Political doublespeak while the real crisis is ignored.
Departing farmers not a threat: minister May 03 2011 15:43 Sapa
Cape Town - The departure of South African commercial farmers to other African countries is not a threat to local food security, Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said on Tuesday.
"This will not be a threat to food security in South Africa; instead, this will enhance food security in the continent," she told journalists in Cape Town, at the end of a one-day International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) conference.
Asked whether she thought land reform posed a threat to food security, given reports that commercial farmers were leaving the country in large numbers, Joemat-Pettersson said such farmers should use South Africa as a base.
"We are not advocating the movement of farmers lock stock and barrel from South Africa... We want to encourage our farmers to maintain their base in South Africa... and then expand their business from here.
"In one aspect, we're encouraging them to set up... in other countries as a means of expanding their businesses.
"South Africa has skills it can share with other South Africans and with the rest of the continent," she said.
Last month, AgriSA reported that of the 120 000 commercial farmers in South Africa in 1994, only 37 000 remained.
AgriSA vice president Theo de Jager said at the time that South Africa was now starting to import grains such as wheat. It was also on the brink of importing meat and poultry, which was being produced less and less in the country.
Reasons for farmers leaving - to neighbouring states such as Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, among others - included new laws, unionisation and the threat of land reform.
Speaking at the start of the IFAD conference, Joemat-Pettersson said Sub-Saharan Africa had the highest incidence of rural poverty in the world, but there was a growing belief it could produce enough food to not only feed its citizens, but also export a surplus.
IFAD is a specialised agency of the UN. It was established as an international financial institution in 1977, with the aim of eradicating rural poverty in developing countries.
Among those who attended the one day conference - which looked at agriculture as a means of advancing economic growth on the continent, as well increasing world food security - are agricultural ministers from several African countries.
Joemat-Pettersson said African countries had been channelling more resources into agriculture, looking to increase such investments to ten percent of their national budget.
"There is growing belief that Africa could produce enough to not only feed its own citizens, but to export a growing surplus.
"Africa can make a real contribution to ensuring food security to the world while also growing its own economy and pulling its citizens out of poverty."
Earlier she highlighted what she called "bleak" regional statistics.
These included that in sub Saharan Africa more than three quarters of the poor - those living on less that US$1.25 a day - lived in rural areas.
"Sub Saharan Africa, with the highest incidences of rural poverty, is the region worst affected by poverty and hunger," she said.
Over 3,000 have been killed since 1994. Now the ANC is accused of fanning the hate.
Dan McDougall in Ceres, Western Cape
THE gunmen walked silently through the orchard. Skirting a row of burnt-out tyres, set ablaze months earlier to keep the budding fruit from freezing, they drew their old .38 revolvers.
Inside his farmhouse Pieter Cillier, 57, slept with his 14-year-old daughter Nikki at his side. His 12-year-old son JD was having a sleepover with two teenagers in an adjoining room.
As the intruders broke in, the farmer woke. He rushed to stop them, only to be shot twice in the chest.
In his death throes he would have seen his killers and then his children standing over him, screaming and crying.
The attackers, who were drug addicts, simply disappeared into the night. Cillier’s murder, at Christmas, was barely reported in the local press. It was, after all, everyday news.
Death has stalked South Africa’s white farmers for years. The number murdered since the end of apartheid in 1994 has passed 3,000.
In neighbouring Zimbabwe, a campaign of intimidation that began in 2000 has driven more than 4,000 commercial farmers off their land, but has left fewer than two dozen dead.
The vulnerability felt by South Africa’s 40,000 remaining white farmers intensified earlier this month when Julius Malema, head of the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) youth league, opened a public rally by singing Dubula Ibhunu, or Shoot the Boer, an apartheid-era anthem, that was banned by the high court last week.
Malema’s timing could hardly have been worse. Last weekend in the remote farming community of Colenso, in KwaZulu-Natal, Nigel Ralfe, 71, a dairy farmer, and his wife Lynette, 64, were gunned down as they milked their cows. He was critically injured; she died.
That same day a 46-year-old Afrikaner was shot through his bedroom window as he slept at his farm near Potchefstroom. A few days later a 61-year-old was stabbed to death in his bed at a farm in Limpopo.
The resurrection of Dubula Ibhunu, defended by senior ANC officials as little more then a sentimental old struggle song, has been greeted with alarm by Tom Stokes, of the opposition Democratic Alliance. He said the ANC’s continued association with the call to kill Boers could not be justified.
“Any argument by the ANC that this song is merely a preservation of struggle literature rings hollow in the face of farming families who have lost wives, mothers and grandmothers,” he added.
He was supported by Anton Alberts of the conservative Freedom Front Plus party: “Malema’s comments are creating an atmosphere that is conducive to those who want to commit murder. He’s an accessory to the wiping out of farmers in South Africa.”
Rossouw Cillier, Pieter’s brother, bristled as he pointed to the bullet holes in the panelled kitchen of the farmhouse near Ceres in the Western Cape. “They shot him through the fridge from the back door — the bullets came straight through here, into his heart. He never had a chance,” he said.
A successful apple and pear grower, he believes his community is living on borrowed time: “More white farmers have been killed than British soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yes, we are at war here.”
His brother’s farmhouse is now shuttered and empty. “I can’t spend time here. We’ll have to sell. This farm has been in our family for generations but it must go. Who’ll manage it? The children will never come back here. They held their own father as he died in front of them. Will they ever get over that?”
As we walked across the orchard, fruit destined for the shelves of Tesco and Sainsbury’s in the UK was still being picked. A tractor passed a 10ft cross erected in honour of the murdered farmer.
“It lights up at night,” Rossouw said. “My brother was a religious man. It’s all that’s left of him here.”
Across South Africa many farmers feel endangered. In Northern Province a tribute has been created beneath an enormous sign with the stark Afrikaans word “plaasmoorde” — farm killings. Thousands of white wooden crosses have been planted across a mountainside, one for each fallen farmer.
Recently the government’s department of rural development has been airing proposals to nationalise productive farmland as a “national asset”. Critics claim it is designed to deflect criticism from the ruling ANC’s failures.
“It’s a lot easier talking about nationalising farms than building decent houses, making clean water come out of taps or honouring promises to redistribute farm plots to millions of landless poor,” said a spokesman for AgriSA, the farmers’ union.
On the outskirts of Ceres there are few groceries in the township store — tins of pilchards, baked beans, some dried biscuits. A group of teenage boys sit on the burnt-out remains of a Ford Escort. This is where Cillier’s killers gathered, in a shebeen, a drinking club, where they fortified themselves with cheap hooch before they set off to rob him. They escaped with nothing.
According to Rossouw Cillier the most telling detail is that his brother was unarmed when they attacked. “If we brandish a weapon, we’ll go to prison, not them. What did they gain from this murder? It was an act as pointless as their lives.”
Cwele guilty of drug trafficking May 5 2011 at 03:39pm
Sheryl Cwele, wife of State Security Minister Siyabonge Cwele, has been found guilty of drug trafficking by the Pietermaritzburg High Court. Photo: Sapa
Sheryl Cwele, wife of State Security Minister Siyabonge Cwele, has been found guilty of drug trafficking by the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
Cwele listened attentively as a Pietermaritzburg High Court judge began delivering judgment in her drug trafficking case on Thursday.
Judge Piet Koen started delivering his verdict just before 11am by summing up evidence presented during the trial. He earlier ruled against the State's application to have its case against Cwele and her co-accused Frank Nabolisa reopened, to allow new witnesses to take the stand.
Koen said no satisfactory reasons were given as to why these witnesses were not called during the trial.
Cwele and Nabolisa have pleaded not guilty to dealing or conspiring to deal in drugs, procuring Charmaine Moss to collect drugs in Turkey, and procuring Tessa Beetge to smuggle cocaine from South America.
Beetge was arrested when 10kg of cocaine was found in her luggage in Brazil in 2008. She is serving a jail sentence in Sao Paolo. Moss turned State witness.
In papers opposing the State's application to reopen its case, Cwele says she had spent a fortune on legal fees. Her employer, the Hibiscus Coast Municipality, was also not paying her for taking leave to attend court proceedings.
"That means that each time I attend the court proceedings I have to pay for my legal team and lose income. I have lost a fortune as a result of my attendance," she says, submitting that reopening the case would make the situation worse.
She describes the case as a high-profile matter which had attracted much media attention, and had found some of the reports hurtful to her and her family. -
...And it just gets better and better with the help of the intellectual giants in the ANC.
Julius Malema says the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) will ensure that the government begins expropriating land without compensation to redistribute it speedily to the masses.
Speaking at a National Press Club briefing in Pretoria yesterday, Malema said the “willing buyer, willing seller” policy was clearly not working and had to be scrapped, adding that it was obvious the target of having expropriated 30 percent of land by 2014 would not be reached.
The ANCYL president was speaking before the youth league’s 24th national congress, scheduled for later month, at which the league is expected to adopt its programme of action for economic freedom. He said those who thought expropriation without compensation would not happen should remember that it was the then-ANCYL that forced the ANC to take up the armed struggle, despite the ANC initially being against it.
“At the rate we are going now, it means we will only be able to expropriate 5 percent of land every 20 years, meaning it will take us 100 years to expropriate 20 percent. We will not be part of that failure.”
Malema said the new approach was also informed by the fact that “when the colonisers and those who have the land took it away from us, they did not compensate, so why should they demand?”
“Another reason for this is because government does not have enough money to buy all the land. We run the risk of failing to deliver on the other services, which include free education, health care and other social responsibilities.
“What we are saying is that we must share the land equally. If you have 1 000ha, you must give us 800 so you remain with 200, and we can share the 800 among the people. This must happen within the constitutional framework because we respect the law.” Malema said the policy on expropriation could be changed easily by amending Section 25 of the constitution as the ANC commanded a majority in Parliament.
Sheryl Cwele, the wife of South Africa's intelligence minister, has been sentenced to 12 years in jail for drug trafficking.
Cwele, married to Siyabonga Cwele, was convicted of recruiting women to smuggle drugs into the country.
Her accomplice, Nigerian national Frank Nabolisa, received the same sentence.
"Either the minister knew about his wife's operation to distribute hard drugs and benefited from it, or he did not know about it, casting aspersions on his competency for the role of minister of state security”
There are two ways of looking at this story. One is to suggest that it indicates that the illicit drugs industry has penetrated the highest echelons of South African society.
But how many countries in the rest of Africa - or further abroad - would allow the relative of a minister of intelligence to be jailed?
Nor is it the first time such well-connected individuals have fallen foul of the law. Former police chief Jackie Selebi was found guilty of corruption last year. And the ruling African National Congress managed to remove Thabo Mbeki as head of state after the party lost confidence in his ability to lead the country.
None of these were easy to accomplish, but they were done within the law and without a mutiny in the security forces.
Opposition parties have called for Mr Cwele to step down, arguing that if he is not aware of his wife's illegal activities, he should no longer be in charge of the country's intelligence-gathering.
"Either the minister knew about his wife's operation to distribute hard drugs and benefited from it," opposition Congress of the People spokesman Phillip Dexter said in a statement posted on the Polity.org.za politics portal.
"Or he did not know about it, casting aspersions on his competency for the role of minister of state security.
"Either way, this entire episode is an embarrassing blow to the reputation of South Africa and its government," he said.
Mr Cwele says he will not comment on the case until after the appeal has been heard.
Recreational pharmaceuticals strong enough to allow one to make this stuff up would be one-time use only. A second dose would kill you for sure....
The most distrubing thing is that there are people (a majority) who see nothing wrong in this, and will vote to keep these clowns in positions where they can continue to wreak devastation on the country.
An excellent and sadly correct summary of South Africa's current situation after 'democracy'. It was written by a 'previously disadvantaged' person, probably a black although it could be an Indian name - I don't know.
SA, we cannot say we are free AYANDA KOTA: POVERTY - May 06 2011 00:00
On April 27 1994 the people of this country stood in long queues for many hours, waiting to cast their vote for the first time. In some parts of the country the weather was hostile, freezing cold, while in other parts it was scorching hot.
Our people were voting for the first time, voting for an end to racism and for democracy and a better life -- for jobs, free education and decent housing. Over and above their vote for their material needs to be met, they were voting for their freedom. Or so they were made to believe.
The rays of that sunrise were breaking through the dark storm clouds. The first beams of the new sun were making their way through the clouds into the new blue sky. After centuries of oppression, hope was rekindled; a new nation, a rainbow nation, was born. Or so we were made to believe.
I remember watching the proceedings on television. I saw Archbishop Desmond Tutu casting his vote. The great man jumped for joy and said: "Free at last! Free at last!" Freedom is the ability of the people not to be oppressed and to be able to determine their own future collectively and by their own wills. Freedom is the realisation of the will of the people. When there is freedom, the government is for the people and by the people, because the people govern themselves. Freedom is the ability of the people to determine their own destiny. Freedom is self-government.
When there is freedom the people do not have to beg the government to recognise them as important. When there is freedom, people are free from hunger, poverty, disease, homelessness and the inability to meet basic needs. Justice, peace, dignity and access to the country's wealth are central to freedom.
Freedom means that people must come first. It means people before profit. It means people before the big transnational corporations. It means that the people's sovereignty and rights have been restored.
Freedom does not mean that the people vote for a few politicians to take their friends and relatives and join the old white capitalists as they feast off the devastation of the people behind high walls. Freedom does not mean police officers who shoot and kill us. Freedom does not mean that our so-called leaders become managers of capital, running the country and disciplining the people on behalf of capital.
Freedom does not mean that politicians become little gods. Freedom is not the rule of experts in civil society. Freedom is not the rule of the police. In a free country it is the voice of the citizens that matters the most. If South Africa were free, the voice of every South African and of every community would matter equally. Until everyone's voice counts equally, we cannot say that we are free.
Against the nightmare After 17 years of democracy, our townships are broken. All you see are drunk men and women walking aimlessly like zombies, their bloodstreams flowing with cheap alcohol. This is how we drug ourselves against the nightmare of a democracy that is really neo-apartheid and not post-apartheid. This is how we drug ourselves against a society that has no respect for us, no place for us and no future for us.
In the Eastern Cape they drink umtshovalale. In KwaZulu-Natal they drink isiqatha. In Gauteng they drink gavani. In the Western Cape they drink spirits. This alcohol has a hazardous effect. My people, young and old, have been silently taken to their graves because of the effects of alcohol. We are poisoning ourselves to drug ourselves against the horror of our lives. Throughout South Africa, young people smoke antiretroviral drugs. It is a well-known thing. We live below the poverty line and we have completely lost hope.
South Africa is the most unequal country in the world. The gap between the rich and the poor is vast -- and it is growing. The unemployment rate is high, above 40%. Poverty rates are skyrocketing. In a place such as Alice in the Eastern Cape, residents drink unsafe water. At times there is no water at all. In Grahamstown we continue to use the bucket system to shit.
All around South Africa there are crumbling RDP houses and municipalities are falling under the strain of corruption, while Jacob Zuma's family -- his wives, children and relatives -- are becoming billionaires. Sicelo Shiceka spent R640 000 in one year on rooms for himself and his staff at the One&Only hotel in Cape Town, flew to Switzerland first-class to visit an ex-girlfriend in jail and hired a limousine to drive him to the prison.
What kind of politician lives like this while the people are suffering as we are? What kind of politician lives like this while South Africa has become "the protest capital of the world", with one of the highest rates of public protest in the world?
Shiceka is a predator and not a liberator. He is not the only one. In 2010 Eskom announced its decision to increase electricity tariffs by 35%, assaulting the unemployed and the poor while the ANC company, Chancellor House, rips the profit from the shaking hands of the people. Very soon the coffers of this country will run dry and we will be asked to give even more to the ANC, to Chancellor House and the Zuma family. The way they are looting our resources is beyond imagination. The way that they have privatised the struggle of the people is incredible.
We are a bleeding nation. All the power that belongs to us has been centralised in the control of the ruling elite. We are not consulted on the model of the RDP house that must be built. They decide for us. The Integrated Development Plan (IDP) meetings are a platform to manage us. There is no veracity. They choose those who must represent us in local chambers and then parade them as our leaders. When we ask to speak to these leaders, they call the police. We have no power. We have no voice. We have no freedom to celebrate. We live in a radically unjust society. We are oppressed.
The ANC tries to control the people with its police, social grants and rallies with celebrities and musicians. The ANC tries to drug us against their betrayal by keeping us drunk on memories of the struggle -- the same struggle that they have betrayed. But everywhere the ANC is losing control. Protest is spreading everywhere. Everywhere people are boycotting elections and running independent candidates. Everywhere people are organising themselves into their own autonomous groups and movements.
As Mostafa Omara wrote about the Egyptian revolution: "People in Egypt will tell you: 'Gone are the days when we felt helpless and little; gone are the days when the police could humiliate us and torture us; gone are the times when the rich and the businessmen thought they could run the country as if it were their own private company.'"
In South Africa we long for the same feeling. But revolutions do not spring from nothing. Revolutions come through the united action of men and women, rural and urban -- action that springs from their needs. Revolutions happen when ordinary men and women begin to take action to seize control of their own lives.
The rebellion of the poor in this country is growing. More and more organisations are emerging. More and more people have become radicalised. More and more communities have lost their illusions after experiencing the violence of the predator state. More and more people are starting and joining discussions about the way forward for the struggle to take the country back.
We need to move forward with more determination, working all the time to build and to unite our struggles. As we connect our struggles, from Ficksburg to Grahamstown, from Cape Town to Johannesburg and Durban, we are, slowly but steadily, building a new mass movement. We are building a network of struggles in living solidarity with one another.
Ayanda Kota is the chair of the Unemployed People's Movement in Grahamstown
All you whiteys are thieves! So says a very clever man. (FFS stop throwing worst at me, i was kidding.) Loved working out of FALA, but it broke my heart to see it going the same way as north of the Limpopo.
South Africa youth leader says 'criminal' whites stole land from blacks Julius Malema, South Africa's controversial youth leader, has said that white people who own land in the country should be treated like 'criminals' because they stole it from black people.
By Aislinn Laing, Johannesburg 10:07PM BST 09 May 2011 Mr Malema said that the government's attempts to return land to black South Africans through negotiations with white farmers had failed, and called for Zimbabwe-style land seizures.
"We have to take the land without payment, because the whites took our land without paying and transformed them into game farms. The system of willing seller, willing buyer has failed," he told a rally ahead of local elections.
"We all agree they stole the land. They are criminals, they should be treated like that." His comments will generate concern among South Africa's white farmers ahead of May 18 elections in which the ANC is expected to lose ground. Mr Malema, 30, is already facing a race hate trial for singing the protest song Shoot the Boer.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said: "It can't be correct to generalise like that. It is not scientific or healing," Mr Motlanthe said. Theo de Jager, of AGRI SA which represents South Africa's commercial farmers, said Mr Malema made no distinction between white settlers who came to South Africa 360 years ago and individual farmers today.
"If they say land has been stolen, they must show us a farmer who has not paid for his land," he said.
"The worst thing that could happen for current landowners is that the governing party do so badly at the polls that they need to do irresponsible things to establish themselves." Professor Pieter Le Roux, Director of the Institute for Social Development at the University of the Western Cape, said Mr Malema would never have been given a platform by Nelson Mandela or Thabo Mbeki but is now a useful tool for the ANC to mobilise the radical youth.
"It's for short-term political gain but does create long-term political concerns," he said.
More of the same. The second last paragraph where our Dear Leader is quoted is even more risible. Clowns....
White people are criminals - Malema
May 9 2011 at 02:09pm
Deon de Lange
White people should be treated as “criminals” for “stealing” land from black people, ANC Youth League president Julius Malema told an enthusiastic crowd in Kimberley yesterday where he appeared on the same platform as President Jacob Zuma.
Malema was the main attraction as he pulled out all the stops in his campaign for local elections, now just days away.
“They (whites) have turned our land into game farms… The willing-buyer, willing-seller (system) has failed,” Malema said.
“We must take the land without paying. They took our land without paying. Once we agree they stole our land, we can agree they are criminals and must be treated as such,” he said to cheers from a crowd of about 3 000 people at the Galeshewe stadium, just outside Kimberley.
Although Zuma was billed as the main speaker, it was Malema – affectionately known as “Juju-baby” in these parts – who stole the show.
As service delivery protests continue across the country, Malema chastised the “spoilt brats” who complained that the ANC had not delivered basic services.
He said protesters were “burning tyres in townships on a tar road delivered to them by the ANC”.
The youth leader also said he had seen people interviewed on television who said they were not going to vote in the coming election.
“But this person is watering his garden and behind him stands an RDP house – and then he says he doesn’t see delivery. We must never entertain such spoilt brats,” he said to more cheers.
Malema also criticised corrupt practices by councillors, such as selling on RDP houses or giving preference to family and friends on housing lists. This went down well with the crowd, which got to its feet and roared with approval when he said: “You shouldn’t have to sleep with a councillor to get an RDP house.”
Malema pushed his nationalisation agenda, saying the government could not afford to create jobs or to build a university in the Northern Cape – a 2009 campaign promise made by Zuma – because “there is no money”.
“Where is the money? It is in the hands of the Oppenheimers, who mine diamonds right here in Kimberley and leave nothing behind.
“One family has benefited for generation after generation, but there is nothing looking like a diamond here in Galeshewe,” he said to enthusiastic applause.
“Political freedom without economic power means nothing. You can vote until you turn yellow, but without economic freedom it means nothing,” he added, saying the youth league was not “requesting permission” to nationalise the country’s natural assets.
In its recently released economic policy discussion document, the league makes it clear that land, minerals and other key assets should be nationalised, without compensation to current title holders.
The issue will be debated at the ANC’s policy conference next year after the league succeeded on getting it on to the party’s agenda at its national general council in September last year.
Malema said his calls for nationalisation were “nothing new” as the Freedom Charter spelt out the same goals. Former president Nelson Mandela himself had urged the party to strive for economic emancipation once political freedom was attained, according to Malema.
He went on to dish out his customary insults to opposition parties, calling DA leader Helen Zille a “dancing monkey” from “monkey town”.
“You allow the madam to kiss your children when you know the madam does not care about your children. They kill our people when they confuse them with baboons. The madam will never be president,” he said.
Cope, the PAC and the IFP received similar treatment.
Referring to Cope’s leadership squabbles, Malema joked, “You can’t form a political party when you are angry because the day you smile that party will die – you must then be angry forever.”
The PAC was a spent force and the IFP was never a political party, but was formed as a “cultural organisation”, he said.
Malema also came to the defence of Northern Cape ANC provincial chairman John Block, who is facing corruption charges. Block has been implicated in a multi-million rand tender scandal related to the provision of medical oxygen and water purification plants.
People were out to “destroy” Block because he was the face of the ANC in the province, but such attacks were in fact attacks on the “integrity” of the ANC, Malema said.
Malema’s wooing of the crowd quickly dissipated when Zuma took to the stage, however. People listened intently to what he had to say.
The president urged people not to “waste” their votes on opposition parties and criticised those who planned not to vote as having fallen victim to “effective propaganda”.
“If you love yourself and you love your vote, why do you vote for a party that you know is going to lose anyway? What is the logic – to vote to lose?” he asked.
Zuma said the ANC was different to other parties, saying it was a “movement of the people” first, and a political party second.
The saddest thing about this is that as the country comes ever closer to a one party state, we all know what will happen.
In any other country, Malema would be treated as a clown, but sadly amongst the unsophisticated masses in SA he is regarded as a hero and the voice of the oppressed. Should he ever come to power - he won't - he would make Mugape look like the village priest.