Friday, April 18, 2014

SA signs anti-poaching deal with Mozambique

No fear No Favour No Rhino or Elephant poaching.........

AFP | 18 April, 2014 08:26

                                                            Image by: Reuben Goldberg

(C) Billy Cox


(C) Ludwig Flowers


             (c) Billy Cox

South Africa signed an anti-poaching agreement with Mozambique, a major transit route for rhino horn trafficked to Asia.

Mozambique is a prime source of illegal hunters hired and armed by transnational crime syndicates to cross the border into South Africa to kill the huge beasts.
South Africa's Kruger National Park shares a long border with Mozambique and has borne the brunt of rhino poaching in recent years.
So far this year a total 293 rhino have been killed in South Africa with nearly half of the attacks in the Kruger Park, despite the deployment of troops to protect them.
The agreement "entails us working together with Mozambique to eradicate rhino poaching... so that Mozambique is not used as a transit country," Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa told AFP.
The two countries agreed to share intelligence and jointly develop anti-poaching technology and education programmes.
Rhino horns are prized as a status symbol in Asia and mistakenly thought to possess medicinal properties to cure cancers and hangovers, even though they are composed of the same material as fingernails.
The poachers kill the rhinos with semi-automatic rifles, hack off the horns for shipment to Asia and cross back into Mozambique, leaving the bodies to rot.
Mozambique early this month approved a law that will impose heavy penalties of up to 12 years on anybody convicted of rhino poaching.
"Previous laws did not penalise poaching, but we think this law will discourage Mozambicans who are involved in poaching," Mozambique's Tourism Minister Carvalho Muaria said at a ceremony to sign the agreement inside the Kruger National Park.
At least 46 Mozambicans, five of them policemen, have been arrested inside their native country this year alone for poaching.
Mozambique has also started relocating 1,250 families that were housed inside the Limpopo game park, which borders Kruger, and erected hundreds of kilometres of fence between the two areas.
South Africa is home to around 80 percent of the world's rhino population, estimated at more than 25,000.
Most live in the vast Kruger Park, which is roughly the size of Israel.
In 2007 only 13 rhinos were reported poached in South Africa, but since then the numbers have increased exponentially every year.
South Africa has hinted it is now considering legalising the rhino horn trade in an attempt to limit illegal demand, allowing the sale of horns from rhino that have died of natural causes.
"Experts are working on structure to look at the stockpiles that we have and not benefitting anybody, yet people are killing rhino for these horns that we have elsewhere," said Molewa.
It is a "proposal moving towards possible trade," she said, adding it could be one of the solutions to end the rhino slaughter.
"We do think that it could... just taking it from the lessons we have learnt from ivory. We did an ivory once-off sale" and elephant poaching has not been a problem since.
"We hope we'll be able to win this war," said Molewa.



WILL any agreement with Mozambique protect the extinction of our RHINO'S?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

No Vote: A mission to nowhere for apathetic ANC voters

NO fear No Favour No Kidding.............................

Ranjeni Munusami SOUTH AFRICA 15 APRIL 2014   09:40 (SOUTH AFRICA)

The defiance vote was always going to be the wild card in the 2014 elections. The question was how would it manifest itself. The post-Mangaung ANC and the performance of the Zuma administration have caused unprecedented turbulence and disenchantment within the ruling party. The Economic Freedom Fighters has become a channel for some of the anger against the ANC, but many respected, staunch members are at a loss about what to do with their vote. Now a handful of veterans, academics and activists have come up with a “Vote No” campaign as a stopgap measure until a better alternative comes along. Desperate times, desperate measures. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.

Had the “Sidikiwe! Vukani! Vote no” campaign started a year ago, taking on board the losing faction from the ANC national conference in Mangaung, those fed up with the monocracy in the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the disgruntled sections of Cosatu, it might have grown into a significant force. It might have had the impact it seeks to achieve and created a bloc mounting a rebellion within the ANC. After all the purpose of it is not really to impact the election result but to send a message to the ANC in the hope that it would self-correct.
The group, led by former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils, is running a shotgun defiance campaign to marshal the disillusionment within the ANC. They are calling for traditional ANC voters who can no longer vote for the party in good conscience to either spoil their ballots or to vote for a minority party. The tipping point was the security upgrades at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla’s residence, but a number of factors have apparently pushed them into the campaign including the Marikana massacre.
The problem is that none of the people running the campaign are active in the ANC and have not been for some time. Kasrils was intelligence minister at the time of the ANC’s Polokwane conference in 2007. Legend has it that he had assured former president Thabo Mbeki that the balance of support at the conference tilted in his favour and that he would retain the presidency of the ANC. This was obviously not true and power changed hands to the Zuma faction.
When Mbeki was recalled as state president in September 2008, Kasrils was among the Cabinet ministers who resigned in protest against the ANC decision. His anger against the ANC therefore has been brewing for several years. Kasrils has become a vocal critic of the ANC since his retirement, particularly after the Marikana massacre.
His outrage over Nkandla was not unexpected but his move to stage a protest campaign against the ANC is certainly a dramatic move given his formidable history in the liberation movement. Had Kasrils defected to another party, it would probably have been less stunning than campaigning for people to spoil their ballots or vote for any minority party.
The co-founder of the campaign, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, has also been absent from active politics since her dismissal as Deputy Health Minister in August 2007. She too has a notable history in the ANC and SACP. Madlala-Routledge was fired because she clashed with then-Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang over Aids denialism and alternate forms of treatment for HIV. She had no spat with the Zuma faction in the ANC, however, and was elected onto the ANC national executive committee at Polokwane.
But Madlala-Routledge says she also become disenchanted with the ANC and has not been to a branch meeting since 2009. Like Kasrils, her involvement in the “Vote No” campaign will not make significant ripples in the ANC as they have surrendered their constituencies and cannot command action in ANC structures.
What the move does do, however, is put the issue of disillusionment within the ANC firmly on the agenda. Kasrils and Madlala-Routledge are well aware that the handful of people speaking out against the state of decline in the ANC are by no means the only ones who feel ashamed and disaffected. The outcome of the Mangaung conference with the overwhelming victory of the Zuma camp shut the door on debate within ANC structures. The leadership is unchallenged in the controversial positions it has taken, particularly on the many scandals that have dogged the ANC government.
The result is that significant numbers of ANC members – there’s no telling how many – from veterans to activists to former Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) combatants have pulled away from the ANC, but their attachment to the party means they cannot find a political home elsewhere. Had the Congress of the People not turned on itself and wilted, it probably could have drawn the vote of some of these disaffected ANC members. But as things stand, the only real option for ANC people who cannot vote ANC is to vest their support for Julius Malema and his Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
The EFF itself is possibly the boldest form of defiance against the ANC. For those wanting to punish the ANC and show their absolute revulsion for the Zuma-led government, putting Malema in an opposition bench in Parliament to hound the president and the ANC seems like the best answer. The EFF is also born out of the ANC, so it is the closest thing to the ANC itself. But Malema is untested in parliamentary politics and there is no telling how he will perform. Besides, many respected ANC members might find difficulty in supporting the firebrand leader who is facing corruption charges and is in trouble for tax evasion.
Mamphela Ramphele, the leader of Agang, could have also tapped into this disgruntled constituency in the ANC had she not sidled up to the Democratic Alliance (DA). She is probably the best articulator of all the problems the ANC has but her political somersaulting made her out to be the DA’s black duplicate. As much as the DA has transformed itself over the past few years, ANC stalwarts and long-serving members across factions still find it difficult to vote for Helen Zille’s party. Even with heavy cosmetic surgery to the DA’s top leadership, people who come from the ranks of MK, the United Democratic Front and who belonged to the pre-liberation ANC still view the DA as a white party.
Other smaller parties could hold appeal for individual disgruntled ANC members but there is no one party that can draw the entire bloc. What Kasrils and Madlala-Routledge have provided is a temporary remedy for chronic disappointment with the ANC. While they claim that spoiling ballots is still an expression of democracy, it does not translate into representation in Parliament after the election. So while the number of spoilt ballot might increase, or support for minority parties who might not make it to Parliament might increase, the ANC’s majority is not tampered with.
In the 2009 elections, the number of spoilt ballots was 239,237. This was higher than what the Independent Democrats, the United Democratic Movement and the African Christian Democratic Party all polled. Many of these could have been mistakes, but a portion of the spoilt ballots would have been by voters who did not want to vote for any party. The “Vote No” campaign now wants to push this number significantly higher.
The campaign certainly has received widespread attention. The ANC has condemned the move by its former members and resorted by demonising and trashing them. Several ANC veterans have also voiced their concern and pointed out that it is hardly a solution to the problems besetting the ANC. Even Zuma, who is mostly unresponsive to current developments, has spoken out against the campaign. While the campaign does not seem to be drawing more high-profile support, it certainly has received a lot of media attention over the past few days and has occupied the national discourse.
The question is whether a higher than usual percentage of spoilt ballots in next month’s election will jolt the ANC. The ANC is notorious for dismissing criticism as simply “anti-ANC” – even from its own. When it comes to subliminal messaging, the ANC has grown blind to it. Sixteen months later, hardly anyone in the ANC can explain what it is Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was trying to do in Manguang by contesting the ANC presidency but not campaigning for it.
Kasrils and company are hoping their campaign resonates and catches fire, and perhaps will translate into something else after the election. As things stand, the obvious trajectory for this disgruntled bloc in the ANC is to coalesce with forces on the left, most notably the metalworkers’ union Numsa, to form a new workers’ party.
For now, however, it appears to be nothing more than a group of tormented people, adopting a tough love approach in the hope that the ANC will admit its faults and go into political rehab.
But the ANC will not do so. The ANC is concerned with the preservation of its electoral dominance, not with notes on the margin. The only way to get its attention is if defiance within the ANC builds to such an extent that it causes a significant downward slide to its numbers.
To do that, the “Vote No” campaign is too little, too late. DM
Photo: Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils attends the launch of the "Sidikiwe Vukani! Vote No" campaign at Wits University in Johannesburg, Tuesday, 15 April 2014. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA


pokesperson Jackson Mthembu
Photo: ANC
ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu

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A call by former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils for voters to either not vote for the African National Congress (ANC) or spoil their ballots is "reactionary", the ruling party said on Tuesday.
"The ANC regards this call espoused by the Vote No Campaign as disruptive, reckless and counter-revolutionary," spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.
"Reactionary statements therefore that call for such careless behaviour as spoiling ballot papers is tantamount to undermining the long struggles and the sacrifices of our people."
Kasrils and other African National Congress stalwarts have been criticised by the party for their "Sidikiwe! Vukani! Vote Campaign".
Earlier on Tuesday, the group said it was not a "no vote" campaign – they were calling on people to go to the polls on May 7 and not vote for the ANC.
Former deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, who was part of the campaign, said citizens could send a strong message by either voting for a minority party, which would take away from the dominant political parties, or people could spoil their ballots.
Mthembu said the ANC was confident Kasrils's call would have no impact on the party or the elections.
"On the contrary, we believe that it will galvanise more of our people to go out on the 7th May to show Kasrils and ilk that the right to vote is sacrosanct."
The Workers and Socialist Party (Wasp) said the campaign was not a solution to anger with the ANC.
"We... appreciate their desire to do something about it," Wasp said in a statement.
"But we disagree with the campaign's founding statement because it does not offer a clear alternative to the ANC or the other capitalist parties."
With three weeks to go until the election, it seemed unlikely that the campaign would build momentum.



Has Ronnie Kasrils managed to rattle Zuma's "Tiger Cage" in NKANDLA?

Or this another stunt like Mac Maharaj with his "OPERATION VULA?"




Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ronnie Kasrils and the God that Failed

No fear No Favour No Communist Demi Gods,,,,,


A small group of long-time ANC and SACP bigwigs have called for voters to withhold their support from the ANC in the 7 May election as part of a desperate effort to reform and cleanse their party and return it to its true routes. This is an extraordinary moment in South Africa’s political world – but will it have any real effect? J. BROOKS SPECTOR contemplates this development.

Almost certainly the most interesting place to be right now would to be privy to Ronnie Kasrils’ thoughts. Kasrils has been a senior stalwart of the South African Communist Party, the African National Congress, and the South African government for decades – including service with MK and the intelligence wings of the movement while in exile. After his return to South Africa, he served first as minister for water affairs and forestry and then as minister of intelligence – until 2008, when he resigned after Thabo Mbeki had been ousted as president.
And now he has done something so inexplicable to many that the ANC Youth League advised him, “If comrade Ronnie is still unhappy with the outcomes of the 2007 December ANC conference (where Mr Zuma was elected party leader), we advise him to get psychological counselling so that he may accept the current state of the ANC and South Africa.”
That’s a bit rough to say to a man who had given his all to the party, eh?
On Tuesday, Kasrils and several other (presumably now-former) ANC heavies such as former Defence and then Health Deputy Minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge will formally announce a campaign to call on ANC supporters to vote for any other party besides the ANC (or the DA), or perhaps just spoil their ballot if they can not bring themselves to vote for another party yet. This comes in response to a broad perception of a growing frenzy of out-of-control-snouts-feeding-at-the-trough corruption, as well as the continuing personal aggrandizement of the current president that has been dragging the political party they love into public ignominy.
In recent weeks, Kasrils – as with several other long-time senior officials such as Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Planning Minister Trevor Manuel, ANC NEC member Pallo Jordan and former Director General of Home Affairs Mavuso Msimang - has become increasingly critical of the shenanigans in the governing party and its political leadership. Clearly there is a crisis of legitimacy within the party over the current leadership – one pitting these old standard-bearers of an earlier tradition against Jacob Zuma’s sycophantic subordinates and allies.
But this within-the-party crisis has been interacting with a broader unhappiness from the continuing fallout of the Nkandla fiasco and all the other scandals that threaten to overwhelm the party’s planned electoral message of a “good story to tell” from twenty years of ANC stewardship. These seem to be giving heart to the DA in its attempts to gain electoral headway – as well as encouraging the threat from the left in the shape of the EFF. Of course no one is saying the ANC will actually lose this upcoming election – but a diminished victory would be a bitter one, especially if there are visible defections from among the party’s usual backers.
According to various media comments from party officials, it would have been one thing to raise objections – even strenuous ones - within the ANC’s party mechanisms and structures. But it is another one entirely for such people to go public with their criticism – and then so much worse for them to take their dissents a dangerous step further in calling for people to vote against the mother party in an election now less than four weeks away. Even before their formal announcement, party structures and officials have been heaping scorn upon Kasrils and Madlala-Routledge as people who turned their backs on a party that nurtured and supported them and then walked away, and who, finally, were “treasonous” to it.
Has this been Ronnie Kasrils’ Damascene moment – the turning of his back on virtually everything his life had been about – up until now? Was he now – so late in life – finally confronting the “God that had failed” him? While Damascene conversion may a familiar term to many readers, referring as it does to Saul’s roadside conversion into Paul, from Jew to Christian; The God That Failed is the title of a 1949 book that had brought together essays by writer-intellectuals Louis FischerAndrĂ© GideArthur KoestlerIgnazio SiloneStephen Spender, and Richard Wright about their departure from former allegiances.
The six had each been members of their respective national communist parties. But, under the weight of cumulative realizations, first the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact at the beginning of World War II, then the realities of communist rule in Eastern Europe and Stalin’s Soviet Union, and then understandings of the likely conduct of their own parties should they come to power in their own nations, these authors had made painful, complete breaks with the parties that had sheltered them and given them a community and fuller purpose.
Political scientist Stanley Hoffman had written that this book brought together the ideas of “men of very different backgrounds and experiences, all attracted by the ‘glimpse of the Promised Land’ (Koestler), in search of a faith, indeed of ‘a conversion, a complete dedication’ (Silone), of ‘a state of historical- materialist grace’ (Spender). How the dream of fraternity and social justice turns into a nightmare of servility to party double talk and sudden turns, how the fellow traveller drops out and has to return to his own lonely road, is a story that forms a sad, major part of twentieth -century life, in Western Europe and elsewhere.”
But then Ronnie Kasrils was on radio on Monday where he dispelled any notion he and his colleagues were leaving behind the ideas they had so long espoused and acted upon. He insisted he remained a “true believer” in the goals of party, in spite of everything he had seen happening within that party recently.
Rather, he, and those with him, planned to cleanse their party of the impurities and corruption that had been taking it over from within. They would do this by working to withhold as many votes as possible from the Zuma-dominated party, sending these votes to any one of nearly two dozen other smaller parties - or even to a near-nihilist alternative of the spoiled ballot paper. This would be a message that could not be ignored.
Presumably, the underlying idea here is to generate a sufficient draining away of support from the party that the final voting statistics – so many more votes to the UDM, Agang, the KISS or Dagga Parties, the EFF, even the Freedom Front+, and thousands more voided ballots above the 250,000 in the last election – could convince reformers inside the ANC’s broad church to replace Jacob Zuma as party leader and anybody else still supporting him after 7 May. Kasrils made it clear, however, that urging people to vote for the DA was a bridge too far - its liberal capitalist ideology remains diametrically opposed to everything Kasrils believes in still. Reading those tea leaves still further, these outside-the-tent reformists presumably hoped to work with those still inside to lead a party annealed by this recent pain so that it would once again take up its mandate of achieving the promises of the Freedom Charter.
The challenge, of course, is that Kasrils and company run the risk of having their hopes cruelly dashed. If the numbers of those who heed the call are disappointingly meagre, or if the results lead to a slow purge of the ANC of any reformers presumably on their side, this clearly would not have been their desired outcome. Or it may be that voters do heed the call to withdraw some support from the ANC – but they choose, instead, to hand it to the EFF instead (or even, by some of them, the DA) in significant numbers – giving further comfort to the party’s external tormentors. Whatever happens, however, it seems increasingly clear Ronnie Kasrils and his colleagues will not be sitting in the pound seats come Jacob Zuma’s second inauguration. And it will be an increasingly cold winter for them once they are beyond the embrace of the movement they had lived for, all those many long years of struggle. DM
Read more:
  • The God That Failed, reviewed by Stanley Hoffmann, in Foreign Affairs;
  • Roads to Communism and Back: Six Personal Histories, a review by Rebecca West, in the New York Times;
  • What Motivates Extremists? The True Believer, Eric Hoffer's 168-Page Classic, Has Some Answers, in the Huffington Post;
  • Youth league hits back as Kasrils lays into ANC in Business Day.
Photo: Ronnie Kasrils in Bilbao, Basque Country, northern Spain, 20 February 2013. EPA/LUIS TEJIDO


comments by sonny


pity we did not form our "old guard band of ADVERSARIES" in time for next month's elections.

please give zuma and his thugs hell at wits tonight 15 april 2014.