Monday, March 31, 2014

HANNIBAL ELECTOR: The Boerestaat party wants you to get naked

No fear No Favour No Boerestaat..........

Richard Poplak South Africa 30 March 2014 10:15 (SOUTH AFRICA)

Coen Vermaak’s Boerestaat Party is firmly on the right wing, which has all but disappeared in South Africa. His story is the story of so many fringe parties—forgotten but still fighting, they use politics to tell their story. RICHARD POPLAK goes to Randfontein to investigate.

There, in a tangle of streets named for car brands—Fiat, Honda, Dodge—lies a chunk of South Africa’s discarded heart. A factory building undergoing a renovation and inside it, a large man in slacks and a knitted vest over a white shirt. His hair and beard and eyebrows are also white, as if bleached by some sudden calamity, while his skin is cardiac-arrest maroon. His name is Coen Vermaak and, among other things, he is the president of Boerestaat Party, which the literature describes as “the only right wing party registered with the Independent Electoral Commission”. Their electoral platform? “Our main aim is to increase our nation to at least 20 million by the end of the century.”
Coen Vermaak, in other words, wants the Boers to get it on.
The Boerestaat Party, located on the outskirts of the outskirts of Randfontein, GP, is one of 152 parties registered nationally with the IEC, most of which exist miles outside of the mainstream. The moment you leave the big tents belonging to the ANC, the DA, or the EFF, the proceedings become considerably more niche. Logos are hastily concocted from 1990s clipart, taglines are either surgically non-specific (A Party—We Have Plans. We Deliver), or completely unnecessary (Africa Muslim Party). In the alphabet soup of acronyms that constitute the underbelly of our democracy, citizens toil to promote causes that to most of us seem too local (Bohlokong Civic Association), too archaic (Black Consciousness Party) or too whacked out (Codors Consortium, run by Loopy Loop, located in Until Ever, Pretoria).
The bulk of these outsider parties are the work of one charismatic individual, an impresario crafting policy, gathering members, and promoting a Weltschmerz shaped and defined by this country’s strange, bloody history. Each tells a specific South African story through the medium of politics. That is certainly the case with Coen Vermaak, who in his spare time runs a successful civil construction business, and is a member in good standing of the Randfontein community. He employs 100 South Africans and hopes to employ many more. Business, he tells me, is “very, very good”.
So, what’s the problemo?
As far as I’m concerned,” says Vermaak, once we’ve been served coffee in a boardroom above the factory floor, “we’re a dying breed. We’ve got a negative growth. It’s not about me, it’s about my nation. If I don’t do something, we will die out.”
Vermaak has written a mini library tabling his concerns, which he traces back to the foundation of the United Nation and their Malthusian distaste for population growth. The Boerestaat Party website lists five books and a slew of pamphlets under Vermaak’s name, with titles like Seks en politiekCoitus Interruptus andDagboek van die rewolusie. They have either a healthy or unhealthy focus on shagging, depending on how you look at these things, and Vermaak clearly has no patience for anything that would inhibit natural sexual congress between two full-blooded Afrikaners of the opposite gender.
Orania?” he asks rhetorically, of the “breakaway” Afrikaner republic in the Northern Cape. “Last week they had a school sports day, and they had 300 children there, taking part. Tongue in cheek, I told them, ‘Oh, so you’re not against sex?’ You see, some time ago there was a man and a lady there, living together but not married. And they sent them away, kicked them out. That’s just crazy.” Extreme times, extreme measures: it doesn’t matter how, but Vermaak wants more Afrikaners to make more Afrikaners.
* * *
Coen Vermaak’s consciousness as a far right-winger took shape in his army days. He was born in Natal, grew up in Germiston, and spent ten years in the army, posted to the South West African (Namibian) border. One day, then-Foreign Minister Pik Botha arrived to give a speech in a big white tent set up for the occasion. Botha said that the government was not fighting the war on the border to win, but to win time in order to negotiate a dispensation.
Lots of young guys died,” Vermaak tells me, “for their time.”
He distaste for the National Party deepened when he came to understand the full weight of the policies instituted under Hendrik Verwoerd during his mostly unloved tenure. “Ag, they boasted of seven percent growth between 1960 and 1970,” Vermaak says of the regime. “But think about why that may be.” As far as Vermaak is concerned, that uptick had everything to do with the Prime Minister forcing the contraceptive pill on Afrikaner women, so that blacks would be contained to the Bantustans and whites—including white women—would form the majority of the employed. That bump in GDP growth? All due to women entering the work force, paying taxes, buying clothes and jewellery and cars and ballpoints. The pill, insists Vermaak, has killed eight million potential Boer babies, a technocrat’s genocide of almost unimaginable proportions.
After the army, his outrage fully stirred, Vermaak started attending Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) meetings, led by the hard-charging, horse-riding firebrand Eugene Terreblanche. “I liked that very much,” he tells me. “I know that the media doesn’t like the right wing,” he continues. “They like to belittle them. They’re not conversant in English and that makes them look silly. But I think Eugene Terreblanche is one of the greatest people ever.”
But Terreblanche is dead, the AWB has slipped from the fringes into the abyss, and the Boerestaat Party is something of a 21st century reboot—not anti-black, nor explicitly pro-white, but rather pro-Boer Nation. What Afrikaner in their right mind wouldn’t get behind a party that just wants them to screw? And also not to be slaughtered in an unending orgy of farm murders, which Vermaak believes are not so much state-sanctioned as tacitly state-approved.
Oh yes, this is all a silent agreement of the government,” he says of the murders. “Now they make like they’re concerned. But they’re very glad. If our white women are wearing contraceptives they’re very glad. And that is what our party is for. To fight against this.”
When I mention that the theory of the mass murder of rural whites has been widely and resoundingly rubbished, and that whites are more likely to be killed by their spouses or drinking buddies than roving black gangs, Vermaak nods and shrugs and nods again. Then he pushes his spectacles up his nose.
That’s why we need the death penalty re-instituted. Immediately. If we have the death penalty, Oscar thinks twice before shooting at Reeva. People must be brought to book. Since 2000, I’ve been collecting the names of all the whites that have been killed by blacks. Minorities have no protection whatsoever in this country. It’s true.”
But this, claims Vermaak, is all due to the economic disparities that exist in our denuded, strip-mined quarry of a nation. “We actuallyagree with Malema and his EFF. Of course, ja! We agree with him. You want to sell stuff in South Africa, you come open your factories here. Under the Nationalists and the ANC, they have raped this country, and sent all of our stuff overseas.” South Africa will become rich when we ring-fence the joint, electrify those fences, and start making things. “My business as an example; I cannot remember the last time a concrete factory was built in this country,” says Vermaak.
* * *
The fact that the Boerestaat Party is registered with the IEC should not fool the reader into thinking that Vermaak thinks much of democracy. His political philosophy leans more towards Plato than John Locke. As the party’s election manifesto explains:
The game is rigged in favour of the black majority.
It is as a rugby game, where one side has 15 players and the other side has 100 players.
Then are we surprised if the 100 players win?
Such stupidity can have only one result.
A vagrant and a doctor can’t have the same voting rights.
In our country even jailbirds can vote and their vote counts the same as the farmer that supplies all our food on our table.
Our standpoint is clear: Qualified Franchise where every man has one vote but everybody that has Diplomas, Degrees or [is an] Employer must have a higher value to their vote.
The Boerestaat Party now has 500 paid-up members, and has hired a marketing manager to buff the brand and grow the rolls. When I ask for his predictions, Vermaak says, “Ja, we’ll get a lot of votes, because we’re the only right-wing party.” But he doesn’t really want those votes, because he doesn’t believe in the process. Boerestaat, like so many fringe parties in so many democracies, uses the process in order to undermine and ultimately eliminate the process. “Under the present system,” he chuckles, “blacks would have to vote for Boerestaat.”
Which does seem unlikely.
And so we leave it at that, with Vermaak walking me out through the clanging factory, which is making tangible things just as he hopes Boers will start making people on a great production line of penises and vaginas and fallopian tubes. He has three sons. They bore six grandchildren. “We are barely replacing ourselves. We will disappear,” he says.
And maybe that’s the point of the democratic machine Vermaak does not respect—it stems, even for one brief voting cycle, the erasure of those on the edge. The pill killed Vermaak’s absent Boers. Maybe politics will save them.
As I drive off he disappears into the dust and din of his factory, pointing, nodding, producing. DM
Photo: Boerestaat Party's Coen Vermaak (Richard Poplak)

Daily Maverick


The Boerestaat Party, "seems to be born dead" like AGANG!











Saturday, March 29, 2014

Marikana Commission: A cop who stands for truth and accountability

No fear No Favour No Breaking Ranks or becoming a "FALLMAN!"


It's hard to imagine a story that could snatch headlines from Oscar Pistorius and Nkandla, but Lieutenant Colonel Salmon Vermaak has put the Marikana massacre back on the front page. The air-wing commander had a bird's eye view of the events and having broken ranks with the top brass, he's now flying solo. The dissident cop describes a Marikana operation of incompetence, brutality and cover-ups that reach the highest levels of South African policing. By GREG NICOLSON & THAPELO LEKGOWA.

13 August 2012, death toll: 10. Violence erupted days earlier when Lonmin Platinum workers turned on each other. The National Union of Mineworkers was fracturing, workers' committees were forming and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) had been rising in the platinum belt throughout 2012. Organised labour at Lonmin had fractured, turning the area into a battleground. But it was Monday the 13th when the narrative, forever tying the SAPS to Marikana, began. Police failed to disarm the striking mineworkers as they moved through the area, leading to the officers Tsietsi Monene and Sello Lepaku being hacked to death.
In an explosive testimony to the Marikana Commission of Inquiry this week, Vermaak, who was watching the scene from a helicopter, described what happened. North West Deputy Provincial Commissioner Major General William Mpembe was on the ground. He gave no briefing before the incident. Protesters were walking peacefully and cops didn't have protective riot gear or their shotguns, used for rubber bullets. Mpembe instructed them to leave the shotguns, Vermaak had heard, so as not to provoke the workers. “We were shocked to see tear gas and stun grenades,” the Lieutenant Colonel told the Commission. No order was given on the radio. It was then that all hell broke loose and the two officers were killed.
Mpembe has denied he gave an instruction to fire teargas, despite reports it was his orders that sparked the violence. When Vermaak and officers at the scene confronted him about it during an SAPS meeting in Potchefstroom to compile their evidence, the deputy commissioner threatened to lock them up for defeating the ends of justice. Meeting the mineworkers without the proper equipment was unsafe, said Vermaak. If he's to be believed, members of the Tactical Response Team (TRT) agreed. When Vermaak arrived on the scene, Mpembe was hysterical and had to be removed because the cops blamed him for their colleagues' deaths and threatened revenge.
Why is this important? The Marikana Commission needs to investigate what happened in the days leading up to the massacre, before which 10 people were killed; what happened on 16 August when 34 people were killed; and test the evidence compiled and submitted after the fact. Mostly, police witnesses have supported claims they were following a plan to disperse and disarm and only engaged the protesters with live ammunition when their lives were threatened. Vermaak, however, describes an operation that lacked the necessary experience and planning and police who were determined to hide anything implicating them in the deaths.
As an insider speaking out, he has put the cops under pressure, making the failures of their operation clear and opening the door to arguments Daily Maverick suspected for a long time: that police killed in cold blood.
Vermaak had 16 years of experience as a commander in Public Order Policing before becoming an air wing commander and he dealt with mining violence before. Before the operation on the 16th, he made two suggestions to the plan: start in the hostels first and hit the koppie (where thousands of workers gathered during the day) in the early morning before a large group gathered. The first suggestion was dismissed as police didn't have intelligence on who to target in the hostels. Regarding the second, however, the Commission has heard it would have been better for police to confront the koppie in the early morning, but political pressure made them want to act on the 16th, even when the operation was delayed until the afternoon.
Led by evidence leader Kameshni Pillay, Vermaak said Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Merafe and Brigadier Adriaan Calitz were experienced in public policing. Otherwise? “Other people from Pretoria that I met, I believe they had never been exposed to the experiences in the mines.” He had never seen Mpembe involved with unrest in the mines. On the Special Task Force's Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Scott, who devised the plan for the 16th, he said, “It was strange to me that somebody from the task force was brought in to draw a plan for an incident that has public unrest.”
In 2011, after three mineworkers died during unrest in Stilfontein, Vermaak raised policing problems in an email to his superiors, North West Commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo, Mpembe and Calitz. He observed a lack of training, lack of command and control, the wrong equipment, lack of video capturing and a failure to make proper records. The leaders, all of whom featured at Marikana, didn't provide any feedback.
Vermaak's relationship with the top brass is clearly strained. Unlike other officers at the Commission, he's being led by the evidence leaders instead of the police counsel. Repeatedly, he told his superiors he would tell the truth. At least two incidents appear to have put him on the sidelines. First, he raised the issue that Mpembe ordered the tear gas on the 13th. Secondly, he told his superiors how an officer said a colleague shot dead an injured miner because “he doesn't deserve to live”.
During the Commission, Brigadier Calitz, who was in charge of police on the ground on 16 August, called him and said they should get their stories straight. “Basically, from the beginning I said I would just speak the truth and if there were mistakes made I would admit to them. He said that blame would be apportioned to me on that day. That is why I deemed it necessary to keep this note in my diary. I said that I confirm that I will remain with the truth and nothing more than that. In consultation with the legal team – and I thought they represented me as well – at that stage it was mentioned to me that I am going to carry the responsibility for those who were killed at koppie 3,” Vermaak told the Commission, referring to the killings at the “small koppie”, which weren't caught on camera. He says they wanted to blame him because he was the most experienced Public Order Policing officer in Marikana.
The rot of apparent collusion and fabrication goes deeper. Vermaak was summoned to National Commissioner Riah Phiyega's office in early 2013. The country's top cop had heard a rumour, from who she wouldn't say, that Vermaak had bragged to a colleague around the braai about shooting miners from the helicopter. She'd also heard he was consorting with George Bizos, representing the Legal Resources Centre at the Commission, and evidence leaders. Vermaak denied the allegations, saying he hasn't worked with Bizos and only met evidence leaders this year. He said he doesn't normally carry a gun and didn't at Marikana, nor does he stand around braais after having smelt people being necklaced.
The police have declined to talk to media about the issue, saying the Marikana Commission will deal with the issues.
Teboho Mosikili, a SERI advocate for Marikana's deceased mineworkers, said, “It is worrying if SAPS is shaping the case and distorting facts to suit their case. If what Vermaak is saying is the truth it also proves that the police were not attacked and people were executed at scene 2 [the small koppie].” He added, “In the truth that he tells he should implicate himself also. He must not act as if he was not there and wash his hands blaming the others. He is not an angel in all of this.”
Speaking on Vermaak's testimony, Marikana mineworker Sobopha Mthethwa told Daily Maverick, “We as the workers are happy that there is a policeman willing to tell the truth which proves our version of events to be true. We are also happy he is telling and showing how corrupt the SAPS top brass are and the role they are playing in prolonging and wasting the commission’s time. If they all tell the truth a lot of time would be saved.”
The truth has hardly been forthcoming at the Marikana Commission. The police say they had a decent plan and used live ammunition to kill workers when the strikers, high on muti, charged at them, risking lives. Yet no one will admit to being in control while the shootings took place. We've seen the cops have doctored evidence, adding weapons to crime scene photos, and hidden relevant information, failing to submit some photos and videos. Some miners were shot from behind. The provincial commissioner, under political pressure, even said “it is blood” if the miners don't surrender, perhaps a slip of the tongue if we forget that mortuary vans and rounds of live ammo ordered before the killings.
If the truth's been hard to find, justice is non-existent. Over a year and a half since the massacre, no one (but the miners themselves) has been charged for the killings, nor the reports of torture that followed. Families who lost breadwinners have been put through hell. They've got few answers for what happened and no justice. It's hoped Vermaak's appearance might change that.
But what's happening at the Marikana Commission goes beyond those directly involved. On Wednesday, Bizos compared the killings to what happened in Sharpeville in 1960. The comparisons are easy to make, but more prevalent are the instances of police brutality and ineffectiveness experienced across the country that have continued almost as though democracy never occurred.
The Marikana Massacre ties into the other week's big story, the Nkandla report, on the issue of accountability. Despite alarming levels of police violence, no one is called to account, little concern is raised even when 34 mineworkers are killed. A police commissioner, appointed by the president, is now implicated in trying to suppress evidence and intimidate a witness to a state inquiry. Future deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa is tied to a crackdown which led to mass deaths. Neither will be held to account and no one's asking who the hell has failed to train our police so that they stop shooting protesters and dragging people behind cars.
Vermaak will face cross-examination in the coming days, before the long-awaited witness, “Mr X”, a mineworker set to testify for the police, appears. The lieutenant colonel's claims must still be tested, but so far he's shown there are still people willing to stand up for truth and accountability, even if they are few and far between. DM
Read more:
  • Marikana massacre: SAPS, Lonmin, Ramaphosa & time for blood. Miners' blood. In Daily Maverick
  • Farlam Commission: More Marikana massacre secrets and lies in Daily Maverick
  • Marikana Commission: Long game reveals itself in Daily Maverick
  • Marikana's Rambo in The Con.
Photo: Marikana, 17 August 2012, by Greg Marinovich.


Major General TS Mpembe

Major General TS Mpembe has been a member of the South African Police Service (SAPS) for 33 years. He is currently doing his master’s in public administration at the University of Pretoria.
He was appointed as a constable in 1978 in Kroonstad, and steadily worked his way up the ranks. In 2000 he was promoted to his current rank and was appointed as deputy provincial commissioner of support services. In 2003 he was appointed area commissioner in Vaalrand, and in 2006 he was appointed as the station commander of SAPS Johannesburg Central. In 2009 he was appointed as the deputy provincial commissioner of operational services Gauteng, the position he currently holds.






Tuesday, March 25, 2014

ANC security briefing: No retreat, no surrender on Nkandla

No fear No Favour No Zuma..........

Renjeni Munusami SOUTH AFRICA  24 MArch 2014 11:47  (SOUTH AFRICA)

If the ANC harboured the belief that it could quickly shake off the Nkandla debacle and move attention back to its “good story” election campaign, a briefing with editors on peace and security issues on Monday would have put paid to that theory. The ANC’s security bigwigs were pelted with questions about the Public Protector’s report on the upgrades at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla residence. All indications are that strong rear-guard action from government is imminent but, in the meantime, the ANC has to contend with the giant squawking albatross called Nkandla threatening to smother the party’s election messaging. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.

Poor Jackson Mthembu. The ANC’s national spokesman really thought he could keep his regular breakfast briefings with editors on script. Unfortunately, this week’s scheduled briefing was with the ANC’s peace and security sub-committee, which includes Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula – all of whom have a role in handling or are implicated in Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on the R246 million upgrades at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla residence.
Radebe did not turn up at the briefing. This left Mapisa-Nqakula and Mthethwa to carry the Nkandla can, while other ANC leaders present looked on, waiting to answer questions about their part of the “good story”. The written statement read by Mapisa-Nqakula talked about the cessation of political violence, the decline in crime levels and the country’s peacekeeping missions on the continent. There was also a section on the fight against corruption and how the ANC will intensify this campaign in the next five years.
“The ANC will demand the resignation of ANC leaders found guilty in court of law,” Mapisa-Nqakula said – without laughing or bursting into flames. The ANC’s approach to corrupt leaders is, of course, a moving target. At its national conference in Mangaung in December 2012, the ANC resolved that leaders accused of corruption should step down from their positions so as not to damage the organisation while facing charges. Now the position has been watered down so that only those convicted in a court of law cannot serve in any leadership post in the party or government.
In light of the Nkandla bombshell dropped by Madonsela last week, and the ANC’s attempts to play it down, the tough talk on corruption predictably fell rather flat at the briefing. The ANC will have the same problem on the campaign trail for as long as Nkandla remains topical, and for as long as the party appears to be ducking and diving from the main issue: that the face of its election ticket was the beneficiary of “excessive” and “unconscionable” state spending.
Mthethwa and Mapisa-Nqakula’s strategy at the briefing was to bat away questions, and promise that government will deliver a full and consolidated response to the Nkandla report in due course. Mapisa-Nqakula said the Nkandla report was no longer just being handled by the security cluster but was now a matter for the entire government as it pronounced on its performance.
Mthethwa was hammered by Madonsela for having “failed to apply his mind” when signing the declaration of Zuma’s estate as a National Key Point and for not directing the president to implement security measures at his own cost. The Public Protector said this failure “constitutes improper conduct and maladministration”. But Mthethwa resisted responding or countering to any of the findings against him, save to say “quite clearly there are inaccuracies in that report”. Asked about the attempt by the security cluster in November to interdict the Public Protector from releasing her provisional report and the warnings about threats to the president’s security, Mthethwa said some parts of the report had been excised due to these concerns. This included issues relating to the security detail, the description of the safe haven (bunker) and the bulletproof windows.
At the ANC media conference on Thursday to respond to the Public Protector’s report, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said officials who had gone public with inaccurate information about the Nkandla upgrades must be censored. Mantashe made special mention of National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega as having described the swimming pool as the “fire pool”, saying this constituted a misrepresentation of facts.
“The Minister of Police is expected to take appropriate action in this regard,” Mantashe said. Mthethwa did not seem to be aware of or responsive to any such expectation to take action against Phiyega. If anything, he came out in her defence. He said when Phiyega was making the comments, she was not speaking as National Police Commissioner but as an “official” in the government task team. He did not respond to questions at the briefing to clarify this. However, asked by Daily Maverick afterwards about the distinction, Mthethwa explained that Phiyega was merely articulating the government’s task team position about the pool and it was not necessarily her view as the police commissioner.
This means the search is still on for a fall person who can take the heat away from the political untouchables. Mthethwa’s approach seems to point to a Shock and Awe response coming soon from government.
In the meantime, the ANC has shifted focus to dressing down its ANC Youth League and student organisation Cosas for disparaging comments they made about Madonsela. Last week ANC Youth League convenor Mzwandile Masina accused Madonsela of trying to “poison the public against the ANC”. He also said the Public Protector was not competent to speak on security issues and should step down from her position.
The Cosas secretary general Tshiamo Tsotetsi is reported to have called Madonsela “that woman with the big, ugly nose” while addressing a gathering near Brits. Mantashe has now summoned the two organisations to explain the comments, the ANC said in a statement. “The remarks made and the sentiments expressed do not reflect the views of the ANC and are in contrast with the manner in which we, as an organisation, would expect members of the organisation to conduct themselves in debate.”
Mapisa-Nqakula said the statements were sexist as Madonsela was being judged on her looks because she was a woman. “This would not have been done to a man with a big tummy, big nose or big lips,” she said. She said people should engage on the contents of the Public Protector’s report, not on her looks.
But while the ANC might reign in the two youth organisations, the heat remains on the Public Protector from its structures and allied organisations – reminiscent of the Total Onslaught approach to The Spear painting in mid-2012. The common line in most of the media statements issues by ANC and allied structures since the release of Madonsela’s report is that it is virtually the same as the government task team report and that it absolved Zuma of wrongdoing.
The Young Communist League national secretary Buti Manamela told an election rally outside Rustenburg that Madonsela was “not God and that her investigations and findings are not the Ten Commandments”. “This was a trial through the media, and so are many of her investigations. She is driven by the political agenda of the media and of the DA,” Manamela said.
The ANC is also trying to fight the perception war on the campaign trail and negative messaging by the Democratic Alliance (DA) on the Nkandla issue. The DA has been running an SMS and email campaign calling for Zuma to be impeached. “The Public Protector’s long-awaited Nkandla Report shows, in great detail, just how far President Jacob Zuma went to steal your money to build his R246 million home,” the DA email reads.
Mthembu said the ANC has sent a letter of demand to the DA calling on it to retract and apologise for the “false and vindictive” messages by 5pm on Monday. Mthembu said if the DA failed to do so, the ANC would proceed with seeking legal recourse for the DA’s contravention of sections of the Electoral Act and the Electoral Code of Conduct. This contravention has also been reported to the Independent Electoral Commission, he said.
“It is our hope that such action will also deter any other political adventurers from following this vexatious and spurious act of the DA,” Mthembu said.
But the fact remains that the ANC has taken a heavy hit from the Nkandla scandal and has yet to come up with a response that mollifies the public anger and outrage over the exorbitant spending, violations of procedure and attempted cover ups to hide the details from being exposed.
The attention now shifts to government to see how it counters and challenges the report, and perhaps assist the ANC with damage control. But as it stands, Nkandla casts a long shadow over Luthuli House and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, the standard reflex to every scandal involving the president is underway: close ranks around Number One and find Number 353,637 to blame.DM
Photo: South Africa President Jacob Zuma gestures as he answers questions from journalists in Pretoria May 30, 2013. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko



Zuma should change places with Oscar Pistorius; HE ALSO HAS NO LEGS TO STAND ON!!





Monday, March 24, 2014

Madonsela: It’s Animal Farm, and the pigs are feeding

No fear No Favour No Pigs allowed.........

Simon Allison SOUTH AFRICA  20 March 2014  09:39 (SOUTH AFRICA)

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela went to Wits to talk about her Nkandla report (is anybody talking about anything else?). To a hall of adoring students, she used the power of metaphor to say all the things she can’t say directly. Comrade Napoleon, get that snout out of the trough. By SIMON ALLISON.

Thuli Madonesela is a careful, fastidious woman. “I am cowardly,” she told the 350-odd students who gathered to hear her talk at Wits University on Thursday (there were another few hundred in a hastily-arranged overflow venue). “We can’t work in any way we can’t explain...we try to stay within the law and within the facts. That way we don’t worry about how we will explain ourselves, if we are taken to account.”
She doesn’t, in other words, say anything that she can’t prove. This methodology is evident throughout her report, and in all her subsequent utterances, where she has refrained from making any conclusions that are not supported by documentary evidence. This is why she is so reluctant to put too much blame squarely on Jacob Zuma’s shoulders. A typical example: “I didn’t say the President lied …I simply said the information he gave to Parliament was incorrect,” she said.
This doesn’t mean that the Public Protector does not have her own opinions on the issue, opinions which she found a way to make abundantly clear. “Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space,” observed author Orson Scott Card, and rarely has he been proved more accurate.
Madonsela fell back on a classic metaphor which no one in her well-educated audience could fail to understand.
George Orwell tells us about a community, pretty much like ours, but it’s a community of animals. These animals were enslaved by humans, and the humans made those animals work very hard. The humans never produced anything for themselves… but the humans ate all of the food and gave the animals very little. Over time, among the animals, leaders emerged that started to tell the animals that it’s not right to be oppressed by humans. We deserve not to starve while they are eating all the food. Those conversations kept happening over time in little circles until they reached a critical mass… one day the animals revolted and kicked the humans out of the farm.”
When the animals then decided to govern their own farm, they created rules for themselves. These rules included all animals are equal, no animal should eat milk or eggs, no animal should sleep in a bed with sheets. It was going to be to each according to their ability, and each according to their needs. After a little while everyone was happy. The humans were gone.
The animals that liberated most of the other animals were the pigs. After a period of time, the pigs started to feel that we liberated you, we deserve better, and after time the pigs started to eat more than the others…[the pigs] do all of the thinking, they do all of the coordination, they liberated the animals, they deserve to be fed better. And the rules started changing, imperceptibly overnight… It used to say all animals are equal, then suddenly, it said some are more equal than others.”
The Animal Farm reference was devastatingly applicable to South Africa’s current polity, with liberators-turned-tyrants, and Comrade Napoleon, chief of the pigs, with his snout firmly in the trough. As for the rest of us – well, we’re the other animals, wondering what happened to our glorious liberation.
As she told her story, the jam-packed Senate Hall – students crowding the aisles, hanging on every word – went deathly quiet. Everyone understood exactly what she was saying – and that there was no other way she could say it.
After her speech, the Public Protector was mobbed by students asking questions and taking photographs. If she was looking for a little bit of moral support, she didn’t struggle to find it here.
In answer to one of the questions, Madonsela offered a few words of advice for her future successor, whoever that may be. “Make decisions that are owned by you and your team. Also make decisions that will make you sleep well at night. You should never try to please everyone. You should just make sure that what you do is something you can live with.”
On today’s evidence – given the strength of the moral conviction which she clearly demonstrated – Thuli Madonsela had no trouble sleeping last night. Unlike Comrade Napoleon, we suspect. DM
Photo: Thuli Madonsela (Greg Nicolson)






HANNIBAL ELECTOR: Welcome to the Matrix – or how the ANC is spinning the Nkandla report into meaninglessness

No Fear No Favour No Corruption in State allowed.....

Richard Poplak *SOUTH AFRICA   23 march 2014  09:37 (South Africa)

In a series of attempts to shred the fabric of the space/time continuum and poke a hole in reality, the ANC and its various organs have been writing press releases. All of them are on the Nkandla Report, which, it turns out, doesn’t really exist. Not the way we think it does. RICHARD POPLAK gets his Neo on, and dives into the matrix.

The African National Congress is relieved that the Public Protector’s Final Report into the security upgrades at the private residence of the President of the Republic of South Africa, President Zuma, has finally been released to the public.”
Statement of the African National Congress following the release of the Public Protector’s Final Report into the Security Upgrades at President Zuma’s private residence in Nkandla, KZN.
Yesterday, after reading a series of emails with the subject line “ANC STATEMENT ON…”, I desperately typed “what is real” into a Google search bar. The first result, a dictionary definition of the word “real”, was unhelpful. “1. actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed. 2. (of a substance or thing) not imitation or artificial; genuine.” This was followed by a Wikipedia entry on “reality” - largely useless - and then a breakdown of idealist philosophy, which is “based on the assumption that only conscious experience in the Now is real.”Again, unhelpful.
A few entries down, however, I hit money. Google offered an extended YouTube clip culled from the sci-fi classic The Matrix, entitled “What is real?” It was just over two minutes long and, like finding Jesus’s face in a ham sandwich, it answered all of my questions on the Ontological Nature of Being, and a Bunch of Other Important Stuff.
The clip excerpts the film’s major reveal, delivered by wise, be-sunglassed Morpheus to baffled, cross-eyed Neo, in which it is explained that the world as we know it is a bunch of bullshit made up by evil machines. He proves this by plugging Neo into a piece of software, and showing him what is really real.
Your appearance now is what we call ‘residual self image’”, Morpheus explains. “It is the mental projection of your digital self”. He then asks my Googled question: “What is real? How do you define real? If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, and taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.” After which Morpheus shows poor Neo the bombed out husk of a planet that is the actual world, the one the awful machines have so callously turned into Bekkersdal.
Welcome to the desert of the Real,” he says.
Anyway, it is now obvious that the South Africa we know and love - the one with tires burning in forgotten townships, where kids drown in school pit latrines and smooth tarred roads run through gated communities - all of it, in its manifold contradictions and glories, isnothing more than an app.
The actual South Africa is a smiling place of frolicking many-horned rhinoceroses, where grinning learners pour out of gorgeously appointed schools. It’s a country where protestors are shot with delicious candy out of clown shoes, and everyone has a square meal at the end of the day. In the Real South Africa, our own Morpheus - the President of the Republic - lives in a crib that the state did not pimp into a five-star, high security luxury resort, replete with remote-controlled chicken coop, by stealing R200 million or so from taxpayers. The home simply appeared out of the ancestral ground in a poof of smoke, and Zuma moved in forthwith. It’s that kind of place, the real South Africa.
We know all of this because, over the course of the past few days, the ANC has removed the digital blinkers. After Public Protector Thuli Madonsela vomited her Nkandla findings into the local consciousness, the ruling party, along with its hangers on and spin doctors, hit send on press release after press conference invite, in which they attempted to reintroduce us to the non-reality that is the real South Africa’s digital simulacrum, by way of revealing the actual South Africa shorn of any computer-programmed garnishing. (Matrix analogies quickly become confusing.)
Everyone has chipped in: the ANC Women’s League, the ANC Youth League, the South African Communist Party and, of course, the party itself. Here’s one statement I’m pulling at random, which just so happens to function as consensus: “The African National Congress Womens League is emboldened by the release of the Public Protectors report which is substantially no different to the Inter-Ministerial Task Team report already in the public domain.” (I’m cutting and pasting here, so just consider this parenthesis as one big sic that applies to everything else in quotation marks).
Now, the ANCWL is fully conversant in different forms of reality, having camped out at the Oscar Pistorius murder trial in support of Reeva Steenkamp, who Oscar says he shot because he thought she was a black guy. They have not camped at the Farlam Commission, where the families of dead miners are trying to figure out whether the state killed 34 miners because, you know, that’s what governments do - shoot people. The ANCWL have chosen the realness of a celebrity trial over the dim unreality of a massacre. And who can blame them?
The ANC North West are similarly conversant in ontological matters. “[The] report comes too late”, they say, “and is almost a replica of the government security cluster report on the security upgrades at the president’s house. Critical to note in the report is that the report vindicates the President from any wrong doing and that there was no political interference in the execution of this project.”
The report comes too late? (Too late for what?) The report “vindicates” the President from any “wrong doing” and “there was no political interference in the execution of this project”?
Personally, I love the real South Africa. It’s a place where, “the timing of the public protector’s report remains suspect; least to say intended to confuse and cast doubt amongst the people of our country on the president and the ANC. Clearly, the public protector has played to the political gallery, thereby undermining the very same institution and the constitution of our country that she claims to uphold and respect.”
Yes, doubt was cast. Unfairly. There are those that, unlike Neo, refuse to listen. “The timing of the release of the report,” claim the ANC, “remains a source of concern in terms of the disruptive effect it will have on the election campaign of all parties. We have already observed from the reaction of many of the opposition parties that the report has provided some ammunition to many of these parties that have nothing to offer to the electorate.”
Non-reality has gotten bad for these parties, and we’re all in on it. Said the ANC, in a release entitled “ANC Statement on Negative Campaigning by the DA”, which is worth a read:
At a media conference in Nkandla near the homestead of the President, Musi Maimane, the national spokesperson of DA, whilst casting his eyes and gesturing violently towards the homestead he said referring to the President's homestead 'this was in exchange for the houses of the poor, hospitals and clinics for the underdeveloped areas—and abuse of privilege'. This is clearly a desperate and opportunistic character assassination of President Zuma who is the face of the ANC elections campaign. This is meant to discredit him and ANC in the eyes of the voters on the eve of the 7 May elections. This is in contravention of the code of conduct for all political parties participating in these elections as set out by the IEC. We are in the processes of registering our complaints with the Broadcast Complains Commission and the Office of the Ombudsman as the malicious and defamatory remarks by Maimane were carried by all media platforms.”
In the matrix, casting one’s eyes and “gesturing violently” toward the palace of the king is a crime, because any and all “wrong doing” in blowing R246 million (and rising) has been dismissed as a glitch in the software. The 433-page Nkandla Report, which is the unreal world is about the worst thing that could happen to a sitting president short of him mistaking one of his wives for an intruder, is actually an anodyne brochure that reveals our perfection. It is “almost a replica” of the “government security cluster report”, even though its language, length and comprehensiveness are not in the least bit similar. According to ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe, “This project is a sample to say we should look at whether prices aren't inflated in other areas.” Well, exactly. It’s an inflation thing.
It’s certainly no one’s fault. In the software written (or is that unwritten? - I’m totally lost here) by ANC press releases and press statements, Thuli Madonsela’s Nkandla Report is nothing more than a bug. In a future upgrade, coming very soon, the bug will be fixed and everything will work again. We are led by a legion of Morphei, who can alter the programme to suit their needs, spinning us through multiple versions of reality until, when we ask “what is real?” the answer becomes, nothing. The spoon, as we learn in TheMatrix, is not a spoon.
That is Jacob Zuma’s South Africa: a botched app on a feature phone that was recently dropped in bog water, spitting up pixel after pixel of garbled information that only a slew of press releases from Luthili House can help decipher. After all, the Nkandla Report simply “acknowledged that the President's dwelling was not built by monies from government and that the President and his family paid for their dwellings and everything occupied by the family. [All criticism] is evidently done to rubbish and drag the name of President Zuma on the mud.”
On the mud his name has been duly dragged, and that is clearly a “wrong doing”. Why are we worrying, citizens of The Matrix?
Stay calm. Reboot. DM
Photo: Dear Wachowskis, please forgive us.