Traction on TRC-related cases

THE past week has seen movement by the NPA on several TRC cases. Some might say better late than never, but its still an uphill task getting the NPA to make good on the recommendations of the commission, not to mention our own difficulties in gaining access to justice in a civil case brought to defend the final report from a dirty tricks campaign which includes public denials that the perpetrators were ever inculpated.

Can the NPA save face on unresolved apartheid deaths?  writes Tyrone Smith

Reconciliation as we knew it then (mid-nineties) is overworked. The challenge now remains – how do opposing groups dialogue and overcome the structural divides, writes Leon Wessels.


Here’s a duck to Daily Maverick’s resident 5G quack

IVO VEGTER is at it again, with a spate of postings published by Daily Maverick, each one more ludicrous than the next. If its not GM food, then its nuclear power that he commends. The latest effort at contrarianism is what appears to be a detailed article on 5G, labeling those who rightly question the health impacts of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation (RF EMR)  guilty of nothing less than “technophobic nonsense”.

The posting begins by introducing a red herring — the unverified report that Poland’s PM Mateusz Morawiecki, had signed the ‘Global Appeal to Ban 5G in Earth and in Space’. The report was picked up by online sites, including CounterPunch, but turned out to be nothing more than a tactic to discredit those campaigning against 5G,  and thus amongst similar Trojan Horse ideas punted by infocoms sites.

Which is a better weapon in the hands of right-wing charlatans, the Straw Man argument, or the good old Greek Gift?

Globalisation sites such as Global Research apparently had a field day, but as yet no independent verification of the alleged dismissal from the, wait for it, ‘The Polish Ministry of Digitalisation’.

But that my dear, is not the main point here, since Vegter should know better than to critique a public petition, for money, while ignoring the real nugget of a professional petition eligible only to those with a PhD or Medical degree!

All this while supplying sciencey-looking diagrams to demonstrate, why it is that he writes on the subject while not possessing a science degree, nor coursework in the subject at hand.

To give an indication, saying 5G spectrum  ‘places squarely in the region of radar on the electromagnetic spectrum’, begs the health questions raised by this Int. J. Cancer paper, one of many, reporting an increase in the incidence of hemolymphatic cancers:

Causes of death among Belgian professional military radar operators: A 37-year retrospective cohort study

So much for the claim that these studies are all ‘self-published, non-peer-reviewed reports’. Would Vegter be so bold then, as to review the slightly more elevated petition document signed by some 50 eminent medical professionals, with the same apparent rigour, as he treated the much vaunted “Global Appeal to Ban 5G in Earth and in Space?”

I think not, since the Vegter is seemingly impervious to criticism that he is at best, a cherry-picker of facts.

Ivo thus proceeds to impute anti-5G activists on the basis that “A significant percentage of the world’s population is instinctively afraid of new technologies” in the process ignoring the ‘precautionary principle’ which has governed much scientific endeavor in the past, but sadly seems to be on the way out, so far as Huawei is concerned. Victim of what those in the tech industry might refer to as the pro-actionary principle, of doing it for the startup money, and not giving a $%^.

The man makes the astonishing claim that there is no substantive peer reviewed research supporting concerns about RF EMR and EMF since, “many of the academic studies cited in the petition are decades old, and nothing has come of follow-up studies to confirm or quantify the effect. Some weren’t peer-reviewed. Many are published in obscure journals. Most are conducted on animals, or even just cells in a petri dish, not humans in plausible exposure scenarios. Many have very small sample sizes. Most cases involve a correlation, rather than proof of causation. None offer a plausible mechanism of action by which electromagnetic radiation can produce the claimed effect.”

Readers may take time to review a compendium of research on the dangers of 5G and EMF, compiled by Dr. Martin Pall.

5G uses between 24 to 90 gigahertz frequency. Within the RF Radiation portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, the higher the frequency the more dangerous it is to living organisms.

Don’t get bamboozled by the debate on ionising vs non-ionising radiation unless you care to suck on some microwaved latte while reading recent papers published by the the eminent Lancet, and Environmental Research Journal:

Planetary electromagnetic pollution: it is time to assess its impact

‘Unprecedented human exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation from conception until death has been occurring in the past two decades. Evidence of its effects on the CNS, including altered neurodevelopment and increased risk of some neurodegenerative diseases,is a major concern considering the steady increase in their incidence.’

5 G wireless telecommunications expansion: Public health and environmental implication

“Radiofrequency radiation (RF) is increasingly being recognized as a new form of environmental pollution. Like other common toxic exposures, the effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF EMR) will be problematic if not impossible to sort out epidemiologically as there no longer remains an unexposed control group.”

Try these pages for some further anti-dote to the Daily Maverick media factory:

Scientific Research on 5G, 4G Small Cells, Wireless Radiation and Health

TRC: No to Naspers dirty tricks

On 26 September 1997 a group of journalists from Naspers made a submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission ‘apologising for their role in the apartheid years’. The submission endorsed by journalists, in their individual and private capacities, from ‘Beeld, Die Burger, Rapport, Volksblad, Insig, Huisgenoot, Sarie, You and Fair Lady’ was not made on behalf of the company, but rather against the wishes of management. Ton Vosloo, then managing director, had taken a dim view of the commission calling it a ‘liegscommissie’, while former Naspers directer, PW Botha had successfullly opposed a subpoena to appear before the TRC in court.

Editorial comment in the majority of the Afrikaans papers was highly critical of the TRC, especially in Die Burger and Rapport” writes Tim du Plessis in the Nieman Report. “They accused the TRC in emotional language of a lack of balance and of severe prejudice against the Afrikaners and their institutions. On the editorial pages, the Commission was scathingly referred to as “Tutu se bieg en liegkommissie” (Tutu’s Commission of confessing and lying).”

Editorials and political columns branded the Commission a “witch hunt” against Afrikaners. Allegations of undue sympathy for the ruling African National Congress (ANC) were leveled at the Commission which, according to these papers, resulted in a lack of will by the TRC to investigate abuses of human rights in ANC ranks.”

This calumny against the commission is not surprising, since in mid-1980s, PW Botha had handed his associates a license to launch South Africa’s first commercial pay-television platform.

The result was the creation of a media behemoth, with assets around the globe. The same company which had been instrumental in the race-based apartheid state. Successive Prime Ministers, including DF Malan and HF Verwoerd, all had links to the corporation responsible for the Afrikaans language newspapers Die Burger and Rapport. The organisation is referred to as the ‘tap-root of the National Party’ by investigative reporter Hennie van Vuuren, who demonstrated the links between the Botha government and Naspers whilst researching his book ‘Apartheid Guns and Money.

Two days after lodging a complaint in regard to a racist cover-up before South Africa’s Equality Court, during July of 2015 the company decided to issue a public apology referencing one case-limited example of a journalist Conrad Sidego who had experienced problems with separate facilities in Naspers newsrooms. The apology, ostensibly issued to the heavens, failed to note the dispute, and made no mention of the earlier submissions made by a group of apartheid collaborators who had succeeded in turning themselves into ‘conscientious journalists’ under the machinations of the commission — nor the findings of the commission itself which had essentially found the company guilty of gross violations of human rights. 

Media24 manager Ishmet Davidson, then proceeded to claim on camera that the corporation had in fact made submissions before the TRC and had ostensibly been cleared by the commission. The public statement was far from the truth, since what had occurred was in reality an elaborate public relations exercise, in which the media proceeded to rewrite history while ignoring the damning evidence of open collaboration and support for the apartheid state.

Thus on 22 September 2017 Justice Bozalek issued an order in regard to my right to legal representation in the matter brought to defend the TRC Report:-

It is ordered that the plaintiff’s application to review the Legal Aid Board’s decision to refuse the plaintiff legal representation is not properly before this Court. The plaintiff is directed, if he wishes to pursue that ‘application’ or to exhaust his right to appeal the Legal Aid Board’s decision to its CEO, to take such steps inter alia by launching a review application against the Legal Aid Board in the Western Cape High Court.”

The matter against Legal Aid SA (LASA) was heard on 28 February 2019 and a decision handed down by AJ Martin on 11 March 2019, in which Martin proceeded to agree with Legal Aid SA determinations that it would ‘take a long time to read the TRC report’ and therefore it may be ignored. 

At para 5 the decision records the words of John van Onselen’s merit report:

to enable Legal Aid SA to prepare a substantive report it would be necessary to consider all the various pieces of legislation applicable, the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission together with any relevant documents”

To which AJ Martin concludes:-

I am also satisfied that Legal Aid SA justifiably concluded that ‘to do so would take a lengthy period of time”

LASA legal executive Themile Mtata has stated in his explanation of a further determination of no prospects, that ‘the matter has prescribed since the commission wound up its work some time ago.’

AJ Martin thus concurred with the racist determinations and explanations made by LASA in its merit report, in the process creating an unlawful and racist exclusion to the Preamble to our Constitution. 

The decision in Lewis v LASA (2019) unlawfully abrogates our constitution and the current democratic dispensation by failing to recognize the status of the TRC report, a foundation to our democracy, and thus the injunction:

We, the people of South Africa,

Recognise the injustices of our past;

Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land;

Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and

Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.


so so as to ­

  • Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights;
  • Lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law;
  • Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person; and
  • Build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations.

Although promulgated in terms of the Interim Constitution of 1993, the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act 34 of 1995 was a necessary pre-condition for the enactment of the Constitution of the Republic, signed by President Nelson Mandela on 18 December 1996 and which came into effect on 4 February 1997.

To provide for the investigation and the establishment of as complete a picture as possible of the nature, causes and extent of gross violations of human rights …

The rejection of the facts before the Equality Court and High Court and thus the trivialisation of the TRC report, flies in the face of natural justice and ignores the substantial injustice and unfairness which is being experienced by the Applicant not possessing legal aid with regard to the odious task of defending the public record. Section 39(2) of the constitution directs every court or tribunal – when interpreting legislation or developing common law or customary law – to promote the object, purport and spirit of the Bill of Rights.

To state that the High Court ‘finds some displeasure’ at the manner in which the communication of the ‘reasons for refusal of legal aid’, was conveyed but nothing ‘deficient, invalid or unjustified’ in the resulting determinations, ignores the many deficiencies in procedure, in which the facts of the TRC report are reduced both in stature and levity by the Respondent, and consequently the Court itself.




Wikimedia spindoctor on failed Decolonisation Conference

READERS may be aware of the circumstances surrounding the hosting of an exclusive “Decolonising the Internet” conference in Cape Town.

A conference so exclusive that that it was not simply a well-funded invitation-only event, in the run-up to Wikimania Cape Town, but one which bizarrely excluded anti-apartheid activists — in the process failing miserably to include the very same persons referred to in its bold statements, cynically referring to ‘representivity, inclusivity, the marginalised and the local (see my letter to Douglas Scott, and my complaint to Wikimania).

The organisers still persist in claiming they were promoting “newly created alliances and networks, [working] together towards more diversity and inclusion in the experience of internet design, architecture, content, and governance” while further proclaiming: “We intend to dramatically change the way the internet represents the majority of the world.”

Exactly how this will ever be achieved by hosting closed door sessions dominated by ‘privileged white persons’ from the global North is still a mystery.

What the organizers did accomplish was some skilled (read manipulated) agenda-setting and box-ticking for the main programme’s half-baked keynote delivered by Dr Sean Jacobs, who parachuted in from New York to deliver an uneven address on the subject while claiming that Wikimania had done its homework on apartheid memory.

Witness Jake Orlowitz a Wikimania volunteer being interviewed by a clueless volunteer who ends her interview by stating:  “you did all my work for me, I don’t even have to ask any follow up questions”.

The podcast is a nothing less than a puff piece for the closed-door fiasco, in which local activists were not informed by organisers that the event was being co-located by Wikimania, on an international programme held in Cape Town, which will be remembered for its failure to include a single session on apartheid memory. 

Ditto Rhodes Must Fall.

Attendees were then bussed to Robben Island, and sites in D6 and local townships, without bothering to create a safe space for the very persons affected by apartheid separate development, and the latest round of academic exclusions on the nation’s campuses, nor given any other opportunity to air their views on the subject.

Orlowitz, much like so many megaphoned and amplified ‘male allies’ in the global women’s movement, proceeds to hog a debate on issues to do with developing world invisibility and ‘your’e not welcome’ implicit race bias, acknowledges its a ‘middle class hobby’, touches on issues to do with representation, in an 11 minute podcast published by ‘WhoseKnowledge‘ the apparent backers of the pre-conference.

Startling in that the obviously ‘white privileged male’  without a hint of irony, goes on to say ‘Wikipedia [is] struggling with inclusion’, ‘consistantly white men from the global North who do well .., and often who don’t see a problem’, “it’s not me, I’m not a part of it”.

Orlowitz claims his role is one of ‘using his privilege to raise awareness’ then bizarrely proceeds to speak on behalf of ‘folks who were born native and privileged’ as well as those who are ‘excluded from the system [but] ‘who carry so much knowledge’, before admitting, “I don’t even know what is missing”.

A point of view which rubbishes claims made by a member of the local Wikimedia Chapter, that the event was limited to ‘indigenes’.

Strangely Orlowitz calls systemic Wikimedia bias merely a ‘meme’; while claiming the decolonising pre-conference was inclusive of diversity and marginalised persons, but does not make any cogent argument for why the conference was closed.

That organisers wants to reproduce this closed model surrounding an online site famed for its apparent openness, is risible.

WhoseKnowledge is clearly one of many opportunistic organisations possessed of politically-correct do-gooder-speak, with all the resources but without the right model. Reverting to a previous era of closed and proprietary debate, is what is at fault here.

I therefore have no hesitation as a publisher and anti-apartheid activist, affected by Wikipedia deletions of apartheid memory, in once again rejecting the WhoseKnowledge organisation on the basis of ‘nothing about us, without us

SEE: James Alexander, you’re out

Apartheid & Post-TRC Litigation FAQ

1. Is this case related to the 300 TRC cases referred to in the media?

Not as such, the 300 cases referred to by the media, are all criminal cases arising from the findings of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC). While certainly overdue, they have only now come under the spotlight following the Timol inquest and the failure of the NPA to prosecute. The Lewis cases referred to below are all civil cases brought to defend the TRC and its Report from further acts and omissions by the transgressors and perpetrators. Instead of covering the case, the media have chosen to obfuscate and deny involvement.

2. Why is Lewis suing the Legal Aid Board?

The Equality Court granted Lewis leave to sue the Legal Aid Board following lack of due process with regard to the correct manner in which Legal Aid is to be applied for in matters before the court. This action brought in terms of Promotion of Access to Administrative Justice Act (PAJA) follows a subsequent determination by LASA of ‘no reasonable prospects’ in a matter affecting the life of the TRC and its Final Report. LASA’s John van Onselen has stated that “to enable Legal Aid to prepare a substantive report it would be necessary to consider all the various pieces of legislation applicable, the findings of the report of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission together with any other relevant documents.” van Onselen then goes on to state ‘it would take a long time to read the report’ and therefore, it may be ignored. LASA legal executive Themile Mtata has then stated in his explanation of a further determination of no prospects, that ‘the matter has prescribed since the commission wound up its work some time ago.’

3. What is at stake in Lewis v Legal Aid SA (LASA)?

Two important constitutional issues revolve around this case. The first is the racist exclusion to the preamble to our Constitution, which results from AJ Martin agreeing with LASA that the TRC report may be ignored and/or the matter has prescribed and/or apartheid is no longer a crime against humanity. If we are no longer compelled to remember the injustices of the past, our constitutional rights and responsibilities make little sense, especially when stripped of the context in which this country was formed as a democratic South Africa.

The second important issue is AJ Martin’s strange determination that LASA falls within the ‘executive sphere of government’ and thus the High Court is effectively restrained by the separation of powers inherent to the Constitution, from interfering in the internal processes and the determinations made at LASA. This flies in the face of the Legal Aid Act which created LASA as a ‘national public entity’ in terms of the Public Finance Management Act which holds, that LASA is ‘reportable to parliament’ and falls under Schedule 3 ‘Other Public Entities” alongside the Accounting Standards Board and Boxing South Africa.

Aside from the blatant racism here, these determinations are neither lawful nor competent, since AJ Martin most certainly oversteps High Court authority by creating an exclusion to the Preamble, and then effectively rescheduling LASA within the same category as any ‘Constitutional entity’, rewriting instead of interpretting the very laws passed by our legislature.

4. What is at stake in the Equality Court matter?

This is a long-standing dispute involving Naspers/Media24 opposition to and failure to participate in the TRC where the company is named in Chapter 4 as one of the ‘perpetrators of gross violations of human rights under apartheid’. Under review is the dirty tricks campaign orchestrated by the company which has inter alia, sought to fabricate and alter the public record, while crushing the legacy of opposition to apartheid by struggle journalists, and  covering up the circumstances in which a group of Naspers journos approached the TRC in their private capacity and turned themselves from ‘apartheid collaborators’ into ‘conscientious journalists’.

The company and its subsidiaries are thus being sued in conjunction with the Minister of Justice due to the failure of the Minister’s TRC Unit to render any assistance in the matter, and thus the failure of the Minister to defend both the law and the TRC report before the courts. The TRC unit for example, has determined that since Naspers was a business it would not be willing to provide any support to the plaintiff in the matter. Failing to defend the TRC lowers the status of the TRC report, currently reduced to ‘simply a report’ and the commission, ‘merely a commission’ by Naspers/Media24 and LASA council.

5. What was Lewis 2010 labour dispute all about and is it relevant to the above proceedings?

While distantly related to the current proceedings, the only relevance here are the on record statements made by Naspers/Media24 council contra the TRC report. AJ Cheadle’s unlawful determination at para 98 that: ‘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’ and thus the outcome of the Labour Court proceeding and other related issues, are not directly under review. For obvious reasons, if the status of the TRC and its report is upheld, the outcome will impact upon Lewis ability to bring a review application in the future on the basis of the unlawful denial of its findings.

6. Is there a roadmap for the Appeal petition?

In order to lodge an appeal of the decision in Lewis v LASA before the SCA and/or Concourt, Lewis will need to file documents and also provide the parties with transcripts of the proceedings, all of which costs money. The appeal petition is contingent upon Lewis having access to the courts either in Bloemfontein and Johannesburg. If you wish to donate to the appeal campaign, you may do so via Lewis PayPal account.

7. Who is the complainant?

The complainant is a former banned journalist, musician and anti-apartheid activist. Lewis has worked for various publications and organisations banned by the apartheid regime, including inter alia New Nation, Grassroots, South Press, COSAW and SACHED. In particular his membership of End Conscription Campaign, South West African People’s Organsation (SWAPO) solidarity group, People’s Culture Festival, Cultural Workers Congress, Earthlife Movement (founding member), Koeberg Alert, People’s Health Movement (steering committee) are relevant to these proceedings.


BackaBuddy respond to my crowdfunding application

Dear David,

Thanks for the campaign submission. Given the sensitive nature of the campaign and that there is a legal allegation here, we are reluctant to create the campaign on the platform. We’ve had experience of a similar campaign in the past, and remember that the campaign creator’s legal action was almost jeopardised by public nature of crowdfunding. In short, we had to remove the campaign which was a distressing experience for all involved.

We cannot risk having the site shut down due to the fact that thousands of needy people rely on us monthly for crowdfunding support.

In addition, crowdfunding requires you to actively promote the campaign to your friends, family, and colleagues. If you are confident that you have the networks to fund your cause, no problem. But its best to be aware of this prior to the campaign creation.

While we sympathise with the issues you are highlighting, we are concerned that a campaign may be damaging to you and your case. Our terms and conditions do state that we do not routinely add campaigns that has:

·  details of a pending or current legal case which contain content that may be defamatory to the complainant or defendant.

Should you wish to proceed, we would ask that you review your text and provide us with contactable references/supporting documentation that can be used to verify your cause.

With kind regards,


Georgie Berens

Community and Design Curator

 + 27 (0) 62 163 2276

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