Hertzogate: No evidence tobacco assists patients with respiratory illness

COLUMNIST Mandy Wiener has written an opinion piece for News24 entitled: ‘The case for lifting the cigarette ban’ Her central thesis is that the ‘prohibition on smoking tobacco merely drives the practice underground’. While Wiener appears to grasp some of the health arguments being touted by the Dept of Health, she appears to be in plain denial of the consequences:

“We understand that research globally shows that those with underlying conditions are more likely to be susceptible to Covid-19.”

“The working premise is that this also applies to current smokers. It is therefore safe to assume that government has implemented the ban to stop people from smoking so it reduces their risk if they contract the virus.”

It is highly irresponsible for a columnist to be advocating a return to smoking tobacco as usual during a global respiratory disease epidemic, in other words a pandemic of respiratory illness.

Wiener then further states “According to the WHO, ‘Smokers are likely to be more vulnerable to Covid-19 as the act of smoking means that fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) are in contact with lips which increases the possibility of transmission of virus from hand to mouth. Smokers may also already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity which would greatly increase risk of serious illness.”

The insinuation is that smokers simply need to stop sharing their fags. Instead of drawing rational conclusions from her observations, she casts doubt and proceeds to make an irrational case for the lifting of the ban.

For starters, it must strike readers as a tad too convenient for Wiener to assert at the beginning of her piece that she has ‘no personal investment in this matter’. The claim is rather disingenuous since it is predicated upon the supposed independence she enjoys from her publishers and the tobacco industry. Two claims which are demonstrably false.

Wiener’s column is published in a Naspers-controlled News24 media outlet, one heavily invested in by the self-same Tobacco Industry,  if not outright controlled by those with extensive tobacco-related investments.

Medialternatives has previously covered the manner in which apartheid financiers Rupert Beleggings Pty Ltd, the real  brains trust behind Naspers, and the ultimate control behind a cartel actively involved within South Africa’s media, is also involved in capture of our justice system.

Readers however may be unaware of the manner in which the Rupert dynasty rose to fame and fortune via its stake in the tobacco industry. Orchestrating the outright purchase of Rothmans International in 1953. The biography of Anton Rupert, written be Ebbe Dommisse and Willie Esterhuyse covers the meteoric rise of the ‘Rembrandt Tobacco Corporation’, devoting an entire chapter to what they term ‘the birth of a masterpiece’.

The corporation founded in 1946 initially focused on tobacco and alcohol but later became the saviour of apartheid financial institutions.

JBM Hertzog, National Party & Naspers founder

A launchpad for the careers of prominent National Party members including Chris Stals, and Nico Diederichs. Dan O’Meara’s book Volkskapitalisme asserts that the Broederbond connection was vitally important to the early development of Rembrandt, as too it was in the formation of Naspers. The Hertzog’s were instrumental in the creation of both Naspers and Rembrandt. Two corporations which rose alongside the National Party itself, and whose founder-in-chief was none other than J B M Hertzog. The book further details various intrigues involving cousins Dirk and Albert Hertzog, Owen Horward and Anton Rupert.

It may be demonstrated, that the Tobacco industry, the same industry behind second-hand smoking and apartheid, is also behind climate change denial. A fact documented by science historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway in their book Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. Oreskes and Conway write that a handful of politically conservative scientists, with strong ties to particular industries, have “played a disproportionate role in debates about controversial questions”. The authors write that this has resulted in “deliberate obfuscation” of the issues which has had an influence on public opinion and policy-making.

It is not all that surprising that the selfsame industry is behind science denial and censorship in the Coronovirus Pandemic.

The Tencent WeChat system for instance has been accused of censoring Coronovirus Content in China. Naspers exercises minority control of Tencent via its 73% control of subsidiary Prosus, a company which in turn owns 31% of Tencent.

Citizen Lab, an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the University of Toronto, has released an analysis, showing censorship around the coronavirus on WeChat and YY — a Chinese livestreaming app similar to Twitch. The lab found that ‘both platforms began blacklisting terms related to the virus as early as the last week of December 2019, when Chinese health officials first reported an unknown pathogen spreading through the country’s hospitals.’

The self-same supposed rational gatekeepers have previously resorted to Anti-Vax propaganda. Most recently targeting philanthropist Bill Gates in the aptly named Gatesgate in which News24 editors were forced to publish lengthy retractions.

There is no evidence Bill Gates has ever advocated vaccine trials in Africa. He has instead donated much needed drug assistance to various institutions whilst funded various philanthropic initiatives which will hopefully bring post-trial Covid-19 vaccines within the reach of consumers.

British American Tobacco (BAT) part owned by Rupert’s Reinet Investments, claims it is working on a potential Covid-19 vaccine using its biotechnology subsidiary Kentucky BioProcessing (KBP). It is claim met by a great deal of scepticism and suspicion.

There is also no evidence that Tobacco assists in recovery from Respiratory disease, quite the contrary. Tobacco has been shown to cause cancer and cardio-respiratory illness.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week made a second revision on its stance about the risks of Covid-19 and nicotine, saying that cigarettes also increase the chances of catching the disease.

“People who smoke cigarettes may be at increased risk of infection with the virus that causes Covid-19, and may have worse outcomes from Covid-19,”

Naspers: One week of greasing shame

THIS week saw apartheid media firm, Naspers in the news with a fresh scandal, large enough to top any previous peccadillo. The sheer amount of opinion pieces generated by South Africa’s media, and the scale and tone of the inquiry into the press is quite impressive.  It marks a turning point insofar as a shady history of decades long immunity from criticism is concerned.

At first, the opposition Democratic Alliance, once staunch allies of the firm, but now in a marriage of convenience with the EFF, sought to buttress growing metro and provincial leadership by exposing what appears to be another influence peddling scandal.

The story was quickly picked up by technology and business sites, Business Tech “R100 million influence”  MyBroadband “diabolical and secret R550 million” and Business Live “sabc greasing”, showing some disparity in the figures and eliciting Hlaudi counterspin from IOL and a series of Alec Hogg advertorials on Moneyweb “reports malicious” “Naspers not concerned” and also Business Live “not involved”

The op-eds from Daily Maverick and Business Day “cannot wash hands” soon followed.

That Multichoice is involved in a number of corrupt political deals harks back to the founding of the pay channel company under Naspers director PW Botha. The story is not unique so far as this outlet is concerned.

The company simply moved from state capture under the National Party, to state capture under the ANC. All documented here. Massive pay-offs to those in power with the ability to make decisions, appears to have been the norm. Significant too, are the latest attempts by Naspers subsidiary Media24, itself involved in a variety of scandals, to dodge the broader implications of its boardroom being interwoven with  a “corrupt nexus” involving Multichoice, to use former editor of the Weekly Mail and adjunct professor of journalism Anton Harber’s term.

Harber who recently moved from his academic post to eTV, an entity itself involved with Multichoice (via Remgro and Kagiso), a little out of character but unsurprisingly given his recent tenure, appears to have equivocated on the issue by writing what can only be termed a Daily Maverick fluff piece in defence of Naspers, urging the company to face up to the charges while painting a picture of an apartheid firm which miraculously transformed itself.

The piece is unfortunately devoid of facts and appears to ignore my own case against the company, and thus the belated apology issued by CEO Esmerie Weideman.  Advertising agency executive Deon Wiggett wasn’t having any of this. The founder and creative director of Fairly Famous, “a progressive advertising agency” didn’t buy the spin doctoring and produced what can be called the best roasting of Koos Bekker in the press yet.

Huffington Post, a title owned by Media24 dutifully carried Yunus Carrim’s brief rebuttal of Bekker’s denial.   (and Moneyweb interview here)

The Naspers board issued a statement, proclaiming their 80% owned child to be autonomous, with their shared directors ring-fenced on paper by the law, while major Naspers shareholder Sanlam issued a similar denial of responsiblity. Bob van Dijk’s “its not our problem” defence in this regard can only be described as bizarre.

US law firm Pomerantz announces it is investigating Naspers on behalf of Paypal investors, for securities fraud.








Lewis v Minister of Justice & Naspers

WHAT is more embarrassing than Kohler-Barnard tweeting about PW Botha?

SANEF and the Minister of Justice supporting the career of PW Botha at Naspers.

Both parties (Justice and Naspers) have acknowledged papers served in a case before the Equality Court EC19/2015. The case has been brought in terms of the Equality Act, to restore and preserve the TRC Final Report as evidence before the courts, in a suit following the trashing of the report by representatives of Naspers in 2010, which, in and of itself, is a form of unfair discrimination.

The TRC Report details Naspers’ gross violation of human rights of persons such as myself, during apartheid, but was rejected as evidence by Acting Judge Cheadle. The subsequent campaign of opposition to the outcome of the commission was also presented, and now forms part of a broader case of discrimination, flowing from the “repetition of errors” documented by the commission.

Kahanovitz SC previously hauled posts from Medialternatives into the courtroom, in order to demonstrate that, apparently I have a “vendetta against his client” and an ongoing campaign against apartheid, in search of the truth. He is now facing a disciplinary hearing before the Cape Bar Council because of his over-zealous interrogation of my Jewish identity, amongst other things.

In May 2010, Cheadle proceeded to deliver a judgement against me, in my absence, on the basis of my opposition to racism and apartheid. The criminal investigation into his affairs, in particular, a labour brokerage firm with strong ties to Naspers, is now pending a review before the NPS.

Here are links to the documents which have been lodged before the Equality Court

Founding Affidavit

Supplement Affidavit

Annexures: DRL1, DRL2, DRL3, DRL4, DRL5, DRL6, DRL7

Opposition to Appointment of Ashraf Mohamed Attorneys

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

FOR TWO decades, South Africa’s largest media group, avoided responsibility for apartheid, deflected newsroom criticism, gagged journalists and engaged in a dirty-tricks cover-up which would result in a massive courtroom fraud. The group, which includes Media24 and Multichoice now faces questions regarding its role in corruption at the Cape Bar.

South Africa’s constitution requires that we “recognise the injustices of our past”. It would be considered a national crisis bordering upon sedition if the preamble were removed, or if references to apartheid and the freedom struggle were excluded from national legislation.

But this is exactly what a judgement, issued by the Labour Court of South Africa during 2010 accomplished, thanks to the skillfull manipulation and fabrication of evidence by Kahanovitz SC, aided and abetted by a disgraced businessman,the international labour broker and erstwhile drafter of South Africa’s “labour relations act”,  one Michael Halton Cheadle.

Both stand accused of colluding to defeat the ends of justice.

During proceedings, not only was the TRC report trashed, but the court under an acting justice took such a warped and contrarian view of the facts, that it created a new form of anti-morality, in which support for apartheid is considered the gold standard, and opposition to the institution of race segregation, in particular its aftermath following 1994, grounds for questioning ones credibility.

“His evidence is unreliable because he is engaged in a campaign against the Respondent for its support of apartheid and its refusal to apologise for doing so before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. That is clear from his pleadings, the documents he compiled, the evidence he gave and the emotion with which he displayed in conducting his case. This is what drove him and the evidence of his personal engagement with the Respondent was shaped to advance this campaign. His evidence was tendentious.”

Apartheid is neither a tendency, nor is it an accident of history — the defence used by Media24 sole witness, Annelien Dean, has its origin in the apartheid heresy issued by the NGK, used to support an unscientific, racist ideology. During proceedings, Dean managed to convince Cheadle, obviously awestruck by the shareprice of his client and business associates, that her views on race profiling and a “racialised past” were also granted succour by the Catholic Church, an institution of which she claimed to be a member.

Race segregation is not and has never been, a teaching of the Catholic Church.

Neither the modern NGK nor any other branch of mainstream Christianity believes that apartheid is natural or the work of divine inspiration, and trying to make a fuss about the respondent’s affiliation, as if her reference to Die Dominee, and her contradictory statements in this regard somehow make her a credible witness, merely increases the pain of what is blatantly obvious in the judgement.

It can only be considered lawful if you think apartheid was lawful.

Instead of justice,  my views as a secular humanist, journalist and opponent of racism, were twisted, and turned into an attack on Christianity and religion in general. According to Cheadle, I was the one at fault for not adhering to a strict and literal interpretation of the Torah —  the Old Testament.

9 years ago on 29 August 2006 the Freedom of Expression Institute was moved to defend my rights after a threat of gagging by the self-same company Media24

Back then, Na’eem Jeenah and Simon Delaney wrote: “It is extremely disconcerting ….that Media24 has chosen to resort to threats …  in order to silence a journalist and, in so doing, is undermining a value and right that it should be protecting and defending.””We are of the opinion that companies and other non-natural persons cannot be defamed under the law. As such, your accusation against Mr Lewis is clearly meant simply to intimidate him into self-censorship.”

“We encourage you to spare yourselves the embarrassment of being viewed as a media institution that wants to subvert freedom of expression”.

As to how an outcome which demonstrably contradicts the truth, overturns constitutional values such as press freedom and freedom of religion, (which is also the right to freedom from religious rule), would be possible under a secular dispensation is anyone’s guess.

Kahanovitz currently faces disbarment proceedings for his role in perpetrating a gross fraud upon the court and for his statements with regard to the TRC Report, in a complaint acknowledged on 17 July 2015 by Paul Farlam, disciplinary officer for the Cape Bar Council.

Dean as sole witness, faces ongoing accusations of perjury for her role in explaining away race profiling and race segregation at Media24s WP Koerante, community newspapers division as nothing more than a “coincidence of homogeneity”.

Yes, you read that right, apartheid was merely an accident of nature, tell us another whopper, like the one about Robbie Jansen and Jimmy Dludlu?

That she repeatedly lied about what had occurred in the newsroom during 2006 is clear, her false accusations of plagiarism made the lies about her background seem trivial. She even hoodwinked the court, telling all and sundry, that she had never been “anywhere near Bloemfontein”, which would make her matric certificate issued by Brebner High School, a fraud.

What more can one say about a judgement that insists that I worked at Die Burger?

I do not write in Afrikaans.

Cheadle’s fall from grace, caused in part by the exposé of his corrupting role in a labour and financial services empire has already been covered here.

The 18 June 2015 announcement by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town that the law professor was moving into post-dated early retirement, since 31st December 2014, thus came as no surprise. Perhaps a shock and wakeup call to his supporters, those who chose to overlook the compromised role played by the Resolve Group and its corrupting influence upon the judiciary, detailed in submissions to the Judicial Services Commission, Cape Law Society and Directorate of National Prosecutions.

With friends in high places, it was easy for him to simply pull strings, and so one week later on 24 June 2015, NPA were issuing statements declining to prosecute, but the point about Cheadle’s corruption had been made, and the decision by the Western Cape still stands for review. (I am in the process of preparing an Affidavit consolidating several annexures in the investigation into corruption).

On 23 July 2015, a case (EC19/2015) detailing the failure of the Minister of Justice to uphold the terms and outcome of the TRC was filed by myself against the Minister, with Naspers as second respondent.

Two days later Naspers were suddenly issuing an apology. Doing something “it should have done 19 years ago – apologise for the role it played during apartheid.” as commentator Sibusiso Tshabalala  put it.

“While the apology, delivered by Media24 CEO Esmaré Weideman, took many by surprise, it did little to shed light on how Naspers – now Africa’s largest media company with a market value of over $61bn (R779bn) – was complicit in the actions of South Africa’s apartheid government during the time.””After all, Naspers, when given the chance to come clean during South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 1996, refused to give a public account of just how deep its collaboration ran with the apartheid government.”

“Is silence from that quarter to be construed as consent, conceding that it was a sycophantic handmaiden of the apartheid government?” Tutu asked.

Similarly, in regard to my own plight and the case before the Equality Court, is silence from the media to be construed as support for apartheid newsroom censorship?

Is silence from the media to be construed as support for race profiling and apartheid denial?

Where does this story end, are we going to see closure, or are we going into another round of window-dressing?