Most of all I am offended as a Secularist

IN 2010 I led evidence in a South African court that ‘Judaism was not monolithic’, or to use the parlance of Amma Khalid (see below) ‘monothetic’, i.e based on a single basic idea or principle. There were many different expressions of Judaism I told the court, in particular there were those who disputed claims made by the Orthodoxy regarding the origin of the Torah, as too were there divergences on issues of Sabbath observance.

The Torah itself was unclear and contradicted itself. Since the Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment) or Reform, progressives such as myself believed in a ‘separation between Synagogue and State’. Instead of upholding my right to privacy in the face of the obscene ecclesiastical charges and racist propositions put to me by Kahanovitz SC acting for apartheid media company Media24, the court decided to adopt a moral position consistent with ultra-Orthodox, Rabbinical Judaism.

AJ Cheadle found that since I was a ‘Jew in breach’ of my alleged religion, I could not claim discrimination i.e. Antisemitism on the basis of the offensive inquiries and objections made by the respondent in the matter, who not only disputed my Jewishness but had proceeded to impugn whether or not I was indeed a Jew and outrageously denied they knew I was Jewish even though they were now insisting on authoring and issuing such inquiries.

As Thomas Jefferson put it in an 1803 letter to an English politician, 26 years after establishing an Act enshrining religious freedom in 1777: “I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others”

Cheadle then claimed to reserve judgement in the doctrinal dispute, despite his open bias towards the respondent (who turned out to be his client) demonstrated by his adopting their position in the matter.

The company had initially objected to my attendance at a ‘mixed race’ music venue on the Sabbath, and appeared to also object to my use of a company vehicle on Shabbat, supposedly in contravention of Jewish law. My own pleadings in the matter were simply ignored and mocked, with the respondent’s version of the case along with false and misleading narrative, uplifted and handed down.

Thus Cheadle upheld a claim inter alia, reiterating apartheid-era justifications for separate development, whilst proceeding to trash the findings of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission, an inquiry into gross violations of human rights under apartheid in which the company had essentially been found guilty as one of the ‘handmaidens of the apartheid regime’.

The company also attacked my byline, infringed upon journalistic privilege, sought a gagging order, and made a number of frivolous and vexatious allegations regarding several interviews conducted with jazz musicians. In turn I accused the company of censorship, race profiling of readers, de facto newsroom segregation and denial of my rights as a journalist. Restrained from calling any witnesses in the matter, I was forced to lead my evidence from the witness box, sans an attorney.

I was not given leave to appeal nor even present when the decision was handed down and a petition to the Labour Appeal Court was turned down in my absence. You can access my case documents here.

Today I was thus surprised to find pretty much my own case regarding the racist Anti-Secular Inquisition by Media24, reiterated in support of an Art History Professor, cast out due to similar sensitivities to do with religion. It is a welcome respite from the machinations of the religious police and theocrats in my own country to read the argument in support of an Enlightenment in Islam.

Almost 17 years since the initial incident which led to my complaint being filed, I continue to condemn the anti-Secular, partisan,1994-denialist decision of the corrupt Labour Court of South Africa. I once again demand that my rights to an identity independent of the state’s religious authorities and especially religious policing, be restored alongside my rights as a journalist.

SEE: Did ‘ou krokodil’ Ton Vosloo just wake up to the fact that his company continues to mock the TRC report?

Yes, Adriaan Basson is automatically a racist

BOUWER van Niekerk, a Johannesburg-based attorney penned an opinion on a statement this month, written by a group of concerned advocates who “were outraged by what they viewed as racist attitudes toward black legal practitioners.” In the process he unwittingly raises a point in law, regarding the status of persons who like Basson, may not have gained amnesty for crimes under apartheid.

Niekerk states without any sense of irony: “If I utter racist views, I should be held accountable and prosecuted accordingly. But the mere fact that I may differ with the views of the concerned advocates should not automatically make me a racist. Such a conclusion is simply erroneous. (And, for the record, I am not a racist.)”

The trouble with this assertion, which of course, assumes the parties, including Basson and Dali Mpofu are ‘innocent until proven guilty’, is that when it comes to an opinionated critic of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), Basson is also an “editor-in-chief of South Africa’s largest website News24” and former editor of Die Burger, and thus a member of an organisation opposed to the ‘transitional justice process’, in other words the outcome of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

Basson is essentially the pitbull for a publishing concern which, despite its case-limited apology in 2015, clings to a version of history that is anything but truthful. A case of the pot calling the kettle black, since he took Dali Mpofu to task for his unsubstantiated aspersions against Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, during a round of hearings before the JSC, but thought nothing of his company deploying the exact same tactic when it came to hearings involving the TRC?

Naspers and its subsidiary Media24, has gone to elaborate lengths to avoid history, including tarnishing and scandalising the truth and reconciliation process before the courts, in the process engaging with acts of malfeasance and state capture (documented here), all calculated to stymie the victims and survivors of the apartheid regime. The company gave the ANC R1 million last year.

In its conclusions to the special inquiry into the media, Volume 4 of the TRC report stated: “As predicted by the chairperson of the Commission at the start of the media hearing, the absence of the Afrikaans press led to its being condemned as an extension and willing propaganda organ of apartheid.” [para 103, page 186]

The report thus issued its findings, including that: “The Afrikaans media (at least until the last few months of PW Botha’s tenure as State President) chose to provide direct support for apartheid and the activities of the security forces — many of which led directly to gross human rights violations.” [para 115, page 189]

It found also that: “The racism that pervaded most of white society permeated the media industry. This is supported by ample testimony presented to the Commission concerning the failure of many white journalists to delve thoroughly enough into allegations of gross human rights violations involving black people.”

“With the notable exception of certain individuals, the mainstream newspapers […] failed to report adequately on gross human rights violations. In so doing, they helped sustain and prolong the existence of apartheid.

Persons such as Basson were thus essentially found guilty in absentia in a proceeding whose legal authority and standing has never been tested in a court of law.

SEE: TRC: No to Naspers dirty tricks

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

SEE: Following Reconciliation Day, an open letter to the TRC Commissioners

Zondogate, Arthur Fraser, Adriaan Basson, Media Spy Saga

IT’S A SCANDAL that has been brewing for quite some time, revelations that the Zuma Administration engaged in dirty tricks operations targeting South Africa’s newsrooms, activists, NGOs and anyone opposing his faction within the ruling party.

Millennials will probably not be aware of the Information Scandal which rocked the country during the dying stages of the Vorster government, in which the apartheid state similarly went so far as to purchase news titles outright in an effort to beat sanctions and the anti-apartheid movement.

That Zuma set up a parallel espionage operation, infiltrated newsrooms and appears to have invested millions in getting the Independent Group to write glowing advertorials needs to be seen within the context of the broader efforts by the ANC to replicate the state capture of the former National Party.

It was Naspers and Perskor which first set the stage for capture of the media. The perverse manner in which Naspers was essentially the ‘tap root of the National party” is covered in Chapter 4 of the TRC Final Report and also Hennie van Vuuren’s book “Apartheid Guns and Money” as too the evidence given by one Paul Erasmus.

It was therefore more than a little galling to witness an ongoing public spat between the current head of SANEF and former editor-in-chief of News24, Adriaan Basson and INM’s Iqbal Surve. Most certainly a case of the pot calling the kettle black?

Surve writes: “In an opinion piece titled “Hlaudi, Iqbal and Johnny: Inside the horror show of SA’s media rogues” and published on his News24 website, Basson uses the report of a probe into media ethics commissioned by Sanef to justify this unwarranted attack on myself and Independent Media.”

The man implicated by superspy Arthur Fraser in a ‘money for headlines’ scandal goes on to say: “The role played by Basson’s own bosses in state capture is also well documented. Why doesn’t Basson probe and question their lack of accountability at the Zondo Commission probe into state capture, or for that matter the role they played during apartheid?”

It is a developing story, and most certainly there will be questions raised as to why the Zondo Commission is focusing exclusively on state capture under Zuma involving INM whilst ignoring state capture under PW Botha et al?

Readers will no doubt recall that the dirty tricks campaign against the TRC waged by Basson and Co. is ongoing and current, and that both the state and the Naspers company actively oppose my right to legal assistance as contemplated by the Constitution in a matter effecting the life of the TRC and its Final Report.

Living in the Heart of Kakness

THE JOKE about apartheid was that ‘if you were white you could be reclassified coloured, and if you were coloured you could be reclassified black’, but ‘no blacks became white and no whites became black’. Apartheid race classification never worked, precisely because many people fell through the gaps of pseudo-scientific race categorisation.

I was thus classified ‘blanke‘ by the regime but disenrolled from the so-called ‘white race’ via a series of excisions, beginning on the day in 1984 when I was placed on a list for wanting to check out a banned copy of ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ by NR Mandela from the Jagger Library, and culminating with my de facto banning for being a member of several banned organisations.

My brief affair with a Cape Malay performer and activist resulted in an extraordinary situation created by the Group Areas Act.

Although the Immorality Act had been repealed and what we were doing was no longer considered immoral, the law did not provide any space for ‘coitus between mixed race adults’.

Nevertheless I suffered the brunt of white supremacist ‘moralists’, — a smear campaign and vicious attacks by racists including an assault by an Afrikaner ‘tannie’ who threatened to report us for hosting a black artist, the late Billie Mandindi, in Tamboerskloof.

I literally started my journalism career as a ‘coloured person” working for a “coloured newspaper”.

At South Press I was taken aside by editor Moegsien Williams and told, ‘Here, we are all blacks in this newsroom”. I was not the only ‘mulungu’, alongside conscientious objector Justin Pierce and visual arts activist Andrew Putter.

After some blowback from the authorities due to my exposure of General Magnus Malan’s trophy hunting expeditions in Angola, I moved to the New Nation, a ‘black newspaper’, before joining the Cape Times as a stringer and Top of the Times writer, and upon my return from the exile which had followed the assassination of Chris Hani.

Williams’ position puzzled me, but I had discovered a similar situation existed in Jamaica where a group of ‘mixed bloods’ called the ‘Reds’ existed. Under a ‘white government’ they considered themselves ‘black’, but under a ‘black government’ they considered themselves’ red’.

I was thus alarmed to find de facto newsroom segregation still in force at Media24 community newspapers in Bellville during 2006. The observation from my first day working at WP Koerante as a sub, was that all my so-called white colleagues were sitting in ‘hokkies‘ working on titles for former white group areas.

Similarly, all my so-called coloured colleagues were sitting in separate ‘hokkies’ working on titles for former coloured group areas. My black African colleagues were in another section entirely, working on titles geared towards the townships.

A similar situation greeted me when I was moved to the Tokai premises of a recently acquired Media24 title called People’s Post. There an invisible wall separated the newsroom. On one side were my white colleagues working on two titles for former white group areas in False Bay. On the other side of the newsroom, my ‘coloured’ colleagues, working on four new titles geared towards Manenberg, Retreat, Athlone and Grassy Park.

Whilst at Bellville I had been requested to write articles for the Mitchell’s Plain Metroburger, since there was only subbing work for three days of the five day work week. The supply of my byline was outside the ambit of my subbing contract, but I negotiated with management that any articles under my byline would not be supplied under duress, and would thus constitute an indulgence awarded to the company, for which I did not receive any reimbursement.

I interviewed the poet Rustum Kozain, whom I happened to know from my days at COSAW, a banned writers organisation headed by Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer.

In between the move from Bellville to Tokai, I was sent to Media24 headquarters on the Heerengracht in Cape Town. There at the offices of Die Burger I observed that portraits of apartheid statesman DF Malan still hung outside the editor’s office.

Back at Tokai events quickly got out of hand. People’s Post editor Annelien Dean, a Unisa graduate from Bloemfontein, had demanded that I present the ‘heart and soul’ of the community. This in addition to subbing news briefs, laying out the paper and training several cadets fresh out of college.

To my dismay my byline was now simply being seconded by management who proceeded to co-opt me as head of ‘kuns en vermaak’, or arts and entertainment. No extra pay. The possibility of gaining a better salary scale initially drove me, but I soon realised the cadets had been given better terms.

To make matters worse, the five day work week turned into a seven day week as deadlines set for the cadets were missed, and we struggled to get the launch edition out, resulting in excessive overtime ringing up.

It was at the same time that I realised that Dean had absolutely no clue about the communities she was servicing and even less experience running a newspaper. A press release about the nomination of Cape Jazz legend Robbie Jansen, was thus simply a snippet about some coloured guy, obviously a musician.

I resolved not to produce articles that would feed into the historical legacy left behind by apartheid and especially its egregious policy of separate development. It was then that the Jimmy Dludu story appeared. Dludlu had won the 2006 SAMA award. Not only was he a UCT Music School graduate, but Dludlu had a residence in Pinelands. Surely readers would want to know?

I interviewed the musician’s producer Chris Syren and gained access to an online music biography supplied by Steve Gordon of Making Music. Dean was not pleased at all with the biographical material supplied and rejected the article which in any event required subbing (was I expected to write content and sub my own articles?).

Nevertheless I continued to run with the story and gained access to the local jazz legend, Robbie Jansen himself. A man who had appeared on numerous Dollar Brand/Abdullah Ibrahim albums, including the eponymous ‘Mannenberg is Where it’s At’. Surely the people of Manenberg would want to read what he thought about the SAMA awards?

Jansen had a lot to say about the 2006 SAMA’s. They were the ‘se ma so’ awards. It was not ‘who you were but who you were wearing’ which was most important. ‘If it were a popularity contest’ he inferred, ‘he would have won’, but since it was about record sales, the award went to Jimmy Dludlu whom he considered a musical genius, just like George Benson. He ended the interview by handing me his secret recipe to jazz, defining jazz music in terms which were both poetic and deserving of print.

Instead of greeting the article, the last interview conducted before he passed, and which I consider to be sublime, as a worthy contribution to the newspaper, Dean proceeded to reject the article as ‘not fit for print in a family newspaper’. Besides, didn’t my story state that Mr Jansen had been told not to speak to the press by his producer? Her attitude was racist and patronising to say the least.

Then she demanded I hand over Robbie’s contact details. As a journalist I was under absolutely no compulsion to hand over this kind of information, in particular I did not have to provide access to my sources. Nevertheless I gave her the contact details of the Glen Robertson Jazz Trio.

Dean didn’t bother to call Jansen, the same way she refused to return the calls of one Rashid Lombard, a former colleague from South Press, who out of sympathy for the plight of writers such as myself offered to make his extensive archive of jazz photography available at a fee.

I picked up the phone and telephoned Media24 manager Sedrick Taljaard, complaining about Dean. His response was to schedule an evaluation meeting where my performance would be evaluated in terms of my contract.

There I sat in front of Taljaard, Dean and human resources manager Warren Charles. Taljaard explained that he was not happy with my work performance, in particular I had allegedly sworn at Ms Dean, had been insubordinate, since I had not provided the telephone number of Mr Jansen.

Bear in mind that Mr Jansen had suffered cardiac arrest some months prior to our interview, was on oxygen and under doctor’s supervision.

Then he uttered words which made my stomach churn, ‘Ons het jou geld gegee, waar is ons pond vleis?’ (Which translates: We gave you money where is our pound of flesh?) This from a man who on a previous occasion had instructed me: ‘Don’t bring up the struggle’. And if I didn’t enjoy the work conditions at Media24, I could ‘vat my goed and terminus toe gaan.’

Before I could answer Warren Charles weighed in. ‘What was I doing at the West End (a Jazz music venue) on a Friday night? Wasn’t I contradicting myself as a Jew?’ I got up and walked out of the interview.

Taljaard proceeded to fire me in the passage, and I was told to get my things and frog-marched off the premises, sans the newsroom camera I had with various photographic images, in particular images of several young black buskers on Long St.

Thus began my ordeal with the South African legal authorities, resulting in an inquisition of my secular identity and struggle history, and an ongoing saga of gagging, judicial impropriety, outright corruption and state capture which remains unresolved to this day.

SEE: Case

SEE: Over 98% of Afrikaners have slave or Khoisan DNA in genetic makeup – research

Hertzogate: No evidence tobacco assists patients with respiratory illness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JBM Hertzog, National Party & Naspers founder

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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?

Rupert Covid-19 donations debunked or not?

NEWS that former apartheid financier and bankster, Johann Rupert was ‘donating’ R1 billion to small business relief via the President’s so-called Solidarity fund, raised the ire of many critics who argued that the donation was in fact a loan.

The controversy recalls similar prevarication issued by the Ruperts, especially in regard to the family’s collaboration with the apartheid regime.

Sunday World at first broke the story that the funds would be used as loans not bailouts

Moneyweb soon followed suit, by questioning the publicity stunt, but then decided to fudge the matter somewhat. The devil as they say was in the detail, — what at first appeared to be a massive credit might yet turn out to be a very large debit:

As investment analyst David Morobe explained, the money was in fact a donation to the fund but the “assistance will be in the form of a loan, which is repayable over a period of five years.”

“For the first year, applicants will not have to pay interest or instalments, but thereafter they will be expected to do so.”

The Citizen similarly varied its piece on the subject, but carried word of opposition party the EFF and its open disgust for the manner in which the crisis was being used “entrap” small and medium enterprises in debt. The party even went as far as to accuse the billionaire of trying to be a “loan shark”.

Meanwhile the only person to have ever experienced discrimination at Naspers/Media24 headquarters during apartheid, according to the company, has died. Former Stellenbosch Mayor Conrad Sidego passed away this week bringing a close to a chapter in which he was the sole person to have been affected by apartheid. The Rupert’s iron grip over our legal system, itself designed to give the first round of state capture  a massive advantage, has all but stifled legal action in the aftermath of apartheid.

It should strike readers as incredibly odd (or just a tad convenient), that nobody in the media world has found pause to consider that the Rupert’s various investments in the media and capture of the justice system, came about as a result of apartheid — the late Anton Rupert’s close business relationship to Nico Diederichs and Owen Horward, both stanch Nationalists and close confidants of the late PW Botha.

 

 

Is it time to see Koos Bekker in an orange suit?

AN OP-ED in today’s Business Report asks the question: ‘is it time to see Koos Bekker in an orange suit?’ Sizwe Dlamini writes, “Naspers and Media24, by their own admission, were responsible for actively supporting the apartheid government. Naspers benefited by receiving textbook contracts as well as television licenses in exchange for hiding from the South African public the atrocities and destruction which the apartheid government put black people through. We know that these executives, along with their friends during apartheid, stole tens of billions from South Africans. This is fraud and corruption on a scale, which is far greater than that which Basson refers to.’

‘The ultimate irony of the new South Africa is that Naspers remains the largest dominant media company – the apartheid era from propaganda remains the dominant propaganda machine today. No other country or society in the world would have ever allowed a business such as Naspers, which was wholly complicit in apartheid-era crime and corruption, to exist today.’

Dlamini’s piece fails to mention Naspers opposition to the TRC, Naspers corruption and unlawful capture of the Labour Court and as a result the High Court. Naspers fraudulent and unlawful race-based 2010 inquiry into my own Secular Jewish identity and also repugnant interrogation of my struggle history, Naspers and its relationship to Remgro, and the questionable post-Codesa purchase of Kagiso and the resulting pathetic racist media cartel which runs a significant portion of SA media at the behest of apartheid bosses Bekker, Moolman, Rupert and Vosloo.

Read more here

 

Workers at Multichoice blow the whistle

MEDIALTERNATIVES covered the creation of a cartel affecting thousands of media workers, the attempted gagging of journalists and the ongoing campaign against the TRC at the behest of holding company Naspers. It was only a matter of time before journalists began to take notice, this time, the retrenchments at Multichoice have rung alarm bells. Opinion-makers are beginning to join the dots and there are lot of angry and affected people on the ground. Yes we told you so and it is not at all surprising that there is a new press emerging upon the ashes of the struggle.

New Frame, a not-for-profit, social justice media publication based in Johannesburg, carries the full story:

“An ex-manager in the customer care department at MultiChoice, who asked to speak on condition of anonymity, exclusively reveals how the media giant’s managers allegedly “bullied and unjustifiably force-retrenched” support staff to make way for a cheaper call centre service provider already accused of paying its workers “slavery wages”.

“We created a hostile working environment for the staff by giving them [an] unreasonable workload, frustrating and emotionally abusing them to the point [that they] no longer wished to work for the company. We were given instructions to dig [up dirt and then] dismiss staff … Our primary focus was to get rid of staff. It’s easier to fire them than to pay them. I acknowledge my role in this, from a moral perspective. I couldn’t do it anymore. I was basically fighting to save my job,” says the former manager.”

Read more here 

Fact check: Rupert’s Alleged Opposition to Apartheid debunked

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Graphic attempting to show some of Rupert holdings, source Twitter

THERE is no evidence that the Ruperts were during the 1980s, for all intents and purposes, in favour of anything more than apartheid euphemism and cant — the shallow transformation which characterised PW Botha’s much-vaunted tricameral Parliament and which for a short time, allowed for separate houses of parliament for citizens classified as Indian and Coloured. This while maintaining a bantustan system which disenfranchised, de-emancipated and dispossessed black South Africans.

The families’s own submission to the Truth & Reconciliation Commission demonstrates a willful obfuscation of the truth, and despite elegant pleading, contains a number of half-truths and a strange anomaly. On the one hand, it is claimed that they were opposed to apartheid which they considered ‘an immoral, oppressive attempt at social engineering’ and consequently had chosen the path of ‘loyal resistance’ to ‘fight the system from within’, writing letters to NP officials stating that apartheid in its then form, was unsustainable since the Afrikaner was being crucified: “it is destroying our language, it is degrading a once heroic nation to be the lepers of the world.”

On the other, the submission, fails to explain what they were doing inside the system, in the first place, and thus why Rupert maintained a loyal membership of the National Party to the very end, refusing to break ranks by siding for instance, with the then all-white opposition Progressive Federal Party? A party which as its name suggested promoted a federal solution and held seats until 1989 when it became the DA?

Johann Rupert  (JR) went so far as to claim at the TRC, that he was unaware of any financial contributions to the National Party, despite there being extensive evidence of his corporate involvement with the system. His assertions have not been tested in a court of law. This despite Remgro (former Rembrandt Group) being fingered in an apartheid bail-out scandal.

Apartheid letters

The letters between Anton Rupert and various National Party leaders such as PW Botha, all point to the fact that the Ruperts business partners included apartheid finance minister Owen Horward and titular head of the country, Nico Diedrichs. Far from advocating a ‘one-person, one vote’ democracy and majority rule, as Johann Rupert would like us to believe — which would have made him a champion of the cause and policies of the ANC and PAC — the truth is rather different.

The Rupert’s though critical of the policy of separate development, instead advocated a form of “Volkstaat” in the form of a Swiss Canton System, which would have kept large swathes of the country under white rule. The logical extension some might say to the policy of apartheid bantustans, and which would, in the Rupert’s view, have been maintained in comparison to the federalist position, a position which resulted in the system we have today.

In essence they had argued for a more refined version of the plans laid out by the infamous Rubicon speech of PW Botha, a proposal which would have maintained the boer republics of old, had it not been for the guarantees on property rights issued by the ANC.

This telling fact can be seen at pages 288 and 289 of Anton Rupert, a Biography by Ebbe Dommisse.

Strange TRC claims

Johann has gone so far as to claim at the TRC and without any evidence, that he had the confidence of the BC leader Steve Biko, whilst he was head of student organisation SASO, but has shied away from quoting his own father on the subject of what was to be done about the situation. Significantly, JR dropped out of university to pursue a career in business and did not figure in university politics.

The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) on Monday said “Biko never even met Rupert and they have records of the Struggle icon, which will back this up.” Medialternatives has covered previous Rupert gaffes, such as his specious claims about being on the receiving end of Magnus Malan’s death squads.

To say the Ruperts were “openly critical of the apartheid system, both at home and abroad” as a current article on Wikipedia does, and that they have been lauded by President Thabo Mbeki for calling upon the Apartheid leadership to “do something brave” by creating a partnership with the black majority in the ’80s,” ignores the fact they were the financiers behind apartheid, and consequently demonstrated an absence of any tangible and practical support for democratic forces within and outside the country. Witness the sad fact of their proposed ‘canton model’, the self-same politics which produced the white enclave of Oranje.

One does not therefore, hear Johann Rupert taking any credit for this small and somewhat discredited achievement, and his submissions to the TRC  as a cherry-picker of facts, surely need to be revisited, if only to set the matter straight. If anything JR, like his father, favoured a gradualist approach to the problem of loss of white minority power, preferring a plan which would have maintained the status quo indefinitely had it not been for the momentum of history which resulted in the CODESA negotiations.

Bear in mind that it was Verwoerd, the architect of grand apartheid who explained apartheid as simply ‘good neighbourliness’, and who like Rupert snr, was more than prepared to accept that all human beings are equal, so long as race segregation and partition of power could remain in place. The ‘separate but equal’  madness of the multiracialist school of thought, which epitomized the regime’s many racist adherents.

Ugly truth

Neither completely ‘verlig’ nor totally ‘verkrampt’, as the Afrikaans terms of the day for liberal and conservative suggest, Rupert is better cast as himself, in an obscene privileged position, pulling the National Party purse strings as it were, whilst maintaining his own ill-gotten advantage — all-important brokers behind the apartheid system. An unmatched aegis without which nothing would have happened at the negotiating table.

Far from being allies of opposition politics as some would have it, nor positioned like myself and many of my fellow South Africans, within the internal and external freedom struggle, the Ruperts, were in reality part and parcel of the apartheid state apparatus to the very end, negotiating a deal, which resulted in an interim constitution and various ‘sunset clauses’.

In this respect they benefited immensely as kingpins, financiers and powerbrokers from the super-exploitation of labour which continued past 1994, so too the sanctions busting era, which occurred alongside the dirty tricks campaigns against opposition leaders and the likes of Winnie Mandela. After their successes in global financial circles, to their own benefit and the benefit of the NP, the Ruperts bailed out apartheid’s banks to form Amalgamated Banks of SA, giving the lie to claims made about the lack of money available for such an endeavor.

The Rupert hagiography, refers to humble beginnings in the Tobacco industry. JR, is current chair of several JSE listed companies, including Richemont, Reinert, Remgro and Mediclinic. The truth behind the apparent success — the family succeeded in extracting capital garnered from the Rupert’s cosy relationship with the state, (State Capture 1.0) and with the help of Horward and Diederichs, achieving the truly remarkable — sequestering apartheid slush money in Switzerland, while granting an unfair advantage when it came to the post-democratic period.

This is quite the opposite of the strange claim that there were ‘no sweetheart deals’ with the regime.The Ruperts are named in the CIEX report commissioned in 1997 to investigate the theft of R26 billion of state money during apartheid.

In 2017 Medialternatives exposed a cartel active within South Africa’s media, the result of a cross-networked entity with Rupert at the helm, and with assets comprising investments in Remgro, Kagiso, Caxton and Naspers. The resulting corruption and influence peddling, included the rigging of a 2010 labour case involving Media24 — a company which had previously attempted to gag me from speaking out about racism, race profiling and de facto newsroom segregation at its community newspapers division.

The case remains unresolved.