Constitutional Hill

About glue and superglue

Only the most partisan and jaded among us who read through the documents on organisational renewal prepared for the ANC National General Council (NGC) would not be impressed by the honesty of the document and by the harsh but accurate assessment of the state of the organisation contained in it.

(Helen Zille could learn a thing or two from the ANC about admitting to the difficult problems faced by her party and the shortcomings of many party members and leaders. But – like Margaret Thatcher – that lady is not for turning and not for admitting a mistake, no matter how damaging and obvious the mistake might have been.)

As the ANC document points out, leadership in the ANC is seen as steppingstone to positions of power and material reward in government and business. There are disturbing trends of “careerism, corruption and opportunism,” taking root in the party at various levels, “eating at our soul and with potential to denude our society of an agent of real change”. The document also recognizes the challenges and sins of incumbency (patronage, bureaucratic indifference, arrogance of power, corruption) and suggests approaches to the management of relations within the organisation.

The ANC – and, ironically, even its leader President Jacob Zuma – often talks about the need to deal with corruption and nepotism and Cosatu last week announced (yet another) initiative to deal with these problems in the party. Why then does the ANC seem incapable of dealing with problems of corruption and nepotism – despite many party leaders freely admitting to the problem and clearly being worried about the consequences of the corruption eating away at the moral fabric of the ANC?

An excellent article in this weeks Mail & Guardian about Kennedy Road and the academic article by Prof Sujit Choudhry (highlighted in the “updates” section of this Blog) on the pathologies of one party dominant democracies, go a long way to explain why the ANC will not be able to deal decisively with corruption. At its most basic level, the ANC will not be able to deal with corruption and nepotism in its midst because it needs corruption and nepotism to remain the dominant party in South Africa.

The better instincts of many ANC leaders therefore come in direct conflict with the more urgent instincts of staying in power to advance the “National Democratic Revolution” (and to hold on to the the perks and benefits of office – the cars, the blue lights, the body guards, the money, the ego-trips).

The end result is that the ANC will continue talking about corruption and the need to address it, while it will continue to turn a blind eye to it (perhaps occasionally making an example of a Tony Yengeni or a Jackie Selebi to demonstrate how serious it is about dealing with the problem). If it actually rooted out corruption, it will not be able to distribute benefits and opportunities to a wide array of people and will not be able to retain the loyalty of important but disparate groups who are currently loyal to the ANC. Corruption and nepotism is the glue that holds the ANC together.

It is true that this glue is turned into superglue by the other factors (the continued racism of large sections of the economically powerful minority; the emotional identification that many feel with the ANC because it is the party of liberation; the splintered nature of the Parliamentary opposition and the strategically shortsightedness of opposition parties which limits their chances for growth), but the fact is that the ANC is managing to dominate the political landscape in South Africa because it controls the state and its resources and can dispense benefits and opportunities to those who might otherwise have challenged the authority and power of the party.

It is essential for the ANC to be able to continue to dish out patronage to a wide array of people and to be seen to be able to do so. This they can only do if they turn a blind eye to tender fraud, corruption and nepotistic appointments and if it continues to insist on the continuation of cadre deployment. The ANC must be seen to be the only vehicle through which people can gain access to state resources and must thus be seen as the only party who can improve the lives of most voters. (That is also why the draft Bill that would prevent party leaders from holding local government jobs is meeting such stiff resistance from within the ANC.)

The brilliant article by Niren Tolsi in Friday’s Mail & Guardian (not yet available on the internet) is instructive in this regard. Writing about the aftermath of the criminal attacks on leaders of Abahlali baseMojondolo in Kennedy Road in September 2009, he notes that at the time of the attacks, Bhekisisa Stalin Mncube, spokesperson for the provincial minister for safety and security Willies Mchunu, sent out a press release on behalf of Mchunu and the provincial police commissioner Hamilton Ngidi saying that “the provincial government has moved swiftly to liberate a Durban community (Kennedy Road)”.

He shows that this “liberation” was nothing else than a move to re-establish the authority of the ANC in the area to ensure that residents would understand that it would only be through ANC structures that they would be able to access services or benefits. Abahlali baseMjondolo was a threat to the ANC because it established alternative structures in the area and provided services to the community and helped each other and this sent a signal that one need not be an ANC member or close to the ANC to benefit and to improve one’s life.

This meant residents did not have to go via ward committees and other ANC controlled structures if they wanted to get things done. But the ANC in the area could not tolerate this challenge to its authority because if enough people started believing that membership of the ANC (or at least not active opposition to the ANC) was not essential for any advancement, then the power of the ANC in the area might have been broken and people might have begun to explore other political options.

Conservative political scientists like Herman Giliomee often argue that South Africa is not a fully functioning democracy because our regular elections are no more than a racial census in which people vote either for the ANC (if they are black) or the DA (if they are white). This analysis is far too simplistic. People vote for the ANC and join the ANC for many reasons, including suspicion of the (white dominated) DA and an emotional identification with the ANC as a party of liberation.

But the dominance of the ANC – despite its dismal failure at local government level – cannot be explained purely in such terms. My view (not shared by all) is that most voters are not that stupid and usually vote for the party they perceive as the party best capable of addressing their needs and concerns. Many voters thus continue voting for the ANC exactly BECAUSE of the ANC’s dominance and its control of the levers of state power.

It is not because the ANC is delivering brilliant services at local government level, but because the ANC has convinced most voters that it is the only party that can make any real difference to their lives – often by bending the rules, by dishing out tenders fraudulently, and by employing unqualified people in government merely because they are close to the ANC. If the ANC controls public resources, it makes sense to vote for or even join the ANC in order to better one’s chances of improving one’s life.

A completely neutral state machinery as required by our Constitution (in which a sharp distinction is drawn between the governing party and the state and in which one’s political affiliations makes absolutely no difference to one’s chances of getting a tender or a job and very little difference to whether the state builds a school in your community or tar the road to your house) would be disastrous for the ANC. If people did not think that the ANC and the state was basically one and the same thing, they would consider voting for another party or – even worse for the ANC – they would consider forming another party to challenge the ANC’s dominance. For most poor people to do so at present would be rather stupid or even suicidal.

But to ensure that the ANC is associated very closely with the state, the rules according to which tenders are issued, jobs are provided and services delivered must be corrupted to ensure that only ANC aligned individuals are seen to benefit (or at least are seen to benefit more than those who are not ANC members, have not voted for the ANC or actively oppose the ANC). No wonder COPE is not coping: having lost the power of incumbency it has very little to offer ordinary voters.

That is why the ANC leaders at Luthuli House have insisted on appointing Premiers and even mayors, why it is investigating changes to the provincial government system to limit the chances of provinces (like the Western Cape) attaining too much power and hence too much access to state resources, and why it cannot afford to deal decisively with corruption at national, provincial and especially local government level.

As Choudhry points out, this does not make South Africa unique at all: India, Mexico, Japan and many other countries in which one party dominant democracies enabled governing parties to retain power for many years all suffered from the pathologies of one party dominance highlighted above.

It does mean that unless the economy collapses and deprives the ANC government of sufficient resources to dispense (as happened in Zimbabwe, enabling the emergence of the MDC),  or unless alternative centres of power emerge in municipalities and provinces to challenge the hegemony of the ANC, corruption and nepotism will not be addressed in the medium term. This is not because the ANC leadership is inherently corrupt or that it is morally depraved, but because it has no other choice but to turn a blind eye to corruption and nepotism if it wants to remain the dominant party.

In this, big business and the ANC are in cahoots. During the apartheid era in which the National Party dominated the (whites only) electoral landscape, big business got into bed with the Nats because the Nats had access to resources, could dish out tenders and business, and could ensure an environment in which astute and unscrupulous businessmen and women could become rich. Now that the ANC is firmly entrenched as the dominant party in South Africa, big business has found a new bed partner.

Absa is of course the perfect example of this trend. It used to be the bank of the apartheid government and the supporters of apartheid and it seamlessly turned itself into the bank of the ANC government and of the new elite. When big business bleats about corruption and nepotism, I take this with a pinch of salt. They are not against corruption and nepotism: they are just against the wrong people getting corrupted and then reaping the benefits form corruption.

What is to be done? Corruption commissions will not do the trick. It seems to me that resistance from below (as opposed to complaining by elites like myself) is our best bet.

Here the Constitutional Court can play an important role: by vigorously enforcing the Rule of Law, by making decisions that opens up or keeps open democratic space for contestation, by acknowledging that it has been called upon to interpret and enforce the Constitution in a one party dominant democracy and that this should be taken into account when it makes decisions about the nature of democracy, about the powers of the various spheres of government, and about the abuses of power by the executive that inevitably result from one party dominance, it can help to empower communities who want to take on corruption and nepotism.

In this regard, it will be interesting to see how the Constitutional Court deals with the case challenging the appointment of Menzi Simelane as National Director of Public Prosecutions. If it is asked to consider this matter and if it declines to invalidate the decision of the President on the grounds that the President should have a wide discretion to deploy incompetent and ethically challenged cadres into constitutional positions, we will know the court is not up to the task of helping to safeguard our democracy. What will the Court do? Only time will tell.

  • marco polo

    I’ve heard this silly argument before: that the ANC is simply as corrupt as the Nats. Undoubtedly, there was corruption under the Nats, but the size, both in terms of the number of people involved and amounts stolen, just don’t compare. The “it’s just business as usual but with different owners” attitude may comfort a few leftists here or there, but it just doesn’t wash.

    If you want to understand the culture of corruption in SA, read Jacob Dlamini’s article in Business Day of 17 June: Low expectations have many feeling the pinch It says all there is to say.

    Like Prof de Vos, I don’t think people vote for the ANC because they are stupid. Affirmative action and government jobs (with double-the-inflation rate pay increases) for the middle class; tenders and deals for the slightly more upwardly mobile; hand-outs for the poor; political power for the cadres. Anti-white/Western and Africanist rhetoric for everyone. What’s not to like if you are the “right” colour? The thing about the ANC is not that it fails to deliver completely, but that it delivers just enough – so far – for the masses, while more than delivering for the connected and the cadres.

  • eagleowl

    The sad thing is that many whites predicted that corruption would reign, and can now smugly claim: “We told you so!”

    In 1993 we were bidding on a property in a sale in execution; with some trepidation, as we were not sure the zoning would allow us to use it as we intended. The auctioneer told us not to worry, such matters would very shortly be able to be sorted without much paperwork – the implication being that the paper was only required to be the right colour.

    I was delighted when both Presidents Mandela and Mbeki pronounced that the ANC Government would not tolerate corruption (I’m sure I heard both say as much in public speeches) and run a clean government. Hurrah! At last! Politicians to be trusted.

    More fool me! I fear we are well on the road to ZIm. And of course the only the ANC can make a difference to the lives of the poor, as the Prof points out, but why spend any more on the poor than is absolutely necessary to keep them from revolting!

  • Illuvatar

    Sjoe Prof…the tone of your post sounds so resigned to watching “good” people condone or participate in corrupt activities. I feel like I’ve just read a horoscope for SA and that this is our unavoidable destiny.

    The only glimmer of faint hope lies with the Constitutional Court as the last bulwark against a tidal wave of nepotism & corruption.

    I think perhaps you despair too deeply of the political landscape outside of the ANC. I don’t know exactly why, but you’ve decided that there just isn’t any current political vehicle to get behind as an enfranchised, democratic populous who are in control of their own destinies (people get the governments they deserve after all). Consider also that countless people’s lives are being damaged beyond repair, or simply lost due to corrupt/cadre-deployed government officials – the stakes don’t get much higher than this!

    Yes, we could rely soley on the Constitutional Court to come through for us, but I don’t think this is the only option open to us.

    You’re part of CASAC and I think this is admirable and worthwhile, but why stop there? Join a political party (there is never going to be one that perfectly matches your ideals, morals and values) and help move SA in the right direction. Or start your own party and lead the way :-)

    My point really is that the time for sitting around has passed and that in order to ensure a future we’re happy with (and a future that the next generation will be happy with) the time for active political participation in a party organisation has become a duty.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ illuvatar

    “you’ve decided that there just isn’t any current political vehicle to get behind as an enfranchised, democratic populous”

    ANC is the only party that represents the aspirations of our people. Yes, it is not perfect. But ANC has infinite capacity for renewal. The best way to prompt change is to support ANC unconditionally, show no interest in the policies of any other party, and dismiss any blacks who support the DA as, by definition, “coconuts.”

    Thanks

  • George Gildenhuys

    Prof,

    two comments, the whole question of the provinces I think might be more than just the ANC wanting to outmanoeuvre the DA. And interesting column by Allister Sparks some years ago raised the issue that currently we have nine cities with bigger budgets than the provinces, but politically local government comes third and hence attracts the less competent politicians etc.

    So my view really is we should either empower the provinces with more responsibility which might mean merging a couple etc, or completely srap them. So maybe, just maybe the ANC might just be thinking about what the provinces should do.

    My second point is a bit more pessimistic, you say that the CC can “enforce” the rule of law, but to be honest, as you have stated, the courts have no sword, thus rely on the (ANC controlled) state to “enforce” their rulings.

    Mark my words, the more the ANC suffers from legitimacy and becomes more corrupt the less the state will obey/enforce court orders.

  • anton kleinschmidt

    Oh dear. Just when I thought that you could write a blog without mentioning Helen Zille you have done it again.

    The DA does not need to “learn a thing or two from the ANC” simply because the DA is not riven by the cancerous corruption and maladministration overwhelming every aspect of the ANC.

    Zille and the DA have slipped up on occasion and will probably do so in the future given the multitude of contrived hinderances to good governace that they face. However even at their very worst they are light years ahead of the encumbent adminsistration.

    They are also hampered by the fact that their leader must constantly deal with every male-ism in the book. We have chauvinism, paternalism, sexism, misogyn”ism”, “haremism” and puerile botox insults. Fortunately Zille seems to have developed a thick skin and now simply ignores this nonsense. This disdain has a positive spin-off in that it further enrages her detractors. Nothing quite gets to the fragile male psyche than being ignored by a female of superior intellect.

    I see an apparent contradiction in your observation……”why it (the ANC) is investigating changes to the provincial government system to limit the chances of provinces (like the Western Cape) attaining too much power. Why do you seek to undermine that Western Cape government in the same breath that you are tearing into the predatory anti-democratic behaviour of the ANC.

    Who in their rights minds would vote for a party about which you make the following observation……”This is not because the ANC leadership is inherently corrupt or that it is morally depraved, but because it has no other choice but to turn a blind eye to corruption and nepotism if it wants to remain the dominant party.” It could be argued that if you allow corruption then you are in fact “inherently corrupt”. If you allow murder you are an accessory and some would argue that corruption is just as damaging to our society as murder.

    Maybe Gareth van Onselen was correct in 1998 when he opined that you are not particularly well informed on political matters.

  • anton kleinschmidt

    …such as stealing from minors and the handicapped

    http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Corrupt-officials-stole-R80m-20101010

  • anton kleinschmidt

    ……oops, should have read…..Maybe Gareth van Onselen was correct in 2008…..

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Anton

    Speaking for myself, I see no moral equivalence between the ANC and DA. ANC is bad, but DA is worse. As Maggs points out, the DA has promoted and applauded a councillor who shot an infant, buried her, and danced ecstatically on her grave. As bad as ANC is, I don’t think they go that far. And what about the hundreds of millions DA has spent on “consultants” in the Western Cape? These are the kinds of atrocities to which we must all give weight.

    Thanks

  • Michael Osborne

    Anton, I must disagree with you and Van Onselen. PdV shows great political acumen, probably more than most other commentators; Friedman may be his only equal on the local scene.

    What the two have in common is in their straining to posit a certain moral equivalence between the ANC and the DA. This may not be entirely intellectually honest, but I think that is mitigated by two considerations.

    First, the print media does sometimes give the DA and Zille a free pass. There is some virtue in compensating for that bias on a blog like this, if only to educate its more enthusiastic supporters.

    Second, both Pierre and Friedman are engaged, strategic intellectuals, rather than dispassionate analysts. That being so, they are both aware that, if their sustained critique of the ANC is to have any traction at all, they must balance such attacks with criticism of the DA. Sometimes that may involve bending over backwards to find fault with the DA. But if they do not occasionally take a swipe at the despised DA, few ANC supporters will take either PdV of Friedman seriously when it comes to the much more important attempt to hold the ANC to account.

    Third, from the perspective of a DA supporter, it may be quite appropriate to hold the DA to an higher standard than ANC. I say from the perspective of a DA supporter because this double standard is a huge backhand compliment to the DA. It carries the implication that ANC is so far gone that nothing more can be expected from it; the bigotry of lowered expectations, if you will.

  • Maggs Naidu – maggsnaidu@hotmail.com

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder says:
    October 10, 2010 at 17:35 pm

    Hey Dworky,

    I have now, thanks to your constant efforts decided to be interested in the DA’s policies.

    It’s heavy reading.

    So far I have reached http://www.da.org.za/our_policies.htm

    It’s impressive.

    There are five key components of an open society:

    * A constitution that enshrines the rule of law, individual rights and freedoms, and the separation of powers
    * Transparency and accountability, without which governments abuse their power and compromise the freedoms enshrined in the constitution.
    * Security of person and property
    * An independent and free-thinking civil society, including a free and independent media and a free and independent political opposition that is loyal to the constitutional order
    * A general tolerance of difference on the part of the population
    * An economy that is characterized primarily by the free choices of individuals

    Er, any idea which of the above is not a key component of an open society?

  • Maggs Naidu – maggsnaidu@hotmail.com

    And while you are guiding me on that I must say that this is really oomphy!

    Just a teeny weeny bit of more reading and I might switch sides.

    Our Policies

    Our updated policy platform – the Open Opportunity Society in Action – gives substance to our vision. Each policy put forward by the DA will unpack more precisely the relationship between the state and individuals in that area. But in each case, our policies will:

    * Seek to give citizens control over their own lives, and not allow the state to dictate the course of their daily lives or the direction of their ambitions.
    * Expand choice, not contract it.

    This is because, in acting to extend opportunity to all, the state must ensure that it does not unnecessarily limit the freedom of the individual. To do so, would be to shut down the open society. On the other hand, to neglect those without the wherewithal to direct their own lives and follow their own dreams in the name of freedom is to shut down the opportunity society. Therefore, in an opportunity society that also values individual freedom, the state’s role must be to facilitate, not direct the activity of citizens; if it provides services, it must seek to expand choice, not determine choices. In other words, the free, independent, active individual is at the heart of the opportunity society, both in determining the opportunities required and in taking advantage of them.

  • Maggs Naidu – maggsnaidu@hotmail.com

    Wot about this Dwork?

    The DA will increase the budget for land reform for 2003/04 from R1,6bn to R3bn.

    Pretty impressive huh?

  • anton kleinschmidt

    @ Michael…….Then we must agree to disagree, but before passing judgement on van Onselen’s opinion you might like to read what he said. It is quite compelling

    http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page72308?oid=102076&sn=Marketingweb%20detail

    In my opinion there is no moral equivalence between the ANC and the DA. This is probably one of the reasons why I sometimes disagree with the opinions expressed by PdV and Friedman when they rail against the DA. I would like to think that disingeuous pandering to the ANC faithful would not even occur to commentators of their prominence, but then I could be wrong.

    I fully agree that the DA should be held to a higher standard than the ANC if only because the ANC has lowered their standards to such an extent that they have ceased to exist. If the DA screws up they must be held to account.

  • Pierre De Vos

    anton kleinschmidt, being a slavish supporter of the DA, and having been imbued with that special set of attributes of the true DA faithful (self-righteousness, an inability to admit mistakes, and a do-as-we-say-and-not-as-we-do “why don’t you just trust us because we are the good – white – guys” attitude), I am not expecting you EVER to admit that Helen Zille has done anything wrong or that she and her party has any mistakes. As someone who is not a slave to any party, I on the other hand has the luxury to sniff out hypocrisy wherever I see it. The fact is (although you cannot admit it, much like many white people cannot admit that they benefited from apartheid and continue to benefit from its effects), Zille is a politician and she does what politicians do (DA, ID, ANC, you name it): she launches ad hominem attacks against those who criticise her or find against her party to avoid dealing with her mistakes, she plays the victim, she blames others, she displays a paranoia that would have made President Mbeki feel at home, she tippy-toes around the rather – how shall I put it – unsavoury characters in her own party for shore term reasons while insisting that the ANC immediately deals with its unsavoury characters (note how she dealt with Lennit Max when allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against him and compare that against her statements about President Jacob Zuma’s love child, note her pious defence of the Constitutional Court against ANC attacks compared to her own completely irrelevant and hominem attacks against individual members of the HRC and the judiciary, note her parties refusal to suspend an MP charged with rape and compare that with what the DA had to say when Zuma was similar;y charged – the list is VERY long).

    My problem is: if you claim to be better than everyone else – if you act all moral and superior and tell everyone else how evil they are and how wonderful and principled you are – and then you turn out just to be like them, you are somewhat worse because apart from being unprincipled and devious you are also – and in my books this is one of the greatest sins – hypocritical. Like Blade Nzimande bleating on about the poor and then staying in the Mount Nelson, one week Helen Zille’s party celebrates the fact that the HRC gave DA run Cape Town an award as the most open municipality and the next week launches a scathing attack against the same HRC, failing to actually say WHY the HRC findings were wrong but choosing instead to launch personal attacks against individual HRC members, which is completely irrelevant to the question of whether the DA (or anyone else) should EVER be stupid and callous enough to build toilets without walls for people. But I guess those people in Makaza are not really people for the average DA supporter. They are, after all, poor and black and not really into this equal opportunity society in which rich and poor have the equal opportunity and choice to sleep under a bridge if they so choose and they get the opportunity. What gets me is the double standards, the hypocrisy, the self-righteousness. Not attractive qualities in anyone, whether a lover, a politician or a friend. And when it oozes from a white dominated party who just do not get the effects of our history and the issue of race, who deny that they have a race to start with, who cannot see that they have a point of view but think they – unlike everyone else – float gloriously above culture and ideology and just see the truth and how the world IS while everyone else are blinded by their race and culture and ideology – then it sounds even more obnoxious because whether it is meant that way or not, it sounds like the madam and the baas telling the natives what to do, finding fault with them for not always doing what they are told, but exempting themselves from the rules they insist should be applied to the natives.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    Pierre is right.

    DA is in fact more guilty because they claim superiority.

    At least ANC has never claimed superiority.

    It freely admits to corruption – but is working hard to fix it!

    Watch this space, as Gwebe would say.

  • anton kleinschmidt

    @ Pierre…..wow…..would that qualify as an ad hominen attack, or are you merely saying voetsek to an irritating little mongrel snapping around the ankles of a celebrity academic.

  • Maggs Naidu – maggsnaidu@hotmail.com

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder says:
    October 11, 2010 at 0:17 am

    Dworky,

    I have read the governance policy of the DA (based on your recommended reading from your best seller list).

    It’s riveting reading – I am riveted. Maybe changes to our SA Constitution are on the horizon when the DA soon assumes power that is.

    In the meanwhile, please (pretty please) tell me what this means (and don’t let anyone know that I asked – keep it just our secret) : “On the other hand, to neglect those without the wherewithal to direct their own lives and follow their own dreams in the name of freedom is to shut down the opportunity society.” especially in the context of “In other words, the free, independent, active individual is at the heart of the opportunity society, both in determining the opportunities required and in taking advantage of them.”.

    This needs a smart lawerly person to explain in simple terms to us ordinary folk without the wherewithal to direct their own lives and follow their own dreams (i.e. silly people) – and you’re just the person I had in mind although I would also immensely value input from others who have in the past encouraged me to read the DA’s policies.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    Maggs, I can only assume you had an excruciatingly boring weekend lined up to have devoted it to reading the DA platform. Personally, I am not interested in the policies of a party that will never resonate with most of our people, and which elevates provincial legislators who use potent nerve agents to poison thousands of innocents in their sleep.

    The DA’s use of the word “wherewithal” in its party documents tells me all I need to know. There is no equivalent Pedi term, nor does such a word exist in the Zulu tongue.

    Thanks.

  • Maggs Naidu – maggsnaidu@hotmail.com

    Hey Dworky,

    Mine was a very hectic weekend, thanks. Hope yours was eventful too.

    I know that I have asked a lot from you, maybe you will start by telling me which is the five key components of an open society.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    Pierre is right. The DA is just as bad as ANC. I just don’t see any essential difference between a ruling party repeatedly denouncing the CC as counter-revolutionary, on the one hand, and snide sniping at the HRC by a tiny party that few people care about anyway. All the same, really.

  • James

    Pierre, you know you must be doing something wrong when you’re singled out for praise as an ‘objective pundit’ by a fourth-rate ANC hack like Moloto Mothapo in the Sunday Times. One could call your analysis mediocre, hand-wringing, self-loathing, ANC-ingratiating, bien-pensant crap. But, really, the plaudit from Mothapo is far more damning.

  • Maggs Naidu – maggsnaidu@hotmail.com

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder says:
    October 11, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Dwork,

    “I just don’t see any essential difference between a ruling party repeatedly denouncing the CC as counter-revolutionary, on the one hand, and snide sniping at the HRC by a tiny party that few people care about anyway.”

    This tiny party – not the same one that is ruling the WC and the world’s best governed city is it?

  • Graham

    Pierre your disgusting and scurrilous attack on Anton Kleinschmidt really does you no credit at all. This fiction-filled diatribe is laced with your usual prejudices and utterances which have been previously discredited and trashed on numerous occasions by commentators here (the myth of the DA being white dominated, the fact that the HRC is nothing more than a repository for deployed ANC stooges etc. etc.). As I have also stated before, when you have to resort to “the poor” to bolster your case, the reader knows you are clutching at straws. What a smug and self-righteous commentary you offer; your predilection for commenting on your own comment smacks of always wanting to have the last word and suggests that you have yet even to convince yourself of what you are saying. Drivel is hard to swallow – even by its progenitor.
    I don’t know if it’s your sexual orientation that imbues your comments with this victim mentality or persecution complex, but whatever it is, it is seriously clouding any semblance of objectivity or rational discourse on your part.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Graham

    “…the myth of the DA being white dominated”

    Yes, Graham, thanks very much for busting that pernicious myth! Also, how very perceptive to bring’s PdV’s sexual orientation into the picture. Perhaps you could guide us further as to the relevance of it all.

    Thanks again.

  • Graham

    It’s a pleasure, Dworky.

  • Henri

    What Choudhry actually propagate is that the CC should take the concept of a dominant party democracy seriously [at p38 bottom of his publication] because of all the pathologies [like rampant corruption and cadre deployment, control of parliament by Luthuli house, etc] by creating a new set of constitutional doctrines – “a recasting of the existing jurisprudence”!
    In other words the existing compliant jurisprudence of a “transformative constitution” should be discarded and replaced by a jurisprudence of anti-domination, anti-capture, non-usurpation, anti-seizure and anti-centralization.
    But he correctly points out that the CC “lacks the conceptual resources” to do it and “has an inadequate understanding of” the actual constitutional problem in the RSA.

    Bottom line: The Canadian sees the CC as part of the problem because of its wrong assumptions and inadequate jurisprudence.

  • Michael Osborne

    @ Henri

    I agree with your rendition of what Sujit has to stay. What he perhaps does not grasp is how acute the countermajoritarian issue is in a developing world country that has no tradition of judicial review. We saw what happened to the Indian Court when it frontally and persistently challenged the executive in the 80’s. Even in a established system like the U.S., the Supreme Court must carefully conserve it’s political capital,picking it’s battles very carefully lest it lose it’s legitimacy.

    I think Sujit, as well as local academics like Pierre, should temper their demands for judicial activism with a more realistic grasp of the objective constraints that cynical populism place on judicial power.

  • abidam

    If the truth did not hurt so much there would be much less commentary on the DA (read vilifying)

  • anton kleinschmidt

    @ Pierre…..

    In the context of the personal attacks on Zille I am most certainly “a slavish supporter of the DA”. One more time; if we go back to 2008 you launched a scathing attack on Zille’s comments related to the Erasmus Commission. Let us ignore the opinions of van Onselen, kleinschmidt and many others but instead accept the verdict of the Cape High Court. The court found exclusively for the DA and in the process destroyed your criticism. Reluctant apology notwithstanding you do not appear to be dealing with the fact that you were wrong. Beaten by a mere woman and a politician on a matter of law.

    This context carries over to the HRC stance on the lavatory saga. In the interests of helping the poor the DA took a huge politcal risk only to have their good intentions blow up in their face. We are not going to move forward in this country unless politicians start taking calculated risks and this fact is ignored by the HRC and all those who seek to belittle the DA. Even if only for purely selfish reasons, I care about the poor and this refusal to think outside of the box impacts directly on the poor.

    I happily acknowledge that the DA is not perfect, has made mistakes and will continue to do so in the future. As I said earlier…..”If the DA screws up they must be held to account.” Where we differ is on whether or not they have screwed up in any meaningful way. In the case of the ANC this is beyond dispute anodyne policy documents notwithstanding

    As regards Max I am not sure whether there have been any developments with regard to the charges levelled against him or whether the charges have substance. I do know that Zille has moved him out of her inner circle and may well take further action depending on what transpires. I am in full agreement that what is good for the ANC must also be good for the DA and that hypocrisy is deserving of strong condemnation and punishment at the ballot box.

    As regards the rest of your comment, what can I say. I could accuse you of playing the race card but such accusations have become just as tedious as actually playing the race card. Yes white people benefitted from apartheid and yes white people continue to benefit from the effects of apartheid. Yes white people (and many blacks) are critical of poor ANC governance and corruption and that is the real issue in so far as our future wellbeing is concerned.

  • Henri

    @ Michael Osborne
    It should be noted that Choudhry’s main pathologies nl. domination, capture, usurpation, seizure and centralisation are also identified by Moeletsi Mbeki in “Architects of Poverty: Why Africa’s Capitalism needs changing” [2009, Pan Macmillan].
    It’s just sobering to note that it is actually the exact way the ANC set out from the start to govern. It’s the raison d’etre for cadre depoyment and “transformation”.

    Now, from Canada, this is identified as the MAJOR constitutional ailments to be addressed through the Constitution. And the CC encouraged to develope “constitutional doctrines” exactly to counter that.

    Another “right wing onslaught” under the guise of constitutionalism?
    I suspect the CC will come under severe pressure in the future – and an all out effort will be underway to bring it under the heel of Luthuli House.

  • Maggs Naidu – maggsnaidu@hotmail.com

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder says:
    October 11, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Hey Dworky,

    After reading the DA policies (albeit superficially) and pending your explanations I have been further inspired by the DA supporters here and their inciteful comments. (Eish I think that’s spelled insightful but you know what I mean).

    Graham’s very profound comments are noteworthy :

    – Pierre your disgusting and scurrilous attack on Anton Kleinschmidt really does you no credit at all.
    – This fiction-filled diatribe is laced with your usual prejudices and utterances which have been previously discredited and trashed on numerous occasions by commentators here
    -the myth of the DA being white dominated,
    – the fact that the HRC is nothing more than a repository for deployed ANC stooges etc. etc.
    – you have to resort to “the poor” to bolster your case,
    – the reader knows you are clutching at straws.
    – What a smug and self-righteous commentary you offer;
    – your predilection for commenting on your own comment smacks of always wanting to have the last word and suggests that you have yet even to convince yourself of what you are saying.
    – Drivel is hard to swallow – even by its progenitor.
    – sexual orientation
    – victim mentality
    – persecution complex
    – seriously clouding any semblance of objectivity
    – rational discourse.

    p.s If I join the DA can I assume a liberated mind like Graham’s?

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    No, Maggs, even if you joined the DA, you would not attain the worldly sophistication and intellectual assurance of Graham, or even John Roberts. We often disagree, Maggs, and I find your reactionary politics frankly revolting. Yet I have always admired your humility. Do not lose it.

  • Michael Osborne

    Henri, yes, I think M. Mbeki is very perceptive. But, as Pierre pointed out earlier, there is only so much the CC can do; at best, it can try to hold open space for civil society to mobilize against the ANC’s hegemonic ambitions. (These ambitions were, by the way, quite to be expected, and even understandable in historic perspective.) One’s hopes, though, that a counter-hegemonic project will get off the ground soon must be moderated by the fact that, as readers of this blog will know, there are very well informed people who are harshly critical of the ANC who nevertheless could not bring themselves to vote for any other party…

  • Maggs Naidu – maggsnaidu@hotmail.com

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder says:
    October 11, 2010 at 14:01 pm

    Hey Dworky,

    Reactionary politics and frankly revolting, eh?

    I’ll show you reactionary politics and frankly revolting!

    Your disgusting and scurrilous attack on me really does you no credit at all. This fiction-filled diatribe is laced with your usual prejudices and utterances which have been previously discredited and trashed on numerous occasions by commentators here (the myth of frankly revolting). As I have also stated before, when you have to resort to insults to bolster your case, the reader knows you are clutching at straws. What a smug and self-righteous commentary you offer; your predilection for commenting on my comment smacks of always wanting to have the last word and suggests that you have yet even to convince yourself of what you are saying. Drivel is hard to swallow – even by its progenitor.

    I don’t know if it’s your sexual orientation that imbues your comments with this victim mentality or persecution complex, but whatever it is, it is seriously clouding any semblance of objectivity or rational discourse on your part.

  • Spuy

    Pierre

    Lets hope the courts will be “bold enough” to rule in the DA’s (and your) favour in the Menzi Simelane matter!

  • Clara

    @Maggs:

    Since the Dworxter hasn’t yet complied with your request to explain some of the DA drivel on their “open opportunity society”, maybe I can help to throw a tiny sliver of light on your conundrum, even though I can hardly be described as a “smart lawerly person”. What the DA is trying to say is just this –

    “Just because people don’t have the money (a less woolly word for ‘wherewithal’) to follow their own dreams … in the name of freedom … blah, blah … doesn’t mean that they don’t have opportunities. Finding a good reason why one should qualify for a government handout is also an opportunity. Vote for us in 2014 and we might even throw in a BIG!”

  • Maggs Naidu – maggsnaidu@hotmail.com

    Hey Clara,

    Thanks for that.

    I think you are smarter than the lawyerly fellow (who is sulking just cos I practiced DAisms on him).

    While I read and interpret your layman’s guide to DA policies please help out a bit and let me know which are five key components of an open society.

    p.s. “Finding a good reason why one should qualify for a government handout is also an opportunity” :)

  • Clara

    @Maggs:

    Uh … the five key components … I scrolled back to your comment, only to find that there are six whereas DA said five. This is not very confidence-inspiring, is it now. And all six of them are, of course, the kind of pie-in-the-sky stuff that only silly folk believe could ever be realised; you know, the kind who probably also believe that politicians are basically good people.

    To be perfectly honest with you, I haven’t ever read any of the DA’s policies. Politicians are all the same, and I would urge everyone to pay them no heed. If I vote DA it’s solely because I like the idea of there being some kind of an opposition, to keep on cherishing the illusion that we don’t yet live in a one-party state. If you get my drift.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Maggs

    I regret I cannot help you much in decoding the DA’s gobbyldegook, with all of its fluffy asprational pose. Although I am by no means an uncritical supporter of the ANC, I much prefer the elegant simplicity of “A BETTER LIFE FOR ALL.”

    That being said, there are portions of ANC documents that baffle me. Take this, for example: Para 128 of the Strategy Document of the 52nd National Congress warns against “ultra-leftism which advocates voluntaristic adventures including dangerous leaps towards a classless society ignoring the objective tasks in a national democratic revolution.”

    Any help you can give me in understanding this dense prose would be so much appreciated!

  • Maggs Naidu – maggsnaidu@hotmail.com

    Clara says:
    October 11, 2010 at 15:45 pm

    Hey Clara,

    :)

    For a long while now, many who comment here (especially Dworky Duck) have been urging me to read the DA’s policies. I just started and need some Claraty before I decide whether it’s impressive or very impressive.

    According to their website The DA will increase the budget for land reform for 2003/04 from R1,6bn to R3bn. Do you think that is wise?

  • Maggs Naidu – maggsnaidu@hotmail.com

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder says:
    October 11, 2010 at 16:14 pm

    Hey Dworky,

    Understanding the dense prose of the ANC is easy but you have got to think peace and friendship, then all will come to you.

    Of a couple of swigs of JW also workable (I know this because it helps senior ANC people before and during conferences).

    Just as well I jumped ship now and I think you should too.

  • Clara

    @Maggs:

    While I haven’t checked this on the DA’s website, I’m nonetheless pretty sure that we’re dealing with a typo here. What they mean is indubitably 3003/04, by which time they may just be ‘in power’. What is unclear at this early stage is just how much land R3bn will buy then; only time will tell.

  • Maggs Naidu – maggsnaidu@hotmail.com

    Clara says:
    October 11, 2010 at 19:46 pm

    Hey Clara,

    A small typo is not too bad.

    For this typo, as kindly pointed out by our Mossad Guy, however I need some of that stuff that a Minister’s wife is selling – they say to understand deeply spiritual writing you should aim to place yourself in the same spiritual space as the writers.

    “ultra-leftism which advocates voluntaristic adventures including dangerous leaps towards a classless society ignoring the objective tasks in a national democratic revolution.”

    Eish. There’s some cuckoo types allowed to write for the ANC.

  • Maggs Naidu – maggsnaidu@hotmail.com

    Clara says:
    October 11, 2010 at 15:05 pm

    “Vote for us in 2014 and we might even throw in a BIG!”

    There’s a big BIG on the way in May, 2014.

    The DA will therefore make an Income Support and Unemployment Grant of R110 per month available to all South Africans earning below R46 000 per annum who do not receive another state grant

  • John Roberts

    Even as I sit here, I can’t believe I’m writing this. I’ve never been one to voice my opinions in such a public manner. But after learning that Mikhail D Fassbinder, Esq. wants to reduce us to acute penury, I felt I at least had to set a few things straight. First, the misinformation: he suggests that he is always being misrepresented and/or persecuted. Where the heck did he come up with that? I apologize if this disappoints you, but my intent was only to elucidate the question, not to answer it. I shall therefore state only that if we fail to provide a trenchant analysis of Mikhail’s rodomontades then all of our sacrifices will be as forgotten as the sand blowing across Ozymandias’s dead empire. The “decay of that colossal wreck,” as the poet Shelley puts it, teaches us that Mikhail is squarely in favor of racialism and its propensity to retard the free and natural economic development of various countries’ indigenous population. This is so typical of Mikhail: he condemns bigotry and injustice except when it benefits him personally.
    Mikhail speaks like a true defender of the status quo—a status quo, we should not forget, that enables him to convert our children to cultural zombies in a mass of unthinking and easily herded proletarian cattle. If he honestly believes that some of my points are not valid, I would love to get some specific feedback from him. Mikhail says that his vices are the only true virtues. That’s his unvarying story, and it’s a lie: an extremely effrontive and clumsy lie. Unfortunately, it’s a lie that is accepted unquestioningly, uncritically, by Mikhail’s peons.
    In that respect, we can say that there’s a time to keep silent and a time to speak. There’s a time to love and a time to hate. There’s a time for war and a time for peace. And, I profess, there’s a time to snap Mikhail’s votaries out of their trance. Or, to put it less poetically, I have a scientist’s respect for objective truth. That’s why I’m telling you that Mikhail has remarked that the world is crying out to labor beneath his firm but benevolent heel. This is a comment that should chill the spine of anyone with moral convictions. To make sure you understand I’ll spell it out for you. For starters, I think that I still wish briefly to take a position on the question as to what extent my only goal in writing this letter and others concerning Mikhail D Fassbinder is to present a noble vision of who we were, who we are, and who we can potentially be. You probably think that too. But Mikhail does not think that. Mikhail thinks that he should condition the public—or, more precisely, brainwash the public—into believing that he is the arbiter of all things because “it’s the right thing to do”.
    I want to unify our community. Mikhail, in contrast, wants to drive divisive ideological wedges through it. He and his surly, stubborn prophecies should be shunned. From this anecdotal evidence I would argue that the term “idiot savant” comes to mind when thinking of Mikhail. Admittedly, that term applies only halfway to him, which is why I allege that Mikhail is planning to dissolve the bonds that join individuals to their natural communities. This does not bode well for the future because he recently claimed that mediocrity is a worthwhile goal. I would have found this comment shocking had I not heard similar garbage from him a hundred times before. Did it ever occur to Mikhail that maybe he has no conception of our moral and ethical standards? Dream on.
    Dichotomous thinking has stymied Mikhail’s ability to reach solutions, and besides, in a recent tell-all, a former member of Mikhail’s lynch mob writes that “my job now and for the immediate future—our job—is to act as a positive role model for younger people”. Those are some pretty harsh words even when one considers that Mikhail wants us to believe that we should avoid personal responsibility. How stupid does he think we are? Whenever that question is asked, Mikhail and his minions run and hide. I suspect that that’s precisely what they’re going to do now so as to avoid hearing me say that Mikhail is trying to get us to acquiesce to a Faustian bargain. In the short term this bargain may help us eschew unbalanced Trotskyism. Unfortunately, in the long term it will enable Mikhail to promote violence in all its forms—physical, sexual, psychological, economical, and social.
    Next time, Mikhail, you may want to check your facts correctly. This march into imperious pessimism is not happening by mere chance. It is not, as many nasty, malodorous disinformation artists insist, the result of the natural, inevitable course of things. It is happening as a direct result of Mikhail’s puerile pranks.
    Each day, I see the world becoming more tactless as a determined Mikhail carries out his illaudable plans. You don’t need to be the smartest guy on the planet to figure that out. Heck, even the lowliest Joe Six-Pack knows that there’s a lot of daylight between Mikhail’s views and mine. He believes that cannibalism, wife-swapping, and the murder of infants and the elderly are acceptable behavior while I maintain that he says that he needs a little more time to clean up his act. As far as I’m concerned, his time has run out. I want to live my life as I see fit. I can’t do that while Mikhail still has the ability to address what is, in the end, a nonexistent problem. While there is inevitable overlap at the edges of political movements, his spin doctors have been staggering around like punch-drunk fighters hit too many times—stunned, confused, betrayed, and trying desperately to rationalize his fork-tongued, misguided endeavors. It is definitely not a pretty sight.
    The long and short of it is that I want to hammer out solutions on the anvil of discourse. That may seem simple enough, but there is no doubt that Mikhail will erode constitutional principles that have shaped our society and remain at the core of our freedom and liberty by the next full moon. Believe me, I would give everything I own to be wrong on that point, but the truth is that Mikhail and his secret police are, by nature, repressive, foul-mouthed hoodwinkers. Not only can that nature not be changed by window-dressing or persiflage, but I feel no more personal hatred for Mikhail than I might feel for a herd of wild animals or a cluster of poisonous reptiles. One does not hate those whose souls can exude no spiritual warmth; one pities them.
    Here’s an eye-opener for you: Mikhail gets a lot of perks from the system. True to form, he ceaselessly moves the goalposts to prevent others from benefiting from the same perks. This suggests that we must tell Mikhail where he can stick it. If we do, then perhaps a brighter day will dawn on planet Earth. Perhaps people will open their eyes and see that Mikhail justifies his oleaginous, chthonic dissertations with fallacious logical arguments based on argumentum ad baculum. In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, it means that if we don’t accept Mikhail’s claim that his revenge fantasies are a breath of fresh air amid our modern culture’s toxic cloud of chaos then he will give nutty, huffy self-proclaimed arbiters of taste and standards far more credibility than they deserve. Mikhail’s arguments would be a lot more effective if they were at least accurate or intelligent, not just a load of bull for the sake of being controversial. The fact that when Mikhail states a subjective opinion he makes it sound like it is universally accepted as an unquestionable truth is particularly striking because Mikhail likes to quote all of the saccharine, sticky moralisms about “human rights” and the evils of hooliganism. But as soon as we stop paying attention, he invariably instructs his factotums to support those for whom hatred has become a way of life. Then, when someone notices, the pattern repeats from the beginning. Though this game may seem perverse beyond belief to any sane individual it makes perfect sense in light of Mikhail’s pestilential, wild threats.
    If Mikhail’s sycophants had even an ounce of integrity they would arraign Mikhail at the tribunal of public opinion. So far, the response from his camp has been tardy and equivocal. That is to say, as the adherents of Randian objectivism believe, his rantings are surrounded by a halo of opportunism. Furthermore, as the adherents of empiricism observe, I am truly at a loss for words when Mikhail asserts that presumptuous brownshirts make the best scoutmasters and schoolteachers. He can’t possibly be serious. I suspect that the real story here is that Mikhail thinks we want him to sully my reputation. Excuse me, but maybe the objection may still be raised that he can be trusted to judge the rest of the world from a unique perch of pure wisdom. At first glance this sounds almost believable yet the following must be borne in mind: For his prodigal plans to succeed, Mikhail needs to dumb down our society. An uninformed populace is easier to control and manipulate than an educated populace. In a lustrum or two, schoolchildren will stop being required to learn the meanings of words like “establishmentarianism” and “crystallographically”. They will be incapable of comprehending that Mikhail has compiled an impressive list of grievances against me. Not only are all of these grievances completely fictitious, but Mikhail’s despicable attempts to pander to our worst fears are well-nigh unforgivable. Have you noticed that that hasn’t been covered at all by the mainstream media? Maybe they’re afraid that Mikhail will retaliate by enshrining irrational fears and fancies as truth. In a nutshell, part of the myth that Mikhail D Fassbinder, Esq. perpetuates is that we ought to worship the worst classes of bilious cozeners there are as folk heroes.

    ——————————————————————————–

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ John Roberts

    “(Fassbinder) believes that cannibalism, wife-swapping, and the murder of infants and the elderly are acceptable behavior”

    JR, thank you for your comments. But I must point out that I do not support the “murder of infants.” In fact, I deplore the practice. It is for that reason that I join Maggs in demanding that the alleged slaughter of babies by DA ward councillors be fully investigated, and that these sadistic liberal fiends be subject to the harshest punishment!

    Thanks.

    while I maintain that he says that he needs a little more time to clean up his act. As far as I’m concerned, his time has run out. I want to live my life as I see fit. I can’t do that while Mi

  • John Roberts

    Thanks Mr Fassbinder

    No offence meant. I just wanted to demonstrate to you that I am but a common man and no great intellectual as you seem to suggest :)

  • Maggs Naidu – maggsnaidu@hotmail.com

    John Roberts says:
    October 12, 2010 at 0:07 am

    Hmmm.

    As Graham would say, it must be his sexual orientation!

  • etienne marais

    Michael Osborne,

    “there are very well informed people who are harshly critical of the ANC who nevertheless could not bring themselves to vote for any other party…”

    This, undoubtedly, is true Michael, but why ? And is it truer now, than it might have been 12 years ago, or is it changing ? Was the formation of COPE perhaps a (failed) attempt at reversal of the truism?

    Pierre is perhaps right then, in that the entire dynamic revolves simply around relationship to, and retention of, power. If this was the case, it would, in fact, serve as persuasive evidence of an inherent corruptness.

  • Gwebecimele

    Amnesia over Mbeki
    At last, former President Thabo Mbeki emerges from the wilderness, or hibernation if you wish.
    SFISO MEMELA
    Published: 2010/10/15 07:25:35 AM

    At last, former President Thabo Mbeki emerges from the wilderness, or hibernation if you wish. He emerged to launch his foundation, aimed at teaching leadership in Africa, to help our beloved continent develop cadres fit to help Africa ascend to her rightful position in the body politic and economic strata of the world.

    We had all sorts of excitement from the media, reminding us how they missed the intellectual voice of the former president. One radio host even said she had forgotten how it felt to have a president who does not giggle before answering a question. I was confounded by the romance with which the media showered the former president.

    The last I remember, this was a man responsible for the genesis of the present cold front against the media, creating fertile ground for the proposals being advanced by the ruling party. As if that was not enough, the HIV/AIDS debacle was almost forgotten. I don’t even know where to begin about how the Scorpions were obliterated for succumbing to his manipulative government.

    Had Mr Mbeki not lost power, Jackie Selebi would still be the national police commissioner, with Glenn Agliotti buying more pairs of shoes to leverage power and protection.

    I don’t even want to start talking about the warnings of power outages issued by Eskom officials to Mr Mbeki’s government as early as 1997. These warnings were arrogantly ignored, costing the economy about R50bn and almost destroying small enterprises that create much-needed jobs.

    Today we are paying for that lack of foresight. I doubt if Zimbabweans were as nostalgic when they saw him, given his handling of the Zimbabwe question and the cosy relationship he had with their president.

    So, in short, Mbeki was not a giggling president and, granted, he was very articulate and possessed the correct demeanour for a president, but I am still uncertain what valuable lessons he intends imparting to Africa’s future leaders. His record is not a good example. His start may have exceeded our expectations, but his exit could not have come sooner.

    His last days in office took my romance with him away, and left me with images of a near dictatorship stopped in its tracks in a chaotic but effective Polokwane conference.

    Sfiso Memela

    Sandton

  • Maggs Naidu – maggsnaidu@hotmail.com

    ‘There is no human who can sleep in this’
    KARABO KEEPILE | JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – Oct 18 2010 15:30

    Evicted shack dwellers from the Gabon informal settlement on the East Rand have refused to occupy the 72 corrugated iron shacks built for them by the Ekurhuleni Municipality. This after they were evicted and their shacks demolished on May 11. …

    “The shacks were supposed to be complete, but as you can see with this one, they are incomplete; there is no door, you look at the window it’s broken, and even the roofs are leaking. Even the floor, it was supposed to be cemented, unlike the condition it is right now. The condition should have been conducive to human life, not like the one that they have built and want to accommodate people.” …

    “The shacks they demolished were fine. Now they have built structures fit for pigs, because there is no human who can sleep in this.” …

    According to Tulk, evicted Gabon residents won’t take occupation of the current corrugated shacks “until such time as proper restitution is made in accordance with the court order”. Until such time, she says, the municipality is in contempt of court.

    http://www.mg.co.za/article/2010-10-18-there-is-no-human-who-can-sleep-in-this