Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
25 June 2007

Kebble got value for donation says ANC

How brazen can you get? Now the ANC is arguing in court papers that it does not have to pay back the 3.5 million Rand that Brett Kebble donated to it. Kebble’s estate is trying to get back the money which they claimed were paid when he was insolvent. Business Day reports:

In his affidavit, Msimang said “donors receive value for the funds donated” through the “indirect benefit” that their companies operated in a political climate “which was borne through the gallant effort and contribution of the ANC”.

Msimang said that by donating to the ANC, Kebble was “maintaining an institution of democracy which (enabled) him to acquire his wealth, which in (turn), enabled him to operate his business in a democratic state free of racism, economic sanctions and free of all the negativity brought by (apartheid)”.

This argument is so preposterous, it could have been made up by The Onion. It is as if the ANC people are mocking themselves. It also seems to reflect – more darkly – the view that only the ANC can run South Africa and keep the peace and thus, by implication, that onmly the ANC has a right to rule the country.

I cannot imagine that the court would agree with this argument and then the ANC will have to pay back the money in any case. Why make such a fool of yourself if you know the chances of winning is very slim? The most obvious answer is that one makes such answers if one is exctremely arrogant and does not really care what people think. Or maybe more correctly, one does not care what the chattering classes think who actually read newspapers.

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