Tuesday, September 8, 2015

SA terror alert: US officials to co-operate with local authorities

American citizens are being warned the embassy has information of a possible attack on SA soil.
American flag during sunset August 16, 2015 in Edgartown, Massachusetts on Martha's Vineyard Island. Picture: AFP.
FILE: US embassy says it is standard practice to issue security messages when they receive specific and credible threat information. Picture: AFP.

US embassy US Embassy in Pretoria

Barry Bateman | EWN

PRETORIA - The US Diplomatic Mission in Pretoria says it will co-operate with South African authorities in its investigation into credible information around a potential terror attack in South Africa.

American citizens are being warned that the embassy has information of a possible attack on South Africa soil.

US Diplomatic Missions closed their doors in 2009 following threats from Somali terror group al-Shabaab.

US embassy spokesperson Cynthia Harvey says it is standard practice to issue security messages when they receive specific and credible threat information.

She says the highest priority is ensuring the safety of American citizens abroad.

Harvey noted that such security messages do not reflect the nature of bilateral relations with South Africa, adding that the US government will co-operate with local authorities in their investigation.

However, a national police spokesperson said they were unaware of any threat and referred queries to the State Security Department, which was not immediately available for comment.

The embassy issued the warning just three days before the 14th anniversary of 9/11, the deadliest terror attack on US soil.

In a statement on its website, the embassy said it had no information about a specific target or timing, but advised US citizens to review their personal security plans and maintain their vigilance.

The statement read: “Review your personal security plans; remain aware and vigilant of your surroundings, including local events, monitor local news stations for updates and follow instructions from local authorities.”

Meanwhile, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) says while the warning has come as an unwelcome surprise, South Africa is not immune to recruitment from the terrorist groups and there have been incidents of involvement.

ISS head Jakkie Cilliers says this is bad news for the country, which is already battling an economic downturn.

He says the threat is likely based on credible information that’s being shared with the South African government.

“This type of tactical information will probably be shared only up to a certain point with the South Africans. Because you can’t be sure that by the time the Americans issue something like this, every instrument at their disposal is trying to work to make sure that this doesn’t happen.”

Security analysts say the American government is likely coordinating with authorities in this country to protect their interests.

So far local authorities have not commented or reacted the statement.

But former US diplomat and international relations analyst Brooks Spector says any attack would likely affect non-Americans too.

“My presumption is that there has been discussions already between Americans security officials within the embassy and their rough equivalents within the South African government.”

Cilliers says the US embassy would have checked the information with every instrument at its disposal.

“They will try to bring South Africans in but I think there’s a limit to the level of tactical information that they will share. Possibly they also don’t know what could be under threat and when.”


In February this year, the US embassy issued a travel warning to its citizens travelling in and to Lesotho ahead of elections at the Mountain Kingdom.

Lesotho’s political parties had agreed to hold early elections in February 2015 due to the political and security crisis in late 2014.

US citizens were also advised to maintain a high level of security awareness during the electoral period and avoid political rallies, demonstrations, polling stations, and crowds of any kind, and told to be aware that even peaceful gatherings and demonstrations could turn violent.

Much like in this current South African situation, US citizens were told to review their personal security plans; remain aware of their surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates.


In June 2013, the US state department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security issued a warning to tourists saying Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town were “critical crime threat spots”.

The warning read: “Violent and confrontational crime is a major concern [in South Africa]. Such crimes include home invasion robberies, burglaries, car-jackings, street muggings, smash-and-grabs, organised attacks on commercial and retail centres, bombings of ATMs, as well as attacks on cash-in-transit vehicles and personnel.”

Visitors were also warned that South African criminals did not hesitate to use lethal weapons and that townships were to be avoided.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

The United States has warned its citizens that extremists may be targetting US interests in South Africa. 9/11

JOHANNESBURG - The United States has warned its citizens that extremists may be targetting US interests in South Africa.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the US Diplomatic Mission in Pretoria said, "The US Diplomatic Mission to South Africa has received information that extremists may be targeting US interests in South Africa, to possibly include US Government facilities and other facilities identifiable with US business interests. There is no additional information as to timing or potential targeting."

The mission went further to advise US citizens to review personal security plans, remain aware of surroundings, including local events, monitor local news stations for updates and follow instructions from local authorities.

You can read the statement on their website here for further information.

Embassy spokesperson Cindy Harvey said the embassy had received, “specific, credible, non-counterable threat information” and so had issued a security and emergency message to its citizens on its embassy website.

Harvey declined to elaborate on the nature of the threat. She added that the State Department had “no higher priority than the protection of US citizens overseas. Security Messages do not reflect the nature of our bilateral relations with a country. They are part of our commitment to protect US citizens travelling and residing abroad,” she added, apparently anticipating that the South African government might not like the terrorist threat warning.

“The US government, as it does in any investigation into terrorist threats against American interests around the world, will cooperate with South African authorities,” Harvey said.

The last security alert that the United States issued in South Africa was in 2010. Then, the US government warned its citizens that South Africa faced a heightened risk of terrorism during the World Cup.

In 2009 all US embassy buildings in South Africa were shut down for three days because of an unspecified terrorist threat. South African intelligence sources said then that they had intercepted messages between members of the extremist Islamist organisation Al-Shabaab in Somalia and its agents in South Africa threatening to attack US embassy interests in revenge for the US killing one of their leaders in Somalia.

The US embassy in Pretoria and its consulates in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town appeared to be operating normally on Tuesday after the security message was posted.

South African intelligence sources said they could not comment yet.

eNCA American correspondent Simon Marks said further information will come from the US State Department that is due to address the media later on Tuesday.

It should be noted that the 14th anniversary of the terror attacks on the World Trade Centres on September 11, 2001 is coming up so there have been various warnings, however, the warning does appear to be very specific to South Africa.

- Additional reporting by ANA

- eNCA


Americans warned to 'enhance personal security' as terrorists are planning an attack in South Africa on US government sites and businesses

The embassy in South Africa has issued a warning over possible attacks
It said intelligence indicated U.S. interests in the country may be targeted
However, there was no specific target or timing identified in the warning
The embassy asked that U.S. nationals in South Africa remain vigilant

By Corey Charlton for MailOnline

Published: 14:41 GMT, 8 September 2015 | Updated: 15:40 GMT, 8 September 2015

The United States embassy in South Africa has warned of a 'terrorist threat' to U.S. interests in the country, and advised its citizens to be on heightened alert against attack.

The security message issued by the embassy in Pretoria said there was no information on the possible timing or target in South Africa, which has escaped the militant Islamist attacks seen in several other African countries.

The warning comes amid increased concerns in the US and UK about the threat returning ISIS jihadis pose to the West.
The U.S. embassy (pictured) in Pretoria, South Africa, said it had received intelligence that U.S. interests in the country may be targeted by terrorists

The U.S. embassy (pictured) in Pretoria, South Africa, said it had received intelligence that U.S. interests in the country may be targeted by terrorists
However, the embassy said there was no information on specific targets or timing of any attacks. Pictured is Pretoria, where the embassy is located

However, the embassy said there was no information on specific targets or timing of any attacks. Pictured is Pretoria, where the embassy is located

An embassy statement said: 'Extremists may be targeting U.S. interests in South Africa, to possibly include U.S. Government facilities and other facilities identifiable with U.S. business interests.'

While the warning stated there was no specific target or timing for any attack, it asked those in the country to remain vigilant.

'Review your personal security plans; remain aware and vigilant of your surroundings, including local events, monitor local news stations for updates and follow instructions from local authorities.

This undated file image posted on a militant website on Jan. 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) marching in Raqqa, Syria. U.S. Arab allies Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait are discussing creation of a military pact to take on Islamic militants, with the possibility of a joint force to intervene around the Middle East, The Associated Press has learned in Nov. 2014. Even if no joint force is agreed on, the alliance would coordinate military action, aiming at quick, pinpoint operations against militants rather than longer missions, officials said. (AP Photo/Militant Website, File) 350 British jihadis trained in Syria are now back in the UK...
Jihadi John on 'kill list' of British ISIS fighters in Syria...
Trussed up and forced to watch the fuse burn down that will...

'Be vigilant and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.'

Meanwhile, the British government has revealed it killed two of its own citizens in drone strikes in recent weeks, it has also warned at least 350 British jihadis are back in the UK after fighting and plotting terror attacks from Syria.

Ministers today warned that there were more jihadis in Syria orchestrating atrocities in the UK, Australia and the United States after it emerged Briton Reyaad Khan was killed in the RAF drone strike.

A spokeswoman for the police in Gauteng, the province that is home to both the U.S. embassy in Pretoria and its consulate in Johannesburg, said she was unaware of the U.S. warning.

The embassy and consulates in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town closed for several days in 2009 after what U.S. officials described as a 'specific' threat to diplomatic missions in South Africa.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3226534/Americans-warned-terrorists-planning-attack-South-Africa-government-sites-businesses.html#ixzz3lDaPv1J8
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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Kebble suicide’s eerie similarities

No fear No Favour No Assisted Suicide.........

August 26 2015 at 07:04am 
By Yolisa Tswanya

The body of Roger Kebble, still in his silver Mercedes-Benz, was found in Bishopscourt. Picture: Mike Behr

Roger Kebble ended his life 10 years after his son Brett s death. File picture: Antoine De Ras
Cape Town - Ten years ago, his millionaire son, Brett Kebble, was killed in a car on a Joburg highway. A decade later, the body of his father, Roger, was also found in a car, this time on a Cape Town road.
While the two deaths took place over a thousand kilometres away, and 10 years apart, the similarities are uncanny: both Kebbles died in suicides.
Roger’s body was found slumped over the steering wheel of his silver Mercedes-Benz CL500 as police and emergency vehicles cordoned off the scene in Bishopscourt on Tuesday.
Bizarrely, Brett’s body was also found in a silver Mercedes-Benz.
A passerby had alerted authorities to the grisly discovery and a witness, who asked not to be named, said he initially thought it was a robbery gone wrong.
“I was on my way home and saw a lot of police vans and ambulances and knew something was up. The security (guard) I asked said he shot himself in the heart.”
roger kebble aug 26Roger Kebble ended his life 10 years after his son Brett s death. File picture: Antoine De RasINDEPENDENT MEDIA
The witness said he believed this could have been true because there was more blood on Roger’s shirt than anywhere else, and some blood was coming from his ears.
“At first it looked like he could have been sleeping, until you saw the front of the shirt. I was going to just drive past the scene but saw the car was expensive and the licence plate was short.”
He added that this made him linger at the scene and, after speaking to more people gathered at the scene, he could confirm it was Kebble. “The unusual thing is that it is a beautiful, tranquil spot.”
The body was removed just after 6pm.
It emerged during the investigation into Brett Kebble’s death that his murder was in fact a death he had himself arranged.
In 2005, Brett, a mining magnate, was killed in what has been described as a “bizarre assisted suicide plot”.
Brett was killed by bouncers, Mikey Schultz, Faizel “Kappie” Smith and Nigel McGurk. They were the State’s prime suspects, but during their trial they had maintained that Brett was in financial trouble and were promised R500 000 each to kill him. They were given immunity, despite confessing to the 2005 murder, having turned State’s witnesses against Glenn Agliotti, who was later acquitted of the murder.
Brett’s father’s death, however, appears to have come at his own hand.
Roger Kebble was also a prominent business figure in mining.
Roger’s surviving son, Guy Kebble, said the family did not suspect foul play.
He said his father had been feeling unwell for some time. Roger had reportedly felt that he was becoming a burden to his family.
While police did not identify him, spokeswoman Constable Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed a shooting incident had taken place.
However, the police reports differed from eyewitnesses who claim Kebble had shot himself in the chest.
“The body of a 76-year-old man was found by police inside a vehicle with a gunshot wound to his head,” said Rwexana.
She said the body was found in the parked car near the corner of Monterey and Upper Bebington avenues in Bishopscourt.
The death comes a month before the anniversary of his son’s death on September 27, 2005.
Cape Argus

Comments by Sonny Cox

Wash that car before the Forensic Experts can investigate the case!
Was this another "assisted suicide" or a clean shot SUICIDE?
Let history judge this killing.........

Friday, August 21, 2015

Analysis: Marikana and Roodepoort reflect South Africa’s policing crisis

No Fear No Favour No politics in the SAPS please........


It has been another turbulent news week in South Africa. Days after the anniversary of the Marikana massacre, Roodepoort Primary School became the site of the latest questionable police action. It seems as if a lethal cocktail of political interference, bad communication, desperation, poverty and race have resulted in the Roodepoort Primary conflict. Of course, the real losers, on every level, are the schoolchildren – but why should we worry about them? Students have been subject to so much abuse in South Africa in recent years. Now they watch as parents, teachers and authorities battle it out. The old adage “children learn by example” seems, well, unimportant when these battles are being waged. But Roodepoort does show us that Marikana has taught us nothing. By RUSSELL POLLITT.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura closed Roodepoort Primary School after a feud erupted over the appointment of a new principal last Friday. Parents or students did not like the newly appointed principal. There are two views on this: first, that the majority coloured parent body are racist and do not want a black head; two, that the process that appointed the African principal was flawed. The authorities say that there was nothing wrong with the process and that this whole debacle is simply about race. The parents, on the other hand, claim that race is a scapegoat. They hold that there were people, in the school community, who could have been appointed and that there was no need to place an outsider in this position. They argue that people who work at the school, understand the local community and context and have a long involvement with the school would have been suitable and competent enough to head it up. They also claim that standards have dropped and that finances have been mismanaged under the new leadership.
The Gauteng education department intervened and said it was in the best interests of the pupils (this is one take on the “best interests” of students) for the school to be closed and for them to be sent to other schools so their education was not “disrupted” any further. The pupils are also, apparently, far behind in their school curriculum. Roodepoort, it seems, is just another statistic and a sad indictment of the state of education in the country. To defuse the situation, the department organised buses to transport students to other schools in Soweto. Angry parents, it’s reported, tried to prevent the students from boarding the buses. They wanted their school reopened or their children to be sent to other schools that were closer. Some parents said they were worried about the safety of their children. The protesting group allegedly threw stones at the buses. The police responded by firing teargas and rubber bullets, allegedly injuring at least five people. A community member told Eyewitness News two of the injured were children.
While there are many important elements to this story what seems crucial is the way the police reacted. Just days after the third anniversary of the Marikana massacre, one cannot but help ask if our civil liberties are any safer in the hands of the police today.
South African law and the Constitution protect our rights to physical integrity (section 12) and also our right to assemble and demonstrate in a peaceful manner (section 17). The authorities claim they had no choice but to use teargas and rubber bullets after the protesters allegedly threw stones at the buses. The law says the police should use discretion when using force to control crowds.
In particular, Standing Order 262 (issued by the South African Police Service) on “Crowd management during gatherings and demonstrations,” deals with how the police should carry out their duties in this regard. Standing Order 262 specifically mentions rubber bullets (11. Execution 4c p9). It says these are “prohibited or restricted during crowd management operations” and may only be used to “disperse a crowd in extreme circumstances, if less forceful methods prove to be ineffective - restricted”. Do we seriously believe that a group of angry parents allegedly armed with stones, outside a school (where there are children present) constitutes “extreme circumstances” and so warrants the use of teargas and rubber bullets?
The Farlam commission of inquiry into Marikana dealt with Standing Order 262 in particular. The commission said that it was inadequate, adding: “Given the large number of gatherings and demonstrations which actually or potentially involve violence, it is a matter of great urgency that Standing Order 262 be revised to address explicitly such gatherings and demonstrations.” (Farlam report 1036). It became clear at the commission that 262 needs to be clarified, amended and reviewed. The Farlam report, in its recommendations, says just that: “Revise and amend Standing Order 262 and all other prescripts relevant to public order policing (8a p549).” Standing Order 262 does not have the clarity that is necessary to deal with crowds that are armed and potentially or actually violent.
The situation at Marikana was different to Roodepoort Primary and is not comparable. Yet, even a cursory reading of Standing Order 262 seems to suggest that it could have guided police action at the school. Standing Order 262 states that “minimum force must be used to accomplish the goal and therefore the success of the actions will be measured by the results of the operation in terms of cost, damage to property, injuries to people and loss of life”. It adds: “The degree of force must be proportional to the seriousness of the situation and the threat posed … it must be reasonable in the circumstances … minimum force must be used to accomplish the goal.”
It seems the police either did not know the contents of Standing Order 262 – because of bad training – or chose to ignore it or simply don’t know the difference between a stone and an AK47. One of the first reasonable things to do in such a situation, surely, is attempt to negotiate with the crowd. In South Africa the police don’t seem to talk to people in such situations, they draw guns and shoot like John Wayne in your favourite Western. We don’t seem to have skilled police negotiators either.
Three years after Marikana and two months after the Farlam Report was released nothing has been done about how the South African Police Service (SAPS) handles crowd management. In a country where levels of violence are high, in which crowds regularly gather in protest (and protests are becoming more and more violent – note some of the so-called “service delivery” protests), in which people are angry because of desperate inequalities, surely this should be a priority for police management and the government? It is unacceptable to loot and burn trains, for example, to get your point across, but desperate people often resort to desperate means. However, it is equally unacceptable for those in public service not to ensure they have given their staff the necessary resources to handle and defuse such situations with integrity.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has now handed the school over to a team of mediators including members of the South African Council of Churches, the United Nations Children’s Fund and the Public Protector’s Office. Lesufi, to his credit, has said they have handed the matter over to the mediation team and his department has pulled out so that the team can work freely and find a resolution to the crisis. If only the SAPS would do the same: find a resolution to the policing crisis the country faces.
The events at Marikana and Roodepoort Primary will play out again in South Africa in different places. It is blatantly clear that our police do not have the training and/or skill to handle tricky situations. A ‘shoot to kill’ mentality, cadre deployment, political infighting, bad management and a could-not-care-less attitude endanger every person in the country. Many good policemen and women simply do not have the training they need to face complex situations – such as angry crowds.
In Marikana 34 people died when police opened fire; at Roodepoort Primary five people were injured. It’s a sad state of affairs that can be rectified but it won’t be. The government’s lack of response to Marikana and the Farlam commission simply affirm this. The common good is not the common concern. The real question is: Who will be next? DM
Photo: EFF members show their support for parents at the troubled Roodepoort Primary School. Picture: Christopher Moagi/Daily Sun.








Saturday, August 15, 2015

Sex mad in Jo'burg

No Fear No Favour No Cops please..........



After decades of Calvinist and apartheid repression, the rainbow nation is experiencing a boom in pornography and prostitution. Douglas Rogers reports

In Hillbrow, a part of Johannesburg where most people fear to venture, a middle-aged white man in a suit and tie looks around at the women in the dimly lit hotel bar. He is immediately approached by a pretty young black girl who takes him by the hand, whispering: "Let's go" in his ear. He leaves his drink and follows her towards the stairs.
This is the Quirinale hotel, Johannesburg's biggest brothel. Ten floors of prostitutes, four bars with beer to drink, soft leather sofas to lounge in and beautiful black girls to sit on your arm and whisper prices in your ear. They've come from everywhere: Alice from Maputo, Patricia from Durban, Chomisa from Swaziland - all looking to get rich in "the Brow". The going rate is 50 rand - less than pounds 10 - and more and more white men are going there.
"It's like hunting," explains an Afrikaner police officer from the Johannesburg vice squad. "If you haven't shot an impala you must shoot one. Then you want to do it again and again." It's a tasteless analogy, but fair game. Cross-colour sexual transactions may always have happened in South Africa but they were never as simple as they are now. Under apartheid, when inter- racial sex was a crime, white men would drive to Bophuthatswana or Swaziland to watch pornographic films banned by their Calvinist state, read the girlie magazines they could be fined for having in their own homes, and have sex with black girls. Now they save on the petrol.
Like the new democracies of Eastern Europe, South Africa is undergoing a sexual revolution that would have been unimaginable a few years ago. "Johannesburg is becoming like Bangkok," says Dr Woolf Solomon, also known as Dr Paul, the country's leading sex psychologist. "People have been let out of a cage and they're wondering which lolly to lick."
The flavours are many. Next to the sweet counter in any corner shop you can buy porn magazines; few stores bother to consign them to the top shelf. The back pages of most quality newspapers feature photographs of topless models advertising strip shows, escort agencies and massage parlours. In rich white suburbs of Johannesburg, clubs and bars with names like Erotica, Oriental Palace and Yab Yam offer naked girls in Jacuzzis and "special delights" for rugby fans. Shops sell sex aids and X-rated videos that get puritans and churchmen all hot and flustered. "It's all part of the rainbow nation," says Jeff Zerbst, once an acclaimed journalist and religious philosopher and now associate editor of the South African edition of Hustler magazine. "White men are reading magazines like Asian Babes and Black and Blue and mixed race-sex is commonplace. People are discovering these once-forbidden things are exotic."
The reason for the sex-fest is South Africa's sudden freedom from draconian laws which suppressed any form of sexuality in order to uphold a Christian view of life. The Immorality Act that banned sex between races was a cornerstone of apartheid until it was abolished in 1986. In those days security police sat in trees with cameras and binoculars, spying on mixed- race couples. They would raid homes hoping to catch lovers in the act and strip beds in search of tell-tale pubic hairs. A black man could get six months in prison for sleeping with a white woman, and vice-versa.
Four years ago a magazine could be banned for exposing a woman's nipple, never mind a flash of inner thigh. An imported copy of Playboy would once have been confiscated by customs officials but now there are about 20 magazines to choose from. "It's a remarkable change in such a short a time," says one reader. "At last we're able to think for ourselves."
The new constitution enshrines the right to freedom of expression. However, the old Publications Act that banned erotic literature is still in place, so pornographers have been testing how far they can go. "The government is still banning things but it makes a mockery of the constitution to do so now," says publisher Joe Theron, the country's premier pornographer. "You can't guarantee freedom of expression and then keep banning stuff."
Three years ago Penthouse and Playboy challenged the old legislation and paved the way for more explicit publications from Theron's JT Publishing, which began in the early Eighties with sewing, cooking and music magazines.
Now there is something for everyone. Naked men appear in For Women, which has a readership of 30,000. Asian Babesattracts a mixed-race readership of 50,000. The first Afrikaans porn publication, Loslyf (Loose Body), was an instant success this year. The first edition had a girl posing nude in front of the Voortrekker Monument, the venerated Afrikaner shrine to the Great Trek. But this is small beer compared to the success of Hustler, the American-founded magazine also published by Theron. This year sales have doubled to 200,000 a month, making it the biggest selling magazine in the country. In Hustler you can mail order X-rated videos, fill in a coupon detailing your personal "swinging" preferences for publication in the next issue, or dial a number and have a "hot steamy lad" at your door in minutes.
But the journey from a censorious Calvinist state to one approaching, and in some cases surpassing, the liberal cultures of Western Europe, is not easy. Many South Africans, unused to pornography and easily available sex, are finding it hard to come to terms with sexual glasnost. "For some people the changes have come too quickly," says Dr Solomon. "When people denied these freedoms for so long are suddenly confronted with them it can cause problems, especially in a sexually illiterate society."
Dr Solomon is treating an increasing number of women traumatised by the discovery that their husbands are having sex with prostitutes and visiting escort agencies. In one case a woman hired a private detective who followed her husband to different brothels every day of the week. "It's a devastating experience," he says. "They are often professional people - lawyers and doctors with homes and families. It's a great risk just driving into a place like Hillbrow at night, but many of them take the chance."
A white woman recently broke down on Dr Solomon's ground-breaking radio programme, Sexually Speaking, after revealing that she had just caught her husband in bed with their black maid. "We all know such things happened in the old days, but it was never this accessible," says Dr Solomon. Now more men are doing it because it is right on their doorstep." He also reports an increase in the number of female patients who are frightened because their partners are forcing them to perform acts against their will.
The law in South Africa is currently hazy as to what is or is not allowed. The ambiguity leads to protesters complaining about everything and pornographers trying to show everything. "Our May edition of Hustler was banned," says Zerbst. "It's hard to operate when something is OK one week and the next week it's not." Recently, however, a task group appointed by the Department of Home Affairs put forward a draft Publications Act which should make the law clearer. "The sooner we find a middle ground between freedom of speech and protection of the young, the better for everyone," says Zerbst.
Meanwhile he and other editors have their hands full trying to protect themselves against growing hostility from conservatives who remain opposed to pornography in any form. That there should be a vigorous backlash in what has for so long been a conservative, Christian country is hardly surprising, but the virulence of the protests is unexpected.
Zerbst and Theron have received numerous letters along the lines of: "You will burn in hell", and Hustler has had four bomb threats in recent months. Afrikaner churchmen and traditionalists are outraged by Loslyf and have demanded the magazine's removal from the shelves. But it has stayed, and 80,000 less censorious Afrikaners snap it up each month.
Theron, himself an Afrikaner, considers the protests hypocritical: "If they don't like what they see they shouldn't be reading it. And they shouldn't tell adults what is and what is not good for them. Those days are over." Hustler lampoons religious figures and politicians such as the Freedom Front leader Constand Viljoen and the Dutch Reformed Church newspaper editor Dr Fritz Gaum, who claim the magazines are "polluting the mind of the volk".
"Pornography is politically incorrect, which is good for democracy," says Zerbst, whose successful background in serious journalism means that people listen to his views. "The state has been legislating against taste for too long and it's time for tolerance."
For the guardians of morality, pornographic magazines remain high on the list of evils. But the rest of South Africa's burgeoning sex industry is harder to regulate.
If Johannesburg is like Bangkok, then Hillbrow is the Pat Pong Road. One of the most densely populated square kilometres in the world, its residential skyscrapers are decked like dominoes along a narrow mountain ridge on the edge of the inner city. Ellis Park Stadium, venue of the Rugby World Cup final, is less than a mile away, but sports fans and visitors keep well clear of "the Brow". Here, violent crime is rife: stabbings, muggings and shootings are common, as are the wails of police and ambulance sirens. Along the crowded streets neon lights blink signs for massage parlours, strip shows and escorts. Prostitutes, black, coloured and white - some of them Afrikaner girls from the small towns of the Platteland - stand on street corners or work from escort agencies and hotels like the Quirinale. Soliciting is still illegal and women are fined up to R300 (pounds 55) if caught, but with unemployment running at 40 per cent, and demand rising, it is impossible to stop them.
Aids awareness is a priority for the government, but many prostitutes will have unprotected sex for an extra R50 (pounds 9). Magazines, which have an urban, middle-class readership, give little space to such a downbeat subject - "it's a poor man's disease", runs a typical article in Hustler.
Four months ago Chomisa came to the city from Swaziland to see a friend. She never found her and, without a job, had to do what hundreds of others like her are doing: rent a room at the Quirinale for R200 (pounds 35) a month and spend her nights in the first-floor bar waiting for the men with money. They come in droves. "They like me here," she says. "I have regulars from Jo'burg and Pretoria and some from Durban. I get lots of whites. Even a doctor from Cape Town." In three months she has made R18,000 (pounds 3,200). But it is hard to see her as a liberated beneficiary of the new South Africa. She sleeps 15 hours a day, orders room service when she wants to eat, and spends the rest of her time with clients or looking for them in the bar. She never leaves the hotel and says most of the girls carry knives to protect themselves. Early next year Chomisa hopes to be back in Swaziland, where she wants to train as a croupier.
A block away from the Quirinale, on a side road off Bree Street in central Johannesburg, 55-year-old Henry Du Plooy sits in Scarletts Massage Parlour flanked by two of his "lovely ladies". Next door is Pretty Woman Escorts, which he also owns. Eighteen months ago he too was unemployed, a victim of the government's affirmative action programme. "I couldn't find work so I decided to start my own business," he grins. "Best thing I ever did. It's the only way to make any money in this town these days." He brushes his hair to one side and hugs one of his girls, looking like a low-budget version of Hugh Hefner in the Playboy mansion. "I heard the government is sending people to Holland to look at how they run things there," he says. "Maybe this town is going to become like Amsterdam." I look around the room, at girls with peroxide hair and wearing clinging bikini tops, at the numbers on the wooden doors of the cubicles where they take their clients, at the bubbling Jacuzzi decorated with pot plants in a tacky jungle theme. In many ways it already is.









Marikana three years on: Political posturing vs. the quest for truth and closure

No Fear No Favour No Attacks on our Police.......

Ranjeni Munusamy  South Africa 14 August 2015 00:07 (SOUTH AFRICA

President Jacob Zuma’s statement earlier this week that the recommendations of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry were still “receiving attention” basically places the country into another holding pattern on the Marikana killings. While the families of the people killed at Marikana are pursuing civil claims, the process of holding those responsible to account remains non-existent. On Thursday, a special parliamentary debate on Marikana saw government under fire once again for the massacre and calls for compensation for the families. But on the third anniversary of that horrific day when 34 mineworkers were gunned down by the police, there are still no answers, no accountability and no justice. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.

On two occasions now, President Jacob Zuma has made comments on the Marikana massacre that reveal his take on why the police shot the striking Lonmin mineworkers. “The workers were armed to the teeth‚ they had already killed 10 people. The police were trying to stop them‚” Zuma told Parliament earlier this month. He said it was not “as if the police came and just mowed down people who were innocently sitting”.
In June Zuma told students at the Tshwane University of Technology that “the Marikana miners were shot after killing people”. He said the police had been forced to stop the violence. “They (the miners) had killed people, if you do not know,” Zuma said, warning students not use violence to express themselves. “I might be forced to relook at the Apartheid laws that used violence to suppress people.”
Because government has, up to now, not pronounced itself on the massacre, it is not clear whether this is the official position – that the police fired live ammunition at the workers in retaliation for earlier killings and used state force to “suppress” people. This was certainly not argued at the Farlam Commission as it would have essentially constituted extrajudicial executions. In other words, the state circumvented the justice system and executed people for killing other people.
Perhaps the president is not aware that that is in effect what he is saying.
The problem now is that it is the state that must decide what action to take against itself in implementing the recommendations of the Farlam Commission. For the past three years, the Marikana wound has been left gaping, awaiting the outcome of the commission. Zuma waited three months to release the commission report and has now asked for more time to consider whether to appoint an inquiry into National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega’s fitness for office and to implement Judge Ian Farlam’s recommendations.
At a media briefing on Tuesday, Zuma said the implementation of the report was receiving “top priority”. “I am also in discussion with the ministers whose portfolios are affected by the Marikana report such as Police, Labour, Mineral Resources as well as Justice and Correctional Services. We will provide feedback in due course to the nation on progress being made in the implementation of the recommendations,” Zuma said.
Dragging the matter out further and leaving the families of the victims without closure opened government to another volley of attacks from opposition parties in a charged debate on Marikana in the National Assembly on Thursday.
Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said “the failure of the president to assign political responsibility for the massacre is indefensible”. Not a single member of the executive or the police has been held to account for the loss of life, Maimane said. “But of greater insult to the families of the victims is that the report concluded that its terms of reference precluded it from making recommendations regarding compensation. Instead of taking a decisive stance in the interest of justice and compassion, the commission simply passed the buck.”
Regarding the civil claims for compensation being lodged by some of the families against the Minister of Police, Maimane said there was “something fundamentally wrong with a system that now leaves these families at the mercy of a legal process, which could take years to conclude, simply to put food on the table”. “The irony is that the Marikana inquiry cost R153 million to reach a set of conclusions that did nothing to provide justice, closure or compensation,” Maimane said.
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema, as usual, went for the jugular. “Marikana was a murder that was facilitated in clear daylight, and under the political influence and supervision of politicians many of whom continue to enjoy privileges of this House,” Malema said.
“Judging by the speeches of Police Commissioner Phiyega and Minister of Police after the premeditated killing of workers, they certainly were aware of and approved of the mass killing of workers. What this means is that the ANC government, with the influence of business politicians, in particular Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, pre-meditated the killing of mineworkers in Marikana. They engaged in what in law is known as conspiracy to commit murder,” Malema said.
The Congress of the People’s Willie Madisha said he was extremely disappointed with his former comrades. “Apartheid has come back. ANC is a terrible, terrible, terrible organisation… ANC you are terrible,” Madisha said.
The ANC was constrained in the debate as its members could not say anything that would pre-empt the president’s actions.
Chairman of Parliament’s police portfolio committee Francois Beukman said the debate should not be used to score political points and there were no factual findings in the Farlam report against any members of the House. He said the ANC was taking the commission’s report “very seriously” and Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko would brief his committee later this month on the implementation plans. Findings that Phiyega and others misled the commission were being dealt with by the president, Beukman said.
Deputy Mineral Resources Minister Godfrey Oliphant said the cases of the families who lost their loved ones were still in the courts. “We will therefore respect the sub judice rule in this House and await the outcome of the court. Because some people go about promising people a lot of things which they know they can't deliver.”
The Association of Mining and Construction Union (Amcu) has meanwhile said it wants the Farlam Commission report to be reviewed. “In our view Judge Farlam’s report was a disgrace. It was a bloodwash… The mineworkers that fought a heroic struggle were the ones blamed for causing the massacre,” Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said at a media briefing.
The union is getting legal advice on reviewing the commission’s outcomes and if necessary, would support an independent inquiry into the massacre, Mathunjwa said.
Many people were disappointed with the commission’s report, which not only steered clear of dealing with the issue of compensation but failed to give answers as to why the massacre happened and who was responsible. Farlam left further investigation up to the National Prosecuting Authority and was only definitive in recommending that Phiyega’s fitness to hold office be inquired into for misleading the commission. Culpability for the killings has been left open-ended.
Watch: On Thursday SERI released a video detailing their work with the families of the killed mineworkers from Marikana and the experiences of the widows since 2012.
On Sunday, the community of Marikana will commemorate the third anniversary of the massacre at the same koppie where the strikers had gathered to demand better pay, working and living conditions. The conditions have not changed, the injustices prevail and many families live without closure or a source of income after their breadwinners were killed.
And those who benefit from keeping the miners in sub-human conditions, who planned the operations that led to the killings, who pulled the triggers and who failed to protect the workers’ rights still live and work in comfort, three years on.
There will no doubt be more breast-beating and politically expedient statements this weekend as another year passes without answers or accountability for the killings. What there will never be, it seems, is justice for the people of Marikana. DM
Photo: Miners gesture as they pray during the one-year anniversary commemorations to mark the killings of 34 striking platinum miners shot dead by police outside the Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine in Rustenburg, August 16, 2013. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko.

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Art of apologia: Citizen editor's sorry letter to President Zuma

No Fear No Favour No Apologies here please.....

richard poplak * south africa 14 august 2015 00:56 (south africa

Steven Motale, editor of The Citizen, this week issued an apology to Jacob Zuma. (Yup, that Jacob Zuma.) He cast the entire South African media as haters, hell-bent on taking Zuma down simply because of some inherent animus toward people with no (real) PhDs. It’s interesting, however, that Motale decided to issue this apology on the week of the third anniversary of Marikana — without mentioning Marikana once. By RICHARD POPLAK.

A) It is the best of times. B) It is the worst of times. A) South Africa is a post-racial Shangri-La free of political violence, where everyone has a right to express themselves within the bounds of the most progressive constitution in the world. B) South Africa is a racially divided nightmare-scape in which in which the poorest blacks live in slums that form the bedrock of the second-most-uneven society in the universe.
Choose your own adventure, dear reader. If you’re Steven Motale, editor of The Citizen and a longtime local newspaperman, you’ll insist that the South African media has not only chosen narrative B, but written that narrative into being. In a widely discussed piece published this week, entitled I’m Sorry, President Zuma,”Motale split with his booze-and-ink stained colleagues to issue a mea culpa. “I’ve been party to the sinister agenda against Zuma, and can only apologise for that,” he wrote. “The media is as much to blame for the current parlous state of this country’s politics and economy as the politicians and economists who have brought us here.”
My bad, as the kids say.
Motale’s argument is simple: Jacob Zuma has never been found guilty of a single charge of corruption, and yet he is constantly vilified in “the media” as corrupt. According to The Citizen’s editor, the origin of this misconception dates back to 2005, when Zuma’s financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, found himself on the dock for charges of being enormously generous and issuing 783 payments amounting to R4,072,499.85, tying both men in time tothe infamous arms dealdemocratic South Africa’s first and greatest act of industrial-scale larceny. Were Shaik and Zuma locked in a mutually filthy pas-de-deux? Not exactly, Motale reminds us. TV and newspaper reports conflated Judge Hillary Squires’ ruling with the prosecution’s contention that there was a “generally corrupt relationship”. That statement, likely to be etched on the largest memorial stone in Zuma’s fifty gazillion rand taxpayer-funded necropolis, appeared nowhere in Squires’ verdict.
If at this point you feel like you need to take a shower, consider the actual wording of the ruling, which Motale insists few of his “colleagues” bothered to read:
"If Zuma could not repay money, how else could he do so than by providing the help of his name and political office as and when it was asked, particularly in the field of government contracted work, which is what Shaik was hoping to benefit from. And Shaik must have foreseen and, by inference, did foresee, that if he made these payments, Zuma would respond in that way (…) It seems an inescapable conclusion that he embarked on this never-ending series of payments when he realised the extent of Zuma's indebtedness."
But never mind that: it was all a smear campaign, a media-driven takedown, a hatchet job perpetrated against an otherwise stand-up chap.
The fallout was extreme: Zuma was famously fired by then president Thabo Mbeki, leading up to the nasty process that culminated in Zuma's triumph at the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) 52nd National Congress in 2007, and the year later in Zuma’s faction jettisoning the sitting president of South Africa. According to Motale, the press—himself very much included—found the uneducated, five-wifed Zuma distasteful because he mispronounced “Hennessy”, and he and his crew collective hounded the ANC’s new president into ignominy despite his obvious benevolence.
If Zuma is bad, insists Motale, it’s because we wrote him bad. “In many ways the president has turned out to be quite measured, reserved and tolerant of us,” Motale reminds us. “Better than we may have expected him to be, and more forgiving than I would probably have been in the same position.”
While President Motale would have been drafting imaginary plans for gas chambers and concentration camps—(Is Hitler mentioned in this piece? You betcha! Paragraph 22, line 3)—Zuma was instead, well, what was Zuma doing? Motale isn’t particularly interested in Zuma’s record as a leader, so much as he’s obsessed by Zuma’s unimpeachable status as a president with no corruption convictions. It’s South Africa, baby—everyone is corrupt! And yet the Democratic Alliance (DA), despite endlessaccusations of dirty dealings, gets a free ride. (I’d argue that Helen Zille was undone as leader of the DA by her ludicrous Twars with journalists, culminating in a flameout at the hands of Eusebius McKaiser, but that’s for another day.) Former Zuma lapdog Julius Malema, despite numerous fraud and corruption charges of his own, is now a media darling, while Zwelinzima Vavi, following a sex scandal that “literally [offered] us a metaphor for how he screws the poor”, is similarly venerated by a fawning press now that he’s in the anti-Zuma camp.
And so: “I’m not saying I’m suddenly [Zuma’s] biggest fan, but it’s time to admit I’ve been party to the unfairness, along with many of my colleagues,” writes a chastened Motale
I know what you’re waiting for: Motale’s objective, cool-headed assessment of Zuma’s presidency. But you’d be missing the point. Motale is slamming the mainstream, largely white, pro-DA South African press for perpetuating the fiction that Zuma is corrupt, therefore contributing to “the current parlous state of this country’s politics and economy”. “The media” you see, at the behest of a “sinister agenda”, has destroyed the country by trying to destroy Zuma, whose benevolence toward us is evidence that he’s basically a mensch.
And we know he’s a mensch because our mangled corpses are not currently composting a barren patch of the Karoo hinterland.
We must at this point allow that Steven Motale is a man with rather low standards. Zuma is basically a decent guy because Motale is alive to judge Zuma basically a decent guy. But Zumaisn’t a decent guy—or if he is, none of that decency has filtered through his presidency. Motale knows as well as I do that Zuma has presided over, and actively encouraged, the systemic looting machine that dates back to the colonial era in this country. He didn’t power it up, but he’s done nothing to power it down. He’s worked the levers like a champ. He doesn’t need to have a rap sheet to be the commander-in-chief of a corrupt system.
And yet Motale argues that Zuma is just a dude trying to muddle through, a Kim Kardashian celebri-chump sending the equivalent of misunderstood Instagram selfies into the postmodern malaise.
Nkandla? Zuma, as Motale points out, hasn’t worked construction since he was in Robben Island. “[Who] can honestly say they know for a fact that Zuma knew what Public Works was doing and how it was dealing with the matter? Did he tell anyone what to charge and how much to pay? We don’t know, but most of usassume he did. It’s unprofessional reporting that would not stand up in a courtroom.”
Jesus H Apologia.
Now, this little essay you’re reading should not in turn be construed as an apologia for the South African “media”, which does some effortlessly shitty work on a daily basis. (And who is this “media” about which Motale speaks? SABC 1 is watched by more than 70% of the adult population, while The New Age and Independent newspapers hold roughly 10% market share. That’s over half of the media-scape in Zuma’s corner, mind.) I’ll be the first to acknowledge that some of the “media” is often hysterical, mostly unreadable, and almost always headache-inducing — I’m speaking here of my own work. But the “media” as a coagulated lump? It’s by no means too hard on Zuma.
It’s too easy on him, Citizen Motale. Way, way too easy.
Zuma is not some aw-shucks Harry Truman-esque character who bumbled into the presidency while looking for the Union Buildings powder room. And yet Motale portrays Zuma as a man with no agency, while in fact he holds plenty of agency, or at least his benefactors, henchmen and enablers do. This is not, you’ll agree, because of too much press scrutiny. It’s because there’s notenough scrutiny. All sorts of firewalls are put up to protect the government from the press, the most important of which is party finance legislation, of which we have none. Both the ruling party and their handmaidens in the opposition (stand up, Zille!) made damn sure the press would never know who acts as the Money behind the Power, thereby unraveling the very fabric of our democracy.
By the very nature of governing South Africa, Zuma gets a free ride. By the very nature of governing South Africa, Zuma is corrupt.
But corruption, sadly, is the least of Zuma’s sins. South Africa isn’t Mordor, but it’s a bad place full of bad people who keep getting badder. Zuma’s financial record is abysmal. If you groove on gross domestic product (GDP) growth, the prez has delivered an average of 1.7% a year. (He has long promised 5%.) If you groove on employment, Zuma has delivered a massive uptick. (Real unemployment is over 40-freaking-percent.) Debt-to-GDP ratio has doubled from 23% in 2008 to 42,8%.  (Zuma blames this on factors “outside his control.”) If you dig education, healthcare or clean government, Zuma has been worse than a disaster. The labour movement is all but finished. The communists have been purchased wholesale. The white minority still possesses most of the nation’s individual wealth, and the economy, which ticks over like a neo-liberal’s wet dream, isdesigned to maintain inequality. (I recently had the displeasure of hearing Koos Bekker speak at a function. It’s time for new billionaires, bro.)
Ideological honesty or consistency has been wiped from the ANC, all in the service of protecting the presidency and the systems of patronage it promulgates. Gwede Mantashe, Baleka Mbete, Cyril Ramaphosa—all of them commit hara-kiri on a daily basis in service of their master. Careers ruined, legacies tarnished, history enraged. Mandela is turning in his, etc, etc, etc.
But never mind all that — the way some mofos are forced to live in this country! Zuma is president of the second most uneven society on Earth if you go by Gini-coefficient. The thing is, if you work as a journalist in this country, you don’t need the statistics to see the hellfire. Part of what makes journos such arch miserable-ists is the constant, unending vileness we see on the ground — all ultimately attributable to the government, and the man who heads it up. You don’t get to be head of state and not be blamed for the shit.
Surf a desk and you get to ignore all of this and concentrate on the Good Story.
Indeed, there is lots more Motale doesn’t mention: Zuma’s recentdog whistle hollaback to King Goodwill Zwelithini, following the Zulu regent’s tacit calls for xenophobic violence; the proposed secrecy bill, which would finally allow Motale to be jailed for being mean to his president; the use of the Waterkloof military base by the Guptas as parking lot for a family wedding. And many more. Fireable offences all.
(Parenthetical before we move to the coup de grace: we must acknowledge that editors in this country — black editors in particular — are under enormous pressure from government lackeys to temper their “messaging”. But editors everywhere are under pressure from government lobbyists and henchfolk — it’s the nature of the job. And, as Motale suggests, Zuma’s SA is not Putin’s Russia. Editors don’t get whacked here. It requires a very specific type of person to survive this vice-like intensity, and The Citizen seems uncommonly cursed in this regard. As Motale notes, his predecessor Martin Williams split for the DA directly after stepping down, and he got the job because he regularly tongue-bathed Zille and the Blue Army in print. Is Motale’s tongue-bathing similarly a job application?)
Finally, though, we arrive at the part where Motale’s apologia becomes sickening: he doesn’t deign to mention Marikana. Not once. Not even in passing. Marikana is, of course, where any armchair syllogising regarding Zuma’s record hits history’s wall — Zuma, to whom Motale issues an apology, has presided over a massacre of his own people. Zuma’s deputy president, anointedafter the massacre, has been implicated in the affair. Not a single member of Zuma’s administration, nor a single police officer, nor a single accidental passerby has been held accountable. None of the victims’ families have been properly compensated. Zuma has repeatedly dismissed demands to properly address the Marikana issue, most recently in Parliament during the question and answer session.
'Black lives matter?' Really?
Did Motale think we’d miss this omission? Did he think we’d buy his thesis that whites and clever blacks in “the media” bash Zuma because he’s a polygamist and tends to get married in a grass skirt?
Zuma isn’t responsible for every ill that darkens this benighted land. About that much, Motale is correct. But Sunday marks the third anniversary of the Marikana massacre. Thinking back to 2006 and the very worst conception of a potential Zuma presidency, could anyone have imagined Marikana? Zuma was the commie who was going to hand the country to the working class, not gun them down for asking for a slightly larger sliver of it. No, he’s not Hitler, he’s not Idi Amin, and he’s not Donald Trump. He’s South Africa’s capital’s houseboy, which I suppose is what he was always destined to be.
So nah. It’s not 'the media' who owe Zuma an apology. It’s Zuma who owes the South African people a series of detailed mea culpas. Zuma is perfectly correct when he name-checks apartheid as the root of so many of our evils. But it is time Zuma was reminded that legacy isn’t destiny. It’s time he got working. And it’s high time he honours the dead men of Marikana, who will haunt him long after Motale’s letter is assigned to history’s bottomless bin of mealy-mouthed apologias. DM

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