Koeberg has a 65 different isotope emissions problem

KOEBERG like many Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) nuclear plants, produces emissions of radioactive isotopes. The resulting ‘effluent’ is routinely released into the environment where it makes its way into the food chain. Annual allowable emissions known as the ‘Annual Authorised Discharge Quantity’ are all authorised by the Department of Energy. In some instances emissions have included unwanted radionuclides, breaching minimum emissions standards. The department monitors ‘some sixty-five radioisotopes found or expected to be found in Koeberg “effluent”

Tritium, a radioisotope of Hydrogen with a half-life of 12.3 years, is relatively abundant within the plant. According to the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (NIASA): “The greatest source of radioactivity in the reactor coolant circuit is, however, irradiation of the coolant itself. Neutron bombardment of nitrogen dissolved in the water gives rise to carbon-14. Moreover, irradiation of boron dissolved in the coolant water creates hydrogen-3, i.e. tritium, the radioactive isotope of hydrogen.”

NIASA boldly claims: “Even if all were discharged at the maximum (AADQ) allowed, and in the impossible event that the critical paths for all the isotopes in the liquid and gaseous effluent irradiate the same local resident, that individual would still receive less than the permitted 0.25 millisievert per year.”

The association further claims “Caesium-137 and sometimes strontium-90 are detected at levels consistent with the background attributable to global nuclear weapons testing largely in the 1960s”.

This contradicts their own findings and studies conducted by independent environmental professionals which have detected long-lived fission products such as the radioisotopes iodine-131 and caesium-137 in plant and sea-life around the installation. Both isotopes do not occur naturally and are produced as a byproduct of nuclear fission. Iodine-131 in particular is a result of fission not weapons testing, and the prevalence of these particles around the plant and not the rest of the country raises questions.

In 2010, 91 workers were contaminated with radioactive Cobalt-58. According to NIASA: “radioisotopes such as cobalt-58, cobalt-60 and silver-110m arise as a result of wear or corrosion of reactor components. They become radioactive due to neutron bombardment as they circulate through the reactor with the primary circuit cooling water.”

These radionuclides are not fission products as such, since the plant was not designed to produce them, and should rather be termed contaminants.

Radionuclides, due to their instability produce radioactivity, resulting in alpha, beta and gamma particle emission. High-energy beta particles disrupt molecules in cells and deposits energy in tissues, causing damage.

The presence of Cobalt radionuclides is particularly concerning since it points to issues which may require the decommissioning of the plant. Cobalt-58 for instance is achieved by irradiation of Nickel, and thus points to the breakdown of stainless steel components within the plant due to increased radiation levels. The decision to extend the life of the plant which was commissioned in 1984 appears to have been made on the basis of a ‘business case’, and not a scope of plant safety issues moving forward.

NIASA explains the effluent and contaminants from the plant: “The radioisotopes in the Koeberg effluent are of two types, fission products and activation products. Traces of uranium (‘tramp’ uranium) may remain on the outside of new nuclear fuel assemblies on arrival at the power station. Moreover, minute leaks may develop in the fuel in the course of operation. Both sources may contribute to fission product isotopes in the reactor cooling water, particularly the more mobile radioisotopes iodine-131 and caesium-137.”

As argued by Koeberg Alert, these fission products bio-accumulate up the food chain, via our wheat, shellfish and dairy. While iodine-131 collects in the thyroid gland, caesium-137 is bone-seeking, (it loves calcium) and may end up in the bone marrow. Eskom disclaims any responsibility for increases in leukaemia and blood cancers caused by exposure to low-dose, long-term emissions from the plant. In addition NIASA fails to explain the cumulative impact of emissions of long-lived radionuclides and appears to operate under the false assumption that every year represents a clean slate.

Half-life is the interval of time required for one-half of the atomic nuclei of a radioactive sample to decay. Thus after that interval, a sample originally containing 8 g of cobalt-60 would contain only 4 g of cobalt-60 and would emit only half as much radiation. After another interval of 5.26 years, the sample would contain only 2 g of cobalt-60 and so on.

The annual allowable emissions from the plant are reported to have been scheduled upwards by the Minister, in order to accommodate Koeberg plant emissions and exceed European Safety Standards.

Here is information on some of the 65 radioisotopes associated with Koeberg and acknowledged by the Nuclear regulator.

Theranos of the Nuclear Industry

THE WORLD has its fair share of prospective ‘revolutionary ideas’, objectives that have failed to pan out. Not for lack of trying, nor because a notion isn’t any good on paper but rather the expression of a thought may not be based upon sound physics, or could be missing a vital technological breakthrough or component. In the case of Theranos, the idea of a portable blood analysis machine was surely innovative, but the underlying technology did not exist and the project failed to deliver. The result is a fraud case involving over-sell — under-performance, gross deception and astonishingly optimistic claims by one Elizabeth Holmes.

Similarly in 2007 the Department of Environmental Affairs held a parliamentary inquiry into the nuclear industry, in particular the much vaunted Pebble-Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) programme whose technology was essentially borrowed from Germany. As it turned out the programme was fundamentally flawed, and was deemed unsafe by the Germany government following a pebble bed reactor accident at Hamm-Uentrop.(1)

At this stage some R10bn had already been spent without so much as a working reactor. Submissions by civil society organisations Koeberg Alert and Earthlife Africa, provided engineering analysis of why Germany had dropped the thorium-uranium programme, in part due to the ‘tendency of the pebble fuel to disintegrate’. Other serious issues included problems of safety, lack of containment, waste fission products and a host of other technical issues.

This didn’t dissuade South Africa’s nuclear industry. Though government input into the programme seemingly ended with Minister Barbara Hogan cancelling further funds, the PBMR took on a new life under Kelvin Kemm, who began touting a gas-cooled version called High Temperature Modular Reactor (HTMR) produced by his own company Nuclear Africa, along with a supposedly ‘new fuel’.

Billions of rands of governmental spend was thus, for all intents and purposes, simply transferred to Nuclear Africa, under the auspice of Kemm who was then chair of NECSA in order to further acomplex prestige project, one which readily leads to economic dependency (see below).

Steenkampskraal Thorium Limited (STL) is a subsidiary company ‘in the business of developing and commercialising thorium as a clean safe energy source for the future.” The STL company site however professes “The primary goal of the HTR fuel development programme at STL is to produce fuel spheres containing uranium for irradiation testing in the short term, thorium/uranium in the medium term as well as thorium and plutonium in the long-term.”

Enter the X Factor, Yet Another Fuel

Meanwhile Eben Mulder and Martin van Staden announced their company X-energy was using a new modular reactor design alongside a brand new fuel. “X-energy has developed the compact Xe-100 reactor, which delivers 80MW of electricity and is about the size of an elevator shaft in a four-storey building,”. They further claim, “the US military has also signed a contract with the company in March to deliver its Xe-Mobile reactors”.

While Kemm’s project certainly has some merit in its purported use of presumably thorium instead of uranium, but certainly fails when it comes to the economics of producing Thorium Dioxide (see below) the X-energy project insists it has developed an advanced new nuclear fuel known as “Triso-X”.

Triso-X appears to be nothing more than a complex “tri-structural isotropic (TRISO) particle fuel” already developed within the nuclear industry. The company thus also claims somewhat disingenuously: “We manufacture our own proprietary version (TRISO-X) to ensure supply and quality control.”

If the claims are to be believed, TRISO fuel may significantly alter the burnup rate of fission products and change the melting of fuel within reactors. It is claimed to “double the previous mark set by the Germans in the 1980s” and thus is ‘three times the burnup that current light-water fuels can achieve—demonstrating its long-life capability.”     

According to pundits “TRISO particles cannot melt in a reactor and can withstand extreme temperatures that are well beyond the threshold of current nuclear fuels.”

A 2020 Nuclear Industry Journal article on ‘Uranium nitride tristructural-isotropic fuel particle’, demonstrates “testing of a novel coated fuel particle, uranium nitride tristructural-isotropic fuel” and claims “this fuel particle offers significantly higher uranium density over historic manifestations of coated fuel particles and may be more optimal for a range of advanced reactor applications”

There is however no consensus in the industry on the resulting fission products produced by the TRISO process impacting upon health and safety, nor the longevity of the fuel. One can only suggest that many of the objections to the latest Thorium-Uranium project, also apply. In fact many of the claims made by X-energy, beg the question, why Thorium?

Microchip ‘vaccine passports’, second thoughts on Cheadle-stan

AS ONE of the vaccinated, I am generally in favour of universal immunisation strategies. The majority of deaths during the Covid epidemic have come from the ranks of the unvaccinated. Vaccines save lives, I wrote, but ‘removing patient consent destroys the foundation of our democracy’. I have thus tended to promote informed consent, patient choice and persuasion rather than outright coercion — and favour to some extant, what is referred to in legal circles as ‘positive discrimination’ especially when it comes to certain categories of employment.

An opinion piece by Kevin Ritchie in the Star entitled “Vaccine hesitancy: Why it’s time to create no-vaxx, no-go areas however paints a grim future of a state in which all citizens are effectively microchipped, forced to carry electronic ‘vaccine passports’ — internal passports that act to either grant or restrict access to freedom of movement, or as Ritchie explains, “no jab, no pub, no shopping mall”.

All this is to be achieved on the basis of immediate and instantaneous third-party access to patient information. A feat which would necessitate the removal of rights already granted under the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI), not to mention placing restrictions and limitations on fundamental freedoms — the right to privacy, freedom of movement and other rights enshrined in our Constitution.

I have already written how an antiquated dominionship and/or guardianship model of state power (the state acting as parent-of-the-people), and thus a model contrary to our human rights based system, is being rolled out as we speak by Cheadle, Karim and Grey et al, in the process negating the hard-won victories of our democracy.

Unlike members of PANDA, who are campaigning for individual privacy and rights when it comes to employment, I have no quibbles in disclosing my Covid vaccine status to all and sundry, but can’t help wondering how this plays out as we move forward and especially when it comes to other diseases, for example HIV?

Didn’t we all win a patient rights battle, fought during the late 90s and over the turn-of-the-millennium, for HIV patients to not be coerced into disclosure of status? And why is Covid being treated like a chronic illness, when all the evidence points to its eminent and impending seasonal nature?

As Helen Braswell writes in Statnews: “The truth of the matter is that pandemics always end. And to date vaccines have never played a significant role in ending them. “

Brasell who a former Nieman Global Health Fellow at Harvard, where she focused on polio eradication, argues that “there were no flu vaccines in 1918, when the world didn’t yet know that the great influenza was caused by a virus, H1N1. In 1957, when the H2N2 pandemic swept the world, flu vaccine was mainly a tool of the military. In the pandemic of 1968, which brought us H3N2, the United States produced nearly 22 million doses of vaccine, but by the time it was ready the worst of the pandemic had passed, and demand subsided.”

She writes: “That ‘too little and too late‘ phenomenon played out again in 2009, when the world finally had the capacity to make hundreds of millions of doses of H1N1 vaccine; some countries cancelled large portions of their orders because they ended up not needing them.”

The same may be said for a previous coronovirus pandemic thought to have occurred in 1889, and known in medical histories as “the Russian flu,” which “might actually have been caused by one of the human coronaviruses, OC43.”

Her article proceeds to explore the manner in which pandemic flu becomes seasonal flu and the strong likelihood that Covid will become endemic, alongside other cold viruses, and how the world and our immune systems will inevitably move on.

As Sarah Zhang in The Atlantic concludes, “in the endemic scenario, where many people have some immunity, the coronavirus will not be able to infect as many people or replicate as many times in each person it infects.”

And trouble with the current pandemic outlook as we move forward into a seasonal coronovirus fluctuation, and the prospect of an annual wave resulting in a predictable ‘surge in patients’ — the technocrats are going to want to provide us with booster shots, not just to those with comorbidity and other ailments, but to all the rest of us, as we head into a ‘belt and braces’ world in which we may be cajoled, forced, coerced and even placed under sanctions, in order to get those yearly updates punted by Big Pharma.

The resulting case precedent may just open the door to mandatory jabs for common cancers, STDs and even ‘mental illness’ like anxiety and depression.

Which brings me to another point I wish to make, one which echoes a post I made on HIV stats and scepticism, some time ago. Currently excess deaths in South Africa during the pandemic number some 250 000. That is less than 1 percent of our population, some 0.4% – 0.6% to be exact.

Are we about to dump individual liberty, personal freedom, Mandela’s permissive society in favour of an authoritarian state in which the president is for all intents and purposes, the parent of the people? Judging by the many pro-mandate articles appearing in the press over the past weeks, we are certainly in for a rough ride.

Sorry Herr Prof Karim, your vaccine mandate argument is worse than apartheid-era paternalism

IT IS more than a little ironic that during the 20th Anniversary of the Durban Conference Against Racism, Professor Salim Abdool Karim appears to advocate a case of dominica potestas, that most ancient of power relations between master and slave articulated during the period of colonial rule, in which slaves were bought and sold as objects. The latin phrase translates as literally ‘power of dominion’ , (see below).

That a World Health Organisation (WHO) Council Member, makes such views known in public is all the more alarming. Since the resulting power grab by the WHO and its Big Pharma allies in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) would necessitate a total reorganisation of South African society including the amendment of our Constitution. A goal which appears to be nothing more than an elegant take-down of our democracy by stealth, if one reads and interprets other vaccine mandate nitwits, Cheadle and Gray et al (see here).

The astonishingly flawed logic in which Karim provides absolutely no scientific proof, but mere speculation on the ‘public good’ while touting an as yet unproven and controversial theory of origin (a single Bat Virus in situ, not Gain-of-Function research on Bat Viruses at the Wuhan Institute) must be rejected. So too the appalling public health motion seeking to remove the legal consent basis for our democracy.

The ‘talking head’ professor (who has turned into somewhat of a television star) seems to forget that current vaccines do not stop the virus per se, but merely prevent those affected from joining the ranks of the chronically ill in high care. And even then, there are problems with efficacy of treatment. Israel a country with an extremely high level of vaccination has learnt that booster shots are the only way forward. Vaccines save lives, but removing patient consent, destroys the foundation of our democracy (see here).

Despite Karim’s televised concerns, there is no public interest case to be made regarding vaccine mandates. The state should rather exhaust the use of persuasion, incentives and positive discrimination A vaccine passport may be considered positive discrimination, a vaccine mandate is totalitarianism. We don’t have a totalitarian system.

In brief, South Africans are not subjects of ‘parens patriae‘. Latin for “parent of the people.” Under the common law doctrine of parens patriae, a state has a ‘paternal and protective role over its citizens or others subject to its jurisdiction’. This isn’t our system.

In the local context, when it comes to adulthood, our state is ‘inepta parente’, an unfit parent. It cannot act ‘in loco parentis’, i.e. in the place of a parent. Only those under curatorship of a court would encounter such nonsense. And even then, we have human rights … the age of majority … disability law.

The United States, where ‘parens patriae‘ is limited to the state’s interest in protecting children from harm, the state may sue on behalf of the nation, to achieve a public interest result. This power however does not extend to intervening in health related matters as they may affect the individual. There is no tithe for instance on blood donations, the President cannot force you to donate a kidney in the ‘national interest’.

In South Africa while the state may take up a parental role in attending to the needs of minors and the disabled by rolling out child and disability grants, and thus protecting children and the disabled from harm, it lacks any potestas or power when it comes to treating its adult citizens as its own children. Aside from rolling out social security, such a move would result in the removal of individual autonomy and human agency by the state, whilst creating dominion and sovereignty over its now ‘chattel citizens’, a relationship known as dominica potestas.

Here is where the medics need to stay in their own lane instead of turning into our police and political ideologues. There is a very good reason why they are not our masters, and require our consent to administer vaccines. Sir, for starters, I am not a state patient. The only case precedent for forced medical interventions, apply to guests of the state and those already convicted of a crime. The Mental Health Care Act, was amended in 2002 to exclude involuntary commitment for political reasons. The state cannot pursue a policy of rights removal with regard to its own citizens.

Herr Professor Karim most certainly does not possess locus standi to prosecute a medical case against the South African body politic.

In any event we do not need to ‘apply’ to be a citizen, to be in possession of human rights. We already are citizens, our citizenship is enshrined in “We, the People'”. Not “We, the Bureaucrats”, or “We, your Masters at the WTO”. Article 12 enshrining ‘ownership and control over the body’, is thus already part and parcel of our Constitutional dispensation and there is absolutely no reasonable prospect of its removal any time soon — such a feat would require a supermajority in parliament.

In Karim’s jaded and one should add, creepy medico-legal view, the only exceptions to involuntary administration of health care by the state, would be religious objections ‘conforming to special criteria’. To which one should simply state: No to religiosity in medicine!

SEE: Peter Breggin MD, raises questions on US-China ‘gain-of-function’ Coronovirus research.

SEE: Top researchers are calling for a real investigation into the origin of covid-19

Cheadle-stan, a country where your medical practitioners may as well be the Taliban

HALTON CHEADLE claims to be an ’emeritus professor of law at UCT’. In reality the self-styled ‘drafter of the Labour Relations Act’ was pushed into early retirement following revelations of his business relationship with then Speaker of the House of Assembly, Max Sisulu, and Kagiso, a company in business with Media24.

In 2010, Cheadle handed down a labour decision gutting the TRC Report, inverting the facts of apartheid, and inter alia altering my religious affiliation.

It would come as no surprise that his own client, Media24 was given a free ride when it came to apartheid-era justifications for separate development, de facto newsroom segregation, race profiling and a set of alternative facts used to pillory the late jazz legend Robbie Jansen. At the same time this writer was falsely accused inter alia of ‘misleading the public’ by deploying the phrase, “Speaking from his home, Robbie Jansen said…”

I interviewed a Professor of Linguistics, not only is the above phrase covered by journalistic privilege, is referred to as common speech and a turn of phrase, but the writer is entirely absent.

When Cheadle isn’t inventing lies, gutting the country’s transitional justice arrangements, or rigging the LRA in his own favour, and thus engaged in corrupt activities, prescribed under the ‘Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act‘, he spends his time in Glencairn, Cape Town, declaiming upon our Constitution, a document for which some delusional citizens, including news subs, seem to want to give him a little credit.

The Constituent Assembly which convened from 1994-1996 was the only body which drafted the Constitution. Many MPs, including civil society procured attorneys to assist in the drafting process. But for anyone to claim Cheadle was orchestrating the content, or was somehow an MP at the time, is to grossly exaggerate his influence as a practitioner of law.

Having put the above matter to rest, I need to point out that the Cheadle is not only corrupt, but is also a regular cuckoo clock when it comes to legal matters. And my apologies at the outset for how this is going to play out when it comes to the MRC’s Glenda Grey.

Not even the Taliban

A piece published by the Daily Maverick, tackling the question “Can the government constitutionally require that everyone be vaccinated against Covid-19?” begins with what appear to be Cheadle and Gray’s summary answer regarding compulsory immunisation:

“The simple answer is it can,” the duo claim at the outset, (‘trust us, we can’), before pursuing an ill-advised motion for removing what remains of patient consent and human rights during the pandemic. These are hard won rights, gained from the struggle for freedom (see here).Vaccines save lives, removing consent destroys the foundation of our democracy.

As both a potential beneficiary and a party insider situated above the law, nothing more than polemic is provided in support by Cheadle.

Gray should know better than to rely upon a legal practitioner, whose past dealings and involvement with Kagiso, chart a course of investments spanning Aspen, a company responsible for local production of the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine. The Kagiso Domestic Balanced Fund showed a 2.5% investment in Aspen as at 2019.

There are certainly good reasons for universal immunisation, and yes ‘deaths are more likely to occur amongst the unvaccinated’, and ‘new mutations may emerge’ — but none of the reasons supplied by the pair demonstrate why these are foregone conclusions and why our rights should be forfeited in the process? Why are voluntary participation, incentivisation and the normal societal strictures failing if at all?

The bold assertions beg the question, why weren’t our rights similarly removed during earlier epidemics and vaccination programmes? Just about nobody encounters a legal writ forcing one to take a measles vaccine, and we have never possessed vaccine passports, nor any attempt to document patient histories with the self-same rigour. The resulting precedent opens us all needlessly, to mandatory annual shots for any manner of public health concerns. You need blood statins, well, you don’t have any choice over the matter, sir?

And thus what follows in part one of a three part series, isn’t a legal argument per se, nor a scholarly jurisprudence essay calling for the adoption of vaccine mandates, and citing local case precedent (mostly in favour of HIV rights), but rather two individual’s self-interested rhetoric placed in the public domain and deserving of our antipathy. As already noted in my earlier post, the only South African case law provided for this type of overly robust medical intervention refer to the plight of the already incarcerated, criminals and state patients.

The government’s steadfast refusal to embrace vaccine mandates is seen as no small obstacle:

You’re living in the wrong country Mr Cheadle

SOUTH AFRICA’S corrupt legal authority Halton Cheadle is at it again. Readers may remember the erstwhile ‘labour czar’, a man who in 2010 sought to determine a labour court decision in favour of his own client and business associates, in the process shooting down the TRC Report and inter alia altering this writer’s religious affiliation to conform to an absurd decision, one inverting the very facts of apartheid.

Cheadle, who is no longer a director at the law firm bearing his own name, appears to believe article 12 of our constitution is no major impediment to vaccine mandates. Article 12 guarantees the ‘right to bodily and psychological integrity’, which includes the ‘right to security in and control over the body’; and the right ‘not to be subjected to medical or scientific experiments without informed consent’.

In an interview broadcast on eTV last night, Cheadle made out a case for vaccine mandates which boil down to a resort to his own authority, or what is commonly referred to by scholars as an ‘argumentum ad verecundiam,‘ i.e. a form of fallacy in which the opinion of an authority on a topic is used as evidence to support an argument.

In support of his assertions which boil down to changing the democratic character of our democracy in favour of a totalitarian state, Cheadle then trots out the well-worn argument that vaccines have been ‘effective in countering smallpox, polio and diphtheria’. All good and well, until one arrives at involuntary vaccination.

In the interview, he appeared anxious to meet any religious objections.

Cheadle should know that the only case precedent in favour of mandatory health interventions apply to prisoners and state patients, and Medialternatives has covered similar ‘rubbish posing as legal opinion’ in the public domain and put forward by one Pierre de Vos ( please read my response).

De Vos is known to often resort to a common fallacy namely obscurum per obscurius or ‘rendering the obscure more obscure by reference to obscurity’.

While de Vos avoids examining the evidence for universal vaccination and Cheadle appears to be reading CDC newsbriefs alongside Glenda Grey (see my follow up post), both scholars have not bothered to record, nor deem it fit to tackle legitimate public and human rights concerns.

For instance concerns articulated by demonstrators over the weekend regarding both the efficacy of current vaccines and the long term effects and safety of mRNA dosing.

For the record, I have vaccinated with the Pfizer jab, am in favour of vaccination and immunisation as a form of positive discrimination in labour law but draw the line when it comes to removing patient consent.

South Africa has an egregious and tragic history of involuntary psychiatric treatment of political dissidents, torture as treatment, forced gender re-assignment, and medical experimentation and sterilisation programmes aimed at reducing the black population.

Cheadle is an embarrassment to both UCT and all the victims and survivors of apartheid.

He certainly should not be practising law, let alone making pronouncements on eTV that seek to strip citizens of individual and personal autonomy, not to mention human agency.

Or Else, Dr Nie and the coming of the Warlords

IT WAS a series of ‘inflammatory speeches’ made outside former president Jacob Zuma’s estate in Nkandla which had initially lead to the suspension of Carl Niehaus’s ANC membership on 7 July 2021. At a press briefing flanked by camouflage wearing cadres of uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) and members of the ‘Hands off Zuma’ campaign, Niehaus had issued an open threat of public violence the day before:

“We’ve warned the national executive committee of the ANC and also the justices of the constitutional court, and also the deputy chief justice Zondo that if cool heads and minds do not prevail, if president Zuma continues to be targeted and if president Zuma is eventually sent to prison, that our country will be torn apart.”

Railing against the manner in which the Zondo commission of inquiry into corruption, was being used in a ‘selective manner’ for party-political infighting, or so he claimed, he promised that members of his organisation would ‘form a human shield to protect Zuma’.

Thus set in motion a series of events which would ignite Kwazulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng, as Zuma’s support base was nevertheless, and despite such warnings, drawn into a partisan factional battle that had been brewing for months.

Convoys of supporters had already descended upon the Zuma compound over the weekend, and thus an early attempt at the arrest of the former president had been thwarted. Firing live bullets, singing struggle songs, they formed themselves into regiments, and told the press that they were ‘not scared to die for Zuma’.

It was then that the unthinkable happened, the ANC divorced its former military wing.

Niehaus had in turn released a statement of open defiance, flouting the ANC national executive committee (NEC) decision to disband the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA).’

Shortly after the NEC announced its decision to disband the MKMVA, Niehaus had issued a ‘statement saying the NEC — the ANC’s highest decision-making body in between conferences — had been emotional and angry.’

Niehaus said the move was ‘unacceptable and the MKMVA would not accept it.’ “We are an autonomous structure, and it is not legally nor politically possible for the ANC to disband the MKMVA,” he said.

Though the stage had been set for a paramilitary showdown at Nkandla, with Zuma addressing both members of the ‘Hands off Zuma’ campaign, and his amaButho Zulu regiments, where he essentially worked the crowds into a partisan insurrection, the former president had appeared to blink, and seemingly backed off, instead handing himself over to authorities the next day.

On the following Friday, the high court dismissed an application to have Zuma’s arrest the previous night overturned in a case that was being seen as a ‘test of the post-apartheid nation’s rule of law’ by the international community. An hour before the ruling, a Reuters photographer saw a group of protesters shouting “Zuma!” burning tires and blocking a road.

By Saturday evening sabotage operations aimed at bringing Kwazulu-Natal and the rest of the country to a grinding halt were well underway as a powder keg of poverty caused by the ruling party’s lack of service delivery, turned into a weapon at the hand of KZN’s warlords.

This week, Niehaus released a statement essentially daring Minister Mbalula to arrest him and referring to a BBC interview in which the minister had not, contrary to his assertions, uttered so much as a word about the former ANC member.

That a virtual split in the ruling party was behind the sequence of events, can be seen by a march organised in its aftermath. The party was forced to issue a statement claiming that ‘motorcades and marches, held in the name of freeing former president Jacob Zuma, and linked to protesting “racist attacks” in Phoenix were not sanctioned by its provincial structure.

Meanwhile residents of neighbouring Ballito were bemoaning the fact that the Premier of the Province,  Sihle Zikalala, instead of assisting the community had attempted to prevent crowd-control barricades from being erected.

SEE: Suspended ANC Members Carl Niehaus and Andile Lungisa On WhatsApp Group for Planning Riots and Looting

You have a right to defend our country from the insurrectionists

PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA alleges that we are experiencing unprecedented acts of sedition intended to destabilize and disestablish South Africa via economic sabotage and insurrection. This week’s civil unrest was “nothing less than a deliberate, co-ordinated and well-planned attack on our democracy,” he said in a speech broadcast to the nation, adding “the constitutional order of our country is under threat”.

Earlier he welcomed actions brought by communities to defend themselves. “The democratic state is what our people are defending, as well as their assets” he said. “These measures work best when taken within the context of community policing forums,” he added.

Self-defense units (SDU) were an integral part of the struggle against apartheid. During the Goldstone ‘Commission of Inquiry Regarding the Prevention of Public Violence and Intimidation’, Judge Goldstone found “the SDUs evolved out of the demands from communities under siege from violence and the perceived partisanship of the police in maintaining law and order.”

The failure of SAPS to react to looting this week, the near absence of crowd control measures such as water cannon, tear gas and thunderclaps, raise critical questions about the extant of the involvement of the state apparatus itself, in the sabotage of assets vital to the economy.

It is concerning that Radio 702 host Bongani Binga was forced to take Deputy Minister of State security Zizi Kodwa to task for contradicting his own narrative and asserting that white ‘right-wing’ elements were involved.

It is a tired mantra of disarming communities on the basis of race, and then labelling any attempt to defend oneself as ‘vigilantism’ — an often abused term, which is a more appropriate synonym for ‘mob justice’.

The state intelligence agency continues to act and behave as if the only game in town is that taken from the apartheid-era playbook in which the ANC, instead of being in government, are instead the adversaries of the state.

This may be put down to the disturbing factionalism within the party centering around Jacob Zuma and suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule (see here).

The extant to which the state apparatus is being hijacked to essentially undermine the democratic order has begun to emerge — rogue intelligence agents, former MK guerrillas, Zulu Amabutho regiments, mobsters, organised crime, and delusional lefties all form part of the broader picture.

South Africans have tasted the “bitter fruits of a counterrevolutionary insurgency” that has been “germinating in the bowels of state capture” according to a statement released by the Thabo Mbeki Foundation.

It is important that we remind ourselves that the right to armed self-preservation is part of our common law and derived from Graeco-Roman Natural Rights theory, enunciated by the Roman statesman Cicero (106–43 B.C.) and other stoic philosophers, influenced by Aristotle.

Citizens not only have a natural right to self-defence but also a moral duty to defend their families and neighbors. The right to armed self-defence extends collectively to the community ‘to curb or prevent tyrannical government’, and in our case, the abuse of state power to achieve ignoble or undemocratic ends.

Thus when the President repeated calls for individuals and communities to refrain from what he termed ‘vigilantism’, he was essentially referring to ‘mob justice’, and public lynchings, a fact of life in many townships and not civilian-based defence.

As Bonang Mohole, UFS Chancellor, writing in Business Day put it: Acts of treason and sabotage against people, property and the economy need to be dealt with swiftly and decisively

This is not a bread riot, this is Zuma’s Stalingrad strategy redux

AFTER keeping millions of landless and dispossessed citizens in abject poverty for decades, by stealing money meant for poverty relief, it appears Jacob Zuma may be having the last laugh from jail. The sizeable ranks of unemployed are now his willing foot-soldiers in a political game many refer to as the ‘Stalingrad Strategy’.

In other words a ‘scorched earth’ policy in which large swathes of the country may end up being sacrificed to mob justice, in order to affect regime change within the ruling party, to promote partisan leadership, or to secure a presidential pardon.

The State Security Agency confirmed it has received intelligence some of its former senior members within the agency, who were supporters of former president Jacob Zuma, were key in orchestrating the violent unrests in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

Zuma was sentenced to prison last month for contempt of a constitutional court ruling granting the Zondo Commission extraordinary powers to subpoena witnesses in a long-running corruption investigation that has implicated many of the ANC top brass.

The former president openly promised to unleash insurrection of a kind ‘never experienced under a democratically-elected government’, and has certainly delivered on his threats to render the country ungovernable to some degree from jail.

As we write this, the SANDF has been deployed to Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng, both provinces wracked by looting and mob violence. The military is itself facing budget constraints.

Meanwhile citizens and business-owners affected by Zuma’s mobs in and around Pietermaritzburg and Durban have bandied together to deliver a modicum of ‘civilian-based defence‘, protecting their neighbourhoods from the gangs lead by Zuma’ cronies outside of jail. (Civilian patrols are being implemented).

The hard left continues to label those defending their homes and possessions as ‘vigilantes’ whilst excusing the behaviour of people whom they idealistically term ‘the masses’. Until law and order is restored, one could only suggest that citizens are well within their rights to defend the Republic by any means at their disposal.

The leader of the third major opposition party EFF on the other hand, has come out in opposition to the deployment, and has gone further, in promising ‘ to defend citizens against the military’, a largely unpopular and wholly unnecessary move which resulted in the suspension of Julius Malema’s twitter account. In short, this event is looking a lot like a Trumpist-style act of treason against the Republic instead of a democratic ‘revolutionary moment’.

The country has a history of resolving conflict peacefully and ‘ballots not bullets’ has often been the rallying cry, but in the current atmosphere, and following an extraordinary lock down period, anything is possible.

SEE: SA in flames: spontaneous outbreak or insurrection?

SEE: R2K Statement: Stern action must be taken against the instigators!

SEE: South Africa’s tipping point: How the intelligence community failed the country

There is no vaccine for climate change

CLIMATE SCIENTISTS have begun talking about a strategic ‘managed retreat’ as a response to climate change. This retreat they say is not an admission of defeat, but rather entails “a coordinated movement of people and buildings away from risks, which, in the context of climate change, are approaching from numerous fronts, including sea level rise, flooding, extreme heat, wildfire, and other hazards.”

NASA is warning of a growing energy imbalance caused by incoming radiation trapped by greenhouse gas.

This energy imbalance is “the most fundamental metric defining the status of global climate change,” according to a Nature Climate Change article. “Everything else about global climate change” writes Chelsea Harvey—including the warming of the planet—”is a symptom the mismatch of energy in versus energy out.”

New research published in Geophysical Research Letters finds the energy imbalance approximately doubled between 2005 and 2019.

Since I’ve written extensively on environmental issues since the late 80s, when I became one of the founders of our local environmental justice movement, I believe that I may state the following without having to fend off denialists, who label my writing ‘fringe’ and ‘crackpot conspiracy’.

When we talk about a ‘just transition’, we should remember there can be no justice if we are entering a major extinction event, that may include the extinction of human beings, that’s us, within decades. As Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace puts it, “I wake up with a nightmare“.

Many scientists and activists believe it already too late to do anything practical about the looming climate disaster, we are locked in, they say, to mitigation and adaptation strategies that will of necessity include a staged retreat.

A similar question is posed by the “Deep Adaptation” movement. Its guru, writes Simon Kuper in the Financial Times, “gets criticised for overstating the risk of “near-term societal collapse”. But the truth is most of us probably underestimate it.”

One need go no further than the 1 degree change in temperature of the Southern Ocean over the previous decade (reported to the special Parliamentary Session on Climate Change in the run-up to COP17), to understand the dire consequences of the release of tonnes of methane hydrates sitting on the bottom of the ocean, creating an unstoppable feedback loop in our climate systems.

A new study, published in the journal Nature Communications, finds that beneath the surface layer of waters circling Antarctica, the seas are warming much more rapidly than previously known. Furthermore, the study concludes, this relatively warm water is rising toward the surface over time, at a rate three to 10 times what was previously estimated.

Tackle Historical Carbon Emissions

Climate change results from the cumulative buildup of GHGs in the atmosphere over time, not emissions in any particular year.

This is why we must urgently tackle our nation’s historical carbon emissions if we are to have any hope of success in reversing the damage. This means offsetting carbon that has already been released into the atmosphere, and doing it the right way, not simply by cooking the books.

Companies such as Microsoft for instance, have already embarked upon decarbonisation plans. The company will not only be carbon negative by 2030 but plans to erase its historical carbon footprint, capturing an amount of carbon equivalent to what it calculates is all of the carbon it has emitted since it was founded in 1975.

South African corporates have been slow to step up to the challenge. Two of the biggest GHG contributors over the past century have been and continue to be Sasol and Eskom — both represent GHG hotspots from outer space.

The Carbon Majors Project is an example of correct quantification of fossil fuel companies’ historical emissions.

Arctic heatwaves, melting permafrost, and Canadian fires do not make for great headlines. The retreat of our civilisation and end of democracy as the Earth becomes less habitable, may just do the trick.

Instead of accepting ministerial lip-service and cowtowing to markets, in effect negotiating our way into 2 degree plus climate change, we should be discussing drastic GHG reductions and urgent decarbonisation. Reductions not simply towards parity — neutrality or zero future carbon emissions, presumably offset on a 1:1 basis –, but actions to tackle historical offsets, at very least on a 1:3 basis or 1:5 basis.

In other words, a carbon negative strategy, for every 1 tonne of CO2 we produce, South Africa should offset by at very least 3 tonnes, reducing our emissions by an order of magnitude. In this way, instead of a ‘staged retreat of civilisation’, we might accomplish a GHG retreat, even a reset of the ‘energy imbalance’, thus stalling the need for solar shielding interventions and other untested technology.

Despite all the data pointing towards a worst case scenario, South Africa remains trapped in a tedious political debate surrounding a ‘just transition to renewable energy’, as the government drags its heels with a phased approach to the introduction of a carbon tax whose mitigation offsets are not immediately clear.

The country has yet to quantify its historical contribution to global GHG, and the project of auditing represents a challenge to researchers and mathematicians.

Then again, the country has yet to introduce any incentives for the manufacture of electric vehicles and is locked into the internal combustion engine. Many of the plans for the so-called Special Economic Zones, are centred around coal and mineral resource extraction.

What is clear, is the resulting energy imbalance from our country’s GHG contribution is steadily shifting our climate towards a catastrophic collapse of the holocene period. A geological measurement which has defined human habitat for millennia.

As a banner unfurled at Ascot on Sunday reads: We are racing to extinction. And along with it, the extinction of our own democratic freedom struggle.

Questions need to be asked

Is the promise of carbon offsets just another political vaccine, a stratagem to dampen activism without delivering the goods?

How do we know the carbon tax money is not being used on fruitless and wasteful expenditure?

How can we trust the result will not end up before yet another Zondo Commission?

Readers need to urgently question the assumptions made by our government, and especially the whereabouts of an independent monitoring mechanism, one that would need to monitor our nation’s contribution to GHG offsets. Reporting to parliament without delay.

Published in Green Times