Tagged: Africa

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

Shame, poor apartheid-era Troopies

LATEST round of apartheid hagiography appears to curry favour with former combatants in the apartheid-era SADF. The opinion piece doing the rounds in SA media penned by Theresa Edlmann who claims to be  a “Post-doctoral fellow in History at University of South Africa”  is really a pop-psych makeover of apartheid-era conscription.

More revealing in its failure to adequately deal with the End Conscription Campaign (ECC) who are reduced to one line in a paragraph marked “duty & conscience”. Hey Jiminy Cricket! The piece entirely neglects other anti-apartheid groups such as the Committee on South Africa War Resistance (COSAWR) and War Resisters International (WRI) who are excluded altogether. Never fear, the Truth & Reconciliation Commission Final Report effects a similar reduction into absurdity by conflating the Congress of South African Writers (COSAW) with COSAWR!

The piece thus appears to be written by somebody, either without all of the facts at hand, or simply brainwashed by modern textbooks. Struggling to interpret history from a contemporary vantage point, one where revisionism is all the rage. Thus, the dynamic presented by those who opposed conscription and those who stood up for ‘Volk en Vaderland’, is mysteriously lost, as war resisters are turned into footnotes, pacifists into anti-establishment aggressors, and conscientious objectors into non-persons.

Edlmann claims “Conscientious objection (on religious rather than moral ethical or political grounds) became a legal option in the mid-1980s – around the time the End Conscription Campaign was established and began public campaigns in support of conscientious objectors as well as calling for an end to conscription.

This is blatantly wrong since since the apartheid Defence Act did not provide for conscientious objection, which in any event was unlawful. The individual case histories of those tried for opposing the draft would make a book on its own, and definitely calls for greater investigation. Saul Batzofin, a Jewish objector served nine months of a 21-month sentence. Others like Pete Hathorn sentenced to two years in 1983, served a year in Pollsmoor Prison.

To my knowledge, there were no successful legal defences of this nature, but saying this does not absolve Edlmann of having to prove her case.

At the face of it, it would appear that Edlmann’s tools of analysis are seriously flawed and appear to have been gleaned from Oprah Winfrey or Noeleen.

Instead of a moral tale between right and wrong, an ethical dilemma in which human agency and individual choices were involved, all alluded to in her article, it is rather, (according to Edlmann) all the fault of an all-encompassing but faceless system in which apartheid combatants had no real choices, and therefore can be forgiven for what they did?

Thus South Africa’s former troopies are spared guilt, or blame, and absolved from having to atone, as too are the politicians and bureaucrats, in an ahistorical repositioning and reduction to absurdity of one the central themes associated with apartheid. The piece appears nothing more than a sad attempt to get such individuals onto the therapists couch, so that they can shed tears for what they did in defence of ‘Die Groot Krokodil’, as the late PW Botha was aptly named.

It is noteworthy that the piece has been published by the same press which refuses to acknowledge its role in excoriating anti-War activists following 911 and also by the self-same periodical which in 2007 destroyed my own book review of A Secret Burden, because it was too critical of the apartheid-era SADF and one particular vociferous supporter.

Life in a time of heretics

IN HIS 65,000-word Anti-Jewish treatise written in 1543, German Reformation leader Martin Luther called the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah a heretic: “Jeremiah, you wretched heretic, you seducer and false prophet”. He then claimed that Jewish history was “assailed by much heresy”, and that “Christ the logos swept away the Jewish heresy” and goes on to do so, “as it still does daily before our eyes.”

Luther stigmatised Jewish Prayer as being “blasphemous” and a lie, and vilified Jews in general as being spiritually “blind” and “surely possessed by all devils” all the while suggesting a number of remedial steps, such as “burning down Synegogues”.

Similarly, in his 1229 word essay (short and tame by the standards of the Reformation), entitled “End of ‘error’ may be about to dawn”, Terry Crawford-Brown declaims upon a number of current themes to do with Israel, including the supposed difference between Ashkenazi Jews and Mizrahi Jews, the Holocaust, the Apartheid analogy, the Green Line, Binationalism and more importantly, the so-called heresy of Zionism.

Lest we forget, Crawford-Brown is also the Cape Times correspondent who lied to the Seriti Commission and who tried to implicate the left in the killing of Chris Hani, in the process, revising history. He is also responsible for hosting an anti-Semitic seminar on the problem of Jewish immigration to South Africa  without so much as requesting input from the Jewish community, (not all Jews are Zionists), and has sought to dictate terms in the controversy surrounding the screening of a propoganda film at the Labia.

As a one-time spokesperson for the Anglican Church, Crawford-Brown has often attacked persons such as myself, who like anti-apartheid activist Peter Hain, advocate a binational solution to the problem in the Middle East.

In order to arrive at a binational state, one must first accept that Israel has a right to exist, all else follows from this premise, articulated by Nelson Mandela and recognised by the United Nation’s general assembly.

It was thus not so long ago that Crawford-Brown was attacking the very ideas which he now professes to hold, from a pulpit in which he is able to declaim on the so-called Zionist heresy with views that not only informed the German Reformation and its opposition, but was also the basis for the tragedy of the Holocaust which followed.

The Christian Church has a history of deflecting criticism by attacking minorities. The TRC faith hearings into apartheid atrocities heard that the Afrikaans Reformed Churches were widely identified with Afrikaner nationalism and held to be complicit in apartheid.

The complicity of the Dutch Reformed Church in the policy of apartheid went beyond simple approval and legitimisation. The church actively promoted apartheid, not least because it served the Afrikaner interests with which it identified. The Dutch Reformed Church admitted giving official sanction to apartheid laws, including providing theological justification for apartheid, in what is known as the “apartheid heresy”.

In 1975 the UN issued the infamous resolution 3379 equating Zionism with racism.

After the end of the Cold War, the same UN general assembly issued a resolution reversing the earlier resolution. Thus in 1991 “the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly … to revoke the bitterly contested statement it approved in 1975 that said “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.”

“The official count found 111 nations in favor of repealing the statement and 25 nations, mostly Islamic and hard-line Communists, voting against. Thirteen nations abstained. Seventeen other countries, including Egypt, which recognizes Israel, and Kuwait and China, did not take part in the voting.”

The earlier 1975 resolution 3379 is the basis for several conferences in South Africa, each one arriving at the conclusion that Zionism is Racism and worse, apartheid. The 1975 resolution is the basis for a Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) research paper reiterating its findings. No resolution has ever been issued by the UN for any similar form of ethnic nationalism, for example: Kemalism.

It is trite that whether or not one is a Zionist or a Non-Zionist, Theist or Non-Theist, there will be persons such as Crawford-Brown who seek to place Jews and Israel under the microscope, while forgetting the role played by the Christian Church in the formation of apartheid in our own country.

Speaking as a heretic and as a banned journalist and activist, whose heretical beliefs have been anathemitised by a South African court, not because they are Zionist, but because they do not conform to a general definition of Judaism as provided by an apartheid media company. (Yes, Judaism, like Islam, is a Christian heresy. Its adherents are also heretics), I caution against installing correspondents on the editorial pages as some new form of clergy.

Jews themselves have “defined their various sects as heresies (Greek hairesis). In the first century, this was not a negative term. First-century Jewish historian Josephus refers to the Sadducees, Pharisees and Essenes as the heresies of the Jews (Antiquities of the Jews, 13.171). Luke, writing in the book of Acts, shows that the followers of Christ were viewed as yet another heresy, known at that time as “the sect of the Nazarenes” (Greek Nazaoraios) (Acts 24:5). Thus, in the first century, the term heresy defined the teaching of a particular school. The word had been used this way in the Greek-speaking world since the time of Plato.” *

Crawford-Brown thus in no way discharges the accusation, rightfully made here, that he is essentially pontificating, settting himself up as a modern cleric and legal authority, without the necessary qualifications and without the authority of the broader Church nor the Republic of South Africa, a nation of which he is, no doubt, still a member.

NOTE: *Orthodoxy: Just Another Heresy? http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/article.aspx?id=145

An appeal from the publisher

Dear Friend,

After nearly ten years of an ongoing legal wrangle, involving the apartheid heresy, Jewish secular identity, race identity and press freedom, I’ve resolved to seek an order from the ConCourt, dismissing the De Lange case (Ecclesia De Lange v The Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (726/13) [2014] ZASCA 151 (29 September 2014) now before the Constitutional Court, with costs.

Any motion or order entered into by myself or cojoined partners, would seek to uphold the secular rights and freedoms in our constitution, which inter alia, need to be affirmed and interpreted thus:-

Freedom to not be subjected to inquiries (or interrogations) into ones religion or sexual orientation by the state, church or any other lay or ecclesiastical authority. i.e. an abrogation of the decision in Lewis v Media24 (2010).

Reverend Ecclesia De Lange, a Methodist Preacher had sought an order from the Supreme Court of Appeal against the respondents, the Presiding Bishop and Executive Secretary of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (the Church) setting aside an arbitration agreement between her and the Church, “which had been concluded pursuant to the Laws and Discipline of the Church (the L&D).”

The dispute between the parties has its “genesis in the decision of the Church to suspend the appellant following her announcement to her congregation of her intention to marry her same-sex partner”. The Church recommended that she be “suspended as a minister until such time as the debate within the Church on the permissibility of same-sex marriages is resolved.”

The issues at stake and points of law in question are not whether same-sex marriages or unions are permissible in South Africa, or whether they are contrary to Christianity and Canon Law, but instead involves the problematic separation of Church and State and guarantees to this effect in our constitution.

Does the state have the right to intervene in the affairs of the Church and vice versa?

What exactly are our secular rights and freedoms?

Is the state an ecclesiastical authority?

You may recall that the phrase “In humble submission to Almighty God” was dropped from the preamble to the constitution, which begins “We, the people,” and instead replaced by a simple prayer: “God Bless Africa, Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika”

South Africa was run as a Christian theocracy during apartheid. In the 20 year period after the first democratic election there have been precious few legal precedents (if any) upholding secular rights and freedoms. The recent scandal involving the Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s comments to the affect that “our constitution needs a Christian makeover” should sound warning bells.

The De Lange case is not only scandalizing the courts and the church, but is risking a Counter-Reformation, one that could have the perverse consequence of not only rewriting the Old and New Testament, but also subjecting all and sundry to Christian Canon Law.

In the present South African climate of Christian Normative jurisprudence (with Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng a big fan of the Bible as read by Charismatics and Evangelists) and failure to abide by the most basic secular precepts, this is too big a risk to take. The hearing at the Constitutional Court will examine issues which effect each and every South African and impact upon legal precedent for the foreseeable future. The bases have been loaded in favour of theocracy and Jacob Zuma’s agenda to make the party and state the chief domain of religion in the country.

If we allow Gay Rights to be put on trial alongside Christian theology, as De Lange has sought, we could lose these rights, along with other rights, like the right to dissent from religion. I am thus prepared to risk solidarity with every Gay and Lesbian on the planet, by cutting off Mogoeng at the pass, as it were, and request that you assist me in this endeavor.

My history of support for black emancipation, women’s emancipation and LGBT rights is public record.

The issue isn’t whether or not you can be a Christian and Gay, but rather, should the State intervene in the Church, Synagogue or Mosque and vice versa, i. e. Separation of the different spheres of government, in particular the right to dissent and freedom from religious rule. As Holyoake, the founder of secularism states: Secularism is not the absence of religion, rather it is the absence of religious rule.

The issues of law to be discussed are on the exact same points raised in my 131 page submission to the JSC/Concourt in a complaint that predates the handing down of the De Lange decision at the Supreme Court of Appeal by 11 days in a case which has been ongoing since 2006. The similarities in arguments used by either party are not coincidental and stem from the failure of the Labour Court of South Africa to accept the credentials of a female Jewish Rabbi and Doctor of Hebrew Studies.

Therefore, please help me to kick the problematic De Lange case out of court and to place the De Lange motion, where it belongs, on the scrap heap of history, along with every other Counter-Reformation, and motion for the retraction of the Enlightenment.

Please save our Constitution from those who wish to end the separation of Church and State, for whatever reason, and however so constructed the arguments and the pleadings before our Constitution may be. No to the creeping Counter-Reformation and assertion of the rule of religion over law and vice versa.

Any precedent which nullifies or removes rights in the Bill of Rights, will be a major set-back for human rights as we know it. Creating a broad platform for secular rights and freedoms, by interceding on the behalf of interested and affected parties, will avoid the ConCourt from turning into a religious tribunal. Unless we take urgent action, such a likelihood is inevitable.

Affidavit in support of Interdict

David Robert Lewis
PO BOX 4398
Cape Town
South Africa

Mobile 082 425 1454
Home 021 448 0021

Africa’s Great Green Wall

greatgreenwall_0The Great Green Wall initiative is a pan-African proposal to “green” the continent from west to east in order to battle desertification.  It aims at tackling poverty and the degradation of soils in the Sahel-Saharan region, focusing on a strip of land of 15 km (9 mi) wide and 7,100 km (4,400 mi) long from Dakar to Djibouti.

Populations in Sahelian Africa are among the poorest and most vulnerable to climatic variability and land degradation.  They depend heavily on healthy ecosystems for rainfed agriculture, fisheries, and livestock management to sustain their livelihoods.  These constitute the primary sectors of employment in the region and generate at least 40 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in most of the countries.  Additionally, the ecosystem provides much needed livelihood products, such as fuelwood and bushmeat.  Unfortunately, increasing population pressures on food, fodder, and fuelwood in a vulnerable environment have deteriorating impacts on natural resources, notably vegetation cover.  Climate variability along with frequent droughts and poorly managed land and water resources have caused rivers and lakes to dry up and contribute to increased soil erosion.

The vision of a great green wall to combat ecological degradation was conceived in 2005 by the former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and the idea was strongly supported by President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal. The vision evolved into an integrated ecosystem management approach in January 2007, when the African Union adopted declaration 137 VIII, approving the “Decision on the Implementation of the Green Wall for the Sahara Initiative”. In June 2010, Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan signed a convention in Ndjamena, Chad, to create the Great Green Wall (GGW) Agency and nominate a secretary to further develop the initiative.

The participating countries hope that by linking national-level efforts across borders, they will tackle policy, investment, and institutional barriers that exacerbate the effects of climate change and variability, leading to desertification and deterioration of the environment and natural resources and the risk of conflicts between communities. International Colloquiums are held to discuss possible barriers as well as share available knowledge on the vegetal species, systems of development, and GGW monitoring updates1.

galma_1The GEF emulates the spirit of collaboration by allowing participating GGW countries to prioritize which projects they want to implement, in conjunction with GEF agencies and their partners.  They may “develop one or several projects in the context of this program and assign some or all of their financial allocations to the Great Green Wall[1]”.

Progress is apparent especially in the Zinder region of Niger, where tree density has significantly improved since the mid-1980s.  GEF CEO Monique Barbut attributes the success to working with farmers to find technical solutions, particularly long-term land and financial solutions, in order to save the trees.  This form of natural regeneration benefits local communities and the global environment alike by increasing crop yield, improving soil fertility, reducing land erosion, improving fodder availability, diversifying income, cutting wood collection time for women, strengthening resilience to climate change, increasing biodiversity, and much more.

Source: Bioneers

Bitcoins for Africa

What barrier is preventing Bitcoin adoption in one of the largest and most beautiful continents in the world? Someone has decided to find out.

Localbitcoin has partnered with Borja and his friend Elvis, who are both avid adventurers, as they ride their motorcycle through every country in Africa and set up a Bitcoin exchange in under represented African countries.

“We are two friends who love motorbikes.”, said Borja just before taking a ferry to Tangier, Morocco.

Starting in Morocco and ending in South Africa, with several stops in between. Feel free to tweet your support and assistance to @LocalBitcoins with the #BitcoinAfrica tag.