Constitutional Hill

Defamation and social media: We have moved on from Jane Austen

There is something about internet websites and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter that seem to bring out the worst in people. Otherwise reasonably decent people who might well carefully weigh their words (and may be polite and generous to friends and acquaintances in private) can become raving hatemongers and irresponsible tattletales on these platforms. In theory, they expose themselves to defamation claims or even – in extreme cases – contempt of court proceedings. While this is probably not going to stop the orgy of half-baked opinions, uninformed speculation and defamatory rants from proliferating on the internet, I am not sure that this is as harmful as some might think.  

Yesterday on Twitter a faceless individual tweeting under the handle “idononothing” railed against “corrupt afrikaaner judges who make deals with afrikaaner prosecutors” (while declining to provide details of the alleged corruption and the names of the corrupt judges and the deals made), before turning his or her ire on me, complaining: “But u report on issues tht only follow ur white supremacy agenda.”

These tweets got me thinking about whether the law should distinguish between defamatory statements published in the old style media and those published on social media websites, and between statements published by “professional” journalists and statements and opinion published by those who are not paid by media institutions to share their views or insights. It also made me wonder whether the law of defamation is of much use in the modern social media world and whether it is advisable for the law to attempt to regulate this somewhat chaotic and cacophonous space.

The law of defamation seeks to protect the interest individuals have in their reputation. If someone makes a statement about you that would tend to lower your esteem in the eyes of others, he or she is defaming you. Anyone familiar with the novels of Jane Austen would know that there was a time in the United Kingdom when a person’s reputation was a pivotal commodity that could determine his or her success in life. The law of defamation aimed to protect this reputation and as such was very much the product of a specific (colonial and Victorian) time and place. To what extent this set of legal rules are relevant in a modern, electronically connected, African state is open to question.

The law assumes that statements attacking your character will normally have the effect of lowering your reputation (and your standing and life chances) in the eyes of others. If someone claims that you are corrupt, a racist or a sexist, a murderer, a wife beater, a drunkard, or a dishonest person, this will be presumed to defame you because it will be presumed that the statement would lead other people to think less highly of you. It is further assumed that such a lowering of your reputation will potentially have catastrophic consequences for your life – something not born out by the lives of the Kardashians or Paris Hilton. That is why the reputation-lowering statements remain defamatory – even when they are true.

Once you have convinced a court that statements made about you are defamatory, it is presumed that the publication was both unlawful and intentional. If you want to avoid liability for making such prima facie defamatory statements, you will have to raise a defence which either shows that the statements were not made intentionally or were not unlawful. As the Constitutional Court explained in Khumalo v Holomisa:

Although not a closed list, the most commonly raised defences to rebut unlawfulness are that the publication was true and in the public benefit; that the publication constituted fair comment and that the publication was made on a privileged occasion.

This means you will not be liable for defamation if you can show to a court that what you had said was both true and was on a matter that was in the public interest. Making true statements about a friend on a matter of no public interest remains defamatory. It also means that if you are a columnist or cartoonist and you make adverse or even scathing defamatory comments about another person on a matter of public interest, you will have a defence to a defamation claim, unless there is no factual basis for the comment or you made the comments with malice. And if you make defamatory statements as a witness in court, you will not be liable for those statements as statements made during judicial proceedings would have been made on a privileged occasion.

Under the influence of the freedom of expression provision in the Constitution our courts have developed another defence that the mass media can invoke to justify the publication of defamatory statements. This defence is not open to ordinary citizens. The Constitutional Court in Khumalo explained the unique position of the mass media as follows:

In a democratic society, then, the mass media play a role of undeniable importance. They bear an obligation to provide citizens both with information and with a platform for the exchange of ideas which is crucial to the development of a democratic culture. As primary agents of the dissemination of information and ideas, they are, inevitably, extremely powerful institutions in a democracy and they have a constitutional duty to act with vigour, courage, integrity and responsibility. The manner in which the media carry out their constitutional mandate will have a significant impact on the development of our democratic society. If the media are scrupulous and reliable in the performance of their constitutional obligations, they will invigorate and strengthen our fledgling democracy. If they vacillate in the performance of their duties, the constitutional goals will be imperilled.

For this reason the Court affirmed a Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment which had developed a rule that even if a publisher cannot establish beyond all doubt that a defamatory statement was true, it could still publish the statement if it would be “disproportionately expensive or difficult” to establish the truth – but only if the publisher can show that that “in all the circumstances the publication was reasonable”. This rule requires the media to take reasonable care before publishing a defamatory statement which they cannot prove to be true. It attempts to balance the interest of citizens in an open and democratic society to be informed of public events, on the one hand, against the personal interests of the defamed person on the other. As the Constitutional Court stated:

In determining whether publication was reasonable, a court will have regard to the individual’s interest in protecting his or her reputation in the context of the constitutional commitment to human dignity. It will also have regard to the individual’s interest in privacy. In that regard, there can be no doubt that persons in public office have a diminished right to privacy, though of course their right to dignity persists. It will also have regard to the crucial role played by the press in fostering a transparent and open democracy. …[T]the defence of reasonable publication will encourage editors and journalists to act with due care and respect for the individual interest in human dignity prior to publishing defamatory material, without precluding them from publishing such material when it is reasonable to do so.

Several intriguing questions arise from this.

First, is this defence that a defamatory statement was published under reasonable circumstances open to journalists who use Twitter to report or comment on events, given the fact that the tweet has not actually been published in a newspaper or aired on radio or TV? Given the fact that the line between traditional old style media and new media is blurring, it is difficult to know how a court will respond and where it will draw the line. But I would think Twitter has become such an integral part of delivering news to the public in a modern democracy that the reasonableness defence should be open to journalist-tweeters who tweet on current events.

Second, would the court extend this defence to people who are not full-time journalists and who publish news reports or opinion pieces on Blogs or community-based websites like Groundup? And what about bloggers and other opinion makers who post opinions about current events on Twitter or Facebook? I can see no reason why either the platform used for the reporting or the identity of the author should make a difference to the rule. I would therefore argue that those who publish news reports and opinion pieces on Blogs or websites should also be allowed to invoke the reasonableness defence because these reports and opinion pieces fulfil the same function as those published on traditional media platforms.

Third, how should the law deal with people whose Tweets or Facebook posts have nothing to do with their job descriptions? If they post comments on issues of public concern or about public figures on these social media sites, can they invoke a defence of reasonableness? Recently the South Gauteng High Court granted an interdict, ordering someone to remove her defamatory comments about another person from the social media site. But these comments related to a private person, so the judgment hinged on the fact that the publication of the defamatory claims were not in the public interest. How should the law deal with comments about a political or other public figures posted on Facebook or Twitter by a private citizen?

My personal view on this is rather radical. I believe that in a modern democracy in which many people have access to the internet (and especially to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook) it is impossible to regulate robust, rude and even downright defamatory discussions on public events and on public figures. People will believe what they want to believe about a public figure or about an event and will usually make up their minds after accessing a selective amount of information about that person on the internet (and maybe elsewhere). As a general rule, it will all come out in the wash and really scurrilous and hurtful comments about a person will not be believed (or will be believed by only a few people) because the counter narrative created by all the other views and opinions on Twitter and Facebook will take the sting out of untrue defamatory statements made about a person.

I believe that a person’s reputation in modern day South Africa is far less important than it was in colonial Britain – no matter what the self-serving politicians might claim. Our reputations have also become far less regulated and pampered as a result. As we lead more public lives and advertise our comings and goings on Facebook, as we are supposed to ignore class and social status, and as more people insist – rightly or wrongly – that they judge other people solely on individual merit (leaving aside the toxic influence of racial prejudice), it is unclear why the legal rules remain so obsessed with the protection of our reputations. The law might have to be reserved for cases in which malicious people deliberately publish defamatory statements about other people with the sole intention  of harming them.

Not in a million years will I personally ever consider suing someone like “idononothing” for defamation because he called me a “white supremacist”. Although this is a highly defamatory statement, I would trust Twitter and Facebook – as well as other forms of media, including my own Blog and access to the Daily Maverick – to present another side of the story, which will limit any potential damage to my reputation (such as it might be).

When you sue somebody for defamation, you usually make things worse by attracting attention to the offensive comment. When you do not laugh off a slightly unhinged comment like that, your response sends a signal that the comment really hurt you and might actually be close to the truth. And if you then threaten to sue or actually sue, you might well further harm any reputation you might have left – instead of protecting it from harm. When somebody says something defamatory about me I usually laugh and instinctively feel pity for the person who is so damaged that he or she has to resort to insults to make him or herself feel better about themselves. More politicians and public figures should keep this in mind.

  • Zulani

    “When you sue somebody for defamation, you usually make things worse by attracting attention to the offensive comment. When you do not laugh off a slightly unhinged comment like that, your response sends a signal that the comment really hurt you and might actually be close to the truth.”
    Nou slaan jy die spyker op sy kop. Juis hieroor geniet ek jou blog. Daar is baie bydraers wat onseker is en dit wys in dit wat hulle kwytraak.

  • Brett Nortje

    When Maggs posted the link to the Facebook page set up for that black pro who got beaten up at Vodacom World of Golf I dually went to check it out. Only to find Maggs had already insinuated himself. So I dually cyberstalked him for a couple of minutes trying to work out how to ‘unfriend’ him without ‘friending’ him first.

  • Vuyo

    Pierre, you live in a glass box. Not all of us can afford to become like you (i.e. an activist who lives their life in the public view). we live in a post-industrial society dominated by finance and neo-liberalism. You voice your true opinion and you are destroyed like a Malema or a Mbeki. You serve capital and regardless 783 charges you become president or a mining and fast food mogul. So-called “dignity” and “reputation” are more important today than a 100 years ago, when an article would at best damage your reputation in London and yet you could still live and let live in Liverpool. Liberal or not, laws against slander are of more importance today, in an era when recruiters google you prior to considering you for a an opportunity that enables your very existence. This applies to politicians and ordinary citizens. The ConCourt got it wrong, reputation requires not mere reasonability but proof beyond doubt. After all, this is a world where brands have more value than plant, labour and machinery.

  • Vuyo

    Its cold out there, were you to challenge the logic of neo-liberalism. Ask malema, mbeki, irvin jim and now vavi. The laws against slander must be ruthlessly implemented or a leak from a bank about your defaults may well sink a minister of finance. Pierre, be wary, you might think you are serving progress, but I assure you that you might be serving the forces that profited from collaterized debt obligations and the like. t’s terrible times, the end of days, the dawn of revolution.

  • Maggs Naidu – The Lord is my saviour! (

    Brett Nortje
    February 27, 2013 at 20:12 pm

    Hey Brett,


    Did you eat your children?

    p.s. Min Xingwana is watching you.

  • Brett Nortje

    Comment on the fact that there would have been fewer than 10 000 homicides in 2011 had the FCA never been enacted.

    Tell me my innuendo ‘dually’ above is not as funny as I think it is.

    Say something intelligent.

  • Brett Nortje

    Discuss whether we are ever likely to get an objective analysis of the impact of Swartbooi on the Rechtsstaat if Pierre is allowed to play host to Yacoob?

  • Maggs Naidu – The Lord is my saviour! (

    Hey Brett – is the Presidency suggesting that Afrikaner men have no culture?

    No cultural group is to blame for gender-based violence

    27 February 2013

    The campaign to fight violence against women and childrenmust be waged by all South Africans, black and white. In addition, no single cultural group can or should be blamed for this serious scourge which affects all sectors of society.

    The Presidency has noted comments attributed to Minister of Women, Children and Persons with Disability, Ms LuluXingwana. Clarity from the Ministry has not yet been obtained with regards to the comments.

    We wish to assure the Afrikaner community and all South Africans that government’s commitment to non-racialism and diversity as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic,remains unwavering.

    The contribution of Afrikaner males in the fight against gender-based violence and also generally to the building of a united, caring and prosperous South Africa, is as valuable as that of all South Africans. The nation should focus energieson finding solutions.

    Enquiries: Mac Maharaj on 079 879 3203.

    Issued by: The Presidency


  • Brett Nortje

    That’s slightly better, but you ought to know that the only thing I want to hear from Mac is what happened to all the ANC’s arms caches – the ones they did not surrender as they were obliged to do ito the National Peace Accord.

    Seems to me you ‘progressives’ are now running away from the MRC’s intimate femicide study which showed Indian males commited femicide at the lowest rate, white males (half of white families owning guns) committed femicide at a rate almost a quarter of the national average and the coloured femicide rate being way high?

  • Zoo Keeper


    Mac has already answered that question with “We don’t know what happened to that stuff. In the confusion of the struggle it all got a bit lost.” He said the ANC didn’t need it anyway since they had access to the army.

    On another point, you’ve tracked the graphs for the implementation of the FCA and murders, now do the same for house robberies and business robberies. The results are a lot more revealing.

  • Zoo Keeper


    The rapid dissemination of information these days is very important in viewing defamation. In Victorian times, information was limited and once people were informed of something, getting different information out there to counter it was almost impossible. Also, this was before things like track records and CVs where people can back up their statements and prove a defamer wrong.

    I believe the law should change away from the single defamation action and include invasion of privacy actions as well. So if someone publishes private information they can be sued.

    I believe protecting privacy should be the new defamation. What say ye?

  • Vuyo

    This administration is remote controlled from London and Beijing. It is a PR administration serving business interests and fearful of white opinion. Our ministers daily inform us that African traditions and the “patriarchy” and the “misogyny” are the cause of our violence. I’ve never seen the president respond by a press statement condemning such statements. But scratching the white community the wrong way is verboten. They after all control the media and are first class citizens (installed to that position by blacks from the ANC, incidentally).
    PS- Since most kids (and males) in RSA are brought up by single women, why is violence blamed on the patriarchy and not the matriarchy?

  • Zoo Keeper


    Once you’ve done those graphs you need to get Op-ed space in Sunday Times, City Press, Business Day and M&G.

  • Vuyo

    Whilst Mulder and his allies argue about a valid comment made by a minister, the state continues to brutalise its black citizens:

    Mulder will not comment about this. Were the fellow a white farmer, all hell would have broken lose! The matter would have been in the United Nations!

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Zooks and Brett and Maggs

    I say that the #1 cause of GENOCIDE is the fact that the victims do not have guns with which to WASTE their attackers. That is why I am demanding that the UK be made #1 on the GENOCIDE watch list!

  • Zoo Keeper


    I reckon you should rather recommend Mexico is placed at #1!

  • Maggs Naidu – Yikes, another seven years! (

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder
    February 28, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Shut up Dworky,

    Me and Brett, we’re having a serious discussion – sort of like Prof MO and ZooKy debating the right to own (and use) nukes), but on a nano-scale. If you want to make jokes about nuns, start your own satellite blog.

    Hey Brett – WDYS to these about these counter-revolutionaries contrary to the firm statistical evidence which you extrapolated?

    As with the perception that crime is getting worse in South Africa, the perception that having a firearm will make you safer is not supported by evidence. …

    Data from the United States offers compelling evidence that buying a gun is more likely to cause tragedy than prevent it. Using police and medical records, researchers reviewed all shootings in three US cities over a year. Their key finding is sobering for potential and current gun owners, “For every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and eleven attempted or completed suicides.”

    Here are some more disturbing facts from the US, all quoted from a recent article published in Mother Jones.7:

    In 2011, nearly ten times more people were shot and killed in arguments than by civilians trying to stop a crime.

    A study in Philadelphia found that an assault victim was 4.5 times likelier to get shot if he carried a gun. His odds of being killed were 4.2 times greater.

    In a survey, nearly 1% of Americans reported using guns to defend themselves or their property. However, a closer look at their claims found that more than half involved using guns in an aggressive manner, such as escalating an argument.

    A woman’s chances of being killed by her abuser increase more than seven times if he has access to a gun.

    In Australia a gun buyback programme, introduced by the conservative John Howard government in response to a mass-shooting in Tasmania in 1996, nearly halved the number of gun-owning households. An analysis found that this resulted in a significant drop in suicides and homicides, with the firearm suicide rate dropping by 80%.8

  • Gwebecimele

    Why should we have such people in cabinet?? Luthuli house must act.

  • Dmwangi


    I’m happy to see you take such a classical liberal approach to free speech. Does this mean you’re going to stop logging the IP on posts and will no longer try to selectively block comments that point out philosophical problems with your agenda?

  • Maggs Naidu – Yikes, another seven years! (

    February 28, 2013 at 10:27 am


    No sane person can take the Zuma Administration seriously.

    With the lot he’s been appointing in cabinet, in government, as judges, as police commissioners, NDPP …


  • Maggs Naidu – Yikes, another seven years! (

    February 28, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Hey Dmwangi – so nice to see you again *hugs*!

    I’ve converted back to Hinduism for this week only.

    And I’ve discovered a prayer to rid you of all evil and bad demons.

    Come join me and we’ll pray to Lord Hanuman.

    Also we’ll do Navagraha prayers which will rid you of all the bad luck that you have.

    Imagine that – you’ll be able to go home to Kenya and not run around and duck and dive like a scared little rat.


  • Brett Nortje

    Maggs, you might want to google my rebuttal of the Kellerman ‘study’ in the Saturday STar in 1997.

  • Gwebecimele

    Sbu Ndebele, Jeff Radebe and Mahlalela.
    Perfomance appraisal is not anywhere in our high offices.

    Give them eTolls.–finance.html

  • Dmwangi


    “Imagine that – you’ll be able to go home to Kenya and not run around and duck and dive like a scared little rat.


    Is this the same prayer that you used to return to your home in Mumbai and solve all of India’s governance problems? If so, it is manifestly obvious how powerful this prayer is!

    Do you have a prayer for my wife too? I’m sure she would like to return to her home province but like all the other “refugees” in the WC, “duck[s] and dive[s]” like a “rat” (???) because she’s terrified of non-DA controlled areas.

  • Brett Nortje

    Fassknijper, in the UK disarmament took place for class reasons not along racial lines.

    I am pleased though you accept the methodology of using the pre-FCA trend lines to project what the homicide rate might have been had the FCA not been enacted.

    The question we must ask now is ‘how’ and ‘why’ the Firearms Control Act led to such a rapid and marked decline in the rate at which the homicide rate was dropping.

    I say it is the messages the state sent to the Wild Bunch. First they learn they cannot enjoy a long drop on a short rope any longer. Then they start walking outta Court as the NPA is ‘transformed’ and its conviction rates start falling through the floor. Do you want to ask the audience? Do you want to phone a friend? Do you want a 50/50?

    Then, along comes the ANC and sends headline messages that it is going to disarm their victims?



  • Zoo Keeper


    Australia’s suicide rate has remained largely unchanged, just that guns aren’t being used. In other words, that stat is meaningless, and to use it for that particular argument is fraudulent.

  • Alibama

    Recently, while again studying the HC record of the CC-Jaftha case, I was struck
    how the FACTS were exposed, how the attorneys had sold the ‘executed’ houses to
    THEMSELVES for a song, based on trivial debts. [which after decades of the
    incompetent legislation being ammended is NOW not legal, due to the CC amendment].
    Although it was obvious, the record had no suggestion the these attorneys TOO
    were corrupt. Is it not possible to do anyting against these swine.
    Would I be liable to being sued, if my ‘application’ pointed out that the
    record transcript shows that the senior-on-the-OosRand attorney for the municipality
    spent 90% of his argument [opposing my default judgment rescission application]
    explaining why/HOW *HE* had complied with all the steps before executing my property,
    indicates that he was COVERING HIS ARSE. I.e if the policeman arrests you while
    you are burglaring, he shouldn’t spend 90% of the court hearing, explaining that he
    complied with ‘advertising in the press, and other ineffective requirenment, per
    inapplicable rules’, when arresting you, unless he’s covering HIS arse. Or?
    The way I intend wording it is:
    my Swiss insurance for loss of livelihood, due to political circumstances, and no
    fault of the applicants, will see that….. which gives good reason to suspect
    that the municipality’s attorney {was a looter in the sence that the CC-Jaftha
    attorneys, were too.}
    It is not in the PUBLIC INTEREST that this national corruption be exposed,
    so don’t think you can just sweep it under the carpets, again:
    corrupt/incompetent SACourt.
    BTW don’t any of you blankes who are investing your effort here know about what’s
    happening in Kenya? You know that Zimbabawe is 2 decades ahead of you, and that
    Kenya is 2 decades ahead of Zimbabwe? Can you mention ONE case where the pattern
    has been different?

  • Mau

    Pierre, I used to feel about these kind of things just like you do and really so what if someone calls you whatever,

    But about a year ago a super user in one of these networking sites called me a racist in a public discussion that I was not privvy to, such that other users contacted me to inform me they will no longer work with me due to my racism.

    It is important to me to not be a racist so this has been a profoundly painful experience for me. Middle aged white Afrikaner male. How do you say, Hi.. I’m no racist and have anyone believe you? Try: “I have some beloved black friends.” or “Some of my best friends are black” and see how far you get.

    So suing for defamation is the only way I can get to set the record straight. Clear my name so to speak?

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Brett

    “in the UK disarmament took place for class reasons not along racial lines.”

    You are right. Moreover, Britons cower in terror at the prospect of being stabbed with sharpened daggers, or even penetrated by pikes. (I saw on the Daily Mail web site that UK’s much vaunted low murder rate is largely the product of the police COVERING UP knife murders, by disposing thousands of undefended victims butchered on the tube in a disused tunnel of the Central line.)

  • Dmwangi

    @Zoo Keeper

    “Zoo Keeper
    February 27, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Why is the economic stuff nonsensical? In a communist state the State owns all the means of production. Everyone works for the State. No-one is trading independently.

    If I’m wrong, I’d welcome the correction.”

    This is true. But the other stuff about needing intl trade to “raise finance,” the only “income coming from foreign sources,” and economic growth under communism being an impossibility, is all incoherent.

    “Income” and “finance” are just names we ascribe to metrics used to measure economic output. Communist states all employ “capital” that produces output, with or without foreign trade.

    Economic growth is simply a matter of technological progress and management innovation improving efficiency and productivity. This is entirely *possible* under communism (and in fact, Soviet growth rates between 1945-1960) were quite respectable. However, as a historical fact, capitalism tends to foster innovation better and thus, achieve higher growth rates and stds. of living, because, as Hayek correctly pointed out, knowledge is diffuse and not easily amenable to centralisation/bureaucracy.

  • Zoo Keeper



    But where do they get their money? If the money is circulating in a closed system, how does wealth grow under a communist state?

  • Indi

    At what point, do I have ownership over my ideas and words? There’s a tendency in this country to entertain the notion of censorship every time someone is offended. However, if I have some basis for believing what I say, I should not be censored by overly zealous defamation rulings and teh lawyers who pursue them. Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of democracy. The more we entertain curtailing this very basic freedom, the more we risk returning to an oppressive regime. As long I am not completely reckless and lying, I should be able to say whatever the heck I please, even if it will offend some individuals.

  • Maggs Naidu – The Lord is my saviour! (

    Brett Nortje
    February 28, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Hey Brett,

    “Maggs, you might want to google my rebuttal of the Kellerman ‘study’ in the Saturday STar in 1997.”

    Some cynics would think that you’re a bullshitter – not me of course, I believe all the lies you tell – but Dworky, Gwebs, Right-Wing-Guy …

    They will not doubt confuse your letter of 1997 in which you probably foresaw the happenings post 2004 that needed your sharp analytical and statistical abilities.

    But guess what? I’m impressed!

  • Maggs Naidu – The Lord is my saviour! (

    February 28, 2013 at 11:13 am


    No – these prayers are only to release you from evil and bad luck.

    Your wife will immediately benefit once you’re freed from sin, SATAN, evil and bad luck.

    But act quickly – temples are rather full with the demand from 1.3 billion coolies. For you I’ll make a plan especially since you desperately need it!

  • Brett Nortje

    Thank you, Maggs, for leaping to my defence!

    I am shocked, saddened, dismayed even that some of the other ‘progressives’ would think I am a BS artist.

    Considering track records, how could that be? Haven’t I been right, all along?

    (Although, I must confess, I would never have predicted you progressives (not you personally, of course, the others, the collective) would ‘transform’ the police to the point where they drag people to their deaths behind bakkies….)

  • Dmwangi

    @Zoo Keeper:

    “Zoo Keeper
    February 28, 2013 at 15:56 pm


    But where do they get their money? If the money is circulating in a closed system, how does wealth grow under a communist state?”

    LOL. This is the muddled thinking I referenced earlier. The money supply or “the circulation of money” has nothing to do with the point you’re trying to make. “Money” is a claim on future goods/services i.e. economic output. Economic output occurs in a “closed system” much the way it does in an “open one.” Viz. Land, labour, capital is used to produce things that satisfy consumer desires. The amount of desires satisfied is roughly measured by the value of aggregate output. Since capitalist systems are much more efficient, they can satisfy more and more desires with the same amount of resources. But it is a completely untrue to say that communist states produce *zero* output.

  • Zulani
  • Zoo Keeper


    They do produce output. I never said they did not. But it is output in a closed system.

    Let me explain:

    Everyone works for the State. The State owns all means of production and land. The ordinary guy owns nothing, it is all “collectivist”.

    So the State is essentially trading with itself internally, not so?

    So in order to growth wealth, the wealth has to be imported by trading with other nations. The Bolshevik Revolution came within weeks of total collapse because its trading routes were mostly cut off. Only once they were opened, could they get enough money to pay their mercenaries and stay in power. They could not generate any wealth internally, and their money became worthless, even internally. Land lost all value and rent disappeared. See what I mean.

    Or are we arguing at cross-purposes?

  • Vuyo

    A poor taxi died today. In the land of his birth. Killed by the state that should be his protector. Another black man dead in addition to the 12500 black man who die annually in this republic. A victim of circumstance, merely 27 years old, and invariably condemned by his skin colour and sex.

  • Vuyo

    How can there be peace in this land when the police persist in murdering with impunity? If this murder can occur in the full glare of the multitudes, what of those in the holding cells of our correctional facilities? It would appear that the state has become our new oppressor.

  • Vuyo

    Meanwhile, in the august corridors of power, the minister of finance instils austerity measures against the long-suffering masses. Why were there corporations not taxed according to apartheid levels (35%). Why was the tax on dividends not increased to apartheid levels (25%)? Why was the marginal rate of tax not increased to 50%? Why is our government following the discredited policies of the Tories and the Tea Party?

  • Dmwangi

    Zoo Keeper:

    “Everyone works for the State. The State owns all means of production and land. The ordinary guy owns nothing, it is all “collectivist”.”


    “So in order to growth wealth, the wealth has to be imported by trading with other nations.”

    This is flatly untrue and is not how growth in most capitalist economies occurs. Thought experiment: in a closed system (e.g. N. Korea), if a gigantic technological innovation created a new farming technique that would feed the entire country, (e.g. create huge output) requiring one person, one machine and a bag of “magic” fertilizer (minimal resources/inputs), would you not agree that “wealth” has been created?

    This is precisely how the vast majority of wealth is created in capitalist economies. There are some gains from trade. But the vast majority of growth comes from innovation– technological and entrepreneurial.

  • Dmwangi

    “They do produce output. I never said they did not. But it is output in a closed system.”

    Perhaps I’m confused because you said they produce no “money,” “income,” or “finance.” All of these are terms which refer to current or future output.

  • Dmwangi

    Zoo Keeper:

    Output is not fixed in a “closed” system unless we assume knowledge is static as well. Otherwise, the “closed” system can always (at least hypothetically) innovate ways to produce more and more output using the same amount of fixed inputs. It just happens that as an empirical matter this seems to be impossible in the real-world of communist states, while it is exactly what we observe in market systems. To understand why, see Hayek.

  • Brett Nortje

    Vuyo, did you think I was lying when I said there are more deaths in detention in the NSA in a year than the duration of Apartheid?

  • Brett Nortje

    Who kills these black men? Other black men.

    But don’t worry – the renamed ICD is investigating.

    (Just to be sure, why do you not get the case-numbers? Surely murder dockets have been opened?)

    Vuyo says:
    February 28, 2013 at 17:41 pm
    A poor taxi died today. In the land of his birth. Killed by the state that should be his protector. Another black man dead in addition to the 12500 black man who die annually in this republic. A victim of circumstance, merely 27 years old, and invariably condemned by his skin colour and sex.

  • Maggs Naidu – The Lord is my saviour! (

    February 28, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Hey Mau,

    It’s not nice being racist. You should take a lesson from many who comment here on this blog.

    When people falsely attribute to you something you did not say, imply or infer be patient and kind.

    As an example when a fellow once suggested that I made homophobic comments, I said “please sir, that’s not nice”. He got upset with my kindness, tolerance, peaceful demeanour and abandoned these blogs vowing never to return – but he pops up now and again under a pseudonym; some are quick to spot him though. I think he’s shy.

    I also listened to Ozone Guy and Dmwangi and fucked off back to India to live with 1,3 billion other coolies.

    We should all practice satyagraha like Cinderella guy did.

    But we understand the impact of being called a racist, it must be soul destroying, humiliating, painful, embarrassing – I understand the hurt it causes which is why I NEVER call people racists as Brett, Dworky and others will attest to!

  • Maggs Naidu – The Lord is my saviour! (

    Brett Nortje
    February 28, 2013 at 18:08 pm

    Hey Brett,

    “Who kills these black men? Other black men.”

    Oh yeah – Black on Black violence eh?

    When Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher used that phrase we know who was behind that violence.

    It’s more likely that Calvinist, Afrikaner, WHITE men are behind the cops dragging the taxi driver to the police station!


  • Chris

    My sincere apologies to all those who don’t understand Afrikaans: This is a perfect example of an article not constituting defamation. It is also a must read.

  • Maggs Naidu – The Lord is my saviour! (

    Rights commission declares church book hate speech

    The contents of a book called “Die Raadsplan” by Living Hope Ministries and its founding pastor Willie Smit amount to hate speech, the SA Human Rights Commission said on Thursday.

    “It found the church publication offensive and amounting to hate speech,” spokesman Isaac Mangena said.

    The commission received a complaint in 2010 claiming the Free State-based church and its pastor authored and published a racially offensive book entitled “Die Raadsplan”.

    The complainant said the book, the church and its pastor depicted the white race as divinely ordained to be superior to and rule over all other races.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    Maggs is right. There is a racial element, either direct or oblique.
    In SA, if you do not see RACISM in a violent incident, it is usually because you not looking hard enough! We must not deny our history of RACISM.


  • Vuyo

    Brett Nortje,
    I know you are right wing but I must agree with you. You see, it appears to me that the murder of the black men has now become a non-issue since the state is apparently black run (when in reality its run from london and/or beijing). All this means that its easier to murder the black african men (provided he is poor and not the subject matter of an NGOs designs).

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    Maggs et Dmwangi

    So far as I know, dragging a Mozambican behind a police van is anathema to the spirit of UBUNTU. That is why, rightly or wrongly, I am inclined to agree with you that a spirit of WHITIST CALVINISM probably animated the incident.


  • Maggs Naidu – The Lord is my saviour! (

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder
    February 28, 2013 at 20:42 pm


    “a spirit of WHITIST CALVINISM probably animated the incident”

    Me and Dmwangi don’t know about this funny stuff.

    We both converted to Hinduism for this week.

    And we’re gonna do Ganesha Pooja soon – that will bring good fortune to Dmwangi.

    Maybe we will think about allowing you to join us.

  • ozoneblue

    Apparently now even Labola and other “traditional African”cultural practices are also blamed on “Calvinist” Afrikaner men. More shameless, racist hate speech by senior ANC leaders now even including a government minister. As I said – we have no other realistic option than SELF-DETERMINATION.

  • ozoneblue

    I can only imagine if during Apartheid a NP government minister would tell international audience that black men are raised to own, rape and kill their women. But I know even Calvinist Afrikaner men didnt sink that low.

  • ozoneblue

    I am starting to see it clearer and clearer everyday now. It was a grave mistake.

    “Senior Russian academics also warned me that South Africa should not settle for a deal which did not guarantee the future of the white population.”

  • Vuyo
  • Maggs Naidu – The Lord is my saviour! (

    March 1, 2013 at 1:38 am


    “I can only imagine if during Apartheid a NP government minister would tell international audience that black men are raised to own, rape and kill their women. But I know even Calvinist Afrikaner men didnt sink that low.”

    Well noted.

    It’s becoming increasingly difficult to figure out where and when the ANC was abandoned by the intellectuals who made it great.

    That it is in 21st century, democratic South Africa faced with a dearth of even quasi-intellectuals is alarming.

    Or is it just Zuma selecting people whose intellectual, moral or ethical capacities close resembles his?

  • Brett Nortje

    What it is, Maggs, is the spirit of ‘Haikona matatazela, ne!’ permeating the conduct of a great many black South Africans.

    A complete rejection of accountability.

    Look at this:

    If this is the tone for discourse the ANC encourages in its public representatives? If one of ‘us’ had written this it would be understandable – flaming is OK on blogs. This is the pit. We’re here to get it on. We represent only ourselves.

    When political parties deal with each other, or the public, isn’t there some kind of expectation of civility? Or does the ANC set no required standards of professionalism for its public representatives?

    The ANC is the political home of the corrupt, the thieving, the greedy, the dishonest, the murderous.

    So, I suppose people without manners are small beer?

  • Brett Nortje

    Does anybody want to speculate what was going through the heads of those cops lifting up Macia’s legs as that bakkie drove away?

    We know it wasn’t ‘Command and control’?

  • Brett Nortje

    Another thing we should not completely discount, Maggs:

    Nobody can tell the women in the ANC a dman thing about black men. Lulu works for the archetypal black patriarch. The ANC has done little to ensure the burdens the women assume in the homelands the Brits gave them are assumed voluntarily. Like giving rural women the ownership of the land they work.

    How is Lulu to start a conversation about the overwhelming omnipotent and present patriarchy without the Trojan Horse presented by the murder of Reeva Steenkamp?

  • Brett Nortje

    Hhhhmmm! Ek wonder of Timid De Vos se tweets lees….

  • Maggs Naidu – The Lord is my saviour! (


    Stop ranting!

    Read OB’s post (March 1, 2013 at 1:38 am ) – for once he makes sense.

    Min Xingwana’s comment is as idiotic as then President Mbeki’s mad rant over Charlene Smith – Khosi, I know you’re watching, doos!

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    I say the DA’s shrill demands that the policemen be suspended are absurd. Perhaps Aunty Zille is unaware that we have in our Constitution the UBUNTU-based principle of INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY!

  • Brett Nortje

    I’m not ‘ranting’, Maggs. Perhaps you should look the word up in a dictionary.

    We need to interrogate the facts. And the first, overwhelming fact about the NSA is that 500 000 people have been murdered in 18 years.

    Perhaps we’re all being less than generous and Lulu is trying to get to ‘why’?

  • Maggs Naidu – The Lord is my saviour! (

    Brett Nortje
    March 1, 2013 at 9:04 am


    “I’m not ‘ranting’, Maggs. Perhaps you should look the word up in a dictionary.”

    I’ve just looked it up – it says “Ranting – what Brett does quite often”.

  • ozoneblue

    Brett Nortje March 1, 2013 at 8:19 am

    “What it is, Maggs, is the spirit of ‘Haikona matatazela, ne!’ permeating the conduct of a great many black South Africans.

    A complete rejection of accountability.”

    Correct. This collective political leadership model is uncritically and conveniently applied to the sphere of professional ethic. Mixed with this paradigm of racial entitlement it has become a recipe for disaster. I have to deal with it on the job everyday. Nobody is accountable, no one accepts responsibility, nobody can make a decision, trivial problems remains unsolved waiting for a signature from a dg or even a minister. Everybody seems to be confronted with a plethora of “challenges”, simple matters like obtaining a signature from the relevant authority.

  • Maggs Naidu – The Lord is my saviour! (

    What the fuck are these okes smoking??????

    Dep. Basic Education ‏@DBE_SA

    Deputy Minister Surty asks boy learners to make a pledge to protect girl learners

  • ozoneblue

    “Brett Nortje March 1, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Hhhhmmm! Ek wonder of Timid De Vos se tweets lees….

    That is exactly why I have developed such an intense dislike of “White liberals” and a certain type of discourse – the dominent one I may add. What the minister had to say about “Calvinist” Afrikaner men, more of the same on that bandwagon.

  • Vuyo

    Maggs, now that you mention it, the media and much of white South Africa (including Afriforum) seemed to have supported Smith’s generalisations about Africans yet to condemn the Minister’s comments. This would imply that those who condemn her are hypocrites and liars to the extent that they condemned the more valid condemnation of Mbeki against the ignoble generalisations of Charlene Smith. I personally am so used to hearing generalisations about men, blacks, polygamists, ANC members, ANC leaders, etc, about corruption and violence, etc, that I am frankly shocked that a similar generalisation when made against a sector of the white population is deemed verboten. The culture of non-specificity is prevalent inSouth African media and political circles so I do not see anything strange with Lulu’s comments (she’s a product herself of this tendency towards generalisations). Her only error appears to have been to point out the warts of a sector of the first class citizens of our country (white, male, Afrikaners).

  • ozoneblue

    Interesting enough it was prominent “Calvinists” (Doppers) like FW de Klerk and Theuns Eloff that lead Afrikaners into the New South Africa. One if them was honored with a Noble peace prize. They must have overlooked his inbred tendency to own and kill women.

  • Brett Nortje

    The problem is Lulu’s wart-pointing was so easy to rebut…

  • ozoneblue

    Vuyo March 1, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Give me one example of a senior political LEADER (of any political persuasion) that has expressed such bigotry towards Africans in general or any other minority for that matter.

  • ozoneblue

    Or an example of a senior political leader that has publically advocated for Blacks to be killed. You seem to worship Julius Malema, please explain why.

  • Maggs Naidu – The Lord is my saviour! (

    March 1, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Vuyo – you’re wrong.

    Do some research into what happened then.

    Mbeki based his mad rant on Tony Leon misquoting Smith.

    The issue which Smith raised is pretty much the same as what many are raising today – from cabinet to judges to civil society movements to anyone with some brain cells.

    It’s not at all true, as Mbeki suggested, that Smith was attacking Blacks on ever ready penises!

    It’s easy to be influenced by gossip if one chooses to.

    Xingwana in my view is intellectually lost at sea.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Vuyo is right.

    He offers the example of Charlene Smith’s shocking slurs on black masculinity. But that is old news. What about the more recent insults by Brett Murray, and his depiction our black male President, in the pose of a Leninist dictator, sporting a massive semi-tumescent black MEMBER? And equally what about Mr Zapiro’s RACIST cartoons depicting that same president as preparing to rape Lady Justice? I wonder why the liberal DA-controlled press finds such outrages forgivable.


  • Brett Nortje

    If I had not given up on the NSA and bowed to the inevitability of demographics+18-years-of-ANC-wheelspinning I would argue that a honest conversation about issues like these are essential to the modus vivendi

  • ozoneblue

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder March 1, 2013 at 10:17 am

    On the topic if that painting. It was also a (Calvinist) Afrikaner gentleman who bravely defended the prez’s honor by applying the appropiate censorship with his can of paint.

  • ozoneblue

    Brett Nortje March 1, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Please stop chiping in with your inane banter. We are waiting for Vuyo to come up with a list of examples of senior leaders in SA advocating for a genocide against black people or asserting that they are raised by their parents to own, rape and kill their women.

    We are all waiting.

  • Mickhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ [Lord-Vishnu-Your-Savior Guy]

    Please give examples of Tony “Fight Back” Leon misquoting Smith.

    Thanks very indeed.

  • Ozoneblue

    And the ANCYL replies:

    “She said this was evident through his assets confirmed by the court, the preferential treatment he received by being kept at the Brooklyn police station instead of the prison, and the bail conditions.

    These, she said, were consistent with Pistorius’s stature as a successful and accomplished sportsman.

    “South Africa’s racial history is such that the minority in this country continue to reap the benefits of years of oppression of the black majority through continuing and exclusive access to training facilities, the best coaches, sponsorship deals and many other privileges open only to the white minority and not the black majority.””

    Oscar was not only a cripple – he was a privileged white cripple, perhaps even a [Calvinist] Afrikaner cripple and as such he is way, way too privileged given the colour of his skin.

    Now if he was a gay black cripple who was the first disabled ever to partake in an able-bodied Oympic event, and he happened to shoot his gay lover : everything would be different no doubt.

    “She said Pistorius was only an example.

    “Business needs to ensure that there is greater equality in how they spread out their sponsorship opportunities among the athletes in this country,” Sangoni-Khawe said.”

    And Nike must stop their racist Aparthied practices of exclusively sponsoring privileged Whites form South Africa like Oscar and focusing more on poor Black’s like Tiger Woods or OJ Simpson.

    And that is also businesses fault, the poor black oppressed South African government lead by the poor black oppressed ANCYL have no responsibilities whatsoever. They are just VICTIMS like all Black people across the world.

  • Brett Nortje

    I know Oscar’s daddy shot himself in the balls at an Afrikaans university but was both Oscar and Reeva’s home language not English?

  • Ozoneblue

    Brett Nortje
    March 1, 2013 at 11:25 am

    “I know Oscar’s daddy shot himself in the balls at an Afrikaans university”

    LOL. But if you read between the lines all those world-renown athletes trapped in the ANCYL can smell money from a country mile away. AND THEY WANT IN.

    “Business needs to ensure that there is greater equality in how they spread out their sponsorship opportunities”

  • Brett Nortje

    Daar’s nou die ding omtrent Mzantsi se Engelse – as jy in die kaak is dink hulle baie gou hulle hoor ‘n aksent…

  • Ozoneblue

    Brett Nortje
    March 1, 2013 at 11:59 am

    On a more serious note. Can you recall, in the heydays of Apartheid just how many [Calvinist] Afrikaner men killed their wives. Just after watching the Noord Transvaal lose against the WP, on their way to their Apartheid church to practise their evil White supremacist religion. It must have been quite an epidemic, even worse than the rape and murder epidemic we suffering through now (as you know crime knows no colour) Just how did the White controlled media kept such facts from the general public, I will never know.

    And can you still recall how many NP mayors and candidates were arrested for the murdering of their brothers for the money and the perks. That must have been quite horrendous too, the way us [Calvinist] Afrikaners raped and murdered each other, the barbarism, the greed, not to mention all the other the crimes against humanity and the Holocaust inflicted on black people. How absolutely grateful I am the ANC delivered us from all of that.