Yes, Mr Masondo, we are human after all.

Dear David Masondo,

Your recent article in the Daily Maverick refers.

YOUR heartening statements about African identity, an inclusive identity which defines all South Africans, remains an “aspirational definition” out of reach of many.

As you correctly state “who is an African cannot be reduced to race or ethnicity because it would be tantamount to the colonial racist classification that we seek to correct.”

To which you verily conclude: “The inclusive and non-racial definition of who is an African should be used to reimagine a non-racial South Africa … without ignoring the past. Economic growth and transformation are essential in building a truly non-racial South Africa in which both black and white Africans will be Africans, in real terms.”

This may serve as a welcome start to the painful process of healing which must coexist within a broadening focus on economic and cultural inclusion.

Yet it remains to be seen if anything will ever come of such lofty statements, since clearly this debate has arisen, not from within the politics of the 1994 election roundabout, but rather the context of a painful two-decade failure by your party to deliver on the non-racial context of our Constitution.

That we have a recidivist system, which treats the constitution as a ‘carrot-on-a -stick’, an optional extra, whilst maintaining apartheid race privileges is clear. This at the same time as it denies persons such as myself who fall between the gaps, human agency, deploying definitions of personhood that are anything but humanist and non-racial — in effect a denial that I am a person for the purposes of law in particular the Employment Equity Act.

To summarise your corrupt party associate, AJ Halton Cheat in his disgusting decision of 2010: not only have I made absurd statements regarding my purported race (a denial that I am white), but I am thus ‘an absurdity’ who has apparently passed himself off as a human being in order to gain employment, and therefore also according to the court, a non-Jew (or Jew in breach of his religion) who has attempted to cast himself as Jewish in order to seek an award for unfairness in terms of statutes making discrimination on the basis, whether via policy or practice, unlawful.

The jingoistic and irregularly-gained Labour Court decision (framed by the perjury suborned by the fraudulent counter-case against me) is anything but South African, and subject to ridicule, since it takes up a moral position consistent with a minority version of a major religion.

An anti-Enlightenment canon which proceeds to trivialise the TRC, insinuating that race segregation is somehow divinely sanctioned by the Catholic Church — in effect promoting anti-secularist 1994 denial — and worse, a categorical denial that there ever was a policy of separate development impacting upon the demographics of the Cape.

As South Africa continues to struggle with itself, examining and even criticising your motion, to move away from the politics of exclusion, in particular the petty apartheid race classification which characterised the past regime, one must restate the case.

It is rather under your government, and attorneys acting on behalf of the state, that both the TRC ‘transitional justice system’ and our nonracial constitutional framework, has been broken and broken, in some instances, even shot down by racists sitting on the bench.

I refer you to the recent decision handed down by AJ Bernard Martin of the Western Cape Division of the High Court in March of 2019, denying legal aid to similarly-situated persons such as myself in a matter affecting the status of both the TRC and its final report.

Blatantly trivialising and bashing the TRC report, and in the process squashing a case brought before the Equality Court in 2015, seeking to uphold the findings of the commission at the same time as we all struggle with extra-curial evidence of wrong-doing. Evidence following the astonishing campaign against the commission by one of the perpetrators of the apartheid system.

Furthermore, I point you to what appears to be more than opposition by state attorneys acting on behalf of former Justice Minister Michael Masutho, (who have, through their failure to defend, similarly bashed the findings of the commission), and likewise statements by Legal Aid South Africa’s John van Onselen, who in effect are assisting the perpetrators in their campaign, instead of helping the victims. A stark failure if any, to uphold the status of the report before the courts, and in conjunction with an ugly multiracial and multiregionalist version of reality consistent with the regime of PW Botha.

That we have to read your words under the rubric: “Are Indian, coloured and white people really African in post-apartheid South Africa?” is surely evidence that your own government has had cause on occasion to not regard us all as Africans and equals, but rather, to use the tired narrative of former racialists such as one Dr Piet Koornhof, that there exists, ‘a separate, and distinct species which spontaneously arose in Europe, not Africa.’

That the question of whether or not I am an African, is still the subject of legal debate and policy wrangling, speaks to the many failures of your government in addressing this question. Your article is thus a welcome addition to my case file in support of the motion to abolish and rescind the racist decision handed down by AJ Cheadle and Co.

Dropping the race fraud charges isn’t good enough

YESTERDAY South Africans awoke to discover the press were having a field day with Glen Snyman, a teacher at Grootkraal Primary School in the Karoo region. Snyman apparently was charged with fraud after he allegedly identified himself as “African” on his CV for a position at another school in 2017, but had indicated “coloured” on other documents.

If destroying the man’s career in order to promote a new form of petty apartheid in the form of the Employment Equity Act wasn’t enough, the insinuation that Snyman, the founder of People Against Race Classification (PARC), was not merely breaking the law, but was now passing himself off as someone else, in effect, pretending to be black, was truly galling.

In dropping the charges without issuing a retraction of its race-inquiry, the Education Dept, appear to be saying: ‘We’ll overlook what Snyman did, but don’t do it again”. Instead of introducing a points-based system in order to tackle the problem of historical disadvantage within a neutral and objective framework, the law has unfortunately, tended to encourage and even retrace failed policies related to pseudo-scientific racism.

In 2008 Kobus Faasen sued Media24’s Die Burger for collectively describing persons of colour as ‘Bushmen’, only to discover that the law also regarded him as a Bushman, and he had been passing himself off as a “Coloured” for years.

In 2010, my own identity became the subject of a racist religious inquisition at the behest of a corporation instrumental in the creation of the apartheid state, a corporation which thought nothing of deploying one of its own representatives, Halton Cheadle, to act on the bench.

In March this year, global media carried the story of one Jessica Krug a “white professor of African-American Studies, who in her medium confessional claimed: “To an escalating degree over my adult life, I have eschewed my lived experience as a white Jewish child in suburban Kansas City under various assumed identities within a Blackness that I had no right to claim …”

She appears to conclude “I have built my life on a violent anti-Black lie, and I have lied in every breath I have taken”.

Unfortunately the same may be said of any person who has ever been inspired by the works of Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Steven Biko.

The two incidents, that of Snyman and Krug, are reminiscent of the 2015 Rachel Dolezol affair affecting the anachronistic National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) whose aims include ensuring ‘a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race”.

As Jelani Cobb put it, if Dolezol was lying, ‘she was lying about a lie, the lie of race’, or in words of author Ta-Nehisi Coates, ‘race is the child of racism, not the father’. Read: We are All Rachel Dolezol Now. And my unpublished letter: The context of race in today’s society is anything but normal.

Both Krug and the Dept of Education, erroneously assumes there to be distinct race categories separating black and white, and thus if one follows the resulting analysis, readers can be forgiven for assuming blackness to be the result of the ‘colour of ones skin’, or a ‘preponderance of African ancestry,’ both claims resoundingly disproven and shot down by science.

It was the late black consciousness leader Steve Biko who challenged the apartheid state by seeking to move blackness away from the realm of pseudo-scientific inquiry and into the realm of political and existential thought, in the process eschewing legalistic definitions deployed by the apartheid state, and related to ethnicity, hair and skin colour.

Recently Dr Lee Berger, well-known paleoanthropologist and discoverer of Homo Naledi, reiterated the evidence that there is ‘no separation between the species’, we are all one species, Homo Sapiens, with a common heritage in Africa.

That there is such a thing as a truly authentic identity, a coherent mental attitude constituting a standard of normality, is unbecoming of our Dept of Education, which should at least be familiar with the tragic attempt by the Nationalist government of South Africa to police race segregation.

In short, all human identity is fictional at best, since the moment one examines a human being in situ, the physical facts of our inter-relatedness emerge, as too our common African ancestry.

SEE: David Masondo’s Are Indian, coloured and white people really African in post-apartheid South Africa?

The real race fraudsters are those in political power …

SOUTH AFRICA has a constitution whose preamble asserts that we are a non-racial country. Unfortunately our government believes otherwise. The ANC conveniently terms itself a non-racial party, but then myopically discriminates against persons on the basis that Africans can only be from one exclusive group, the so-called ‘Bantu-people’.

In the racialised prism of our education department, an indigenous Khoi or San, is not considered a Human Being. The Glen Snyman story is no different from the Kobus Faasen story, read here.

Snyman, a teacher at Grootkraal Primary School in Oudtshoorn, the founder of ‘People Against Race Classification’ self-identifies as African, the result has been a reactionary backlash from a clearly racist education department.

Given the corruption endemic to our nation, the racist and petty apartheid views of the Department are likely to be upheld by an equally racist judiciary, one infiltrated by organised crime, according to police chief Bheki Cele.

Even though my family have lived in this country for generations, we are considered Non-African as in Non-European, a term taken from an apartheid text book, read Lord Musi, quit calling yourself a judge. The request to a citizen for ‘evidence of African-ness’ is beneath contempt. What next a determination that Snyman is not South African and ergo he should forfeit citizenship?

It was Adolf Hitler who introduced the distinction between Aryan and non-Aryan, and likewise Hendrik Verwoerd who pursued a world view separating people into European and Non-European categories

There is no piece of legislation to my knowledge categorising persons according to the defunct ideology of race — the apartheid Population Registration Act for instance was abolished in 1991 –yet petty apartheid remains. According to Denise Coetsee, an HR professional quoted in the Citizen “there are currently no fixed set of rules for race classification”, which is “largely based on the verbal confirmation of the person claiming to form part of a specific racial group”.

In 2010, a corrupt ANC official by the name of Halton Cheadle, presided over a legal matter involving his own client and business partner. A matter in which I was not represented and restrained from calling witnesses. You can read the proceedings of the case here.

The resulting crack-pot decision under the racist Western Cape division, proceeds to upbraid my identity for asserting that ‘I am a person of Colour’ a Bantu, and denying apartheid race classification. Coloured is not an identity per se, it is the term that was given me when I was banned and sectioned under the Group Areas Act.

Read my story “Living in the Heart of Kakness” or watch a video preview.

A 1999 Constitutional Court decision (President of the Republic of South Africa and Others v South African Rugby Football Union (Sarfu) and Others) regarding a recusal matter brought by one Louis Luyt, seemingly paved the way for judges to remain ANC party members whilst holding office. Notably the test for ‘reasonable apprehension of bias’ was moved away from that of the ordinary citizen or ‘reasonable person’ to that of the purview of what juristocrats or legal professionals might consider reasonable.

Therefore, when addressing these allegations, we must not only address the ‘multiracial’ fraud being perpetrated by the ANC and its officials in the Dept of Education, but also the abject failure of our courts and judiciary to uphold the very basis for the Republic’s legal dispensation, namely the Preamble to the Constitution.

Letter: Seth Rogen: ‘I was fed a huge amount of lies about Israel’ refers

Dear Ed,

Seth Rogen: ‘I was fed a huge amount of lies about Israel’ refers

As an anti-war activist opposed to the abuse of the term ‘apartheid’ in the Middle East, I wish to respond to the latest binary correspondence on Israel and Palestine carried by The Guardian. In particular I wish to point out the tendency by either parties to the conflict to view the other in Manichean terms.

The resulting dualistic cosmology describing ‘a struggle between a good, spiritual world of light, and an evil, material world of darkness’, has plagued the religious conflict over the final status of Jerusalem, for decades and is not helpful in arriving at a secular solution.

Like the actor Rogen, I too once believed that everything I had been told by my Jewish father was wrong. During the 80s I found the Rabbinical references to the biblical stories told of King David and the construction of the Temple inconsistent with the 1982 invasion of South Lebanon by the IDF under the government of Menachem Begin.

During my years as a student activist and member of the South African Union of Jewish Students, I drew parallels between the SADF invasion of Angola, and became an outspoken critic of Israel military aid to apartheid South Africa.

I was fed Fatah propaganda related to the Nakba and ended up believing that colonialist adventurism by European settlers was the cause of the problem, while Palestinians were the innocent victims. I even publically renounced my right to return as an Orthodox Jew after the construction of the separation barrier in 2000.

Several beatings by Jordanian-Palestinian immigrants and self-styled Palestinian activists set the stage for an end to my delusion. Nevertheless I still persisted in my Anti-Zionist views, attended various rallies, met with a group of Palestinian doctors and even appeared at a UCT seminar hosted by members of Fatah. There I was told the problems were the ‘Jews, Jews, Jews.’

The narrative provided by the PLO began to unravel shortly after I became the subject of a religious inquisition by a corrupt ANC official in 2009/2010, some of the details of which are available in my self-published Amazon book, ‘Life in a Time of Heretics’.

The final parting of company with the Palestinian version of reality coincided with my rediscovery of the missing narrative of Mizrahi Jews, the stories of dispossession and disenfranchisement suffered by oriental and North African Jews.

In particular my late father’s inability to talk about the Farhud Massacre, ‘the violent dispossession” carried out against the Jewish population of Baghdad, Iraq, on June 1–2, 1941, and followed by the expulsion and dispossession of property of Arab Jews following the events of 1948, put paid to the notion that this was a singular conflict between good and bad. Between 1920 and 1970, some 900,000 Jews were expelled from Arab and other Muslim countries.

Rogen’s revelations reported by Oliver Holmes in the Guardian, that “more than 700,000 Palestinians were driven out of their homes or fled fighting in the 1948 war that led to Israel’s creation” is thus a one-sided tally given the magnitude of these expulsions and the enormity of the Holocaust.

The inescapable facts surrounding the complicity of Amin el Husseini, then Mufti of Jerusalem, and the resulting controversy also need to be weighed, as too the facts surrounding ‘Dhimmitude’, a permanent state of subjugation by either of the parties.

A 2015 Time magazine article addressing the question of whether or not Husseini was the source of the Final Solution certainly demonstrates the problem of focusing exclusively on the Nakba whilst denying the Holocaust. Not that one should make the cardinal error of assuming that all non-Jewish Palestinians are to blame, or thereby privilege one life more than the other.

To put this matter to rest, although Husseini attended the infamous Wansee Conference where Hitler’s Final Solution was formerly adopted, the decision to ‘exterminate all the Jews, and not simply the Zionist ones’ had already been taken, and thus, the ‘invitations had already been sent out’ when the Mufti arrived to argue his case against Jewish immigration to the Holy Land.

The real nail in the coffin of apartheid analogy however, is when one realises that Husseini’s position in history is much the same as the father of apartheid, DF Malan who introduced the racist Aliens Act in January 1937, restricting Jewish immigration to South Africa before the war. Both men are responsible for condemning hundreds of thousands of admittedly, European Jews, to euthanasia camps in Poland.

Two wrongs do not make a right. An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. Banning points of view, with which one disagrees, and as Rogen and Holmes motivate by implication, is never a solution. Rather it is my considered opinion that the conflict in the Middle East represents a tragic case of injustice vs injustice, or as the writer Amos Oz has put it, a sad case of competing juridical systems.

Like Peter Beinart in the New York Times, I too no longer believe in the Middle East, but can imagine a Jewish home in an equal state.

Whether the result is a binational or plurinational solution is anyone’s guess.

Kind regards

David Robert Lewis

Study apartheid, revisit the TRC, reinstate the constitution

A PETITION circulated by Nyasha Mboti, asks: “Why are there no Apartheid Studies in South Africa, or in any other country across the globe? In 1994 Nelson Mandela said “Never, never and never again” to apartheid. But how do you say “Never again” to something that you do not study?

Mboti adds: “There has been no interest in provisioning for the formal study of apartheid. There is no degree programme, or even an apology of a course or module, even at 1st year level only, called Apartheid Studies. There is not a single Centre for Apartheid Studies, or Institute of Apartheid Studies, or Research Chair in Apartheid Studies, at any of the 25 South African universities – or anywhere around the globe. The universal absence and neglect of Apartheid Studies is a blot on the world’s conscience.”

The reluctance to tackle South Africa’s past has lead to denialism within our nation’s institutions and a general lapse of constitutional provisions within the justice system. Is the constitution even worth the paper it is written on?

The matter is compounded by the NPA’s failure to prosecute perpetrators, amidst a collapse of the amnesty provisions of the TRC Act. This has lead to crimes under apartheid being treated as if the were mere petty offences, or had simply occurred under the current dispensation, and thus lack the necessary characteristics that accompany the crime against humanity, known as apartheid.

Sipho Ngwema, NPA spokesperson for example, issued an irrational statement last month in regard to the Timol inquest, falsely claiming that the law of prescription applied: “As far as the assault charges at John Vorster Square are concerned, prescription has set in, as a period of 20 years has passed since the commission of the offences in 1982/83.”

This without any word about the actual murder of Timol, a capital crime for which no prescription period is applicable.

The NPA statements echo equally false statements, issued in writing by Legal Aid South Africa, and follow a racist decision handed down in March last year by AJ Martin of the High Court, impugning the TRC Act and essentially refuting the Preamble to our Constitution.

Despite the shoddy legal environment in which apartheid crimes are effectively lauded by the authorities, even if the delicts may be ongoing and the impact and effects, immediate, there remain public calls to charge perpetrators for their crimes against humanity.

Shannon Ebrahim writing in the Cape Times says: ” In the case of South Africa, the liberation movements showed great magnanimity by agreeing to allow the perpetrators of similar brutality under successive apartheid regimes to receive amnesty if they fully disclosed their crimes at the TRC.”

“While many did come forward and admit to their crimes, there were rarely full disclosures, and far too many ­senior members of the military and police failed to apply for amnesty, believing they would never be found or prosecuted.”

It is the gross failure to take action against those who did not receive amnesty, alongside a stark refusal to provide legal aid for the victims, which is particularly troubling. The result is denialism, denial that a crime occurred, then followed by denial of justice.

Hopefully the call for the institution of apartheid studies on our nations campuses alongside renewed interest in the body of evidence that begins with the TRC Report, will result in corrective action being taken to reinstate the constitutional framework. One which begins, by stating, “recognising the injustices of the past”.

MOGOENG MOGOENG: STATEMENT BY TWO WAR RESISTERS

AS ANTI-APARTHEID activists, war resisters and peace-builders, with a long history of opposition to the unbridled use of force to achieve political goals, we understand the many predicaments faced by those wanting to build peace in the Middle East, and act in solidarity with those who refuse military service to the Israeli state.

The controversial statements by our nation’s Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng have thrown into stark contrast the divergences of opinion on the subject of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

It is not our objective here to issue dogma nor to take sides on whether or not sitting judges may issue forth with their private or personal views on the subject, nor even to take issue on whether or not Mogoeng Mogoeng was speaking in his capacity as the chief justice or as a private citizen.

Rather and more pertinently, we wish to state that the religious justifications for support of the Israeli state by some within the Christian faith, and a judge holding high office, raise crucial and important questions about the overall neutrality of our justice system, especially the right to dissent from religion when it comes to the issue of secularism.

According to George Holyoake, the man who coined the term, ‘secularism’, and who was imprisoned for his belief that all laws should be subject to rational debate, “Secularism is a series of principles intended for the guidance of those who find Theology indefinite, or inadequate, or deem it unreliable.” (1)

Holyoake went on to say:- “”A Secularist guides himself by maxims of Positivism, seeking to discern what is in Nature — what ought to be in morals … Positive principles are principles which are provable.”

Secularism is not the absence of religion, but rather the absence of religious rule.

For instance, Moses Mendelssohn, (one of the key figures of the Jewish Enlightenment ‘Haskalah’) outlined the central thesis of separation of secular and ecclesiastical authority, in his 1783 book ‘Jerusalem oder über religiöse Macht und Judentum‘, stating ‘the state declares laws, religion offers precepts.’

The principle of separation of state and religion is thus the basis for the Progressive movement within Judaism in South Africa, whose adherents are predominantly secular.

In a critical review of Tarek Fatah’s Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State (3) Professor Nader Hashemi writes, “given the European roots of secularism … the challenge for Muslim democrats is to develop coherent and indigenous arguments in favour of religion–state separation as part of a broader strategy for advancing democracy.”

It is important to note that our own democratic South African Constitution begins with the words:- ” We, the people of South Africa,” and not “In Humble Submission to Almighty God”.

We therefore wish to remind the Chief Justice of the controversy surrounding secularism during the adoption of the preamble and the elegant solution achieved by our country in creating a separation of powers and neutrality in religious outlook.

This was achieved by dropping: “In humble submission to Almighty God”, and appending Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.

We further wish to commend Zane Dangor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for opening a necessary and crucial space for dissent on the subject of religion, by issuing a statement reiterating South Africa’s ethical leadership and moral stance on Palestine. One guided by International Law at the same time that it seeks to uphold the Chief Justice and his rights as a citizen, by stating “he has a right to differ with the foreign policy position of South Africa”

The conflict between Palestinians and Israelis has been waging and ongoing for over 70 years — the prospect of peace has continued to elude our generation. In seeking to find a solution, now is the time to open critical debate (4) by defending the rights of those with differing views within our own country, to speak. 

Talking out the many issues faced in the conflict, ‘Lusaka-style dialogue’, is the only way to solve problems without resorting to more violence and kragdadigheid.

SIGNED ON THIS DAY:

David Robert Lewis

Michael Graaf

IN Cape Town

NOTES

(1) Principles of Secularism, George Holyoake; Austin. & Co., 1871.

(2) Mendelssohn, Moses (1783), Jerusalem: oder über religiöse Macht und Judentum. Von Moses Mendelssohn. Mitallergnädigsten Freyheiten, Berlin: Friedrich Maurer

(3) Political Islam Versus Secularism — A review of Tarek Fatah’s Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State. Nader Hashemi, 2008

(4) Read Rabbi Warren Goldstein’s response to Judge Cameron here.

BRIEF BIO

David Robert Lewis has written and worked for several titles banned under the apartheid regime, including South Press, Grassroots, and New Nation. In 1987 Lewis refused to stand on a combined IDF-ECC platform alongside Cameron Dugmore and then SAUJS president Johnathan Handler. Handler had objected to SADF troops in the townships but asserted his unconditional support of the IDF. The ECC was later banned in 1988 along with its members, as was the Swapo Solidarity Committee, of which Lewis was a member.


Michael Graaf was sentenced to one year in jail, suspended on condition that he completes 2400 hours of unpaid community service at King Edward VII Hospital, at the rate of 72 hours per month. In October 1990 Graaf was found guilty at the Pietermaritzburg magistrate’s courts of refusing to serve in the SADF. Mike was objecting to a camp call-up for the 15 December 1989. The sentence was set aside in June 1991 and he was able to stop his long hours of portering at a Durban hospital.

FW de Klerk, Media24 book award, Timol inquest, Nattrass and all that TRC Hypocrisy

NEWS that FW de Klerk had decided to cancel a US trip amidst an outcry over his statements earlier this year, was greeted with relief in some quarters. Apparently the former politician hastened to avoid embarrassing his American Bar Association hosts ‘in the current charged racial climate.’

This after a group of local attorneys including Lukhanyo Calata, the son of slain anti-apartheid activist Fort Calata, and members of The Pan African Bar Association of South Africa (Pabasa), condemned the ABA for providing De Klerk with a platform ‘to speak on racism’.

The cancellation comes after protests surrounding the murder of George Floyd, and one can only wonder at the double standards at work here, involving academics and members of the legal profession, those who are quick off the bat, when it comes to soundbites, but resoundingly fail on the detail, when it comes to the hard task of preserving our Constitutional dispensation and especially the contents and spirit of our Preamble back at home.

As I write this, there are several similar stories involving police brutality, apartheid denial, racism and the rule of law. And all impacting upon freedom and the boundaries of acceptable discourse.

A sorry state of affairs which may lead one to believe that our nation’s Preamble really begins, ‘ignoring the injustices of the past’ before moving on to an ironic statement:  ‘South Africa belongs to some of the more well-heeled and connected people who happen to live here in possession of legal aid.’

First up, there is the blarney over lack of representation and diversity at this years Media24 book awards. Bare in mind that this is an annual event which has come and gone each year for some decades, without the slightest peep of discontent from the black literary world, not to mention the academic black caucus.

It is not all that surprising, given the general myopia at work, that relatives of Albert Luthuli, Steve Biko, Ahmed Timol and Neil Aggett “just a few of the families of activists killed during apartheid” are still forced to question, under a black majority government, why it is, that President Cyril Ramaphosa ‘hasn’t acted on their call to investigate the suppression of cases from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.’

I have only to refer to my own dismal experience, the failure of the High Court to deliver justice last year in a matter affecting the status of the TRC final report, to point out that we have anything but the rule of law in this country, a sham democracy if ever there was one, where the default is 1994-denial, and where persons such as myself are denied any defence against racism.

Instead of an evidence-based legal system consistent with our Constitution, we have an extremely costly opinion-based boondoggle, one which unevenly dispenses justice to those who can afford it, while maintaining apartheid-era race privileges that hark back to the days of colonialism, and whither academic freedom and the institutions, whose ivy league temples equally provide sustenance to the system?

If necessary readers may follow my detailing of the capture of the justice system by ANC membership, in several posts published here. But still wonder at the temerity of those on the bench and silks allied to the justice system, who have time and again moved to squash open debate, while failing to render any remedy, — the Kobus Faasen fiasco in which Media24 escaped censure for referring to persons of color as ‘Bushmen’, springs to mind.

Remarkable since Faasen like myself was a pro se ‘self-represented’ litigant. If anyone needs to know, the system is designed to circumvent pro se litigation, all that the other more well-heeled party need do is to introduce a legal confusion, a complex side-bar issue, Mr Elephant said something in Bull vs Shite 1820, for the process to become derailed.

The result of the miscarriage of justice, in which the perpetrators of apartheid walk Scot free, despite being condemned by the TRC, and lacking amnesty is a massive public deflection. Whether it be the deflections of the FW de Klerk foundation or the bizarre extra-curricular academic argument occurring on the nations campuses, sparked by the latest student hiccough, the Nicoli Nattrass saga.

The outcome is invariably lack of due process, short circuiting of open debate, and the closure of the public mind. “Next year, we’ll be living in the new South Africa”, we used to tell ourselves. Next year, indeed.

A rather bizarre, jingoistic Covid-19 Freedom Day address by Julius Malema

HAVING JULIUS Malema appear on national television on Freedom Day, as if he were running the country is nothing new. But having the man appear to take charge during a National Disaster, surely one for the history books?

Today’s address must be seen as consistent with the commandeerist and vanguardist philosophy for which his far-left faction are renowned. The trouble with our national broadcaster’s approach, one of drawing in the troublesome EFF, is that it has allowed Malema to garner new opportunistic heights during the Covid-19 crisis.

Though characteristically lengthy, (I will leave it up to news media to report the nuts and bolts), the address contained more than the usual number of clangers.

Even under lockdown, he attacked the private sector which he said, could not be relied upon to provide services and said such persons were ‘driven by the profit-motive instead of coming together in times of crisis’, a fact not born out by the government’s own policy of allowing some economic activity to continue.

Witness Malema’s crass attempt to set the stage for a new ‘politics of the body’, setting the scene to take future credit for the production of ventilators and health equipment by our military-industrial complex under Denel, and a programme thus already underway.

“The South African government currently owns Denel which produces high tech fighting machines, that capacity must be directed towards the production of medical equipment. How do we explain that we can build fighter jets, fighting machines, but we cannot build a ventilator to help people breathe? Why do we have capacity to produce guns to fight wars but cannot produce machines to save lives?” he asked.

If you have not been following the details of South Africa’s national ventilator programme, or the response by local pharmaceutical companies such as Aspen, you could be forgiven for thinking that the EFF boss, had just made a major contribution on the subject, demanding local production of medicine and deployment of scarce military resources to the national effort.

Most of the politician’s address was caught up with an essentially bellicose attempt at holding both our government and industry to account for the crisis, whilst calling for stricter measures and harsher penalties, and reminding ‘revolutionaries’ that the ‘revolution was far from over, so long as the land was in white hands.’

‘If any workers lives were lost as a result of a premature exit from the national lockdown’, he fulminated, there would be hell to pay. In particular his party would make sure that for each worker’s life lost, the family ‘would receive at least R5 million’.

This after demanding an increase of the emergency crisis grant, to R1000. No credit given for President Ramaphosa’s historic introduction of a basic income grant (BIG) in times of need. Which is a bit like saying, ‘up the grant, and we will negotiate a payout if you die, or else’.

Not even socialist Sweden, which did not embrace a lockdown, has the kind of money to pay its entire population R1000pm, indefinitely, without there being some form of concomitant work in return, and thus a contribution by all workers to the nation’s exchequer. Malema however, called for BIG to be made permanent, and also demanded laptops and tablets for learners, another policy already implemented to some extant by the ANC, alongside E-learning.

Not content with playing catch-up to the ruling party and its remarkable series of interventions announced over the past week, by demanding stricter measures, and a return to moribund SOEs, Malema then proceeded to draw the kind of racist distinctions for which he is also famous.

One distinction in particular jarred, that made between European and Non-European, or in Malema terms, African and Non-African. That Malema was merely paraphrasing racist invective from the past whilst appearing to couch his arguments within the terms of black pride, can be seen in the following bizarre statement:

“Everyone thinks they are better than an African, they can made (sic) the worst form of suffering like Holocaust and bullets, they still will see themselves as better than Africans, meaning instead of human tragedy making them identify with Africans, they will still think of their own human suffering as better than being an African, why because African is being trapped in a skin colour, a body one can never escape.”

It was Adolf Hitler who made a distinction between what he termed Aryan, and Non-Aryan. It took apartheid founders such as DF Malan and HF Verwoerd to extend this classification system into the binary, European and Non-European, and thus some wind to the kind of racist terms deployed by Malema today.

But I fear, it takes a special type of jingoism, an inversion of logic if you will, for the result to blur into a scenario where ‘Hitler’s suffering’ is at the heart of all the problems to do with the black body. And where contrary to black consciousness leader, Steve Biko, ‘blackness is now purely the result of skin pigmentation’. All whilst calling essentially for a school curriculum that could see compulsory political re-education camps and censure on the basis of ideological outlook?

The sheer problem of metaphysical and epic proportions, in the extrapolation of a new ‘physicality of the body politic’ as a Covid19 ‘discourse of suffering’ by Malema, requires a lot more rumination than is possible on Freedom Day.

However, one of the tactics deployed by the self-styled and would-be Marxist dictator over the years, has been to cast himself as an unstoppable theoretical force, already in power. (By the powers of Fanon & Sankara?). If only the outcome of the ballot paper were a bit different and our nation’s ideological battles could be resolved with a simple tick of the pen?

Freedom day is surely not the time to be making distinctions on the basis of race, colour, religion and creed? And a crisis is not the place to be issuing forth on a treatment regime for some at the expense of others? But of course, we all get that Malema is about to volunteer for the treatment action campaign, or do we?

No other opposition leader has been given quite the same legroom by our nation’s institutions to attack democracy (or the marketplace) from within, whether in terms of editorial or column space, and thus to gain access to radio listeners and television spectators thereby, using the very mechanisms of power.

Malema’s party has too readily been granted the kind of privilege reserved for our democratic founders, and the type of audience reserved for visiting heads of state, in issuing forth racist cant that divides our nation, not between the haves and have-nots, but between those who qualify as Africans in Malema’s eyes, and those who do not.

For many commentators, the emergence of the EFF is a strange fact of South African life, orchestrated by party insiders, those wanting to create an antidote to the mostly white official opposition, and those who want merely to steal the revolution.

It is time to call-out what is occurring before our eyes, on the nation’s screens, in the negation of the democratic promise of universal rights and freedom for all citizens, black and white.

South Africa’s C19 ‘Concentration Camp’ for the Homeless

VIDEO has emerged of appalling conditions inside what appears to be a ‘Concentration Camp for the Homeless‘. The Strandfontein temporary site was setup by the Western Cape administration acting in conjunction with National Government. Its homeless inmates were rounded up two weeks ago when the national lockdown started.

A report from inside the internment camp shows an insider explaining in Afrikaans that ‘everyone is sleeping up against each other’, there is no social distancing, no separation of men and women, lots of condensation from ground water, since the site is right on the beach in Strandfontein.

More alarming is the apparent failure to separate adults, youths and children.

SAPS Western Cape are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the rape of an 18-year-old girl by a 36-year-old male last night at the ‘Strandfontein temporary shelter’.

A news report carried by INM, explains, that while the inmates or ‘guests of the state’ were apparently ‘free to leave’, they would simply get arrested again for disobeying the lockdown.

“We are forced here. It’s like a concentration camp.” Is how Tracey van der Pool described the conditions at the Strandfontein sports complex.

The facility is clearly operating in contravention of Article 12 of our Bill of Rights. All citizens have a fundamental right to be brought before a judge within 48 hours following their arrest, but of course, the latest annex to Pollsmoor Prison is posing as a ‘solution to the pandemic’ in terms of the National Disaster Act and nobody has been charged.

The Children’s Act defines a child as ‘any person under the age of 18.’

Earlier another video emerged of a petty confrontation between the ANC’s Cameron Dugmore and DA’s JP Smith at a media briefing at the site last week, in which Dugmore proceeds to ignore the unsanitary conditions and instead tackles JP Smith over his alleged failure to give SAPS hand sanitiser.

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says her department has identified five informal settlements whose residents will be requested to relocate as concerns grow around the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Neither SAPS nor the SAHRC are likely to act given their bad track record on dealing with similar matters.

In 2002 the Mental Health Act was amended to prevent involuntary medical commitment for economic reasons.

Volunteers from various Community Action Networks have written a letter listing their objections and concerns about the living conditions at the Strandfontein Sports ground site. The group have encouraged people to sign the letter before Monday, 13 April 2020 at midday, as it will be sent to Mayor Dan Plato.

In another twist, the City has been issuing fines of R500 to inmates, which may contravene rights of prisoners.

SEE: Doctors Without Borders makes scathing findings against City’s Strandfontein shelter

SEE: The Strandfontein Relocation Camp is a test of our morality as a city

Gatesgate: Naspers/News24 sudden flipflop on vaccine testing claims

READERS may be aware of false claims made by Naspers media group, News24 stating incorrectly that philanthropist Bill Gates would be testing a vaccine against Covid-19 on Africans. The story turned out to be fake news gleaned from twitter and has resulted in a series of embarrassing retractions and apologies by the media group.

A column by ‘public editor’ George Claasen stands alongside news editor Adriaan Basson’s open acknowledgement: “There is a massive difference between testing kits to help the government determine how many citizens are Covid-19 positive, and testing new vaccines on Africans. This should have been picked up and corrected in the editing process.”

“We messed up and for that we apologised to you, our readers, and to the Gates Foundation” says Basson.

Claasen’s narrative on the other hand, is exceedingly bizarre considering his own admission: “When I was a young cub reporter, ethical accountability by the media was a rare phenomenon. Press codes mostly did not exist and a watchdog such as the Organisation of Newsombudsmen and Standards Editors (ONO), the international body today guarding over journalism standards, did not exist and was only established in the 1980s”.

One should note here that any comparison with the activities of other media houses during the struggle period referred to by Claasen would quickly assess that neither Grassroots nor South Press for that matter, had similar lapses of judgement. Whether the same can be said of the Weekly Mail and its treatment of Winnie Mandela is another story.

Although other media players acted recklessly under various media restrictions and were perhaps, victims of embedded journalism, the old Argus Group showed more backbone than Naspers did in allowing open criticism of the regime. Criticism notably missing from papers such as Die Burger during the same period.

Both Basson and Claasen should therefore be reminded that they speak on behalf of a discredited news organisation that continues to lie about its role during apartheid, was found guilty of gross violations of human rights by the commission of inquiry into apartheid, and today stands accused of waging a campaign against the TRC and also of going so far as to corruptly influence a 2010 decision by our labour legal system, in order to avoid culpability.

The retraction this week follows the passing of Conrad Sidego, ‘the only person to have experienced discrimination’ at Naspers during apartheid, according to the company, a company which itself is a marvel of reinvention.

This follows several well-publicised scandals involving former senior Media24 journalists accused of sexually abusing boys while they held senior positions at the company,

The public retractions by News24 editors, welcome are they may be in some quarters, are thus one of the rare moments when the Naspers corporation has found pause to consider the deleterious effects of its lack of journalistic integrity.

Surely time to demand why no retraction of the many previous ‘errors of fact’ introduced by the apartheid lie factory?

Why no public acknowledgements of complicity in the dirty tricks operation waged against anti-apartheid newsrooms and following similar revelations made by Paul Erasmus during the Timol and Aggett inquests?

Could it be that in all these cases, none of the victims turned out to be billionaires?