Friday, November 30, 2012

Guptas 'bankroll' Mrs Zuma's bond

Huge monthly repayments on Bongi Ngema-Zuma's Pretoria house raises questions. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G) 30 NOV 2012 00:00 - CRAIG MCKUNE, STEFAANS BRÜMMER

There is evidence that the Gupta family is helping first lady number four, Bongi Ngema-Zuma, pay off her R3.8-million home loan. OUR COVERAGE From Zuma Inc to Row over 'unpaid' bills at Gupta family's mine Plum Gupta job for Zuma fiancée The Guptas: A dummy's guide
Although the Guptas deny being involved, the circumstances around the bond's initiation and billing - and the very large monthly repayments - suggest their helping hand. This should raise new concern about the Guptas' close relationship with Zuma and his family. Set on the exclusive Waterkloof Ridge that overlooks Pretoria and the Union Buildings, the property was bought in April 2010 for R5.2-million. Before the purchase, said a person with first-hand knowledge, the president personally inspected the sprawling property. According to a neighbour, he visits regularly. The purchase was completed in August 2010, when the property was transferred to the Sinqumo Trust and the R3.8-million bond registered. The trust is controlled by Ngema-Zuma and named after the couple's son.

Public bond records show that the trust was to pay off the bond over five years, a remarkably short period for a home loan of this value. To do so, it committed to paying about R80 000 every month. Fingerprints There are three sets of Gupta fingerprints on the transaction: The first print is that the bond was granted by India's Bank of Baroda, which has a known relationship with the Guptas. The Bank of Baroda also holds the bond on another house closely linked to both the Guptas and the Zuma family, one of which the president's son, Duduzane, calls home. Situated in Saxonwold, Johannesburg, the property is formally owned by Mabengela Investments, controlled jointly by Duduzane Zuma and Tony Gupta.

And in January 2011, at a high profile South Africa-India cricket event part-sponsored by Gupta-owned newspaper The New Age, President Zuma handed the bank's managing director an award, apparently for fostering bilateral relations. The second, clearer fingerprint is a witness signature on the bond ­documents by a trusted Gupta lieutenant, Ronica Govender. Govender is something of a factotum to the Gupta family. Company records reflect her as a director in more than a dozen ­family companies. She is financial director at the family's flagship IT company, Sahara, a receptionist said this week. She is also listed as special-projects director at JIC Mining Services, a company majority-owned by the Guptas and Duduzane Zuma. Govender this week said her signature on the bond was "irrelevant as anyone can witness this type of document in their personal capacity".

Fingerprint number three is the freshest: on inquiry this week, a bank employee gave Govender's JIC Mining email address when asked where the bank dispatched the Sinqumo Trust bond statements to. Govender responded that this was "absolute rubbish and even if it was being sent to me, that's not a crime". Last year, when the Mail & Guardian exposed how JIC Mining had employed Ngema, then still the president's fiancée, as head of communications and marketing, the newspaper asked Gupta family spokesperson Gary Naidoo whether the family had "in any way assisted Ngema or her family in acquiring [the property] by helping to pay the purchase price, facilitating financing, or meeting or assisting with bond repayments".

Naidoo's written denial was an emphatic "no to all your questions", flying in the face of the choice of financial institution and evidence of Govender's facilitating role. Naidoo and JIC Mining this week repeated the denials, saying: "The Gupta family or its businesses deny any involvement in any employee's personal dealings with any institution. Therefore, there should be no confusion that we contributed in any way to the raising or paying of the bond for Ms Ngema-Zuma." Affordable? However, the question remains how either the president or Ngema-Zuma could afford to pay off the bond at the stipulated rate.

Usually, prospective homeowners cannot secure bonds in which repayments exceed 30% of their gross income. In other words, to afford the R80 000 monthly instalments, Ngema-Zuma would need to earn about R3.2-million a year, which is unlikely. Even the presidential salary falls far short of this. In 2010, Zuma was paid only R2.4-million and the higher than average size of his immediate family and his ostensible financial commitments at Nkandla suggest that even the standard bond payment-to-income ratio would be too high for him to afford.

His history of relying on others to support his family is well known. His loans from arms-deal convict Schabir Shaik and Durban businessman Vivien Reddy provide well-known examples. In another, after media exposure, Zuma disclosed in his 2009 Cabinet interest declaration that a businessperson provided, for free, a luxury home for the use of another of his wives in Durban. The impression that the Guptas are assisting the Zumas with the Waterkloof Ridge bond was tacitly confirmed to the M&G by an insider to the relationship between the families. He cannot be named as the conversation was off the record. No declaration Although neighbours confirmed that Zuma had visited the house regularly during 2012, the president declared neither the home nor a third-party benefit in the open part of his last two Cabinet declarations. Cabinet ministers are allowed to declare spousal benefits confidentially.

However, any assistance received in securing this bond and facilitating repayment could arguably be construed as a direct benefit to Zuma. Neither the presidency nor Ngema-Zuma replied to questions. And so began the winter of their content April 2010, when Bongi Ngema went home-shopping in Waterkloof Ridge, was a time of blossoming relationships. Only four months earlier the future Mrs Ngema-Zuma had presented umbondo – traditional wedding gifts – to President Jacob Zuma at his Nkandla estate, and now she was next in line to marry him.

On another front, the Gupta family and Zuma's son, Duduzane, seemed poised to consummate large-scale commercial success. The events of that time would also lead to great controversy regarding the cosy relationship between the Gupta and Zuma families. In March 2010, Gupta lieutenant Jagdish Parekh acquired a 50% stake in Imperial Crown Trading 289, which soon became a household name as news emerged that it had grabbed the right to prospect at the Sishen iron ore mine from under the noses of corporate giants Kumba Iron Ore and ArcelorMittal.

Imperial Crown's "squatting" at Sishen, fully supported by the government despite evidence of fraud in the awarding of the right, put the Guptas and Zuma Jr in the position to negotiate an empowerment deal with ArcelorMittal, announced in August 2010. From this Parekh was to score shares and cash with a face value of over R2billion, with Zuma Jr pocketing more than R900-million and a Gupta family investment company R450-million-plus.

That deal eventually fell apart, but there were other Gupta-Zuma pokers in the fire: April 2010 also saw a consortium led by the Guptas and Duduzane Zuma buy Toronto-listed Uranium One's South African assets in a R300-million deal, placing them well to tap into South Africa's expected expansion of nuclear power generation. Zuma Jr, who had completed an internship at the Gupta family's Sahara computer business, seems to have entered a formal business relationship with the family in mid-2008, when he and Tony Gupta formed investment company Mabengela Investments. In a 2010 interview, Zuma Jr called Tony Gupta his "exclusive" partner who advised him financially and legally.

Mabengela and a Gupta family company are the controlling shareholders of JIC Mining Services. Bongi Ngema-Zuma has been employed in marketing and communications at JIC since mid-2010. The Guptas have consistently denied impropriety in their friendship with the president and their business relationship with members of his family. – Stefaans Brümmer & Craig McKune Living in the lap of luxury Of all the mansions on Grus Street in Waterkloof Ridge, Bongi Ngema-Zuma's is the most distinctly African. A pair of earthenware pots the size of grown men flanks the front door and the walls are a rich, bright yellow. Ngema-Zuma is also one of the few environmentally conscious homeowners on this street, with two large solar panels perched on her roof. A neighbour who had been inside the property before Ngema-Zuma moved in described it as "big and luxurious".

He added that it had "a massive swimming pool with a fish tank inside". But small piles of bricks, cement and plastic sheeting inside the property suggest it is undergoing some renovations. A security watchtower decked out with CCTV cameras looks out over the street, but no guards were manning it when the Mail & Guardian visited this week, and the mansion had an unoccupied feel.
The neighbour said Jacob Zuma had visited at least 10 times in the past nine months, but "at most" spent the night twice. When he visits, Zuma is accompanied by up to 12 black SUVs, which disgorge a number of bodyguards who line the street, keeping a watchful eye. "They're not that invasive, and tend to let us go about our own business," said the neighbour. – Sally Evans & Lionel Faull * Got a tip-off for us about this story? Email Mail & Guardian - - - - - COMMENTS BY SONNY Who are all these 'people' who are buying shares into the PRESIDENCY? Do they run the "Sahara Slush/Trust Fund! From blowing all the smoke up Zuma's ass they may asphyxiate the 'Man!' MAYBE THEY WILL BE GRANTED HELIPAD RIGHTS IN PARKVIEW SOON!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Henning killer: It's not in my nature

2012-11-29 14:28 Willem Pieterse. (File, Beeld) Multimedia · User Galleries · News in Pictures Send us your pictures · Send us your stories Related Links We are thugs, Henning killer tells court Henning murder accused denied bail Henning case: Ex's property raided again Proverbs in African Orature The study demonstrates that Africans employ literary styles and strategies in speaking their... Now R683.00 BUY NOW Pretoria - It was not in convicted murderer Willem Pieterse's nature to kill, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday. "I just could not shoot her. It is not in my nature to kill people," he said when asked about a failed attempt to murder Pretoria mother Channelle Henning. "I was only the motorcycle driver. I am not the leader." He was testifying in the trial of Ambrose Monye and Andre Gouws. They are accused of killing Henning, conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to procure an illegal firearm and ammunition, and possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition. They have pleaded not guilty. 'I did not think' Two men on a motorbike shot and killed Henning, aged 26, while she was driving her car in Faerie Glen, Pretoria East, on 8 November 2011, shortly after dropping off her child at a crèche. Pieterse and fellow former police officer Gerhardus du Plessis have claimed that Monye hired them to carry out the shooting and that he promised them R10 000 each. Both accepted a plea bargain and were convicted in December last year of murder, conspiracy to murder, possession of an unlicensed firearm, and possession of unlicensed ammunition. Each was sentenced to 18 years behind bars. Daan Mostert, for Gouws, questioned Pieterse on his decision to take part in the murder. "I did not think at all. I just did," he said. - SAPA NEWS24 COMMENTS BY SONNY Why does the NPA prosecute backwards? They are supposed to be highly skilled law practitioners. Or will the best be kept for last.

Listen to people on tolls: BMF

Sapa | 29 November, 2012 15:12 Protesters chant outside the Pretoria High Court in support of an urgent application that was filed against Gauteng's controversial e-tolling system. File photo. The government must "listen to and appreciate" the reasons behind the public outcry against e-tolling, the Black Management Forum said on Thursday. SAVE & SHARE 0 inShare EMAILPRINT RELATED NEWS Damage e-toll gantries and you will face the law: government Withdraw or we'll demolish toll booths: Cosatu E-tolling cannot be undone: Sanral lawyer Costs for e-tolling were known: Sanral lawyer "The BMF Gauteng province noted with regret government's intention to continue with e-tolling... despite the public outcry and the justified public protests against the implementation of this project," said BMF chairman Modise Moiloanyane in a statement. He said the government, together with the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) and the department of transport, needed to take collective responsibility for the lack of proper engagement with Gauteng residents on the proposed e-tolling. "Proper consultation and public buy-in is critical for projects of this magnitude, especially given the importance of the roads earmarked for tolling," said Moiloanyane. "These are roads that have been built through tax contributions from Gauteng residents, which they use daily to go to work and make a living, and thus should not be expected to pay more [for]." The BMF said that if the department wanted to toll roads, it should first build new highways. "The department... must, before rushing to introduce a world-class tolling system, first implement a world-class public transport system, so that using toll roads becomes an option rather than a necessity." He said the department should abandon the project and use the e-toll infrastructure for other traffic monitoring intelligence and crime prevention activities. "The BMF Gauteng believes that if the country's resources are used effectively we will be in a position to fund such infrastructure projects without the need for the public to pay additional indirect tax." On April 28, the High Court in Pretoria granted an interdict to the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa), ruling that a full review needed to be carried out before e-tolling could be put into effect. The interdict prevented Sanral from levying or collecting e-tolls pending the outcome of the review. In September, the Constitutional Court overturned the interim order and found that the high court had not considered the separation of powers between the court and the executive. Argument over the implementation of e-tolling was heard by the High Court in Pretoria this week. Outa wants the court to review and set aside Sanral's decision to toll roads. Judgment on the matter was reserved. Times Live - - - COMMENTS BY SONNY The Soccer World Cup reason for e-Toll was a ruse to steal our money. e-TOLL is Highway Robbery, extortion & theft!! All that money for one week? Two years late?? BOLLOCKS!!

Feature: Farm murders highlight apartheid’s toxic legacy

Reuters | 29 November, 2012 11:45 Emile le Roux, whose mother Charlotte Bekker and stepfather Marthinus Bekker, were murdered on a farm near Heidelberg on Friday Picture: KATHERINE MUICK-MERE In a country cursed by one of the world’s highest murder rates, being a white farmer makes a violent death an even higher risk. Whether attacks have been motivated by race or robbery, a rising death rate from rural homicides is drawing attention to the lack of change on South Africa’s farms nearly two decades after the end of apartheid — and to the tensions burgeoning over enduring racial inequality. Some of South Africa’s predominantly white commercial farmers go as far as to brand the farm killings a genocide. On the other side of the divide, populists are seizing on the discontent among the black majority to demand a forced redistribution of white-owned farms along the lines of neighbouring Zimbabwe. “The issue is potentially explosive,” said Lechesa Tsenoli, deputy minister for land reform, arguing that South Africa’s future depends on ending inequality on the farms. The economic change promised by Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) when white-minority rule ended in 1994 has been even slower in the countryside than in cities and mines, where at least small elites of black South Africans have prospered. Land ownership ratios are little changed from 1913, when the Natives’ Land Act set aside 87% of land for whites. Meanwhile, black farm workers are among South Africa’s poorest. Life is getting more uncomfortable for the white farmers too, however. Their number is down a third, to some 40 000, in the past 15 years. Headlines about the farm killings are another incentive to sell up. For while South Africa’s overall annual murder rate has more than halved since the end of apartheid to around 32 people per 100 000, figures for commercial farmers show a near 50% rise to an average rate of some 290 per 100 000 a year in the five years to 2011. In the neck Shot at his home by black attackers two years ago, 34-year-old Johan Scholtz believes he was the victim of a racially motivated attack rather than a robbery. “I was shot through my neck, I was shot through my chest and as I fell to the ground they came and stood over me and they shot again — two times — just missed my brain,” Scholtz said, fighting back tears as he recalled the incident. “My sheep were there around the house, they could’ve taken the sheep. My house was open, they could’ve easily gone in. But they left with nothing,” he said, adding that the family did not own much worth stealing. Scholtz now keeps a baseball bat by his bed at his livestock farm in Ermelo, in the undulating veld some 230 kilometres east of Johannesburg. He is asking himself how long he will stay in the business. Despite the ANC’s pledge to build a “rainbow nation”, South Africa’s income disparity — which had already been among the top few in the world — has widened further since apartheid ended, according to World Bank figures. Among the very poorest are the black farm workers, suffering not only from the economic hardship, but — all too often — a brand of racial abuse unchanged since the end of white rule. “For farm workers at the bottom like me, we are not allowed to talk to farm owners directly,” complained one 28-year-old fruit farm worker from the north-eastern Limpopo province, asking that he be called only by his first name, Frans. “The farmers disrespect us to a point they would use the ’K-word’,” he said. The “K-word” is “kaffir”, apartheid-era slang for a black person and highly offensive. While wages for most workers have increased steadily since apartheid, they have risen more slowly for farm workers — who earn only 10 to 30% of a typical factory worker’s wage. About half those in rural areas live on less than R26 a day. Anger has boiled over in violent strikes in recent weeks in the Cape Town wine region, where thousands of farm workers demand a doubling in wages from about R70 a day. Robbery not race The motive for nearly 90% of farm attacks was robbery rather than race, according to the biggest government study on the subject, published nearly a decade ago. “There might be segments within the South African population that would like to use words such as genocide, but farm attacks are a result of criminal activities,” said Andre Botha of Agri SA, the largest farmers’ union, which points out that the small number of black commercial farmers are also victims of crime. “It’s an obvious result of the lifestyle that we chose. Farms are a soft target,” he said. Disentangling motives is no easy task, however, in a society where whites have the vast majority of the wealth on display and the history of discrimination can add another edge to attacks on isolated homesteads. “Sometimes it degenerates into racial conflict,” said Johan Burger of the Institute for Security Studies, who has been studying farm violence for more than a decade. When white supremacist leader Eugene Terre’blanche was hacked to death by two farm workers in 2010, racial motives were suspected, but it turned out to have been caused by a wage dispute. The racial discontent on the farms has also become an element in the political equation at a time of tensions over wildcat mineworkers’ strikes and factional struggles within the ruling ANC. ‘Shoot the Boer’ Before being told to stop by the courts, populist leader Julius Malema stirred up crowds with his singing of “Shoot the Boer” — deepening unease among whites in a country where the Afrikaans word for farmer is synonymous with the people who make up most of the 10% white minority. Although the ANC has decided to drop the apartheid-era song after firing Malema as its youth leader, the affair has pushed race further onto the political agenda. AfriForum, a vocal advocacy group for Afrikaans-speakers — who descend mostly from Dutch and French settlers — blames the song in part for the rise in crimes against farmers as it catalogues murders, rapes and other attacks. “The amount of violence is horrific,” said AfriForum’s Ernst Roets. Meanwhile, Malema and the ANC’s youth wing are demanding that white-owned land be turned over to black South Africans. For radicals, Zimbabwe’s experience set a good example to follow — even though the forced seizures of land helped push South Africa’s neighbour into nearly a decade of economic decline. According to a plan drawn up under Mandela, 30% of farmland was meant to be handed to black South Africans by 2014. Only 8% has been transferred, however, and the government is now reviewing the plan. The direct economic impact of any radical change in land ownership might be less dramatic in South Africa than in Zimbabwe because farming accounts for only about 3% of gross domestic product rather than 20%. But no matter how it is addressed, the potential for growing confrontation over race and land raises another dangerous prospect for Africa’s biggest economy. Times LIVE - - - - - COMMENTS BY SONNY THESE MURDERS ARE BASED ON RACIAL HATE. Why do these co called murderers not target BEE enriched tycoons. We are not talking here of isolated incidents where a wife's car gets hijacked. If she was not white she may have stood a better chance of being overlooked. The resentment is not directed at farmers alone. In the urban areas squatters move into predominantly middle class areas and demand accommodation with ulterior motives on future invasions. RACISM IS EXPERIENCE IN PARLIAMENT WHERE THE ELITE OF THE NATION IS SUPPOSED TO BE SEATED! THE WRITING HAS BEEN ON THE WALL SINCE BEFORE 1994 AND MANDELA HIMSELF SANG "KILL THE WHITES" SONGS. THEY RAPE THE LAND,THE ECONOMY, THE POPULATION AND THE CONSTITUTION. BRITAIN IS STILL ACCOUNTABLE FOR WHAT HAPPENED IN ZIMBABWE. BRITAIN HAS ALSO ALLOWED THIS COUNTRY'S DESTINY TO BE GUIDED BY DISGRUNTLED ANCESTORS!

How Helen Zille can increase her share of the black vote

29 NOV 2012 00:00 - KHAYA DLANGA Khaya Dlanga offers the Democratic Alliance and its leader, Helen Zille, some tips on how to increase their number of black voters. If one asked Helen Zille if the DA has the black vote, she would say what she has always said: the Democratic Alliance is the most racially diverse political party in the country. But that doesn’t answer the question of the black vote, which is needed if she wants the DA to be a formidable threat to the ANC, if not rule the country. She would also say that they do not care about race because the party is about delivery. Unfortunately South Africa is racialised. Whether you like it or not, if you want to get votes you have to appeal to the majority, and you can’t appeal to a voter in Sandton the same way you appeal to one in Khayelithsa. You need different strategies for both. She is correct is saying that there should be no racialisation of our politics. But South Africa was racialised for 400 years and there isn’t a chance we can end it in 18. In the last election the DA got 6% of the black electorate, according to Zille’s own admission. The thing about Zille is that she has a great work ethic and is really good at what she does. Not a single person can deny that the Western Cape is a well-run machine. Let’s get the first thing out of the way: as I have said in the past, Zille is not racist. The biggest problem with her is that she can be very abrasive when responding to people. If she was a black woman or a man of any colour she might not be viewed as abrasive. She has a way of sounding like madam baas sometimes. She might even argue that her style has worked so far and the DA has grown beyond anyone’s dreams during her time at the helm of the party. There are a few things Zille needs to do to get another 5% from the ANC – I think 10% is a stretch. 1. She needs to showcase her human side a lot more. It must not come across as a sales pitch or as: “Hey, look black people. I’m nice, see? Now vote for me.” She must be authentic, just like she was when she interviewed on Metro FM a few months ago, talking about how, as a journalist, she uncovered the Steve Biko story. There was nothing contrived about how she told the story. There was no madam, there was someone who was genuinely in love with her country. There was no ANC bashing. It was just a story about her. She came across as human and people suddenly realised that she actually had a hand in the struggle too. When people heard her warm side, they suddenly said they would actually take a second look at her, even whispered the possibility of voting for her. Unfortunately the South African Broadcasting Corporation's stations wouldn't let her have that opportunity. She won't be able to do it through speeches she delivers herself. If she made speeches about how she was in the struggle she would come across as opportunistic and inauthentic. She’d have to go to interviews where she gets asked those kinds of questions. 2. She needs to re-introduce herself to the public. If people voted on work ethic alone she would have a significant chunk of the vote. The truth is, her province is the best performing one of the whole lot. But people need to know her for them to think they can trust her, not just her work. No one introduced themselves better than US President Barack Obama in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention when Americans heard him speak for the first time. 3. She needs to talk about what she loves about this country and what we should do better, not just bash the ANC. People know that the ANC hasn’t been optimal, and the last thing they want is someone they don’t really trust telling them that. When Obama introduced himself to the nation he spoke about his hopes, what he loved about America, not about what he detested about George Bush and the Republicans. People still like the ANC even if they don’t like the leadership. There is an emotional bond between the people and the ANC that cannot be explained. 4. She needs to get Athol Trollip out more. He must get out there and speak to the people because he speaks flawless Xhosa, which will connect with a lot of voters. In fact, the voters she wants will connect better with him than with Lindiwe Mazibuko. They must deploy her to the young Model C-accented black folks. If she goes to speak to older black people, they will see her as an uppity black person with good English who doesn’t know their struggles, and who only know how to speak about them, not to them. Despite the fact that this isn't true, to them that’s all she is. Some of the traditionalists might even be offended by how she confronted the president in Parliament – she would be perceived as a young girl who has no respect for her elders. "She doesn’t understand the African ways," they might say. Some of us understand that she was well within her right to do so, but not some of the elderly. 5. People need to know Lindiwe Mazibuko's story. People buy into political stories long before they buy into the politician. No one knows what Lindiwe’s story is. No one knows that her mother was a nurse. What were her struggles, if any? People want to know those things. You can’t be a political giant without a story. Why do you think Kgalema Motlanthe won’t win at Mangaung? No one knows his story. With Mbeki we knew that he fled the country, that his son vanished and no one knows what happened to him. There’s a story. Mandela, Lincoln, you name any great politician, they have a story. Before people know how brilliant you are, they want to know your story because it says something they can’t put into words about your character as an individual, rather than as a leader in a party. Mazibuko is brilliant. She is smart and fearless. We saw her confronting the president about Nkandla a few weeks ago even though the way Parliament is designed is so that when the president speaks he is physically standing above everyone, looking down on them. But when she confronted him she seemed to get bigger and bolder, while the president got increasingly angry and demanded to be respected. When he said that, he wasn’t speaking to her, he was appealing to the masses who would probably be appalled by this young girl dressing down a grown man who is old enough to be her father. Zille has a likeability gap precisely because she can come across as very harsh and that she knows best. Unfortunately a lot of people will tie this to a bad past even though that is not her intention. Often, Zille is her own worst enemy, saying the right thing in the wrong way, which leads people to continue to be suspicious of her true intentions. So for the next three years, she's going to have to work hard on her ground game, introducing herself to black voters and being careful not so say things that could be misunderstood. If she does, she will take another chunk from Zuma’s ANC, and perhaps increase her tally of the black vote from 6% to 12%. We shall see... Mail & Guardian - - - - - - COMMENTS BY SONNY At least she will still look glamorous eating fish and Chips on the pavement in the Western Cape! Has-been ANC beware...... AT LEAST SHE IS AN 'ICON' FOR ALL TRUE SOUTH AFRICANS. VIVA HELEN ZILLE VIVA!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Activists vow to take secrecy Bill to ConCourt

28 NOV 2012 20:37 - SAPA The Right2Know Campaign intends challenging the Protection of State Information Bill in the ConCourt should it be signed into law in its present form. OUR COVERAGE ConCourt action will be secrecy Bill activists' last resort Secrecy Bill one step closer to becoming law Editorial: Secrecy Bill same old ugly in spite of concessions "The secrecy Bill remains a threat to our democracy and we will continue our campaign to stop it," the movement, which was born in opposition to the official secrets draft law, said on Wednesday. "If Parliament fails to introduce the necessary amendments and President [Jacob] Zuma signs it into law, the Right2Know will take the fight to the Constitutional Court." ANC MPs on the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) ad hoc committee handling the Bill approved a report adopting the legislation, while opposition MPs walked out in protest on Tuesday. It is scheduled to be debated in the council on Thursday, and is likely to be passed thanks to the ruling party's majority. The Bill will then be sent back to the National Assembly for approval before the president can sign it. Right2Know said despite last-minute amendments, the Bill still clashed with the constitutional rights to freedom of information and expression and was likely to lead to over-classification. It criminalised mere possession of secret documents and publication of classified information, even that which was already in the public domain. The group said lawmakers had failed to sufficiently narrow down the definition of national security as the rationale for classification, leaving room for security officials to suppress disclosures in the public interest. "The secrecy Bill still carries the fingerprints of the securocrats who have remained the 'hidden hand' behind this process from the start." MPs should vote with their conscience and reject the Bill, it said. The South African National Editors' Forum said the Bill remained a threat to democracy and urged NCOP members to reject it and force a redraft. "We call on members to take this final opportunity to reject it outright, by voting against the Bill. "By doing so, they can send a clear message that the Protection of State Information Bill must be thoroughly redrafted to ensure that state secrecy is narrowly defined, the powers of bureaucrats and security officials limited, and basic constitutional principles respected." The South African Chapter of Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa-SA) appealed to NCOP members to vote against the Bill. "If this is done media freedom—which is no more than the peoples' freedom—will be protected and the government's ability to throw a cloak of secrecy over activities that the public should know about will be curtailed," Misa-SA chairperson, Raymond Louw, said in a statement on Wednesday evening. One of the Bill's contested features was the power it gave the state security minister, Louw said. "Misa-SA calls on members of the NCOP to show their determination not to be dictated to by a Cabinet minister and go the whole hog by voting against the Bill. This will mean the Bill will have to be redrafted from scratch so that it meets the demands that official secrets should be clearly and narrowly defined ... ." – Sapa Mail & Guardian - - - COMMENTS BY SONNY The opposition walked out of Parliament and the bigots passed the Bill? Raymond Louw where will your Liberal thinking cap get you NOW? Zuma has 'STACKED ALL THE CARDS IN HIS OWN FAVOUR!'

Online censorship in 2012

28 NOV 2012 13:47 - ALIKI KARASARIDIS The number of countries filtering online content has increased. Pornography and security are reasons given to block politically sensitive information. OUR COVERAGE Editorial: Crude implements of censorship New radio, same old censorship MORE COVERAGE Cyberspace the new frontier in Iran's war with foes Nothing, however vile, justifies censorship Anonymous: Behind the masks of the cyber insurgents Cybercriminals who educated 'students in crime' jailed The OpenNet Initiative, which documents attempts to mould the internet, lists IP blocking, DNS tampering, URL blocking using a proxy, keyword blocking and denial of service attacks as the most common forms of filtering. State-directed censorship, as employed in Iran and China for example, is carried out at the internet backbone, affecting access throughout the country. China's internet restrictions known as "The Great Firewall" are installed on the international internet gateway of mainland China. YouTube, Google+, Twitter, Dropbox, Facebook and Foursquare are banned. But the firewall, as hackers have proved countless times, has its limitations and cracks. US President Barack Obama's Google+ account was flooded with comments in February after a temporary gap in the firewall allowed Chinese users to access the social network. Several of Google's online services were blocked during the country's transfer of leadership this month. Closed network Iran is launching a closed national computer network in 2013 that will cut itself off from the global internet. It claims foreign powers are trying to disrupt its development. In 2010 a computer worm caused centrifuges to fail at its main uranium enrichment facility. But Al Jazeera reports the proposal may find opposition in unexpected quarters. "The country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has his own website in 13 languages and accounts on Twitter and photo-sharing site Instagram. Any interruption to Iran's global internet access is likely to also affect his followers." Transparency In September this year Google blocked the Innocence of Muslims film in Libya and Egypt. Censoring the video went against Google's bias in favour of free expression. The company said the video fell within its guidelines but "given the very difficult situation in Libya and Egypt we have temporarily restricted access in both countries". Google often complies with user-data requests and take-down notices from governments and companies. Reasons given for removing content include defamation, pornography, hate speech, national security, religious offence and copyright and trademark law. So Google's not a court but it's increasingly acting like one. It determines whether to comply with a government's request and takes into account the country's laws. It publishes a transparency report every six months documenting how much data it's removed and where. South Africa requested Google to remove content for the first time this year and was successful. The South African courts submitted three removal requests between January to June 2012. The reason given for all three was defamation. South African government agencies and courts did not ask Google for any user information. Surveillance In a report on internet freedom, Freedom House, an independent watchdog organisation dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world, reported that digital media freedom is generally respected in South Africa. That political content is not censored and that bloggers and online content creators are not prosecuted. South Africa's internet freedom is however threatened by two pieces of proposed legislation. The Protection of State Information Bill that would make it illegal to publish and access certain state information, affecting the traditional and digital media, bloggers, internet users and whistle-blower sites. And the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill could legalise the bulk monitoring of internet communications. "Reports indicate that the government conducts some bulk surveillance of mobile phone conversations, short-message service and emails through the National Communications Centre (NCC), a government agency that houses interception facilities … while most interceptions involve reasonable national security concerns, such as terrorism or assassination plots, the system allows the NCC to record South African citizens' conversations without a warrant. Although the NCC operates outside the boundaries of the law, a current Bill in Parliament - the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill, previously shelved in 2008 but reintroduced in 2011 - would legalise the interception of "any communication that emanates from outside the borders of the republic, or passes through or ends in the republic" … an email address with a foreign company or through social-networking platforms like Facebook could potentially count as interceptable communication." In July this year, Skype expanded its cooperation with law-enforcement authorities to make online chats and other user information available to police. And BlackBerry maker Research in Motion agreed to hand over encryption keys for its secure corporate emails and messenger services to Indian security services in August. There are ways to circumvent monitoring and the threat of surveillance that often leads to self-censorship. Tor, for example, allows you to browse anonymously and access blocked websites. It hides your online identity. Ethiopia's only internet service provider, which is state owned, installed a system in June 2012 that blocked access to Tor. A few days later the Tor project posted a message explaining how to circumvent the blocking. Mail & Guardian - - - - - - COMMENTS BY SONNY With or without legislation "Big Brother" is WATCHING YOU!! IMAGINE HOW MANY "AGENCIES" ARE MAKING 'BIG BUCKS' FROM THE INTERCEPTION AND INVASION OF YOUR PRIVACY? EXTORTION BRINGS IN BIG GREEN BUCKS. NO WONDER CRIME IS A GLOBAL COMMODITY WANTED BY ALL! YES, LITTLE BROTHER ....."CRIME DOES PAY!"

Cop, couple held for ammunition

Sapa | 27 November, 2012 20:05 Under arrest. File photo. Image by: MIKE SEGAR / REUTERS A Limpopo police station commissioner was arrested on Tuesday afternoon for possession of and dealing in ammunition, the Hawks said. He was arrested while in a police meeting in Bela-Bela, Captain Paul Ramaloko said. More than 500 rounds of ammunition were found at his house. Earlier police arrested a couple believed to be station commissioner's accomplices. They were found with 10,500 rounds of ammunition in a Fiat Uno in Montana, Pretoria, and apparently on their way to deliver them to the commissioner. The 43-year-old captain, based in Rust de Winter, allegedly sold the 9mm and shotgun ammunition to criminals. The ammunition was estimated to be worth around R1 million. The three would appear in the Pretoria North Magistrate's Court on Wednesday. TIMES LIVE COMMENTS BY SONNY WHY WAS THIS CAPTAIN IDENTIFIED BEFORE HE APPEARED IN COURT? Are the HAWKS acting to the Media again? So,it's not only McIntosh Polele who is on an ego trip? We have always been convinced that crime is syndicates and not random in South Africa. There is no doubt in our minds that their is a "Third Force" responsible for major crimes in SA. We are also aware of who controls them! Is this not a case of "get rid of the opposition and keep the attention from the real arms dealers/smugglers/murderers?" WHERE DID THE ARMS/AMMUNITION GO THAT WERE HANDED IN BY THE PUBLIC ON FALSE PRETENCES? Crime is a close knit home industry controlled by the inner circles.