Zuma’s long road to Serfdom

THE ZUMA administration is the subject of a number of public embarrassments. All involve, maladministration, graft and the failure to abide by the rule of law. The latest comes with the release of a report into the 2012 Marikana massacre which led to the deaths of approximately 44 people, and more than 70 persons being injured.

The Farlam Commission appointed by president Zuma, predictably, whitewashes the administration’s involvement in the events which lead up to the massacre. Deputy-President, Cyril Ramaphosa, who was non-executive director of Lonmin, a significant shareholder in the company (through its shareholding structures), and a senior member of the ANC at the time, has been given a clean bill of health, so too the political structure and chain of command which lead directly to the massacre.

The release of the report comes days after scandals involving the failure to arrest Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir wanted by the International Criminal Court and international community for the Darfur Genocide, and just weeks after a FIFA bribery scandal involving Danny Jordaan and under-the-counter payments made in exchange for votes.

Only a month earlier, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko was telling the public that additions to the Zuma compound at Nkandla such as a swimming pool and amphitheatre, were all vital “security features”, for which the president “is therefore not liable to pay”.

The embarrassments are leading ordinary South Africans to ask whether it is perhaps time for Zuma to go?

South Africa under Msholozi, the clan name under which Zuma is also known, has seen a bloated cabinet, one of the biggest in the world, with a concomitant increase in departmental complexity,  government red-tape and an out of control civil service, as the modus operandi of the country has moved from industrial output, to the aegis of big government, a nation which produces politicians instead of productivity.

Anyone following the debate over Eskom’s tariff increases, could be forgiven for thinking that South Africans exist to fund the energy parastatal and its emphasis on Soviet-style gigantism — two large fossil fuel projects and a failed R10 billion Pebble-bed Modular Reactor programme, and now the threat of a BRICS-lead trillion rand nuclear build, for which the country undoubtedly, has insufficient foreign reserves to foot the bill, when and if it arrives.

Eskom, despite having a monopoly mandate, increasingly finds itself unable to provide electricity. The simple logic of the market has proven to be an Achilles heel. The increase in the civil service has not countered the loss of jobs in the private sector.

That the economic master-plan of the ruling party, known as the National Development Plan, along with its  shibboleth of central planning and anti-privatisation rhetoric, is beginning to unravel, can be seen in the failure of other parastatals to deliver. In short, Telkom sucks, as does SAA which exists on annual bail-outs. (There are some 120 such quasi-government entities)

20 years after the constituent assembly drafted the Constitution and Bill of Rights, ushering in a universal franchise and human rights, the country is paying lip-service to its contents, institutions such as the public protector are ignored. Likewise, the judiciary.

Under Zuma, a narrow ethnic nationalism has found itself at odds with the secular values established under previous governments. The president has cemented power, rolling out salary increases for “headmen” (what no women?) under a new dispensation which favours tribal authority at the expense of citizenship and the rights of the individual.

Thus the road to serfdom, instead of the great society of Nelson Mandela.

Shembe deal on Vuvuzela rights.

DURBAN, South Africa — AFP reports a South African church has reached a deal with a vuvuzela maker acknowledging that their prophet in 1910 invented the horn that has become the sound of the World Cup, a spokesman said Tuesday.

The Nazareth Baptist Church says its founder Isaiah Shembe invented the monotone instrument a century ago using antelope horns, which his followers used in prayers.

The church had threatened a lawsuit to assert their intellectual property rights over the vuvuzela, which is now mass-produced in plastic and has become the must-have accessory at World Cup matches.

“We are now considered as the official makers of the vuvuzela. We are going to work together,” said the church’s spokesman Enoch Mthembu.

In the 1980s, supporters of Durban’s AmaZulu football club began blowing horns made out of antelope horns or stalks of sugar cane in stadiums.

The tradition was adopted by the Kaizer Chiefs in Soweto, who popularised the instrument around Johannesburg.

Masincedane Sport Company decided to mass produce the horns in plastic in 2001.

The company said it would release details of the deal later this week.

The Nazareth Baptist Churchalso known as the Shembe after its founder, and which claims four million followers and mixes Christianity and Zulu traditions.

Shembe is revered as an African Messiah.

Mthembu said the church wanted to prevent copycat versions of vuvuzelas coming from China.

“Today, our main concern is to close down illegal manufacturers and the Chinese companies which produce very cheap items,” he said.

“It is important for us to be recognised as the inventor of the vuvuzela. It is a South African instrument and the production is out of control now.”

Cut of the dress too much for FIFA

Dress too short, woman arrested

CONFLICTING statements from FIFA around the Bavaria Beer dress controversy could be a case of sour grapes or stail hops. It appears, the federation have sold the rights to advertise beer to Anheuser Busch who don’t want to see any competitors associated with the tournament. Bavaria Beer, a Netherlands based brewing company apparently paid some women to wear clothing manufactured by the company. They also gave away tickets and organised volunteers to “create a team wearing the Holland national colours but posing as Danish supporters”.

There doesn’t appear to be anything illegal in doing this,  but FIFA maintain the group has contravened the South African Merchandise Marks Act which was recently amended to make room for commercial rights which may exceed the freedoms guaranteed by South Africa’s constitution.

It appears the “ambush marketing”  tactic has more to do with the exposure gained by the arrests, than the actions in and of  themselves. Since there is absolutely nothing distinguishing the women and their dresses from other similarly clad Dutch supporters — Orange is traditionally the colour associated with the Dutch Royal family. (See previous posting)

The group may have been “outed” in order to gain international exposure for the Bavaria brand.  Bavaria Beer  have ambushed the anti-ambush-marketers in the process.

Participants in the supposed “ambush” marketing campaign describe their arrest in a way which appears to give credence to this theory. It would appear that a sophisticated game of industrial espionage and police-work has resulted in the spectacle of Dutch Orange supporters being arrested for doing little more than wear Orange sporting apparel.

To look at this picture another way, imagine if a clothing manufacturer  handed out beer in unmarked containers as part of a publicity stunt. The only thing linking the company to the product is the controversy. The thought police are going to have a hard time proving that the incident was part of an illegal marketing campaign, since it would appear the marketing was dependent upon the arrests being conducted and thus played up to the fears of the organisors.

FIFA has therefore been stung by its own stupidity in an elaborate cat and mouse game in which freedom — our freedom as a nation — is being sacrificed in the process.

FIFA president Joseph Blatter may have had this in mind when he described the women as “nothing more than advertising mules,” in the process reducing all women to a lower species in the animal kingdom.  A mule is the offspring between a male donkey and a female horse, and Bavaria have risen to the occasion, calling on FIFA to ” stop intimidating Dutch dressed female supporters.”

While there doesn’t appear any legislation tackling the length or cut of women’s dresses in South Africa, and the only place where this kind of thing would raise a stir on the continent is Malawi,  the new pro-FIFA legislation appears to outlaw certain types of branding with regard to clothing apparel in particular “ambush marketing”.

A nefarious term which doesn’t describe much — both marketing and branding are completely different activities. For instance, where does the market begin and end? Is our Freedom up for sale? As the old adage goes, “that government governs best which governs least” and “keep government  outside the bedroom” —  the question mark remains as to how far the law extends to the neither regions of the female anatomy?  If the labels were on the inside, who can complain?

Only a moral prude with deviant thought patterns like the plutocrats in FIFA would stoop this low and the law may seriously run awry defining what is (and what isn’t) a dress in the process and fashion viz vi. sport as far as women are concerned.

So, no, Mr Blatter, this isn’t an ambush, its an invasion of privacy and denial of fundamental freedoms guaranteed by South Africa’s constitution.

My advice to FIFA fans:  cut out your labels. Wear no-name brands and pray to god you not caught with a no-name brand with the colour Orange.

Holland national colours banned by FIFA and SA police

OVER-zealous South African police have arrested 36 Dutch women for wearing the Holland national colours. Orange is the colour associated with the Dutch royal family, in particular, the house of Orange-Nassau. An SAPS spokesperson says the arrests are in connection with “ambush marketing” since  the dresses were bought by a Dutch beer company and constitute an offence under special legislation enacted under pressure from FIFA. “We view ambush marketing in a very serious light and we urge people not to embark on these ambush campaigns,” police said in a statement.

According to About.Com, “The lineage of the current dynasty — the House of Oranje-Nassau — dates back to Willem van Oranje (William of Orange). But while the color orange has royal roots in the Netherlands, today it symbolizes a broader pride in the country and in being Dutch.”

South Africa shares history with Holland. The Orange Free State was one of the country’s provinces, during the last republic.  Although the colour Orange was dropped when the Orange Free State became the Free State,  and the national flag, known as the Y-Front, turned from Orange to Red, the colour  still carries an emotional resonance, especially with expatriots living abroad, and a large local Dutch population.

South Africa has about 15000 immigrants from the Netherlands, all of whom support their national team and wear Orange at least once a year on Queens Day. There is also a large number of Afrikaners and “Boers” who associate the colour with the history of the Cape, for example, Jan Van Riebeeck was a dutchman and the Cape was a Dutch colony until the British occupation.

A Fifa spokesperson added insult to injury by describing the women as nothing more than “advertising mules”. According to Wikipedia, a mule is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. It appears two women were detained overnight while the rest were allowed to sign an admission of guilt and pay a fine. According to the Cape Argus, Mirthe Nieuwpoort and Barbara Castelein appeared in Johannesbug Magistrates Court yesterday  and were let out on R10 000 bail. They are to appear back in court on June 22.

The Dutch Foreign Minister,  Maxime Verhaagen reportedly phoned his South African counterpart and said: “The charges and the arrest of the two women disproportionate and incorrect.”

No to World Cup Racism in High Definition

Another brand of racism

FIFA continues to fund apartheid-era companies in South Africa. DSTV SUPERSPORT for example has rights to broadcast live coverage of the World Cup event in High Definition, but its holding company Sanlam/Naspers remains engaged in a lengthy labour dispute involving racism and discrimination in which gross failures in the coverage of issues affecting previously disadvantaged communities have come to light.

SuperSport channels “will provide spectators with full coverage of the World Cup event”. A DSTV official has stated: “there will be a 24-hour coverage and we will be bringing the games on High Definition (HD).” Yet millions without the luxury of HD languish in poverty caused as a result of FIFA partners.

Racism, whether in low or high definition is still racism, and apartheid however misconstrued via Satellite or Cable TV is still apartheid. FIFA should not allow its brand to be associated with a company which failed to make a submission to the Truth & Reconciliation Commission.

In the final report Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Desmond Tutu questioned the sincerity of  Afrikaner-dominated  media houses such as Media24: “Is silence from that quarter to be construed as consent, conceding that it was a sycophantic handmaiden of the apartheid government?”

In the commissions findings Naspers/Media24/MNET were condemned for their complicity in the apartheid system: ‘[Naspers] chose to provide direct support for apartheid and the activities of the security forces — many of which led directly to gross human rights violations.”

It is ironic that today’s media has failed to make these findings public and continues to hide the truth about the apartheid regime. Meanwhile FIFA continues to allow its brand to be used by the same companies associated with the worst aspects of the racist regime, and even apartheid itself.

Despite urging by activists such as myself, Media24 a print division associated with SuperSport still refuses to accept responsibility for  injustices perpetrated by the corporation during the apartheid era and insists it has the right to maintain a form of race-based segregation in its newsrooms, the “multiracial, seperate but equal” race-fantasy concocted by the demogogue PW Botha.

Media24 in submissions before the South African Labour Court has now  gone so far as to argue effectively that race has legal consequences and that racial categories as defined by the apartheid regime should continue to be enforced.

Jews and other ethnic minorities in the organisation, relegated to second-class status, are still required to register for the purposes of
race-based testing. I am one of them. Ironically  I am technically still employed in the absence of a bone fide contract (there is also no valid letter of termination of employment in my possession) yet subject to character assassination and the absurd demands made by a racist legal system, still dominated by whites.

The Cape Bar has yet to offer substantive aid or any clarity despite there being an Informa Pauperis referral for legal aid from the High Court in an application against a company with its hand in the cookie jar of apartheid South Africa.

If one is poor in South Africa the legal system recognises this fact alone but does little to assist in restitution of the rights  of the individual viz. vi. the Corporation.

In the same way Hitler’s final solution killed 6 million Jews in Germany, H. F. Verwoerd’s race solution destroyed the lives of millions of South Africans who were turned into nothing more than cheap labour to be abused by corporations such as Media24 and SUPERSPORT.

Poverty in South Africa has now become the next genocide.


Boycott of 2010 Soccer World Cup mooted

We need to go further than the mere postponement of a Peace Conference. There is no point to our country if we are solely defined by race and if race is the only measure by which we are called to account. It is therefore not surprising that we are confronted with an issue like Tibet and the Dalai Lama at precisely the moment at which the majority of black South African’s believe their historical destiny, as a black nation, to have been realised in the form of Jacob Zuma.

Yes, it is Zuma who has crafted ANC China Policy and therefore it is Zuma who must bare the brunt of world opinion as South Africa loses any claim to be in possession of a human rights record. As if the xenophobia of the past year was not enough of a wake-up call, or the Ken Sira-Wiwa saga in which Mandela backed the Nigerian regime which ended up by executing the environmental activist (what would have happened if Mandela had faced the death penalty?) was not a prelude, or the many pronouncments on Zimbabwe, Mynamar and Burma. South Africa’s foreign policy is beginning to imitate policy at home affairs — we are a nation of innumerate thugs, illiterate child-rapists and first-in-the-queue HIV victims, who have no regard for any of the rights guaranteed in the constitution and are willing to sell out freedom to the highest bidder. Enough is enough. Boycott 2010 Soccer World Cup until South Africa guarantees fundemental rights and freedoms. Let us remember the greater struggle of humanity. If any leader of any religious group wishes to visit our country then let no barriers, no banning orders, no censorship, be erected. All should be welcome to our shores, as we unite by common ideals, shared aspirations and ideas, not the pitiful subject of the colour of one’s skin.

2010 rights watch – Fifa restricting civil rights

Fifa Stadium restricts civil rights
Fifa Stadium restricts civil rights

A DRACONIAN Cape Town City Bylaw could outlaw indoor gatherings of more than 50 people where microphones, Ipods, and and ghetto blasters are used and if the result is amplified sound , even if the event happens in the comfort of your living room, consider it an offence without a license.

The proposed new bylaw is intended to force events organisers to apply for licenses to host “musicians, poets and entertainers”, while regulating an environment in which businesss-in-exchange-for-favours is the order of the day. The City plans to clean-up the boho inner city strip of Long Street and other entertainment areas, forcing promoters of “educational, cultural and religious events” to give-up a percentage of their takings in exchange for mutually beneficial “partnerships”, and the bylaw has thus set in motion a regulatory mechanism intended to create a “return on investment” from both public and private facilities, and covers outdoor and indoor events of every description in Cape Town.