Putin is South Africa’s problem

FOR too long my own country South Africa has been trading off bloodshed — the 69 deaths at Sharpville, the apartheid-era massacres of Boipatong (45), and earlier loss of life at Bulhoek (163) and Leliesfontein (35) which occurred under the colonial authorities. As a consequence, of our hard-won transition to democracy and peaceful end to apartheid, we have taken it upon ourselves to lecture all and sundry on human rights. No longer.

The introduction of an alternative UN resolution on the war in Ukraine — a resolution which did not mention Russia at all — was resoundingly rejected by the General Assembly, ‘leaving South Africa’s facade of neutrality in the conflict in tatters’. It literally went down like a concrete Dolossus chucked into Table Bay.

The Ukrainian Ambassador to the UN likened the South African motion to ‘knowingly giving a dying child a placebo instead of medicine’ and slapping ‘fresh paint on the moldy rotten structure of the assembly’ and ‘criticised South Africa for neither condemning Russia nor consulting with Ukraine on the matter.’

As the events surrounding the massacre and atrocities at Bucha play out, absolutely nothing to do with a ‘natural disaster’, as the SA rhetoric might suggest, one can only hold one’s head in shame, apologise to the world community while calling for restraints on ANC top brass — sanctions that could include restrictions on members’ international travel, and even the removal of South Africa from international organisations such as the UN Human Rights Council if necessary.

The ANC has been scrambling to reframe South Africa’s position on the humanitarian crisis, with Naledi Pandor issuing statements to the press on Friday saying the country “always opposed violations of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states and we don’t choose which member state”, whilst she also opposed Western intervention in the crisis, and insisted that Russia was the real victim, ‘an injured bear being constantly poked with a stick.’

Ramaphosa telephoned Joe Biden late Friday evening in a diplomatic effort around his thus far unsuccessful mediation efforts, and in an attempt to rescue trade relations. 

For nearly a decade, South Africa “unquestionably represented Russia’s biggest foreign policy success story on the continent. As relations soared during the ill-starred presidency og f Jacob Zumaer (2009–2018), the Kremlin sought to wrest a geopolitically significant state out of the West’s orbit and to create a partnership that could serve as a springboard for expanded influence elsewhere in Africa,” writes Andrew Weiss of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“Moscow’s strategy was multifaceted,” he says, capitalizing on well-established close ties with Zuma, a former African National Congress senior intelligence official with extensive Soviet bloc connections. Russian President Vladimir Putin and other senior officials pursued a series of initiatives, such as the inclusion of South Africa in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) grouping and the launch of ambitious forms of cooperation between state-backed energy interests primarily in the nuclear sector.”

To its credit, the so-called BRICS bank has placed a temporary halt on new Russian loans. The same cannot be said of the Ramaphosa administration which has been reluctant to sanction the Russian regime. Pandor hypocritically favours sanctions when it comes to the Palestine issue, but non-alignment and no sanctions when it comes to Ukraine. It remains to be seen whether or not the temporary suspension by the BRICS bank will hold, especially when alternatives to the SWIFT embargo are proposed from the far-left in South Africa.

The second largest opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters, (EFF) openly supports Russian aggression, while the official opposition Democratic Alliance is more supportive of Ukrainian independence from Putin.

Russian-South Africa nuclear projects keep on reappearing in various forms, though currently halted by the country’s robust environmental movement — the latest plans touted by Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe suggest Russia still has a role to play in South African energy policy and despite the presence of international sanctions.

Deputy President David Mabuza for instance, defended South Africa’s decision to buy gas from Russia some days ago.

Mabuza is reported to claim there was nothing “sinister” about his close ties to Russia and the country’s gas deals in the wake of the war in Ukraine. He said that ‘his visits to Russia for medical reasons should not be viewed with suspicion as the country tries to access more natural gas.’

Gazprombank, owned by Russia’s state-owned gas supplier, confirms it is considering a bid for what is potentially a multibillion-rand contract. The country is considered an essential part of Putin’s geopolitical grand strategy and is part of a minority of African states which refused to condemn Russia.

Though South Africa’s constitution is pacifist — a democratic instrument which has translated into a multiparty democracy, with a semblance of an independent executive and judiciary — the revelations of the Zondo Commission of inquiry into corruption under the Zuma administration paint a picture of a state which in many ways, is eerily similar to Putin’s Russia.

ANC ties reach back to the days of the struggle when the old Soviet Union was a major sponsor of the party.

It is no coincidence that the ANC has modelled itself after the oligopolistic, post-Communist Putin regime in which many parts of the economy are beholden to the Kremlin. South Africa’s 700+ State-owned Enterprises have acted to hobble our nation’s energy, transport, and telecommunications infrastructure, in the process breeding corruption and graft, a situation which has only begun to be corrected under Ramaphosa.

Given South Africa’s failed UN resolution, some would say the would-be reformist President is surely past his prime and unfit to govern? It is perhaps apt, that in Greek mythology, Dolos, (also a South African invention) is the spirit of trickery.

CORRECTION: Earlier versions of this article had 64 deaths at Sharpville taken from the SAhistory.org.za site.

A version of this piece was published by Daily Maverick 9 April 2022

Yes, Adriaan Basson is automatically a racist

BOUWER van Niekerk, a Johannesburg-based attorney penned an opinion on a statement this month, written by a group of concerned advocates who “were outraged by what they viewed as racist attitudes toward black legal practitioners.” In the process he unwittingly raises a point in law, regarding the status of persons who like Basson, may not have gained amnesty for crimes under apartheid.

Niekerk states without any sense of irony: “If I utter racist views, I should be held accountable and prosecuted accordingly. But the mere fact that I may differ with the views of the concerned advocates should not automatically make me a racist. Such a conclusion is simply erroneous. (And, for the record, I am not a racist.)”

The trouble with this assertion, which of course, assumes the parties, including Basson and Dali Mpofu are ‘innocent until proven guilty’, is that when it comes to an opinionated critic of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), Basson is also an “editor-in-chief of South Africa’s largest website News24” and former editor of Die Burger, and thus a member of an organisation opposed to the ‘transitional justice process’, in other words the outcome of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

Basson is essentially the pitbull for a publishing concern which, despite its case-limited apology in 2015, clings to a version of history that is anything but truthful. A case of the pot calling the kettle black, since he took Dali Mpofu to task for his unsubstantiated aspersions against Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, during a round of hearings before the JSC, but thought nothing of his company deploying the exact same tactic when it came to hearings involving the TRC?

Naspers and its subsidiary Media24, has gone to elaborate lengths to avoid history, including tarnishing and scandalising the truth and reconciliation process before the courts, in the process engaging with acts of malfeasance and state capture (documented here), all calculated to stymie the victims and survivors of the apartheid regime. The company gave the ANC R1 million last year.

In its conclusions to the special inquiry into the media, Volume 4 of the TRC report stated: “As predicted by the chairperson of the Commission at the start of the media hearing, the absence of the Afrikaans press led to its being condemned as an extension and willing propaganda organ of apartheid.” [para 103, page 186]

The report thus issued its findings, including that: “The Afrikaans media (at least until the last few months of PW Botha’s tenure as State President) chose to provide direct support for apartheid and the activities of the security forces — many of which led directly to gross human rights violations.” [para 115, page 189]

It found also that: “The racism that pervaded most of white society permeated the media industry. This is supported by ample testimony presented to the Commission concerning the failure of many white journalists to delve thoroughly enough into allegations of gross human rights violations involving black people.”

“With the notable exception of certain individuals, the mainstream newspapers […] failed to report adequately on gross human rights violations. In so doing, they helped sustain and prolong the existence of apartheid.

Persons such as Basson were thus essentially found guilty in absentia in a proceeding whose legal authority and standing has never been tested in a court of law.

SEE: TRC: No to Naspers dirty tricks

SEE: Naspers “half-apology” ignores decade-long battle for justice and contrition

SEE: Following Reconciliation Day, an open letter to the TRC Commissioners

Israel Amnesty Report, an exercise in ellipsis and paradox

THERE is an astonishing contradiction at the heart of the latest Amnesty International Report on Israel, one deserving further analysis. Resolving it, could be the key to unlocking a potential solution. Ignoring it, could mean, business as usual, since the document’s omission of history and demographic context, makes the report in all likelihood, an exercise in futility.

Prior to 2018 and the passing of ‘Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People“, by the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s raison d’être was exactly, as the didactic law maintains, to provide a nation-state for the Jewish people. Yet there was always hope that the country could achieve a lot more for all its citizens. As a cosmopolitan and democratic hub in the Middle East, it had pretensions at being just like any Secular Western country, a melting pot of divergent interests.

It was successive Intifadas beginning in 1987, which put paid to this notion. The reason can be seen by the manner in which Amnesty International treats the issue of nationality, preferring to tackle the problem from the perspective of a proposed, single unitary state, one which ignores the logic of Islamic Jihad, and Palestinian separatism, all while holding to a UN-sponsored fiction that Israel occupies Gaza, for the purpose of analysis.

Thus Palestinians in Gaza, according to Amnesty are being denied their rights to become Israeli citizens, at the same time they are being denied their rights to become Palestinians in a country that includes all of the territory under the former British Mandate.

The same is true in the West Bank, where the issue of nationality, passports and permanent resident status are compounded by an ongoing dispute involving land and borders, one that revolves around a centuries old teleological crisis involving the City of Jerusalem. To put this another way, it is a crisis within monotheism, as to which monotheistic religion prevails at the end of the day.

In recent years there have been a number of attempts to apply UN definitions of the ‘crime of apartheid’ under international law to the conflict. I have written about some of these earlier, mostly misguided endeavours to impose pseudo-scientific race definitions onto the situation [1], and have routinely objected to the resulting category error, since clearly nations are not races. There is no distinct Palestinian ‘race’.

Page 7:
[Amnesty International] does not seek to argue that…any system of oppression and domination as perpetrated in Israel…is…the same or analogous to the system of segregation, oppression and domination as perpetrated in South Africa between 1948 and 1994.

Page 211:
Amnesty International has analyzed Israel’s intent to create and maintain a system of oppression and domination over Palestinians and examined its key components: territorial fragmentation; segregation and control…It has concluded that this system amounts to apartheid.

Thank you Whoopi, your statement demonstrates an important point of departure in our common struggle

SOME get what Whoopi was trying to say: ‘Slavery wasn’t about race, Apartheid wasn’t about race, the Holocaust wasn’t about race. It was about man’s inhumanity to man.’ (Or in the case of Leni Riefenstahl, woman’s inhumanity to woman). Except, that wasn’t exactly what she was saying. The wording is mine. The actor and talk-show host, wasn’t drawing a humanistic lesson from Hitler’s Final Solution, a universal truth that could apply equally to slavery, apartheid, the Rwandan Genocide.

Instead she was responding to the school-banning of Art Spiegelman’s Maus by a Tennessee School Board. And engaging in a trite intellectual exercise that often begins by downplaying the profound impact of Auschwitz, (why get hot and bothered by the banning of a comic book?), a dramatic intervention which then proceeds to ignore the role of the perpetrators, in order to raise an anti-racist point or two about Israel.

Absent the Holocaust, and the Nakba seems to be a terrible, singular tragedy unleashed upon innocent civilians by Jews on holiday from Eastern Europe. Absent the 1929 Hebron Massacre, subsequent 1941 Farhud Massacre, and especially the complicity of Palestinian leadership during the 1940s and 50s in pursing a ‘definitive solution to the Jewish problem’ — a broad campaign to remove Jews from Arabia articulated by Amin al-Husseini, and the result looks a lot like apartheid South Africa.

Whoopi’s ‘inhumanity to mankind’ spiel, is often trotted out whenever the privileged ‘woke’ few, wish to castigate the Zionists for defending their attempts to create, what they claim, is a secular safe haven for Jews. Since I am a non-theist and non-Zionist, I often used to engage in exactly the same type of rhetoric. Whoopi was being rhetorical, she was not adding, so much as subtracting from an important conversation, one which needs to begin by drawing humanistic and universal lessons from history.

Unfortunately the conversation around Maus, was not the correct moment to be doing this. It was downright offensive and insensitive. Amidst the resulting twitter backlash, Whoopi was forced to apologise and has been suspended from her show The View, for two weeks.

If there is a universal truth to be drawn from Belsen and Treblinka, it is not by denial of Hitler’s attempts to create an Aryan master-race. It is not by denial of the Nuremberg race classification laws, nor denial of the Nazi’s attempts to cast persons as superior and inferior.

It is by examining the manner in which pseudo-science and cherry-picking of facts are abused by crackpots on the far right, and also by misguided individuals on the left, and realising that Hitler’s propaganda machine had a massive role to play in creating the necessary conditions for the genocide, not simply one or two bloody massacres listed in the hundreds, but rather an industrial-scale effort to affect the euthanasia of an entire population in the millions — the sheer magnitude of which is mind-boggling.

It is often said of the Rwandan Genocide that radio played an important part in the deaths of Tutsis at the hands of the Hutus. Television and social media have become integral players in formulating public opinion. In my own country I have witnessed the emergence of anti-immigrant pogroms and the failure of newshounds and journalists to do anything about prejudice and bias when it comes to debating issues. Need one refer to censorship?

Last year, South Africa was entertained by a controversy surrounding Miss Universe, at the same time our then chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng was taken to task for expressing his opinions on a political controversy. This year, we have seen an Emma Watson ‘solidarity’ fiasco (solidarity is ordinarily expressed with persons sharing common values and interests, not those like Hamas, opposed to our constitutional dispensation) and readers will no doubt find much of interest in the latest Amnesty Report on “Apartheid Israel’ (more analysis on this I promise).

When we find ourselves thus regailed by our media, remember there are always two sides to every story, and then there is the truth. Not even during apartheid did we attempt to negate our opponent’s very existence, nor did we advocate the removal of the Boers from an existential perspective. Rather, we arrived at our common peace settlement because we debated and hosted talks, talks which included all parties and all factions, listening to each other’s different perspectives, in arriving at our democratic solution.

Tutu, a leading light of the anti-apartheid movement was no Saint

MANY eulogies following the death of Desmond Tutu exaggerate the Anglican cleric’s post-democratic contribution in the process glossing over serious shortcomings. That Tutu was a leading light in the struggle against apartheid can never be cast in doubt, and I take pride in having marched with him on the famed Cape Town Peace March (1989).

So too, the manner in which Tutu’s civil disobedience campaign tackled 80s beach apartheid and rankled the feathers of the apartheid regime with calculated showmanship and aplomb, and riled later governments.

However, the failure of the leading figure behind our nation’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission to do anything tangible in defending the commission’s findings before the courts, must rank as a form of complicity in a regime he otherwise vigorously attacked. 

Primarily a theologian,Tutu’s morality turned out to be incompatible with justice, requiring that we “believe” in an intangible God, and practice Christian forgiveness instead of acting upon our convictions and dealing with reality.

In this sense, Tutu’s position, (aside from his use of satire and laughter as a weapon), was one of ‘speak out but do nothing’. Provide amnesty to those who came clean, but then go the extra mile in awarding de facto blanket amnesty to those who did not. Thus the perpetrators were let off Scott free, while apartheid’s many victims still sit outside our courts without any hope of justice.

In 2015 I filed a case before the Equality Court of South Africa, citing a similar failure by then Minister of Justice Michael Masutho to render any support in a matter affecting the status, prestige and outcome of the TRC.

Having been granted leave to sue Legal Aid SA, I ended up with a decision effectively stating inter alia that since the ‘TRC Report would take a long time to read, it may be ignored’ (see decision para 5 below). As an earlier submission by the second respondent, an apartheid-era media firm maintained, the report was ‘simply a report’ and the commission, ‘merely a commission’. Consequently Tutu was merely the leader of a Sunday School outing, not the figurehead behind our transitional justice system.

Writing this piece on Martin Luther King Day, it is clear that Tutu could have been colossal, someone after whom Holidays are named — if only he was consistent in his outlook, for instance his support of LGBTIQ+ rights and Same-Sex marriage which was entirely absent when it came to expressing solidarity with the cause of Palestinian Nationalism. A movement still opposed to LGBTIQ+ rights, and which much like our own country’s struggle, has decoupled its narrative from the reality of past injustices.

Just why this is so, is all the more poignant in the light of ​a ​UN resolution proposed by Germany and Israel aimed at combating Holocaust denial (and subsequently passed without a vote by the 193-member General Assembly), and follows the school banning of Art Speigelman’s Maus. It needs to be said, Palestinian leadership involvement in Hitler’s Final Solution​​ predated the formation of an All-Palestine government in Gaza by Amin al-Husseini.​

A foremost proponent of replacement theology, Tutu’s support of the Anglican Covenant which views the Church as the colonial inheritor of the Old Testament’s Hebrew Covenant was perhaps Tutu’s only political constancy. Thus Tutu preached Freedom for Palestinians whilst denying there was anything at fault with the Palestinian leadership which had earlier signed a pact with the Devil as it were, collaborating with none other than Adolf Hitler in pursuing a Jew-free Arab world, and campaigning as Hamas does to this day, for a world without Jews.

It was to my dismay that Tutu refused to engage with those like myself who view the ongoing conflict as a tragic case of ‘injustice vs injustice’ or to use the words of writer Amos Oz, a situation of ‘competing juridical systems’.  And thus a never-ending war being fought by adults against children.

The world is poorer for the African clerics’ prejudiced conclusions — Tutu’s failure to link the struggles of the Tibetan people with the struggles of those Palestinians who still suffer under occupation, and yet have been unable to advance their cause because of an abject failure to articulate a secular solution, one which does not negate nor deny the rights of minority religions.

Despite his insistence on meeting the Dalai Lama, amidst his government’s own intransigence on the issue, and his open support of the Ba’hai faith in Iran, Tutu paid lip-service to secularism and never managed to escape the Anglican cloister of easy homilies, cheap platitudes and hackneyed sermons that cast the Jews as simple stereotypes and the Palestinians as lost sheep in need of guidance into the greater body of Christ.

Tutu’s political sermons on the subject of the Middle East, in the absence of a Palestinian Freedom Charter, must therefore rank alongside those of earlier Popes and Bishops who painted Jews as apostates and heretics and the Jewish faith as heresy. Tutu’s astonishing failure to defend the TRC Report should be listed as one of the root causes of the current malaise affecting our society.

It is a harsh criticism I know, and may be unpalatable to some, but as the saying goes, ‘if the shoe fits, wear it’.

Dear Haidar Eid, author of ‘Open Letter from Palestine to Miss South Africa”

Dear Haidar Eid,

We don’t know each other. I only know that your name is Haider Eid and just heard of your name this month, when your letter written in response to Miss South Africa’s attendance at the Miss Universe pageant held at the Port of Eilat, on the Southern Negev desert and Red Sea, appeared on social media.

I understand the area was once named Umm Al-Rashrash, and designated as part of the Jewish state in the 1947 UN Partition Plan, and at the time, apparently ‘consisted of one or two police huts’, and was formally granted to Israel in the 1949 Armistice Agreements.

You claim the area was ‘ethnically-cleansed’ and the result is an ‘apartheid state’, and that you, at the very outset, are somehow an expert on the subject of apartheid, since you “spent six years in South Africa” where you apparently received a “Ph.D. degree and even citizenship”.

If indeed you have doctoral qualifications on the subject, (or are reading for a Ph.d ) then you will understand that not one Palestinian was arraigned by the apartheid state on treason charges, and that Jews, including Zionists, overwhelmingly contributed to the struggle for freedom. The fate for example of Arthur Goldreich, one of the 13 Jewish treason trialists in 1956 is illustrative of the diverse cross-section of Jews who were imprisoned for their belief that ‘all humans are created equal’.

As a humble dissident with merely an undergraduate degree conferred by the UCT Centre for African Studies (see below), I find absolutely no evidence of any tangible support for the struggle within South Africa from either the PLO/Fatah or Hamas, but rather observe that Nelson Mandela was very much a supporter of self-determination for both parties to the conflict. It was Mandela who explained his position on the Ted Koppel show:

“We identify with the PLO because just like ourselves, they are fighting for the right of self-determination. I went further however to say, that the 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. We have stood quite openly and firmly for the right of that state to exist within secure borders.”

Far from delaying liberation from the racist regime as you suggest, I believe Mandela meant that South Africa’s unique expression of human rights and freedom as enshrined in the Freedom Charter and our constitution, would invariably be delayed by the failure of Israel and Palestine to come to a similar accord, and that it was incumbent upon our country to do everything possible to assist the resulting peace settlement?

I therefore challenge you as a Gazan, to meet the liberal values of our constitution, or to provide at very least, a similar Freedom Charter including support for women rights and LGBTIQ+ rights in your future Palestinian State?

You claim to “live in the Gaza concentration camp which has been under a medieval siege imposed by apartheid Israel since 2007.”

There is no conclusive definition of the use of apartheid in this context as anything more than an analogy — a highly flawed UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) report for instance, examining the policies of Israel within the context of apartheid was withdrawn by UN Secretary-general Guterres in 2017, while the Goldstone report was similarly retracted in part. You as an ‘associate professor of literature’, should know the term ‘concentration camp’ is ordinarily applied to emergency measures to keep civilians concentrated inside a designated area within national borders, not outside national borders.

Since the UN refuses to recognise Gaza as anything more than an extension of Israeli territory, despite its disengagement and withdrawal in 2005, I can understand why you may be less than academic in your use of the definition, and are surely upset at being used as a pawn in an obvious power-play over territory claimed for the future ‘State of Palestine’?

Be that as it may, the fact remains that you still share a border with Egypt, a country which you ignore, perhaps due to its peace treaty with Israel? Gaza, though denied access to Israel proper, is not surrounded by the Jewish state in anything resembling a “medieval siege”. In this sense your siege is metaphorical, rather than literal, in the same way your use of the term apartheid, is merely analogous, and not substantive.

For the record, no inhabitants of any of the former apartheid bantustans ever complained of being under occupation, nor lamented about living in ‘concentration camps’, an emotive and tragic term, given the Palestinian leadership’s attendance at the 1942 Wannsee Conference where Hitler’s Final Solution was formerly adopted, and where Zionists were sent to the gas chambers alongside Non-Zionists.

Similarly, the “All-Palestine” government which ruled Gaza from 1948 -1958 was not created by Israel, but rather the Arab League. Unlike the apartheid-era bantustans, the current Hamas government is not a puppet of Tel Aviv.

Nothwithstanding, one must and should express support and sympathy for the children of Gaza who suffer needlessly from malnutrition as the result of the policies of politicians. As I have long maintained, when it comes to the Middle East, this is a war being fought by adults against children, in a situation of injustice vs injustice.

It is saddening to hear that “the 2 million people living in the strip do not have access to electricity, clean water, medicine”. I however fail to grasp your need and desire for Israeli consumer goods? As you may know, there is a waning boycott of Israeli consumer goods in my country, as well as an arms embargo.

Whither the cultural boycott?

That you appear to go the extra mile in demanding at the very outset a cultural boycott, in this instance, a boycott of a Miss Universe pageant, is highly problematic for a number of reasons, the least of which is the failure, or rather the inability of BDS and its proponents, to distinguish between Zionists and Non-Zionists, in the same manner that many Palestinians fail to appreciate the difference between Theist and non-Theists.

Given the religious and cultural issues surrounding contemporary Jewish secular identity, and the de facto banning of my Jewishness (as opposed to other’s official religion) I can only speak from my own experience.

Despite my early academic journey, in which I, at one time, provided unconditional support for the Palestinian struggle, only to experience campus exclusions, academic sanctions and bannings of anti-apartheid organisations, (you can read my response to Seth Rogen here) I was nevertheless, and despite my beliefs and outlook, subjected to an obscene, racist religious inquisition by South Africa’s corrupt legal authorities in 2010 — resulting in a complete reappraisal and alteration of my position — the more so, when it comes to contemporary post-Enlightenment, democratic values.

I have noticed that when it comes to women and gay rights, Palestinian leadership fails miserably. According to Amnesty International, women in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority continue to face discrimination and violence, including killings as a result of gender-based violence. An Hamas-run Islamic court in the Gaza Strip ruled in February that women require the permission of a male guardian to travel.

On the ‘moderate side’, President Mahmoud Abbas amended an election law in March, raising a quota for women in the West Bank, Palestinian Authority legislature to 26%, ‘not the promised 30%’. This is still a far cry from the 50% female quotient of the population, and the result devalues women.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, & transgender (LGBTIQ+) persons in the “State of Palestine” face legal challenges and discrimination not experienced by non-LGBTIQ+ residents. The Amnesty 2020 report on Palestine states: “Section 152 of the Penal Code in Gaza criminalizes [male] consensual same-sex sexual activity and makes it punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment.” In 2019, the Palestinian Authority police banned the activities of queer and feminist rights organization Al Qaws and demanded that residents report ‘suspicious’ activities.

Several reports on the subject of so-called Israel Apartheid have been discredited in recent years, since clearly nations are not races. While ethnicity plays a part, there is no science to back up the claim.

Sincerely Yours,

David Robert Lewis

Dissident, living in a Free “Secular” Country.

SEE: Miss SA: Mind the gender gap, Mr Roper

SEE: KENNETH MOKGATLHE: GOVT OWES MISS SA AN APOLOGY FOR WITHDRAWING ITS SUPPORT

SEE: Written statement submitted by United Nations Watch, a non-governmental organization in special consultative status

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

Verwoerdian newspeak, Israel disinformation and INM bogus babies, it’s all real

IF YOU think replacing an Haraam Israel with an Halaal Palestine is the great moral issue of our time, instead of bothering to grapple with the complex secular versus religious issues involved in the region, and the resulting Jerusalem problematic which has caused me to label the real issues a tragic case of injustice vs injustice . Think again.

You’re probably one of many local armchair activists and casual readers who get your news from outlets such as Independent Media. An organisation currently at the centre of a bogus baby scandal.

Readers such as yourself are probably experiencing an over-simplistic feedback loop based upon baldfaced lies and propagandist attempts to frame the issues in black and white, whilst burying the secular concerns and consequences of a global religious inquisition and blood libel, raised here on more than several occasions?

You may be a little surprised when I proceed to relate to you the story of yet another propaganda moment orchestrated by Independent.

In 2015 I issued a complaint to the Press Ombud regarding the extraordinary serialization of the life and times of Peter Plum, a former Nazi and member of the Hitler Youth, who at the time was also suing the Allies via the international criminal courts for as he alleges their ‘starting WW2’.

The Independent Group proceeded to issue a denial that the man was even a Nazi, but rather as they put it, was simply an ‘innocent victim of Hitler’ and the piece merely illustrative of a ‘diversity of viewpoints’, and for which he was entitled to his opinion.

The results they claimed, did not constitute hate speech nor propaganda for war.

South Africa’s sweetheart Press Ombud Johan Retief proceeded to oblige in upholding Independent’s absurd resort to press privilege, privileges which they continue to deny other members of the press, not to mention forgetting the proverbial public right-of-reply.

The pieces were published in the weeks following the November Paris Attacks in which radical Islamists killed 130 people, including 90 at the Bataclan theatre attending an Eagles of Death Metal concert.

I therefore wish to remind readers that it was Justice Millin, in a judgment delivered in the Transvaal Supreme Court on July 13, 1943, who pronounced on Hendrik Verwoerd:

“He (Verwoerd) did support Nazi propaganda, he did make his paper a tool of the Nazis in South Africa, and he knew it.”

The case arose out of an action, brought by Verwoerd (as editor of the Transvaler) against the Johannesburg Star, for publishing an article, entitled “Speaking Up for Hitler” , in which the Transvaler was accused of falsifying news in support of Nazi propaganda and generally acting as a tool of the enemy,

Verwoerd lost the case. In a lengthy judgment, extending to more than 25,000 words, the judge found that Verwoerd had in fact furthered Nazi propaganda.

The defendants had proved, said the judge, that Verwoerd “caused to be published a large body of matter which was on the same general lines as matter coming to the Union in the Afrikaans transmissions from Zeesen and which was calculated to make the Germans look upon the Transvaler as a most useful adjunct to this propaganda service”

Tragically Verwoerd went on to become Prime Minister of South Africa in 1958, a decade after the Nationalists attained power.

Lushaba 2: That record needle skipping faux pas remains

READING some of the latest ‘academic’ defenses of Lushaba in the ‘petit press’, one could be forgiven for thinking that he had delivered an important speech at UCT pronouncing on the supremacy of politics over law, utilising dialectical materialism to thoroughly debunk so-called legal institutional analysis, in the process setting the Holocaust in its rightful place, a mere peccadillo involving white people.

Both Chris Roper and Steven Robins are at pains to point out the context of a general critique of various approaches to the teaching of political science. While Roper’s is anything but a systematic contextualisation (in effect denying that the comments were even made), Robins errs on the side of rewriting the lecture altogether, as if the specific context of revolt against democratic and constitutional norms is all good and fine if one also raises substantive issues of colonial violence.

A case of competing frames of reference?

Robins erroneously writes: “As Roper indicates, the wider context of the lecture, and the logic of Dr Lushaba’s overall argument, do not in any way support Holocaust denial, and he certainly does not seek to argue that Hitler and the Nazis committed no crime in their acts of genocidal violence.”

“Instead, the lecture is a critical reflection of the racial blind spots of his discipline of political science, and why it was only after the Holocaust that genocide came to be recognised by scholars and human rights lawyers as a crime against humanity.”

If this were the case, then why did Lushaba not come right out with it, and say so, why beat around the bush? Why slip into an obnoxious, bigoted statement denying Hitler’s culpability for crimes against genocide, or should that be humanity? To use an ignoramus like Roper as an authority, would be to ignore his earlier statements made concerning Negritude and Césaire, a man whose work he rejected in a public address made in 1996, in the process claiming that the term itself was ‘racist’.

As I wrote previously, the result is not simply a moral vacuum in which the only historical crimes of any import are those against black persons, (and vice versa) but worse, a descent into reductionism, racial categorization and the logic of the late BJ Vorster, whose grey shirts were allied to the Nazi Party.

That Lushaba’s approach to political science provides short thrift to his subject matter, may be seen by the equally false claim that there are only three approaches worth considering. Check this page.

Equally problematic is his approach to proven facts like the 13th Amendment to the US constitution. Sorry Sir, while the amendment may have had the effect of extending the category of human being, it tragically did not state so in its wording. The same error appears in Roper’s fatuous piece devoid of truth yet upbraiding the media for breaking the story.

This shoddy approach to evidence-based research in favour of polemic and opinion-making easily embraces racist bile.

While I agree with Robins: “the lecture raises substantive issues about the relationship between the Holocaust and black histories of colonial violence that are certainly worthy of academic and public debate”, I categorically disagree with its intention and true purpose.

The trouble with his long-winded mitigation argument, sans facts, is the obvious attempt to drown out objections. Thus it is not what Lushaba actually says, and what is recorded, but rather an intellectual interpretation of events, one which seeks to spin an obvious faux pas, which passes for a response. In exhalting Hitler’s purported innocence, and ignoring that the intended audience are not pHd candidates per se, but rather first year students, both gaslight instead of enlightening the public. His students deserve a lot better than lies.

“One possible charitable interpretation of Dr Lushaba’s comment is that he understands the word “crime” quite literally to mean a legally proscribed, punishable offence and that he was claiming that under Nazi law it was not a crime to kill Jews” writes David Benatar.

To add fuel to fire, Lushaba proceeds to claim our objections are in the minority, blames the media, and stands by his words. One would at very least expect an apology, but that would mean climbing down from his seemingly ‘unassailable’ academic pedestal, a pedestal from which he has seen fit to launch racist invective.

There are undoubtedly many valid criticisms of racism and colonialism, however, a critique of racism which concludes that in order to combat racism, one has to suppress women, or homosexuals for instance, would not be a valid critique. 

Similarly, a criticism of traditional approaches to political science, a critique which starts by inferring all law is subordinate to politics, but then falsely concludes the findings of war crimes made under Nuremberg were wrong, is not an educated segue into modernist and post-modernist discourse, but rather, a moribund approach to dialectical materialism, one which invariably leads into antinomian and relativistic terrain.

It is the exact same terrain in which our own TRC findings have been subordinated and reduced to irrelevance by political cadres and apparatchiks of Lushaba’s ilk, emanating from our nation’s academic institutions.

Time to call a spade a spade.

SEE: Commandante Lushaba and the Führer

SEE: Remarks over Hitler by UCT lecturer Lwazi Lushaba are offensive

Sekunjalo has another Jack Ma moment

THIS WEEK saw ABSA bank withdraw its support for Sekunjalo and Iqbal Survé, citing reputational damage without providing any details. Apparently the bank doesn’t have to supply evidence in court and may boot its clients willy-nilly — on the mere off chance that they represent a risk to shareholder’s profits.

If the attempts by some media critics to paint this as another example of the end of the Gupta years, stemming from the shenanigans at Ayo, seem a little odd given Sekunjalo’s balance sheet, then perhaps it has something to do with the proverbial Iqbal Survé Jack Ma moment. If you remember, Ma fell out of grace with the Chinese Communist Party in November last year, resulting in the cancellation of the Ant Group IPO.

Similarly, Survé’s Sagarmartha IPO failed after the PIC pulled the carpet citing lack of due diligence. If you managed to catch the tail-end of the saga, and last month’s presentation given to a special parliamentary portfolio committee, then you will realise that Survé didn’t take things laying down.

He appears to have spun-off the troublesome Independent Group’s assets into a special interest vehicle, the Independent Consortium, whilst saving both Premier Fishing and Loot.com, two highly cash-generative operations, that form part of his vast empire.

It doesn’t take much digging to find the cause of Absa’s butt-headed reaction, since Survé has been waging a tit-for-tat battle with other media groups, in particular Naspers, itself a mere pawn in a broader financial empire, whose ultimate source of control is the web of intrigue surrounding the Rupert family and Rupert Beleggings.

Since the Rupert’s were instrumental in the creation of Amalgamated Banks of South Africa (Absa), after their well-documented bail-out of the apartheid state and its banking sector during the 80s, which also saw the dynasty benefit from various so-called ‘life-boats’ floated by Chris Stals et al, and are consequently the main sponsors behind the ANC, their erstwhile banking partners might not be all that happy to have Sekunjalo as a client.

Look no further than the history of Volkskas on sahistory.org.za

The move comes as President Ramaphosa was lambasted by the NEC’s Dlamini-Zuma for his apparent proximity to Johann Rupert. Hypocrisy considering the party’s longstanding relationship with its former National Party allies.

In 2018 columnist Azad Essa claimed that the Independent Group cancelled his column immediately after he published a column distributed to a number of Independent Media newspapers critical of China’s mass internment of ethnic Uighurs.

The prospect of Sekunjalo being refused a business license under the current political dispensation in which the ruling party operates as if South Africa is, for all intents and purposes, a one party state, will no doubt come to haunt Survé.

Reports have emerged that Survé initially chose the China National Bank as an alternative to Absa, only to find that keeping ones money in an authoritarian regime, is well, not exactly Swiss banking.