Socialist complexity at heart of Eskom’s problems.

WHEN Medupi and Kusile were announced by our government in 2004 and 2007 respectively, the two coal-fired mega-projects were both seen as emblematic of South Africa’s democratic progress —  key to the ruling alliance and its plans for the future.

The ruling labour-left coalition was at the height of its power. With its roots in the victorious anti-apartheid struggle, it had made no secret of its desire for a ‘mixed economic model’, in which a socialist command economy would prevail alongside the capitalist economy, and where the energy sector, would imitate policies from the days of the former Soviet Union. What could possibly go wrong?

According to Pretoria technocrats, a new era of cheap coal would herald in cheap and plentiful electricity with which to ‘build the nation’. Both consumers and workers would benefit. The latter from long-lived and extended public works programmes centred around coal, which in turn would drive salaries and feed households which had experienced some of the worst ravages of apartheid ‘separate development.”

Thus it was that these two projects ballooned into costly engineering exercises, as complexity driven by the technocrats, bureaucrats and party officials, armed with Marxist texts and presidential directives, ruled the day. That Marxists tend to overtheorise economic problems, relying upon ideas such as ‘dialectical materialism’ and the ‘labour theory of value’ to arrive at their conclusions, in effect the triumph of ‘ideology over pragmatism’, has already been remarked upon.

What has not been said in the mainstream media is the manner in which unions such as COSATU, emboldened by socialist think-tanks such as the AIDC whose research is anything but lopsided, and with a culture of intolerance for differences in opinion, quixotically feed unemployment, climate change and the national debt. While the rest of the world is moving away from coal, South Africa’s coal ambitions have instead risen and include plans for at least several new coal plants such as Thabametsi, each one able to take our country into poll position as one of the top GHG emitters in the world.

“The main cause of its troubles” say Adjunct Professor Rod Crompton, is Eskom’s decision “to build two of the biggest coal fired generating plants in the world, (Medupi and Kusile). These plants are running way behind schedule, they’re over budget and the bits that are complete don’t work properly. They are probably the single largest disaster in South Africa’s economic history.”

Medupi is literally drowning in ash. The result of socialist bureaucrats implementing design changes via committee without sufficient input from scientists and engineers, whom they invariably ignore. This lack of concern for evidence-based research and scientific methodology in favour of ‘political education’ is not a new one, witness the failed Afro 4000 train debacle .

An editorial published by Engineering Weekly for example, debunks concerns from COSATU and others, surrounding loss of jobs due to renewables, and yet the union continues to demand a state-owned power utility on steroids, with little concern for loss of jobs in the broader economy and the tragic impact upon the livelihoods of those affected by outages and inefficiency.

“There is considerable support in South Africa” says Tobias Bishof-Niemz  for the notion that a transition in the electricity system from coal to renewable energy will trigger a jobs bloodbath at both Eskom and the Mpumalanga coal mines. A detailed analysis of the job numbers, however, suggests quite the opposite. In fact, it points to there being at least 30% more jobs in a fleet comprising solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind farms when compared with an energy-equivalent coal fleet”

Meanwhile the brazen union federation staged a protest march this week, in response to the President’s plan to unbundle Eskom, in effect calling for Eskom and its mounting debt, to be supersized. Unbundling alone may not be enough to offset the crisis. Creating completely separate, independent and regional power utilities able to compete with each other would have a better chance of survival.

Medupi alone is a R145bn disaster

Liberalism’s ideologues and their coalfaced discontents 

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 Why South Africa’s Energy Generator Is in So Much Trouble

Eskom is by far the largest of South Africa’s many state owned companies. This near monopoly power utility is in crisis. It’s the single largest threat to South Africa’s economy, according to a former minister of finance.  Adjunct Professor Rod Crompton  explains:

Source: South Africa: Explainer – Why South Africa’s Energy Generator Is in So Much Trouble – allAfrica.com

TRC letter to the President

“Both the SAPS and the NPA colluded with political forces to ensure the deliberate suppression of the bulk of apartheid era cases. Even though the TRC had handed over a list of  several hundred cases to the NPA with the recommendation that they be investigated further, virtually all of them were abandoned. All these cases involved gross human rights violations such as torture, murder and enforced disappearances in which amnesty was either denied or not applied for (the TRC cases).
In our view it can be safely concluded that the SAPS and the NPA became captured by political forces in respect of the TRC cases. The few prosecutors with the courage to stand up to the political interference were either removed from their positions or frozen out from these cases. The rest acquiesced and ensured that the TRC cases never saw the light of day.

NPA admits to political interference in prosecutorial decisions

Why allegations of corruption against the judiciary are alarming

Cartel, schmartel, tickets please

APPARENTLY the #SABC #Primedia and #SterKinekor will ‘have to pay millions of rand in penalties for cartel behaviour’ says the Competition Commission. The companies have apparently admitted to the charges.

The findings related to the way tickets are sold and the decision, fails to tackle the larger problem of real cartel behaviour in the media.

A year ago, the Competition Commission announced that it was investigating 28 media companies, including Media24 for collusion on advertising pricing.

Compcom has a habit of narrowing the focus of its investigations.

In 2015 Medialternatives exposed a major cartel active in South Africa’s media, the work of several Afrikaner businessmen, and all impacting upon newsroom censorship and the way the nation receives its news.

We also documented the changing fortunes of the cartel in 2017.

The commission however, has yet to make any determination regarding a complaint of a cross-linked, networked behemoth that emanates from the brains behind Rupert Bellegings.

Socialism under the ANC begat state capture, graft, corruption …

THAT IT would all go so horribly wrong for the African National Congress is best demonstrated by comments made by Moletsi Mbeki on national television. The ANC he says is really a conglomeration of competing, ‘factions acting in their own self-interest’.

What unites the party, aside from its competing sectarian and nationalist aims, is its avowedly ‘socialist character’. Problem is, wherever socialism has been tried in Africa, it has failed. Whether Tanzania under Nyerere, or Ghana under Kwame Nkrumah, South Africa’s experiment with socialism and the so-called ‘mixed economy’ under the ANC has fared no better.

While a successful roll-out of a social wage, has arguably made the ruling party, the envy of the rest of Africa, the word socialism itself, does not appear in the party’s constitution as such.

Socialism so far as the ANC is concerned, and as its policies demonstrate, has more in common with the socialism (or volkskapitalisme) under the former white Nationalist regime, than multifarious examples across the continent. In both instances, economic policies aimed at reducing inequality (in the latter example, the inequality experienced by poor white Afrikaners) ended up unfairly benefiting the party faithful — well-positioned insiders who sought to ‘take control of the commanding heights of the economy’, and who in turn created opportunities for graft, self-enrichment, maladministration, corruption and ‘state capture’.

of the Free Market Foundation argues “corruption is a feature and not a bug of socialism. Every socialist system is guaranteed to have a high level of corruption.

“The reason why a socialist system can never work” says i  “is the trade-off that has to happen at the heart of it – individual liberty in exchange for more power given to the state.” The fatal flaw inherent to party centrism and a dominant government promoting statism, (read ‘economic intervention’ via ‘state-owned-enterprises’) — has been endless bureaucracy, fruitless and wasteful expenditure and a never-ending litany of corrupt officialdom.

The latest revelations from the Zondo commission paint an appalling picture of a socialist-leaning administration in which political bribes of well-known politicians, cabinet members and officials have become the order of the day, and not merely during the tenure of Jacob Zuma but also under current and prior administrations and thus grand larceny by, and on behalf of, socialists — ideologically-driven corruption which continues to manifest under the Ramaphosa government.

The Bosassa debacle comes after the revelations of the VBS bank saga, and the 2018 indictment of former president Zuma on corruption charges. For analysis of the impact on the economy, one need look no further than the corruption scandals plaguing South Africa’s SOEs in effect all ‘State-owned bureaucracies’.

Eskom on its own has created a massive and embarrassing debt bubble, which risks upsetting the entire economy, and whose economic fallout is still being bankrolled by consumers locked into demands for annual 15% pa rates increases. Latest figures, show a massive impending R100bn bailout by treasury.

The central party, unable to deliver coherent economic policy, hamstrung by unions hooked on fossil fuels, oil and gas cartels, and equally inept socialist partners, and compounded by the perceived need to reign in a boisterous far-left opposition grouping, has resorted to ‘lekgotla‘ after lekgotla‘, each one promising action.

A party plenary held over the weekend, promised to finally to breakup the state power supply entity into competing parts, all begging the question as to why a lot more was not accomplished in the past 25 year of ANC rule to boost efficiency, and at very least avoid the current dire situation?

SEE: Defend South Africa’s Social Wage

Wikimedia: James Alexander, You’re out!

THE over-eager and misguided official who banned me from Wikimania Cape Town for allegedly ‘disrupting a pre-event on ‘Decolonising the Internet’ and also for ‘disrupting an event in Tunisia’, (both events which I never attended) is no longer at Wikimedia. According to users of website Wikipediocracy, which among other things, aims to “to inoculate the unsuspecting public against the torrent of misinformation, defamation, and general nonsense that issues forth from one of the world’s most frequently visited websites”, Alexander has left Wikimedia without so much as a farewell.

“Alexander came to the forefront for two issues during the 2018 Wikimania in South Africa” wrote a Wikipediocracy forum user “when, exercising his authority, he forbade one volunteer event helper to continue his work as reported in our August 2018 Special Report, and withdrew the registration of a South African newsman and anti-apartheid activist from the conference for reasons that were later confirmed to be partly incorrect as documented in YouTube (from 26:51) and had him ejected from the venue.”

see this thread 

and also this one on Wikipedia Sucks

In saying the reasons for my exclusion were partly incorrect, (and not true) the user fails to disclose the sequence of events which makes the entire episode Wikimedia’s own fault.

Piece lampooning Alexander’s departure

In my own response to the thread, I thus posted:

1. Responded to Douglas Scott of Wikimania

https://medialternatives.com/2018/08/28 … wikimania/

2. Documented the entire incident on video

https://medialternatives.com/2018/09/11 … 8-recoded/

‘Not only is Mr James Alexander dead wrong about Tunis, but he is 100% wrong about every other purported fact regarding the matter and the initial complaint made at Wikimania Cape Town.

Please read my initial complaint and watch the video.’

https://medialternatives.com/2018/08/08 … oundation/

3. For the record, given the circumstances I can only welcome the apparent dismissal of Mr Alexander from Wikimania Foundation, and demand that the Foundation deal more adequitely with incidents of racism and exclusion on the basis of opposition to apartheid.

Dear Steven Friedman

Dear Steven Friedman,

I understand you have become somewhat of an expert on Jewish identity?

Since the decision by the SCA overturning a decision by the Equality Court, you are now able to tell a Theist from a Non-Theist, and a Zionist from a Non-Zionist, simply by looking at the other person?

The SCA decision requires some decoding, since an earlier decision by the Equality Court is replete with captions from Bongani Masuku of trade federation COSATU regarding a supposed “Jewish race” (nations are not races) and both findings carry his exortions to ‘target every Zionist’ including their families, “to subject them to perpetual suffering until they withdraw from the land of others and stop their savage attacks on human dignity.”

The statements made at a 2009 Pro-Palestine rally, were found to be hate speech by the Equality Court, in contravention of section 16(2) of the Constitution, and also section 10 of the Equality Act, and are consistent with equally incendiary statements, made in 2014 by one Tony Erenreich calling for ‘retribution against all Jews’ and for a policy of an “eye for an eye”, which were also found to amount to hate speech by the SAHRC.

If anything, the 2014 statements by Erenreich, build upon and far exceed the position articulated by Masuku in 2009 and need to be seen in the context of emerging policy development within the union movement in South Africa, and all feeding into the ruling party’s own position, as well as that of various opposition groupings. (See Vavi’s position here).

It should be stated that Masuku appears to have toned down his race rhetoric somewhat, at first pleading that he did not single out the Jewish race (sic), ethnic gender, or religious group,  and then by qualifying his statement further.

The SCA decision therefore records Masuku’s somewhat altered (and apparently acceptable) position, that “the only group that he made specific reference to is the Zionists and that Zionism is a political ideology which is inclusive of various religious groupings.”

As such, the SCA decision opines “his statements were directed at supporters of the State of Israel from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, rather than to Jewish students. He asserted that the religion and ethnicity of the supporters of the State of Israel were of no concern to him (and COSATU) and that his references to ‘Zionists’ connoted adherence to a political ideology rather than a religious or ethnic orientation.”

And therein lies the rub, since how does one aver a political ideology supposedly flowing from ones identification as a Jew (or love of Jews), but apparently devoid of religion, ethnic orientation, cultural predisposition or otherwise? As a cartoonist put it, ‘there may be something Jewish about the state of Israel’. And the result has been a veritable war of definitions — who gets to decide who is Jewish or not — and equally affecting those who are not Jewish per se but merely allies, friends, lovers, philosemites or what have you?

In Anti-Semite and Jew, the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre defined a Jew as ‘a person that others look at and say, “look, he/she is a Jew”. Just as a chair is a chair by virtue of our considering it a chair’.

Last year the SACP, a hot-bed of bureaucratic tinkering and economic flatulence, released an equally novel statement deploring, ‘crypto-Zionism’ and railing against undercover Zionists, or any people who may know other people who happen to be Zionists … and who may simply be Jews?

The Society for Secular Humanistic Judaism for instance, an organisation which eschews ‘supernatural authority’, defines a Jew as ‘anyone identifying with the past, present and future of the Jewish people’. A website by the SSHJ contains the following:

  • Judaism is the historic culture of the Jewish people.
  • Jewish history is a human saga, a testament to the significance of human power and responsibility.
  • Jewish identity is best preserved in a free, pluralistic environment.
  • Ethics and morality should serve human needs.
  • The freedom and dignity of the Jewish people must go hand in hand with the freedom and dignity of every human being.

So far as you, Friedman are concerned, there is a convenient border (and brick wall) between Zionism on the one hand, and Jewish identity on the other, and for my part, (and speaking as somebody who has signed many statements distancing myself from both the SAJBD and Israel), and who for years has found it possible to be both a Non-Zionist and Non-Theist, (at least until one Halton Cheadle attempted to define my Jewish identity), without being tackled by hate-mongers on all sides, the issue is rather moot.

The SCA decision for instance, carries a definition of Zionism as ‘a political movement that had as its original aim the creation of a country for Jewish people, and that now supports the state of Israel.’

By this erudite definition, (and Masongu’s defense) anyone supporting the borders of 1967, as Nelson Mandela did, is a Zionist or worse.

Which brings one to the core problem of defining hate speech and anti-Semitism within a South African milieu and developing local jurisprudence, which if the SCA decision is anything to go by, suggests that attacks against Jews for simply having Jewish family (or odd members who may also be Zionists), is all fair game, acceptable discourse within the bounds of protected speech and righteous political action?

So let’s be frank about the problem.

Anti-Semitism like racism, is a thang when it comes to South Africa, see here.

It certainly is a thang when it comes to Cheadle and Erenreich

Antisemitism in short, is hostility towards Jews as Jews.

Other definitions abound, such as one by the European Union, for example, “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavour.” or “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.”

In September the UK Labour Party adopted in full an international definition of anti-Semitism, after months of similar controversy.

It incorporates all the 11 examples of anti-Semitism cited by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance into its code of conduct.

Time for South Africans to arrive at an acceptable and internationally binding definition, one that does not eviscerate legitimate criticism of the State of Israel.

SEE: Supreme Court of Appeal gets it spectacularly wrong in hate speech case

SEE: Ronnie’s Sermon from the Grand Masjid