Comediangate: IOL a laughing stock after ‘exposing’ comic

THIS week IOL waded into yet another ‘multibaby’ scandal, this time involving the identity of an account on social media platform x.com.

The news group was forced to issue a hasty public apology for fingering a KZN comedian, who they claimed was part of a ‘conspiracy involving apartheid-era stratcom agents.’

Online personality The Kiffness tweeted:

“Inexcusable defamation from @IOL.

@IqbalSurve, you can’t keep making unsubstantiated claims about people & get away with”

Here is how the IOL apology read:

“We previously reported and posted that the person behind the Goolammv X account was Mohammed Yacoob Vawda, a UKZN lecturer, SABC radio personality, and stand-up comedian. We were mistaken, and confirm that he is not the person behind that account. We unreservedly retract the accusation and apologise to Mohammed Yacoob Vawda and his family. Please desist from directing threats and abuse at him.”

Yes IOL are clowns, the dangerous kind.

Not only were IOL dead-wrong about the identity of @Goolammv, but their shoddy attempt to correct their mistake by spinning the story as just a minor hiccup, a silly detail involving mistaken identity, by literally going through the telephone book, to finger another man,  merely confirms the group has waltzed straight from a ‘multibaby’ to a ‘multi-comedian’ scandal.

What has lead to this astonishing loss of editorial oversight?

The comedy of errors really begins after CEO Iqbal Surve was once again challenged on his failure to ‘pay back money’. That’s right, money borrowed (and never paid back) from a union pension fund which was  used to orchestrate a buyout of the Independent Group from previous owner’s Tony O’Reilly.

Surve at first attempted to deflect attention from such public questions on X.com by claiming without any evidence,  that @Goolammv was an ‘apartheid agent’. 

This writer was party to the thread and witnessed the sequence of events which lead up to the IOL story by a paid hack.

Following the incident Surve now claims “@goolammv Goolam Muhammed Suliman Vawda is a charlatan, tender entrepreneur, money launderer connected to powerful politicians”

The claim seems absurd and licentiousness given freedom of speech within the public sphere. It is clear Surve sees a need to abuse his position, to target his critics, to avoid such questions.

His social media feed increasingly relies on dubious sources, scurrilous rumours and unsubstantiated information, for example one Mehmet Dag, an Egyptian expat and one-man political party, is a regular supporter,  who claims to have a dossier on various conspiracies involving local politicians.

Readers may remember Dag as the man behind a campaign to remove LGBTIQ rights from our constitution alongside the rainbow crossing in Green Point. 

Surve’s latest attention-seeking suggests that IOL sources are in reality Boswell Wilkie clowns.

GNU revolution or failed marriage?

BARELY a week after it was announced the ‘Government of National Unity’ (GNU) appears to have faltered. At contention is the difference between 8 cabinet posts or six for the Democratic Alliance and the tricky subject of who is to be named as deputy president alongside many regional agreements within provincial government.

Of course there were bound to be hiccups, the two major players at the center of the emerging coalition hold diametrically opposed views on many issues, including land distribution, taxation, and foriegn policy but with some convergence around democratic centralism, and especially the urgent need to maintain a stable economic outlook — one that allows for a thriving market economy capable of supporting a social wage — avoiding the pitfall of inflation and Rand volatility.

No sooner had the ink dried on the GNU pact (which includes up to 10 parties with over 60% of the popular vote), newly re-elected President Ramaphosa was calling for a joint sitting of Parliament amidst the political deadlock. This signals an extraordinary start to our new Parliament and the seventh administration, which if it fails to reach consensus on the vital subject of the cabinet, could make way for the eighth and nineth before the year is out, with the resulting inability to pass legislation.

Any thought that the ‘grand old party’ which has ruled South Africa for thirty years can simply absorb its detractors, or rule by commandeering votes or gerrymandering Parliamentary seats needs to be dispelled forthwith.

Following the ANC historical loss of a ruling majority during the May election, ‘business as usual’ for the party, which has a history of absorbing opposition and coalescing around the so-called ‘tripartite alliance’ is now a practical impossiblity.

The COSATU labour federation which formed a key component of the previous election-winning strategy, may be extremely unhappy at the outcome of the election, since the electorate apparently favours ‘economy over ideology’.

The South African Communist Party (SACP), the other partner besides the trade union holds no actual seats in parliament, which begs the question, has this tired formula run it’s course? Is the labour left of old, a mirage congregating around a once formidible oasis of BEE patronage?

This as the rise of right-wing factions under ultra-Nationalist Jacob Zuma, signals opposition politics, especially when it comes to the left-right cleavage, is inexorably altered?

At the time of writing, the leader of the official opposition has yet to be announced, but I dare say those amongst the rank and file will be eyeing any instability at the centre of politics with much glee, perhaps anticipation — upsetting the ANC apple-cart would bring exoneration for Zuma, unable to take up a Parliamentary seat due to a criminal conviction — several of his so-named MK party MPs, including impeached judge John Hlophe, would certainly face charges if they were not elected.

One can only hope and pray that our nation’s politicians are able to set aside their differences in the interests of the country.

RAMAPHOSA GAFFE: A River too Far?

FOR some it was merely a ‘gaffe’, an awkward ‘statement that many regard as anti-Israel’, for others it was a ‘river too far’, a red line in the sand marked Antisemitism.

In many countries such as the UK and Germany, the phrase ‘from the River to the Sea’, is banned outright due to its falling within working definitions of Antisemitism proposed by the IHRA.

‘The River’ chants association with a listed jihadist terror group Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya aka HAMAS, merely bolsters this view. The organization long stated ambition, before the liberation of the City they refer to as Quds, is the total annihilation of the state of Israel — the replacement of the Jewish State by an Islamic state ‘from the River to the Sea.’ .

For a country, South Africa whose stated policy has traditionally been one of tolerance and support for a two-state solution, President Ramaphosa appeared to be signalling a shift away from the bipartisanship associated with the Mandela era —  towards the hard-liners in his party, who by implication favour the imposition of an authoritarian, clerical regime under Sharia law. 

Mandela who is often misquoted on the subject, had long recognised the rights of both states to coexist, stating in 1990: “Support for Yasser Arafat and his struggle does not mean that the ANC has ever doubted the right of Israel to exist as a state, legally.”

It is near impossible to see how any of the ruling parties current stated policies square up nor even coincide with the policies espoused by the  Jihadists in Gaza.

Abolition of independent trade unions, limitation of women’s rights, jailtime for LGBTQ, a ‘final battle between Muslims and Jews’, are certainly not policies one would wish to see on a party-political platform in the week before a national election, but the ANC has been going down this annhiliationist road for decades.  It is a partner in a coalition in Johannesburg whose far-right anchor party Al Jam-ah, represents precisely such values — an undermining and eventual replacement of progressive ideas which underpin our constitution with Sharia law.

The reality of the conflict in which so-called moderates rank as impossible conservatives who would probably turn a blind eye to public beheadings, and stonings,  as is the case in Iran, leaves one at a loss as to the way forward?

Holding out for a Fatah victory when Hamas have turned into the political movers and shakers on the world stage appears to be a losing proposition.

Hamas have shown that not only are they able to eliminate  their opposition, but are able to absorb many of the elements which make Fatah the more palatable side of Palestinianism. Yesterday they were able to launch a salvo of rockets at Tel Aviv at the same time as they lured the IDF into Rafah with an associating cost on civilian life.

While some may see South Africa’s case before the ICJ (ostensibly brought to limit casualties) as truly heroic, the attempt to intervene politically may yet backfire, at least if our government fails to draw any guidance from the ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan’s recent indictment of Hamas leaders Sinwar, Deif, Haniyeh (see here)

South Africa’s presumed policy of non-alignment is also dangerously beginning to resemble all out partisan support of any terror group associated with the conflict, which risks further antagonising the West.

I think readers know well what needs to be stated here: if you still believe Jews and Palestinians to be ‘separate and distinct race groups’,  you may yet be correct in your analysis of the parallels between our own struggle and the struggle for Palestinian Statehood, but if like me, you reject the entire notion that nations can ever be considered ‘races’, then you may suffer from a wrong diagnosis, and be dispensing the wrong medication to the wrong patient?

Note: Read my earlier pieces debunking the apartheid analogy here, or traverse a page debunking many of the myths associated with the Jerusalem conflict. If that doesn’t get your goat, then read my defense of Secularism in preceding posts.

READ: Salman Rushdie says a Palestinian state formed today would be ‘Taliban-like’

Sinwar, Deif, Haniyeh indicted for Genocide

THREE LEADERS of Palestinian Islamist group Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya have been indicted by ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan:

“On the basis of evidence collected and examined by my Office, I have reasonable grounds to believe that Yahya SINWAR (Head of the Islamic Resistance Movement (“Hamas”) in the Gaza Strip), Mohammed Diab Ibrahim AL-MASRI, more commonly known as DEIF (Commander-in-Chief of the military wing of Hamas, known as the Al-Qassam Brigades), and Ismail HANIYEH (Head of Hamas Political Bureau) bear criminal responsibility for the following war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of Israel and the State of Palestine (in the Gaza strip) from at least 7 October 2023:

•Extermination as a crime against humanity, contrary to article 7(1)(b) of the Rome Statute;

•Murder as a crime against humanity, contrary to article 7(1)(a), and as a war crime, contrary to article 8(2)(c)(i);

•Taking hostages as a war crime, contrary to article 8(2)(c)(iii);

•Rape and other acts of sexual violence as crimes against humanity, contrary to article 7(1)(g), and also as war crimes pursuant to article 8(2)(e)(vi) in the context of captivity;

•Torture as a crime against humanity, contrary to article 7(1)(f), and also as a war crime, contrary to article 8(2)(c)(i), in the context of captivity;

•Other inhumane acts as a crime against humanity, contrary to article 7(l)(k), in the context of captivity;

•Cruel treatment as a war crime contrary to article 8(2)(c)(i), in the context of captivity; and

•Outrages upon personal dignity as a war crime, contrary to article 8(2)(c)(ii), in the context of captivity.”

President Raisi is dead, long live the people of Iran

Iranian parliamentary leader, President Raisi, has died in a helicopter crash over the weekend. The head of the ‘Combatant Clergy Association’ was active in a theocracy run by Ayatollahs following the 1979 revolution.

Raisi ran for president in 2017 as the candidate of the conservative ‘Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces’, losing to moderate incumbent president Hassan Rouhani, 57% to 38.3%. He successfully ran for president a second time in 2021 with 62.9% of the votes, succeeding Hassan Rouhani.

Raisi’s presidency oversaw a massive clampdown on women’s rights following the Hijab Revolts spurred by the death of 22-year-old Mahsi Amini in custody.

Between November 2022 and March 2023, up to 7,000 schoolgirls were poisoned at dozens of schools in at least 28 of Iran’s 31 provinces, according to human rights groups and government officials. ‘Hundreds were hospitalized with symptoms that included respiratory distress, numbness in limbs, heart palpitations, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. The outbreak at schools for girls, first reported in the holy city of Qom, generated new protests against the government.’

As a religious scholar in Iran’s theocratic government and a protégé of Ayatollah Khamenei, Raisi climbed the ranks of the judiciary, serving as a prosecutor in several cities.

After being named Iran’s top judge, he is believed to have been part of a small committee that ordered the executions of thousands of political dissidents in 1988.

Raisi oversaw a general clampdown on independent trade union activity with the banning of independent unions. At the same time he promoted the inclusion of Iran in a group of nation’s known as BRICS, whose members are drawn from autocracies as well as democracies.

Execution of LGBTIQ individuals also ramped up under Raisi, who actively promoted the death penalty for homosexuality and other ‘moral offenses’.

It is not surprising that South Africa’s Naledi Pandor, whose government is in a coalition with far-right Al Jama-ah party in Johanessburg is a big fan.

Courts are promoting unlawful occupation of rental property

THE so-called 'Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998' has turned into the "Promotion of Unlawful Occupation of Land Act" under the machinations of my country's woke judiciary.  Here I relate my experience with a civil court proceeding held April 11, 2024 in which the respondent to an eviction proceeding didn't appear, hasn't entered 'notice of intention to defend" against the application, yet received extraordinary protection from the court, a court seized with feminist ideology and critical race theory to the detriment of my own black household and black children. What an absolute joke, I have less rights as a law-abiding citizen than a foreigner scoffing at the law and gaming the system. I am now facing having to place my own belongings in storage, splitting up the kids and not having a home, because my only property has been hijacked with the assistance of our courts, affecting my own ability to pay rent.

UPDATE: Eviction order was handed down on 2 May, respondent once again absent from proceedings. Wholly unnecessary hearing where the matter could have been simply placed on the unopposed roll. Am still gobsmacked that the court even deliberated on the matter without the other party being present and/or filing notice of intention to defend. Something needs to be done to avoid wasteful, unnecessary duplication of legal services which seem to have become the bread and butter of a corrupt profession

New edition of ‘Media Activist Handbook’ released

In an era defined by interconnectedness and information overload, the media wields an unparalleled influence over our lives. It shapes our perspectives, molds public opinion, and shapes the narrative of our collective consciousness. Yet, as the saying goes, “With great power comes great responsibility.” The immense potential of media to foster positive change has never been more apparent. It is in this context that the Media Activist Handbook emerges as a guiding light, illuminating the path towards harnessing the transformative power of media for the betterment of society.

A new edition of the venerable Media Activist Handbook has been released, you can find it on our jump page, or download it directly from Gumroad.

Media24 gets into a hissy fit over loss of revenue

Media24 the company which destroyed several articles on South African jazz history whilst unlawfully misappropriating my own byline and corruptly rigging proceedings before the Labour Court of SA in 2010, is having a cadenza about the dominance of Google and Meta in the online advertising and search industry.

Last time I checked, Media24 did not have a search engine nor any social media of its own. Their online portal is behind a paywall (read Boere-Mafia Laager), and the loss of advertising revenue has absolutely nothing to do with Alphabet (the parent company behind Google) nor Meta and everything to do with the changing habits of its readers, many of whom have dumped the site’s partisan editorial and its “Kerk bazaar” for greener pastures.

With pay television falling prey to Internet streaming companies like Netflix, and Media24’s Multichoice spun off more than two years ago, (now the subject of a takeover by Canal+), executives at the company must be feeling the pinch, with very little left after tax — a sum of the parts analysis of the company might just provide an astonishing headline: Boetie, where are the parts?

The easy answer is Media24 is Takealot, South Africa’s number one online retailer, but with Amazon, Shein and Temu competing with the platform, executives must have had a groot skrik looking at projected revenues, seeing what is coming at them?

I suspect none of this verdriet impacts upon holding company Naspers and its ‘Jekyl & Hyde’ shenanigans at Prosus, both behemoths who collectively control billions of revenue from Tencent (and the Chinese certainly aren’t complaining about SA ownership of Wechat?) — that ancient bastion of Afrikaner kragdadigheid at the Heerengracht must be sensing they either need to throw in the towel, or buy into the new Web3 economy ?

That would be too easy, instead they have become the eternal whining aunties feasting on scalped whales harpooned by their parent company, so accurately portrayed by Daniel Defoe in his epic tail of capitalism, Moby Dick?

Anyone care to spear a whale?

The media company that refused to participate in the Truth & Reconciliation Commission, disputing the outcome and status of the special report on the role of the media during apartheid, apparently told the Competition Commission that ‘Google is abusing its “dominance” and threatening the viability of the Fourth Estate in South Africa,’ what a joke.

Since when did they ever care about the “Fourth Estate”?

Ishmet Davidson the self-same liar who claimed the company had been given ‘a clean bill of health at the TRC’, is reported to have told the Competition Commission on Tuesday that “Google is sucking advertising revenue out of South Africa, making it increasingly difficult for local publications to survive. He said even News24, despite its size, is loss-making – and he pointed the finger at Google and rival Meta Platforms, the owner of Facebook, for the dire situation facing local publishers.”

Davidson said News24 was “forced” in 2020 to implement a paywall around much of its content, but even though more than 100 000 paying subscribers have signed up, the revenue from subscriptions “has not nearly been sufficient to offset the decline in advertising revenue”.

If this sounds like the man is angling for another bail-out from government, in much the same manner as the sole pay-channel license awarded by former director PW Botha during the 1980s, they suck and you probably on track.

You can read the full story on Tech Central

Historic impeachment of two judges

TWO judges were impeached in the House of Assembly today. The impeachment of Judge Nkola Motata for drunk driving came a few hours after Judge John Hlophe was impeached by the House. This is the first time in 30 years of democracy that any judges have faced impeachment proceedings, and brings to an end proceedings, after Motata was found guilty of drunk driving in 2009 when he crashed his luxury vehicle on a boundary wall of a house in Johannesburg in 2007.

The Hlophe impeachment was far more serious charges related to gross misconduct, the attempted influence over other judges.

Hlophe’s case started in 2008 when nine justices of the Constitutional Court (CC) laid a complaint against him, accusing him of attempting to influence Justices Chris Jafta and Bess Nkabinde in a case concerning former President Jacob Zuma. In the 15 years since, there has been numerous litigations on the part of both JP Hlophe as well as the JSC. In April 2021, a tribunal inquiry found Hlophe guilty of gross misconduct, a decision upheld by the JSC in August 2021.

The impeachment motion before Parliament may be considered a mere formality, but offered the respective judges an opportunity to enter politics, to canvass public opinion on their status.

Hlophe thus gave a number of fiery public speeches aimed at bolstering his position in the runup but in the end it was to no avail as both he and Motata went down in flames.

The motion against Hlophe succeeded with 305 votes.

Anti-Semitism & its political adherents in Parliament

​THERE is officially ‘no antisemitism’ in South Africa. No sooner had Justice Minister Ronald Lamola kicked up a storm after making bizarre statements on a BBC hardtalk interview, the country was being entertained by two incidents from inside the country’s various legislatures.

A tie-episode involving the wearing of a ‘Star of David’ by a member of the Johannesburg City Council was soon followed by threats inside the National House of Assembly: “We won’t allow you make this a Jewish state. The City of Cape Town would be a bloodbath,” ranted Member of Parliament Munzoor Shaik Emam, who proceeded to threaten Jews living in South Africa.

It was Sartre who once remarked: “If the Jew did not exist, the Anti-Semite would invent him”. ” In his seminal Anti-Semite & Jew, written after the author had noticed the absence of the Jews living in Paris before the war, deported to the Nazi death camps, he wrote: “The anti-Semite convinces himself of beliefs that he knows to be spurious at best.”

The latest debacle is redolent of ANC MP Marius Fransman’s invention of ‘Jewish property tycoons in Woodstock”, and other statements for which he was ordered to apologise. A suburb that had once seen an influx of Jews from the Shtetls of Czarist Russia, but which like District Six has lost its Jewish population, a factor of immigration and structural discrimination.

Lamola’s claim: “There is no antisemitism in South Africa against the Jewish People“ is not only a blatant lie, similarly debunked, with a demonstrable increase of 631% over the past three months, but it reminds one of equally perverse statements made by the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who once proclaimed: “In Iran, we do not have homosexuals. Or apartheid’s own PW Botha who explained to the world’s press:”Most Blacks are happy” and “we treat our Blacks well.”

Sartre explained the tendency towards the objectification of Jews, who before the creation of the state of Israel, had become the ‘objects of history’ instead of the ‘subjects of humans rights’.

“A Jew is 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, so is a Jew a person whom others consider to be a Jew. Therefore, a Jew’s Jewishness exists only to the extent they are considered Jewish by those around them.

A 2010 hearing presided over by ANC apparatchik Halton Cheadle involving his own client, found inter alia, I was not Jewish enough to possess rights commonly afforded other Jews, and therefore could not claim anti-Semitism on the basis of an outrageous inquiry into my identity by an apartheid media firm — an entity that pathetically denied their role in the regime, and proceeded to pillory the findings of the TRC during the kangaroo ‘trial’.

So yes Minister Lamola, there is ‘Anti-Semitism’ or Jew-hatred in my country — a disgraceful, ugly history harking all the way back to the dark days of the National Party, whose swastikas adorned membership cards, whose laws actively discriminated on the basis of religion and cultural identity.