it creates jobs. As long as the ANC is still in power it would be almost impossible to turn around the agriculture sector.

Through the process of land restitution, land that has been given to the ‘new owners' is largely redundant because the government didn't come up with any local economic development model that would make the acquired land productive. At the beginning of this year, the government regulated an exorbitant basic salary level for farm workers. This will force most farmers out of business and, by the end of this year, more than 2000 farm workers will be retrenched and will swell the ranks of those who live under extreme poverty.

The pre-campaign for the 2014 general elections is currently underway. There are more than 20 political parties registered with the Independent Electoral Commission in South Africa, but truly speaking, there are only two bulls in the kraal, the ANC and the Democratic Alliance (DA). 

President Jacob Zuma's dancing skills and Cyril Ramaphosa's charm will not eradicate the escalating poverty. The DA has published a well researched 8% Growth Plan which has huge potential to reduce poverty across all the races.

The DA has a proven track record of good governance and service delivery as demonstrated in the Western Cape Province and municipalities under its control. Be that as it may, the DA can only serve and save South Africa if voters put them into power through the majority of their votes.  Blind loyalty to the ANC, perpetual patience, and historical sentiments will give the ANC further license to dispense patronage to its few powerful elites while the majority of our people are swamped by poverty.

Arms Deal

The navy in Simon's Town boasts four of the [most?] sophisticated corvette *1 warships in the world, bought for a cool R6 billion *2. South Africa's 28 Swedish Gripen JAS-39 fighter planes costing R12 billion are still on their way. Then there are the other fighter jets, helicopters, submarines …
The hardware is all part of the controversial arms programme announced five years ago *3, the biggest in the history of our defence force. At the time South Africa signed away R30 billion for arms but by the time the debt is paid off in 2020 interest and inflation will have pushed the total bill closer to R100 billion, experts say.
An order for eight to 14 Airbus A-400M cargo carriers with a combined price tag of up to R14 million (sic - billion) has also been approved.
The defence force is spending like there's no tomorrow. But people are posing the question : does South Africa really need all this weaponry?
What about poverty? The need for schools, houses, new roads, medical care? Wouldn't it have been better to invest the money in communities?
YOU investigated what the arms deal entails and what we could have bought instead with the money. We also asked the experts for their take on our expensive shopping spree.
Of course we need arms :
We have to be prepared even though we're not at war or under threat, insists military expert Helmoed Romer-Heitman of the authoritative publication Jane's Defence Weekly.
"Most wars erupt within seconds, without warning. Arms and expertise can't be obtained overnight. A balanced defence force is like insurance … and takes years to put into place.
"You don't know when or from which quarter to expect an attack. Your opponent is unknown and you have to be prepared with everything from tanks to canons (sic - cannons) and fighter planes to submarines."
Contrary to popular opinion, Helmoed reckons we've acquired too little weaponry - especially as the country will increasingly be involved in peace operations in Africa".
Arms are also handy in times of peace, he says. Submarines are used to target smugglers in our coastal waters, while corvettes can be used in maritime disasters. *4
Asked who'd want to attack South Africa, political expert Leopold Scholtz says : "No one - but given the unstable nature of international politics you never know what wider conflict South Africa may be dragged into.
"Remember also, two thirds of our gross national product is generated by international trade and 90 per cent of our products are transported by sea. Which means we must be prepared to defend ourselves against foreigners who want to disrupt the maritime artery."
An additional advantage of the arms contract is the assurance of reciprocal trade the suppliers of the weaponry have given us as part of the deal.
They have promised to invest R110 billion in the country's economy within seven years, creating 65 000 jobs.
Arms are a waste of money :
Our biggest threat is not war but poverty and unemployment, says Terry Crawford-Browne, chairman of the SA branch of Economist Allied for Arms Reduction.
"Who's going to invade us? Not forces from Africa. And if it's a superpower such as America we don't stand a chance, even with all the new arms," he says. And look what good America's military might did during the 9/11 attack …
"A country's security depends much more on the health of its economy and people than on its military might," he says. Take Costa Rica, for instance, where the defence force tried to stage a coup but failed. In 1949 the country disbanded its defence force and since then Costa Rica has been a prosperous democracy for more than 50 years.
Its police force protects its borders and money that would have been earmarked for the military now pays for hospitals and education.
"Research shows world poverty can be eradicated in just 10 years with just a quarter of the money spent on defence," Terry says.
"We don't need arms to defend our fishing resources either," he adds.
Over the past six years hardly any of the promised reciprocal investments have materialised.
The German submarine suppliers started a steel project in the Eastern Cape which was supposed to have created 16 000 jobs. It was cancelled after three months.
Then a condom factory was built. It closed down after two weeks.
Meanwhile the Swedish suppliers of our aircraft were last week accused of failing to stick to the promises they'd made to South Africa. They promised investments to the tune of R67 billion. Twenty-one of the 26 promised projects have come to naught."
What we bought - and could have bought instead :
4 Corvettes (R6 billion *2)
These highly sophisticated vessels (delivered and fitted with weapons systems in Simon's Town) plays a reconnaissance and interception role. Helmoed reckons we need at least six. Because of its economic power South Africa will increasingly have to become involved in operations elsewhere in Africa, including peace operations, he says. We have not only to protect our own waters but also to fulfil our international obligations.
With R6 billion builders could replace 250 000 shacks (a quarter of the estimated one million informal homes countrywide) with RDP houses. According to the department of housing this would provide jobs for about 90 000 people in the building industry and 86 000 people in the building supplies industry.
3 German Submarines (R4,5 billion *5)
These modern conventional submarines replace the navy's Daphnes which were decommissioned at the end of 2003. The T209s are not in the same league as those of Britain, France or America but Helmoed believes they're a good buy and have a longer reach than the Daphnes. They were designed specifically for coastal patrols, protecting naval bases and anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare.
With R4,5 billion we could provide free education to all the kids of South Africa, which is what happens in countries such as Brazil and Argentina. Inadequate training is one of the cardinal contributing factors to our unemployment figure of 42 per cent.
28 Swedish Gripen Fighter Planes (About R15 billion *4) (These are expected to be delivered in 2008. *6)
Gripens can be used in peace operations mainly for reconnaissance *7 and as a deterrent. During SA's peacekeeping operations in Burundi, for example, where our troops were involved in skirmishes with rebel forces a few support Gripens could have been deployed from the Makhado (formerly Louis Trichard) air force base. The planes could have been necessary to use any other arms to deter the enemy.
The Gripens were ordered the same year Cheetah jet fighters became operational. The 50 Cheetahs' life expectancy was until 2012 but could be stretched to 2022 *9. According to an original report from the auditor-general a special government task team recommended the purchase of the 28 new Gripens be delayed because we had the Cheetahs and the air force had only nine pilots who could fly Gripens. The purchase was contrary to the advice of air force officials who said the Gripens would be superfluous, their price tag was too high, they hadn't been tested and were totally unsuitable to our conditions. At the time the late Joe Modise, then minister of defence, said they should leave the decision regarding the purchase to the politicians.
R15 billion could buy enough antiretrovirals for 30 years for all 400 000 HIV-positive South Africans. Every day about 1 300 people die of Aids and it's predicted by 2010 we would have lost close to six million people to the virus. Currently only 65 000 infected people have access to antiretrovirals and the government supplies only 20 000 of them with the medication because there isn't enough money for a comprehensive service.
24 Hawk Training Planes (R2,5 billion *10)
The official delivery date for these is mid-2005 to mid-2006. This aircraft will be used for training prospective Gripen pilots. It can even be used as an attack aircraft in situations where resistance is not too heavy.
The money could have been used to employ another 2500 policemen and policewomen over the next 10 years.
30 Augusta Helicopters (R2,5 billion)
The Augusta helicopter *11 is equipped with modern technology to fly in moonless and poor weather conditions. The air force can use it for emergency and rescue operations. These helicopters replace the light Alouette III helicopters.
With R2,5 billion we could provide healthcare to the poor in remote areas. We would be able to pay 1 700 doctors to work in rural clinics for 10 years.
4 Augusta Westland Super Lynx 300 Helicopters (R1,1 million (sic - billion))
These helicopters are for use on the four corvettes. They're the "eyes" without which the corvettes are useless *13. They replace the existing Oryx helicopters which are unsuitable for use on a moving ship.
Ammunition and teargas plants at Swartklip between Mitchell's Plain and Khayelitsha in Cape Town poison the air and have serious health implications for residents of the area, says Terry Crawford-Browne. Many Swartklip workers have lost hands, legs, their sight and/or hearing and have suffered brain damage. Others develop cardiac disease, arthritis and cancer. They are boarded, paid R1 000 compensation and then told to pay their own medical expenses. This pollution problem with its tragic consequences could be alleviated with R1,1 million.
8 to 14 Airbus A-400M Cargo Planes (R8-R14 billion)
The Airbus A-400M cargo planes replace the air force's nine Hercules C130 planes. They'll enable the air force to transport staff, resources and equipment as part of peace operations. Over the past three years South Africa has had to spend more than R100 million on outsourcing *14 these functions to private contractors.
With R8 billion to R14 billion the government could rehouse the country's estimated one million street kids in, for instance, self-catering communes where their physical, emotional and educational needs could be met for six months to a year. They could be absorbed into school so they'd eventually become productive members of society, says Linzee Thomas of Cape Town who works with street kids full time.
With acknowledgements to Carol Coetzee and the YOU magazine.
*1 Actually, frigate.
*2 Actually, R6,873 billion in 1998 Rands - just R872 million higher than the budget authorised by cabinet in September 1999 and announced on 1998-11-18.
*3 Actually, 1998-11-18.
*4 They can - theoretically, but at the most ridiculous cost-benefit ratio ever devised in the history of mankind.
It's cheaper to acquire specialised fisheries and coast guard patrol craft, such as the four brand-new fisheries patrol craft just acquired by the Department of Environmental Affairs.
*5 Actually, R5,531 billion in 1998 Rands
*6 Actually, R15,916 billion in 1998 Rands - both the Gripen and Hawk - about R11 billion for the Gripen and R5 billion for the Hawk.
*7 They can - theoretically, but at the second-most ridiculous cost-benefit ratio ever devised in the history of mankind.
*8 The first in 2008, the last in 2015.
*9 At least until 2017.
*10 Actually, about R5 billion in 1998 Rands.
*11 The Agusta helicopter is a light utility helicopter - unarmoured and very lightly armed (capable of carrying a brigadier a colonel, a lieutenant-colonel and their bellies), also great for quickly getting peacekeeping SANDF colonels to the local Congolese whorehouse *12 when a special is running.
It's a pity for traceability and transparency that the 1997 Force Design resulting from the 1995-1997 Defence Review identified a requirement for medium lift helicopters (armoured and armed and capable of carrying a stick [10 -12] of troops with their full gear).

*12 See : "5 SAI doesn't want sex scandal colonel back" 

The Natal Witness
16 March 2005 

One of the allegedly incriminating photographs of colonel Victor White in a DRC nightclub

See "A crashing good cup of coffee"
The Natal Witness
18 March 2005

*13 Indeed, but more importantly the then cost of some R900 million was included in the Cabinet first approved R29 billion Arms Deal budget, but were dropped to account for the sudden and mysterious R872 million increase in the cost of the corvette, of which R699 million can be directly attributed to the selection of Schabir Shaikh, Chippy Shaikh and partners' combat suite.
*14 Sounds like a deal. At R33,3 million per year, this goes into R14 billion 420 times, i.e. for 420 years, and that's not even including the running costs which are sure to be at least R140 million per year (at just 1% of acquisition cost), maybe more, maybe alot more.
My Opinion (for what it's worth)
a. Light utility helicopters are always required by and are useful to a defence force, but there should be a formally identified need.
b. A squadron of light frigates (4 to 6) was required and was formally identified as such by the SA Navy, but we should have acquired 4 Spanish frigates at R3,3 billion with the specified combat suite at R1,9 billion (all 1998 Rands) (R5,2 billion in total).
c. A frigate without a maritime helicopter is like a blind person in rush-hour traffic with a guide dog.
d. The SAAF needed to replace the Impala jet trainers at some time, but still needed to finalise their training regime, but in any case should have acquired the Impala's younger brother the Italian MB339 and half the price of the ageing Hawk.
e. The biggest scandal is the acquisition of the Gripen as the SAAF's replacement of the Cheetah Cs and Es as light fighter aircraft. The SAAF had just taken the 38 Cheetah Cs into service in 1997 and there was no need to even consider theire replacement until 2007 at the earliest.
f. Coastal submarines make a small navy potentially militarily potent, but not if one cannot afford to man them, maintain them and put two out of three of them to patrol duties at any one time. If one cannot do this, then they actually cripple a navy and not enhances its effectiveness.
It would have been a pity to lose the country's subsurface capability - but was there not another way apart from making Joe Modise and the Sons of the Earth very wealthy in their lifetimes?
g. The SAAF's 12 C-130 Hercules have just been upgraded at a cost of many billions by Marshalls Aerospace, Thales (yes, them again) and Denel Aviation (yes, them again). It just cannot be that we need to throw them out and buy a clutch of EADS (remember them of Wa Benzi infamy) A400s.
Watch this space - if we do discard the C-130s, just see who'll be waiting to buy them from Armscor a bargain price.
Just like with the C-160 Transalls, where there were Ron Haywood, Joe Modise and their own financiers thrusting their snouts into the trough.