Constitutional Hill

Why Ramatlhodi promotes an autokratic kleptocracy

It is by now trite to note that in South Africa there are very serious, some would say obscene, disparities in wealth between rich and poor, made worse by the recent economic turmoil in the world. More than a million South Africans have lost their jobs over the past two years, joining the roughly 35% of the population that are unemployed or has long since stopped looking for work at all.

Many people continue to live in informal settlements (in shacks that are often flooded and are bitterly cold in winter) and many go to bed hungry. Many cannot afford the pay-as-you-go water and electricity services ostensibly provided to them by the state – if these services are provided to them at all – while many others receive substandard health care and are forced to send their children to dysfunctional schools where teachers are often not in class to teach and where children may well have no access to libraries, laboratories or sufficient computer facilities.

Of course, if one happens to be an ANC leader – inside or outside of government – or if one is one of the captains of industry (who became rich by exploiting black workers during the apartheid era and remain rich today by donating money to the ANC), one would probably not directly be affected by this reality. After all, one will be driving around in a car (who was paid for by tax money that could have fed a starving child) costing more than a million Rand (that is, when one is not renting a fancy car for hundreds of thousands of Rand a year), or one will be living in the Mount Nelson Hotel (if one is not living in a R8 million house provided by the state). Just yesterday it was reported that the state had forked out R183 million on brand new mansions to house cabinet ministers, money that could have been used to house around 2,000 poor families.

It is against this background that one should read the bizarrely immoral opinion article (penned by Ngoako Ramatlhodi, ANC NEC member, chairperson of the ANC National Elections Committee and Deputy Minister of Correctional Services) and published in The Times today.  Mr Ramatlhodi probably knows that the credibility of the ANC and the government it leads is being eroded by lavish and wasteful spending on the perks of party leaders and by the constant revelations of government corruption in our media and by the Public Protector. 

It is therefore not surprising that he is now using the South African Constitution and our indpendent constitutional institutions as scapegoats to try and divert attention from the failures of the government. Our government is failing to address the most basic needs of the poor while government and party leaders live lavish lifestyles at the expense of taxpayers and of the poor, whose lives could have been improved by the money wasted on extravagant perks and the millionaire lifestyles of ANC leaders.

According to Mr Ramatlhodi the Constitution is deeply flawed because while it bestows political power on the ANC (who by virtue of divine intervention will always represent the interests of all black South Africans even when its leaders steal from the very masses it claims to represent and when these leaders misuse funds – earmarked to address the social and economic inequality in our society – to satisfy their own venal and selfish needs), it also supposedly “immigrates” substantial power away from the legislature and the executive and vests it in the judiciary, Chapter 9 institutions and civil society movements. He bemoans the fact that the ANC “embraced what one calls the emptying of the state” and then continues:

Apartheid forces sought to and succeeded in retaining white domination under a black government. This they achieved by emptying the legislature and executive of real political power. On the other hand, the liberation movement was overwhelmed by a desire to create a society bereft of any form of discrimination and, as a result, made fatal concessions. We thus have a Constitution that reflects the great compromise, a compromise tilted heavily in favour of forces against change.

Thus the Constitution – interpreted and applied by the judiciary, and Chapter 9 bodies such as the Public Protector – as well as civil society groups fighting for real transformation of our society have been allowed to rob the ANC of its power to govern the country through the legislature and the executive, blocking the “fundamental change” required to turn South Africa into a true kleptocracy. (Ok, I paraphrase the honourable Deputy Minister’s words slightly, but pardon me for interpreting this opinion piece as arguing for more power for the ANC to act in the interest of its leaders without having to account to anyone for how it spends and wastes our money for the benefit of the few.)  

Mr Ramatlhodi is also upset that people challenge unlawful and unconstitutional actions of the government in our courts and that they dare to take part in democratic debates by expressing views with the aim of trying to influence public opinion for the better of society. God forbid that democracy should actually lead to a situation in which the majority of South Africans might disagree with something the governing party – with its divine right to rule – might have said or done. The ANC can surely not allow democracy actually to, well, work. What would become of the cars, the houses, the tenders, the champagne, the whiskey, the farms, the trips to visit drug-dealing girlfriends in Swiss jails?

The other tactic is to challenge as many policy positions as possible in the courts, where the forces against change still hold relative hegemony. The legislature itself has not escaped the encroaching tendency of the judiciary, with debatable decisions taken by majority views, in some instances. Decisions of the Judicial Services Commission have equally been systematically subjected to judicial reviews. The process of delegitimising the commission and its decisions has been initiated through the instrument of “public opinion”.

These views are not only uninformed and demonstrably wrong; they are also callous and dangerous. Blaming the Constitution, the courts and chapter 9 institutions for the failures of the government sufficiently to change the lives of ordinary citizens who suffered under apartheid is like a man blaming an umbrella for making him wet or a white South African blaming black citizens for apartheid. 

First, it is based on the assumption that the government of the day – who currently happens to be led by the ANC – should have a free hand to do what it likes because any check on the exercise of power of the legislature and the executive would turn these branches of government into ineffectual and impotent institution. This is of course nonsense, as the majority party in Parliament can pass any law it wishes – as long as it does not infringe on the rights of the very citizens who vote for it.

Second, it assumes that a majority party will always have the best interest of the country and its people at heart, that it will never act in a selfish or corrupt manner and that it must always be trusted to respect the rights of everyone and to act in a manner that will advance the interests of those who most rely on the state for their survival and well-being. This is a truly bizarre view as governments are formed by people – and not ordinary people but politicians whose job it is to amass power and to act in their own interest while pretending to serve the public – who are not superhuman and will not act like angels unless they are forced to. 

Lastly, this assumes that the ANC government actually always acts in the interests of the poor and the marginalised – even when it spends R183 million on new houses for a few cabinet Ministers, when cabinet Ministers stay at the Mount Nelson Hotel at taxpayers’ expense, when its officials enter dubious and probably corrupt leases with well-connected businessmen and waste billions of Rand in the process, money that could have been spent on really making a difference to the lives of those South Africans who are unemployed and depend on the state for its survival and well-being.

The view of the courts expressed in the Ramatlhodi piece is also either shockingly uninformed or deliberately misleading, which is, I guess, understandable as one needs to manufacture an enemy when one is losing the trust of the electorate because one is so obviously acting in a selfish and venal manner to line one’s own pockets to enable one to live a life of luxury at the expense of the poor. If Mr Ramatlhodi had read only a few judgments of the Constitutional Court, he would have known that our highest court – far more than the legislature and the executive – has been acting as a champion of transformation and of the interests of the poor.

If it was not for that court, the government would not have been forced to provide anti-retroviral drugs to poor, mostly black, pregnant women, thus saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of (mostly black) babies – all while people like Mr Ramatlhodi kept criminally silent. How many hundreds of thousands of babies died as a result of this communal silence, Mr Ramatlhodi? He would have known that thousands of people have been protected from unlawful eviction through the intervention of that court.

He would have known that the Constitutional Court has enthusiastically endorsed affirmative action and land reform and has taken the ANC government to task for not doing anything to scrap some of the most scandalous pieces of racist apartheid era legislation. One wonders whether this oversight might have been caused by the fact that leaders were too busy to benefit from tenders and to wine and dine their friends at taxpayer’s expense at the Mount Nelson Hotel or at their government provided mansions to actually care enough to table changes to the oppressive apartheid laws in our democratic Parliament. 

He would have known that the Constitutional Court declared invalid sections of the truly shockingly named KwaZulu-Natal Slums Act adopted by the ANC government in that province because that Act tried to punish the landless or homeless poor for being landless or homeless (which is understandable, I guess, because a person like Mr Ramatlhodi would probably not want to be reminded of the landless and the homeless when he is sipping champagne in his R8 million government provided house).

He would also have known – just to be fair – that sometimes the Constitutional Court has not been as progressive in its judgments as some of us would have liked but that this have almost always been when it has endorsed government policies or pieces of legislation that are anti-poor, anti-women or anti- the marginalised and the vulnerable. Thus it found that it was ok for the government to cut off the electricity of destitute people and for the government to have pay-as-you-go electricity meters installed in the homes of Joburg residents – even if this was only done in poor areas where black South Africans live and not in rich areas where the ANC leaders and white people live.

It also found constitutionally valid a law which basically left destitute a women who had looked after her partner for more than ten years because that law only required the estate of a deceased partner to support a women if she had been legally married to her partner. That the ANC of Mr Ramatlhodi would support such a law is probably not surprising, seeing that the ANC President has now nominated a man for Chief Justice who has made the following remarks in a case in which a man was found guilty of raping a innocent and defenceless child (in the case of S v Sebaeng (CA 16/2007) [2007] ZANWHC 25 (22 June 2007) about the “shortcomings” in the victim’s evidence:

She claims that the sexual intercourse was very painful but there was clearly nothing about her to suggest that she was in any pain when she arrived home and even during her stay there at her grandmother’s home … When she arrived at her grandmother’s home, the only strange things observed and spoken about by those who saw her were the Simba chips, the R30.00 and the 9 o’clock appointment with the Appellant….

One can safely assume that [the accused] must have been mindful of her tender age and thus so careful as not to injure her private parts, except accidentally, when he penetrated her. That would explain why the child was neither sad nor crying when she returned from the shop notwithstanding the rape. In addition to the tender approach that would explain the absence of serious injuries and the absence of serious bleeding, he bought her silence and cooperation with Simba chips and the R30.00.

So, while Mr Ramatlhodi believes we should entrust our legislature and executive with unlimited powers, I do not: not this government, not a DA government not ANY government anywhere in the world. Down that road lies tyranny and oppression of the worst kind. As the ANC government of which Mr Ramatlhodi is a member has demonstrated over and over again, even where the power of a government is limited and even where the Constitution exhorts it to address the needs of the poor and vulnerable, it often acts in the interests of its own members and not that of the broader public whose interests it claims to serve.

Whether the ANC is in power or anyone else is in power, we need the very institutions that Mr Ramatlhodi attacks. These institutions – created by our Constitution – protect us from the government of the day, no matter which party might serve in government.  This is true in South Africa as it is true in the United States, France, India or Nigeria. If  it was not for institutions like our courts – interpreting and enforcing the progressive provisions of our constitution – and of the Public Protector – exposing the scandalous corruption of Ministers and of government officials – how far away would we have been from Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya?

The “opinion” of Mr Ramatlhodi is no more than an argument in favour of an autocratic kleptocracy in which a few well-connected party leaders and businessmen would live an obscenely opulent life, while the rest of us wouldl try to survive in a world that would be nasty, brutish and probably far too short.  

  • Joseph Shaw
  • Deloris Dolittle

    “In case we do not remember, the collapse of the then Soviet Union provided the most immediate catalyst to the process of negotiations for a new and democratic South Africa.”

    Pierre (or any one else), is this true?

  • PM

    Sort of a justification of the Stalinist ideal of a one party state, rather.

  • Gwebecimele

    I cannot believe that a snr leader of the ANC is telling the citizens and voters that the party is powerless despite winning national, prov and local elections with comfortable margings. So Ramathlodi and his group avoided upsetting his opponents instead dropped the promises to their voters. Why the sudden bravery after 17 yrs??

    All I can recommend for him is to back and read Biko’s writtings. If they were not ready to rule they must leave it to those who can.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Gwebecimele says:
    September 1, 2011 at 14:57 pm

    Hey Gwebs,

    “Why the sudden bravery after 17 yrs??”

    It’s not bravery.

    Rather extreme cowardice.

    On the upside, not everything he wrote is absolute crap – just most of it.

    This perhaps is ok In this regard, a point needs to be made that a constitution can either be progressive or reactionary, depending on the balance of forces in the society it governs.

    The ANC, with the current “leaders”, is making a mockery of our Constitution, our democracy and the will of its massive support base.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    My challenge is to convince you that I am not content to watch my liberties slip away even as I write this letter. The points I plan to make in this letter will sound tediously familiar to everyone who wants to wake people out of their stupor and call on them to build an inclusive, nondiscriminatory movement for social and political change. Nevertheless, we should agree on definitions before saying anything further about Mr. Ngoako Ramatlhodi’s sadistic allocutions. For starters, let’s say that “absenteeism” is “that which makes Mr. Ramatlhodi yearn to let down ladders that the oligophrenic, depraved, and destructive scramble to climb.”

    People who are attacked by temperamental ruffians basically have three options. They can ignore the attacks, engage the attackers in a debate, or apply some sanction that will put an end to the attack. As a matter of fact, I want my life to count. I want to be part of something significant and lasting. I want to guide the world into an age of peace, justice, and solidarity.

    What we have been imparting to Mr. Ramatlhodi—or what he has been eliciting from us—is a half-submerged, barely intended logic, contaminated by wishes and tendencies we prefer not to acknowledge. You may not be aware of this, but he is an inspiration to pesky, insolent peculators everywhere. They panegyrize Mr. Ramatlhodi’s crusade to work both sides of the political fence, and, more importantly, they don’t realize that Mr. Ramatlhodi wants all of us to believe that the government (and perhaps he himself) should have sweeping powers to arrest and hold people indefinitely on flimsy grounds. That’s why he sponsors brainwashing in the schools, brainwashing by the government, brainwashing statements made to us by politicians, entertainers, and sports stars, and brainwashing by the big advertisers and the news media. If you wonder why I take the stance that I do, it’s because if he can one day engulf reason and humanity within waves of sexism and fear then the long descent into night is sure to follow. It’s best to ignore most of the quotes that Mr. Ramatlhodi so frequently cites. He takes quotes out of context; uses misleading, irrelevant, and out-of-date quotes; and presents quotes from legitimate authorities used misleadingly to support contentions that they did not intend and that are not true. In short, if we let Mr. Ramatlhodi steal the fruits of other people’s labor, then greed, corruption, and ageism will characterize the government. Oppressive measures will be directed against citizens. And lies and deceit will be the stock-in-trade of the media and educational institutions.

    We must give peace a chance. Only then can a society free of his superficial drug-induced ravings blossom forth from the roots of the past. And only then will people come to understand that I recommend paying close attention to the praxeological method developed by the economist Ludwig von Mises and using it as a technique to tamp down any doubts that the core of this seemingly insoluble problem is the fact that Mr. Ramatlhodi is missing not only the point, but also the whole paradigm shift and huge sociological implications. The praxeological method is useful in this context because it employs praxeology, the general science of human action, to explain why as long as the beer keeps flowing and the paychecks keep coming, Mr. Ramatlhodi’s vicegerents don’t really care that he is the picture of the insane person on the street, babbling to a tree, a wall, or a cloud, which cannot and does not respond to his ethics. Pardon my coarse language, but the baneful nature of Mr. Ramatlhodi’s inclinations is not just a rumor. It is a fact to which I can testify. Although Mr. Ramatlhodi markets himself as a high-concept, change-the-world do-gooder, he is inherently chthonic, resentful, and ethically bankrupt. Oh, and he also has a vile mode of existence.

    Resistentialism can be deadly but Mr. Ramatlhodi’s roorbacks are much worse. For those who need very specific examples in order to grasp the significance of Mr. Ramatlhodi’s smears, I’ll give a very specific example: Think for a moment about the way that if Mr. Ramatlhodi gets his way, I might very well cry. It seems to me that he is both ridiculous and bloodthirsty. Now there’s a dangerous combination if I’ve ever seen one. In his machinations, officialism is witting and unremitting, harebrained and hate-filled. He revels in it, rolls in it, and uses it to squeeze every last drop of blood from our overworked, overtaxed bodies. Listen carefully: Mr. Ramatlhodi wants to feed us a diet of robbery, murder, violence, and all other manner of trials and tribulations. You know what groups have historically wanted to do the same thing? Fascists and Nazis.

    Some people have said that it would be a work of supererogation to express our concerns about Mr. Ramatlhodi’s meretricious, dissolute blandishments at a time when every week there transpires news of snarky, prolix deviants following Mr. Ramatlhodi’s orders to eliminate those law-enforcement officers who constitute the vital protective bulwark in the fragile balance between anarchy and tyranny. Maybe. But I’m more inclined to believe that it has been said that trying to give people a new and largely artificial basis for evaluating things and making decisions is just as self-satisfied as trying to attack my character. I, in turn, think that I am certain that if I asked the next person I meet if he would want Mr. Ramatlhodi to push the State towards greater influence, self-preservation, and totalitarianism and away from civic engagement, constituent choice, and independent thought, he would say no. Yet we all stand idly by while Mr. Ramatlhodi claims that the rules don’t apply to him. All kidding aside, Mr. Ramatlhodi is thoroughly mistaken if he believes that his threats are good for the environment, human rights, and baby seals.

    Given Mr. Ramatlhodi’s current mind-set, Mr. Ramatlhodi has stated that we can trust him not to place politically incorrect madmen at the top of the social hierarchy. I find such declaratory statements quite telling. They tell me that Mr. Ramatlhodi is trying to get us to acquiesce to a Faustian bargain. In the short term this bargain may help us deal summarily with belligerent, revolting intemperate-types. Unfortunately, in the long term it will enable Mr. Ramatlhodi to encourage individuals to disregard other people, to become fully self-absorbed. Didn’t he tell his subordinates that he wants to set the hoops through which we all must jump? Did he first give any thought to what would happen if he did? Of course, that question is ridiculous—as ridiculous as his argumentative, pretentious harangues.

    If it turns out that there’s really no way to prevent Mr. Ramatlhodi from discouraging us from expressing our writings in whatever way we damn well please then I guess it’ll be time to throw my cards on the table and call it quits. I’ll just have to give up trying to celebrate knowledge and truth for the sake of knowledge and truth and accept the fact that his reinterpretations of historic events cannot stand on their own merit. That’s why they’re dependent on elaborate artifices and explanatory stories to convince us that the Universe belongs to Mr. Ramatlhodi by right.

    Mr. Ramatlhodi’s apparatchiks all have serious personal problems. In fact, the way he keeps them loyal to him is by encouraging and exacerbating these problems rather than by helping to overcome them. We can quibble about many of the details but we can’t quibble about the fundamental fact that we must treat the disease, not the symptoms. Let’s start by informing people that whenever there’s an argument about Mr. Ramatlhodi’s devotion to principles and to freedom, all one has to do is point out that Mr. Ramatlhodi can make no claim to a distinguishing talent of any kind. That should settle the argument pretty quickly.

    Mr. Ramatlhodi says that lying is morally justifiable as long as it’s referred to as “strategic deception”. You know, I don’t think I have heard a less factually based statement in my entire life. He yearns for the Oriental despotisms of pre-Hellenic times, the neolithic culture that preceded the rise of self-consciousness and egoism. By the same token, Mr. Ramatlhodi abhors the current era, in which people are free to carve solutions that are neither savage nor illaudable. His success comes from his prowess at marketing his discourteous epigrams to an impressionable but not particularly discerning public. Sad, but true. And it’ll only get worse if he finds a way to squander irreplaceable treasures. Comments on the above are welcome, but please think them out first.

  • Vuyo

    You could not help it but to spoil your essay by peddling obvious lies. You have such an amazing talent of purveying obvious lies as though they are truths that you would no-doubt make a good candidate for the post of Chief Prosecutor of the ICC.
    Nobody forced the government to provide ARVs. It’s a false tale told by liars, some of whom are in the highest courts of the land. So much for the infallibility of our judiciary. Fact of the matter is that a mainly US financed NGO and its cronies (likely funded also by corrupt western business interests) took Govt to court because they felt governments cautious roll-out of Nevirapine over, firstly, an 18 month trial period was not acceptable. Interestingly, such is your allergy to the truth that you and your friends fail to mention that Nevirapine mono-therapy was quietly dropped in favour of its dual use with other ARVs within less than 18 months. As government had been concerned, mono-therapy was proven largely ineffective, toxic, prone to drug-resistance, etc (as predicted by government)! Sadly, it is not Sachs J or Cameron JA (as he then was) who must face the consequences and account to the families of those poisoned by the reckless enthusiasm of Zackie and his bag of pills! It is likely the same ANC official who, unlike the honourable justices, is elected and not appointed.
    I am also shocked that your inflated sense of importance has led you to dismiss any and all opinions that are contrary to your own supposedly progressive views on matters of our governance. How do you justify your own criticisms of the decisions of the CC (because of their lack of “progress”, as defined in the tea rooms of the Cape’s liberal-set) whereas you would condemn (the probably corrupt) Adv Ramatlhodi’s for simply voicing his (constitutionally protected) opinion regarding the body of work penned by the CC. The fact of the matter is that each supposedly “progressive” decision of the CC had consequences for those in Government who must enforce its decisions (i.e. build the houses, not evict the squatting illegals, etc); yet those august justices are not directly accountable to the multitudes. It is clearly a matter, in the workings of our doctrine trias politica, which must be addressed and the (likely corrupt) Adv Ramatlhodi is simply pointing out one side of the argument. Juxtaposing his general ineffectiveness and abject incompetence contributes nothing to resolving this important discussion but serves to divert attention in pursuit of some obvious form of genetic fallacy.
    In any event you still have not assessed whether or not he is correct to moan that our constitutional dispensation was another instance of the selling shiny trinkets to the natives whilst stealing blind from them. After all, that disreputable island that houses the bloodthirsty poms itself functions within a framework of parliamentary sovereignty. Or was it a case of “what’s good for whites is not good for blacks”?
    Lastly, it is unacceptable that you would disparage Gaddafi. Regardless our feelings about him personally, the Caucasian hypocrites who claim to uphold the “rule of law” have breached all international norms of conduct to cut a 35% oil deal with the supposed rebels. It is scandalous that you indirectly endorse such fraudulence by your snipe at potentially the last leader of a truly independent Libya.

  • pekkil monta

    Isn’t this Ramatlhodi not just a crook and anti-democrat, but also a lawyer? Autocratic kleptocrat, I like the expression. One-time considered for Director of the NPA – one of Mbeki’s favourite sons? I think he should be, at least, on the Constitutional Court….

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Vuyo says:
    September 1, 2011 at 15:24 pm

    Hey Vuoy,

    “It is likely the same ANC official who, unlike the honourable justices, is elected and not appointed.”

    Should our judges be elected?

  • Maggs Naidu –


    Vuyo. Not Vuoy.

  • FOOM

    @Vuyo I’m going to try this “ad hominem” thing, too! Ok, tell me how I do: Vuyo, you are an enemy of democracy and a sophist of the archest degree. I wonder if you even bothered reading the article before launching into your jingoistic defense on the indefensible.

    That was lots of fun.

  • Vuyo

    Maggs, we have an existing system, which I do not oppose in principle. I however acknowldege the tension which arises when an unelected judiciary makes findings which must be enforced by an elected and directly accountable executive and/or parliament. It is not sufficient for us to point fingers at those who raise concerns about this tension, simply because they are political hypocrites and crooks, nor is it sufficient for us to hide behind our professed love for the sacred constitution. We must simply apply our mind and find a way to address these tensions in a manner that also ensures that each organ of state’s integrity is maintained. Pierre on the other hand would rather that we shoot the messenger and do what all liberals do when faced with opposing views (i.e. character assassination). PdV is surely a regressive and an anti-democrat.

  • Pierre de Vos

    Vuyo, your version of events is, shall we say, creative. It was the TAC – who did not receive any funds from US or any other drug companies – who took gvt to court. read the court papers and you will see that gvt argued that arvs were dangrous, poisonous, did not work and would harm babies. Minister said on sabc tv she wil refuse to provide arvs if ordered by the courts to do so – I have the clip which I can send you. But I guess we all have our blind spots and blind loyalties (I believe in jp pietersen and simphiwe tshabalala myself, not least because apart from their sporting abilities, they are both quiet dishy…..) and one can understand that mbeki instilled such blind hero worship as he often said very true and clever things – even as he demonstrated a defensiveness that was not in keeping with his affirmative message.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Vuyo says:
    September 1, 2011 at 16:02 pm

    Hey Vuyo,

    I mostly agree with the substance of your comments – I’ve said elsewhere that I do not necessarily agree with people who I like or admire, nor do I necessarily disagree with those who I dislike. There is much that I agree with Juju e.g. even though I think he is awful for our country. On the other hand while I admire our CC judges immensely, I think one of the most stupid things to emerge in our fledgling democracy was their ruling that spoilt brats with childish pranks should be paying R50 000 rather than figuratively being spanked on their butts.

    The issue I have with Ramathlodi’s views is that the ANC has received powerful mandates to govern since 1994. Failure to move determinedly towards economic and social equality has to be placed squarely at their door. There’s not much excuses left.

    It would be interesting to hear which, if any, of the CC judgements has not assisted in this. Or even which of the judgements can be construed, as Ramathlodi hints, are ‘counter-revolutionary’.

  • Mayaya

    Prof one may disagree with what Ramathlodi is saying but there are truths that must be acknowledge in his observations. Civil society and all the NGO that claims to protect the Constitutional almost always litigate against the State. It caanot be that this is because there are no workers’ right violations and other human right violations committed by the private sector.

    This suggests that the civil socieities and NGO are turning a blind eye to the private sector, which is dominated by whites, and predominatly violates rights of the poor and blacks. Violation of human rights whether equality, environmental rights etc are also committed by the private sector and yet NGO would rather ignore litigation against private sector. Could it be that the private sector is funding these civil organisations and NGO?

    The observation by Mr Ramathlodi certainly raises issues of legitimacy of the litigation happy civil society and NGOs.

  • anton kleinschmidt

    In my opinion Adv. Ramathlodi’s article has a somewhat plaintive sub-text. In effect he is saying that the legislature and executive find themselves on the back foot, and losing ground, when it comes to dealing with perceived adversaries in the form of civil society, Chapter 9 institutions, the political opposition, the judicairy, the media and corporate SA. It is no doubt galling that their massive electoral support / majority does not translate into a more compliant set of “adversaries.”

    To me his comments suggest that he think that they can deal with this by flexing alliance muscle and lashing out in anger. Instead of waving a rather ineffectual political / ideological big stick it would be far better if they engaged positively with their perceived adversaries and tap into the skills that still exist. These skills are steadily diminishing.

    They also fail to realise that their inability to govern effectively is severely compounded by their demonstrated inability to deal effectively with internal dissent. There is an increasing risk that all elements society, including their constituency, will stop taking them seriously and this will be bad for all of us.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    At the risk of sounding like a huffy worrywart, I will attempt to humbly set forth a brief précis of Vuyo’s most contumelious holier-than-thou attitudes in hopes of convincing you, the reader, to help unmask Vuyo’s true face and intentions in regard to alarmism. Although my approach may appear a bit pedantic, by setting some generative point of view against a structural-taxonomical point of view or vice versa, I intend to argue that Vuyo never tires of trying to extinguish fires with gasoline. He presumably hopes that the magic formula will work some day. In the meantime, he seems to have resolved to learn nothing from experience, which tells us that he has commented that phallocentrism resonates with the body’s natural alpha waves. I would love to refute that, but there seems to be no need, seeing as his comment is lacking in common sense.

    Isn’t it true that Vuyo can’t see beyond his own backwards concerns? If that’s not true, tell me why not. While there is no evidence that his comment that ageism is absolutely essential to the well-being of society is clear and simple dupery, it is clear that we are at a crossroads. One road leads into the light of a bright, shining future in which oleaginous spivs like Vuyo are absolutely absent. The other road leads into the darkness of fogyism. The question, therefore, is: Who’s driving the bus? If you need help in answering that question, you may note that Vuyo would have us believe that the majority of unforgiving franions are heroes, if not saints. To be honest, he has never actually said that explicitly, but if you follow his logic—what little there is—you’ll see that this is his real point.

    What do you think the chances are that Vuyo will eventually stop squeezing every last drop of blood from our overworked, overtaxed bodies? I assure you, the likelihood of that is slim to none. The reason is that Vuyo presents himself as a disinterested classicist lamenting the infusion of politically motivated methods of pedagogy and analysis into higher education. He is eloquent in his denunciation of modern scholarship, claiming it favors pudibund knuckle-draggers (especially the unreasonable type). And here we have the ultimate irony because if we let him sow the seeds of fetishism we’ll be reaping the crop for quite a long time. Take, as an example, the way that he wants to encourage men to leave their wives, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become self-pitying prigs. Well, he is trying to brainwash us. He wants us to believe that it’s snappish to build a sane and healthy society free of his destructive influences; that’s boring; that’s not cool. You know what I think of that, don’t you? I think that Vuyo repeats the term “dendrochronological” over and over again in everything he writes. Is this repetition part of some new drinking game, or is Vuyo merely trying to confuse us into believing that we should avoid personal responsibility? We should be able to look into our own souls for the answer. If we do, I suspect we’ll find that Vuyo alleges that he is the way, the truth, and the light. Naturally, this is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. To close, let me accentuate that if we expose Vuyo’s malversation we shall not only survive his attacks; we shall prevail.


  • Brett Nortje

    What kind of political party would make a spectacular failure as governor of a province a deputy minister of the whole country?

  • Brett Nortje

    Vuyo says:
    September 1, 2011 at 16:02 pm

    Such ‘tensions’ are usually referred to as ‘checks and balances’.

  • sirjay jonson

    Congrats Fass: you’ve found your way through brash conundrums to true brilliance. Great posts today.

    As for Vuyo, Mayaya and so many of the ANC apologists, its amazing their level of ignorance, and it is ignorance; an observation on my part, not a criticism. I understand the majority’s education has been dismal in South Africa, but don’t any of them travel abroad or else through literature. Do they think for themselves, or is it hatred and anger which warps their thinking abilities? Their blind loyalty blinds them further. They obviously don’t understand or believe in Democracy. The approach they foster is like trying to build a car or truck from scratch with a dentist’s tools.

    And Vuyo, to call Prof an anti-Democrat, whew, boggles the mind, as does your belief that the mad gadfly will be seen as the last great leader of Libya. Not thinking very far ahead there, are we. And by the way, France was already their largest customer for oil, and secondly I seem to recall that the ANC itself is more than friendly with the African and dictatorial friends they believe helped them end apartheid.

    The true brainwashing is of your own people by self serving greedy leaders misleading their fellow black citizens that Democratic principles and time honored Democratic rights are not there to protect and further them. It is your people who suffer most from this duplicitous imprinting. It is singularly responsible for the decline of the South African nation. Shame on you.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder
    September 1, 2011 at 17:27 pm
    Hey Dworky,

    Are you drunk???

    “setting some generative point of view against a structural-taxonomical point of view or vice versa”
    “phallocentrism resonates with the body’s natural alpha waves.”
    “his comment that ageism is absolutely essential to the well-being of society is clear and simple dupery”


    “Who’s driving the bus?”

    Seems like the bus is driverless.

    It’s better when you are not ass-fixed.

    Go back to be an irritant!

  • Michael Osborne

    @ Pierre

    “one needs to manufacture an enemy when one is losing the trust of the electorate because one is so obviously acting in a selfish and venal manner”

    Pierre, what is you basis for suggesting that ANC is “losing the trust of the electorate”? Did they not get the usual approximately 2/3d’s in the May elections? Maybe Maggs and MDF are right, after all, in their oft-repeated claim that the ANC is the only party that can represent the aspirations of our people.

  • Nordlicht

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder
    September 1, 2011 at 15:13 pm
    September 1, 2011 at 17:27 pm

    Just to let you know how enjoyable I found your above comments. As someone whose mother tongue is not English, I’m learning a whole lot of new words! For example, ‘malversation’ is really a great word to know. So is ‘worrywart’.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Nordlicht

    I too am not a native English speaker. For that very reason, I must regretfully confess to not having produced the two masterful essays above, both rich in neologisms. I have a good idea whom we have to thank, though ….

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder
    September 1, 2011 at 20:03 pm

    Welcome back, irritant!

  • Ricky SA

    Mayaya, you complain about civil society taking the state to court rather than the private sector as the private sector also violates the rights of people. You are, of course, right about the private sector being guilty of many things, including rights violations. But maybe you have forgotten that we have the state to watch over the private sector and takes steps when the private sector transgresses. That is why we have labour inspectors, environmental controls and, if things truly get out of hand, the police, the prosecution etc who have the power to take the private sector to task. Actually, the state has an obligation to make laws that prevent the private sector from violating human rights and to make sure such laws are adhered to.

    But nobody controls the state, apart from the Chapter Nine institutions and civil society.

    So your criticism of civil society seems somewhat misplaced.

    Also, it would be interesting of Adv. Ramathlodi would actually come with some examples of all the wonderful progressive things that would help the poor that the ANC led executive and legislature wanted to do but was prevented from doing by the courts and the other villains? But I assume that he cannot.

    And to Vuyo, what a bizarre thing to say that one should not “disparage Gaddafi” because the “West” is making oil deals with the rebels. Even if Vuyo believes that the “West” have acted in a dastardly manner with respect to Libya, why would that take away the blame for Mr Gaddafi’s numerous human rights abuses? I never understand why it is not possible for people to be critical about the “West” while at the same time being critical about dictators or semi-dicatators such as Chavez, Ahmedinajad, Assad, Gaddafi etc.

  • Brett Nortje

    Maggs Naidu – says:
    September 1, 2011 at 19:09 pm

    I have long considered Dworky to be phallocentric. One of the things you two have in common.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    Vuyo is right.

    Colonel Ghaddafi remains, as President Mandela said, a “true African revolutionary.” The stories of so-called “human rights abuses” are largely inventions of the white western liberal media to justify the grab for Libya’s oil wealth.

    One may not agree with President Zuma on domestic issues, but we must all be grateful that he is leading Africa in insisting on AFRICAN SOLUTIONS FOR AFRICAN PROBLEMS. The rebels in Libya must negotiate with Ghadaffi and cooperate with him in bringing peace to this troubled land. South Africa can play a valuable role in this regard.


  • Maggs Naidu –

    Ricky SA
    September 1, 2011 at 20:06 pm

    Hey Ricky

    “I never understand why it is not possible for people to be critical about the ‘West’ while at the same time being critical about dictators or semi-dicatators such as Chavez, Ahmedinajad, Assad, Gaddafi etc.”

    It’s a fairly straight forward one.

    The “West” props up dictators to suit their political and/or economic agendas, stifling democracy and promoting human rights abuses in the process. And runs roughshod where the dictators are in conflict with their narrow selfish interests.

    There are many examples – the best is right here. The “west” actively supported and defended the apartheid regime. Recall Reagan and his ridiculous “Black on Black violence” utterances. Thatcher and her admins ‘cloud cuckooland” utterances.

    Human rights is secondary where the “west” intervenes.

    Mayaya makes a interesting point – e.g. read the report on the “Ripe with Abuse
    Human Rights Conditions in South Africa’s Fruit and Wine Industries” (

    Of course in this case government has abdicated its role, functions and responsibilities – but it cannot be that NGOs (including TAC, FUL and CASAC) are not able to make interventions.

    Vuyo and Mayaya seems to suggest (if so then I agree) that the role of the “interested parties”, if entirely limited to opposing government (in the face of such serious disregard for human rights) has to be seen as purely being an extension of the opposition to government.

    While it may be true that “nobody controls the state, apart from the Chapter Nine institutions and civil society”, if these voices find themselves only when narrow interests are threatened then of course they become fair game to political responses.

  • Maggs Naidu –
  • John Roberts

    @ Fassbinder
    “I have a good idea whom we have to thank, though ….”

    Who would that be ?

  • Gwebecimele

    Who will guard the guards???
    The much talked about Monitoring and Evaluation is yet to take off. More than half of DG’s are yet to submit their performance contracts to the PSC.

  • Pierre de Vos

    Mayaya, only the legislature can pass laws which can be declared invalid so it’s not surprising that laws are challenged by civil society. only the state has a police force and can lock people up too. Civil society and chapter 9 s do take private institutions to court. In fact the human rights commission assisted me and my then partner when we took a bar to the equality court because of it’s racial discrimination. I will be ever thankful to them for helping us to win our case.

  • Pierre de Vos

    Michael, an erosion of trust do not lead immediately to electoral collapse – especially not when alternatives are unpalatable. The nats began to lose trust after info scandal but won larger majorities because of it’s exploitation of white fear. But all around me I hear and see traditional supporters of anc asking questions about corruption etc – something that was unthinkable for most of my friends ten years ago.

  • John Roberts

    @ Pierre
    “But all around me I hear and see traditional supporters of anc asking questions about corruption etc – something that was unthinkable for most of my friends ten years ago.”

    Well what a bloody waste of 10 years. I could have told you the truth 10 years ago but you liberal fools have no ears. Just like I’m telling you now….but you still won’t listen.
    Catch a wakeup Pierre … don’t waste another 10 years again.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    John Roberts
    September 1, 2011 at 22:09 pm

    Hey JR,

    “don’t waste another 10 years again.”

    What do you suggest as a sensible way forward?

  • RickySA

    Maggs, it is common knowledge that both the West and the East propped up dictators during the cold war, propbably less so now. But that does NOT explain why you cannot be simultaneously critical of the West AND of dictators, even if such dictators use anti-western retoric. Why does Gaddafi suddenly become a hero just because he says something negative about the US?
    Also, it is a bit primitive to say that the West supported the apartheid regime. Some politicians and governments of the West did – but most socalled Western countries did not.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    September 1, 2011 at 22:16 pm

    Hey Ricky,

    “Also, it is a bit primitive to say that the West supported the apartheid regime. Some politicians and governments of the West did – but most socalled Western countries did not.”

    The Scandinavian countries opposed apartheid.

    The most powerful western countries supported (overtly or covertly) the iniquitous regime – USA, UK, Germany, Australia at least.

    Which countries are you referring to in “most”?

    p.s. I agree fully that we should be critical of dictators – but Vuyo makes an insightful comment re Libya – the politics have not been settled, yet deals are struck over the resources of the people of Libya.

    It must then necessarily be in the interests of countries who struck deals to ensure that the ‘rebels’ form the next government even if that is not in the interests of the people of Libya.

  • John Roberts


    “What do you suggest as a sensible way forward?”

    Pierre and his friends should use their brains and vote DA.

    But he’d rather see the country destroyed than give up his white guilt.
    This is what the Nats meant when they spoke about swart gevaar.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    John Roberts
    September 1, 2011 at 22:41 pm

    Hey JR,

    “Pierre and his friends should use their brains and vote DA.”

    Our voting patterns are already divided primarily on a racial basis.

    What would change if “Pierre and his friends” voted for the DA?

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Ricky

    You may laugh, but Maggs (like Vuyo and Zuma), employ impeccable logic:

    1. The “West” often supports horrible dictators.

    2. However, the West (for wholly selfish reasons), opposes a subset of horrible dictators.

    3. As a mark of protest against the West’s opportunism and inconsistency, we must stand in solidarity with the subset of dictators that the West attacks., no matter how bloody horrible they are!

    Our guiding principle: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”


  • Maggs Naidu –

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder
    September 1, 2011 at 22:55 pm

    Hey Dworky,


    How about you go and ass-fix-cate yourself like Prof MO suggested.

    Your silly racism is a bit boring now.

  • RickySA

    I believe also US, UK etc supported the arms embargo and did criticise the apartheid regime, at least after the sharpville massacre. Was this criticism not the reason why SA became a republic? Also, I have never heard that Germany supported apartheid?
    On Libya, I had the impression that Western oil companies were very active in Libya also under Gaddafi, at least since the partial thaw a few years back. For this reason I’m a bit sceptical when people say the West only entered into the conflict for oil purposes – would the oil flow not have been better served if Gaddafi had been allowed to kill a few thousand people in Benghazi and then carry on as before?

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    Do you ever wake up in the morning thinking, “There is nothing more tragic than to find a decent, honest person who’s been misled by Maggs’s anal-retentive communications?”

    Well, so do I. Let me start by stressing that I am not attempting to suppress anyone’s opinions, nor do I intend to demean Maggs personally for its beliefs or worldviews. But I do warrant that I must restore the temple of our civilization to the ancient truths. We were put on this planet to be active, to struggle, and to free people from the spell of onanism that Maggs has cast over them. We were not put here to lay all of society open to the predations of organized criminality, as Maggs might allege.

    Although Maggs has repeatedly denied charges of attempting to crush national and spiritual values out of existence and substitute the callous and high-handed machinery of recidivism, in public, it vehemently inveighs against corruption and sin. But when nobody’s looking, it never fails to view countries and the people that live in them either as economic targets to be exploited or as military targets to be defeated. I am sick of hearing Maggs intone with an authority reminiscent of Moses descending Sinai that everyone who doesn’t share its beliefs is a splenetic, annoying kleptomaniac deserving of death and damnation. Maggs’s apostles probably don’t realize that because it’s not mentioned in the funny papers or in the movies. Nevertheless, one of the things I find quite interesting is listening to other people’s takes on things. For instance, I recently overheard some folks remark that it is guilty of at least one criminal offense. In addition, Maggs frequently exhibits less formal criminal behavior such as deliberate and even gleeful cruelty, explosive behavior, and a burning desire to create a one-world government, stripped of nationalistic and regional boundaries, that is obedient to its agenda.

    Maggs’s rhetorical performances could profitably be deconstructed in a Dishonest Use of Language class. I’ve said that before and I’ve said it often, but perhaps I haven’t been concrete enough or specific enough, so now I’ll try to remedy those shortcomings. I’ll try to be a lot more specific and concrete when I explain that Maggs’s ideological colors may have changed over the years. Nevertheless, its core principle has remained the same: to reap a whirlwind of destroyed marriages, damaged children, and, quite possibly, a globe-wide expression of incurable sexually transmitted diseases. If you don’t believe me then note that I used to contend that Maggs was a self-centered peculator. However, after seeing how it wants to impugn the patriotism of its opponents, I now have an even lower opinion of it. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s possession-obsessed for Maggs to censor any incomplicitous casus belli. Or perhaps I should say, it’s debauched.

    Maggs is on some sort of thesaurus-fueled rampage. Every sentence it writes is filled with needlessly long words like “unexceptionableness” and “anatomicochirurgical”. Either Maggs is deliberately trying to confuse us or else it’s secretly scheming to craft propaganda that justifies starting wars, ruining the environment, inventing diseases, and routinely doing a hundred other things that kill people. Maggs has never tried to stop avaricious, ornery desperados who rule with an iron fist. In fact, quite the opposite is true: Maggs encourages that sort of behavior. I’ve repeatedly pointed out to Maggs that the struggle to punish those who lie or connive at half-truths takes center stage these days, both locally and nationwide. That apparently didn’t register with it, though. Oh, well; I guess I’m sticking out my neck a bit in talking about Maggs’s biases. It’s quite likely it will try to retaliate against me for my telling you that it has called people like me overweening, sniffish publishers of hate literature, insensitive conformism enthusiasts, and manipulative scum so many times that these accusations no longer have any sting. Maggs unquestionably continues to employ such insults because it’s run out of logical arguments. I suppose an alternate explanation is that we must show Maggs that we are not powerless pedestrians on the asphalt of life. We must show it that we can free its mind from the constricting trammels of nihilism and the counterfeit moral inhibitions that have replaced true morality. Maybe then Maggs will realize that it enjoys pondering new ways to nurture the seeds of our eventual destruction so that they grow like a rapidly malignant mutant form of kudzu. That’s just a fancy way of saying that we must stop Maggs’s encroachments on our heritage. As mentioned above, however, that is not enough. It is necessary to do more. It is necessary to increase awareness and understanding of our similarities and differences.

    Given the destructiveness of Maggs’s dotty analects, I propose that we implement a long-range survival plan. For starters, this plan should acknowledge that Maggs wants to get me thrown in jail. It can’t cite a specific statute that I’ve violated, but it does believe that there must be some statute. This tells me that Maggs argues that it is God’s representative on Earth. I wish I could suggest some incontrovertible chain of apodictic reasoning that would overcome this argument, but the best I can do is the following: I have no idea why it makes such a big fuss over faddism. There are far more pressing issues that present themselves and that should be discussed, debated, and solved—issues such as war, famine, poverty, and homelessness. There is also the lesser issue that some of the facts I’m about to present may seem shocking. This they certainly are. However, Maggs is typical of jaded drunks in its wild invocations to the irrational, the magic, and the fantastic to dramatize its modes of thought.

    Maggs’s favorite buzzword these days is “crisis”. It likes to tell us that we have a crisis on our hands. It then argues that the only reasonable approach to combat this crisis is for it to disguise the complexity of color, the brutality of class, and the importance of religion and sexual identity in the construction and practice of sectarianism. In my opinion, the real crisis is the dearth of people who understand that Maggs’s lamentations are not pedantic treatises expressing theories or extravaganzas dealing in fables or fancies. They are substantial, sober outpourings from the very soul of separatism. When I first heard about Maggs’s ideals, I dismissed them as merely judgmental. But when I later learned that it wants me to be hanged and drawn and quartered and paraded through the streets in small, chopped-up little bits and thrown out into the fields where no clean animal will touch me, I realized that I am shocked and angered by Maggs’s unbalanced improprieties. Such shameful conduct should never be repeated.

    If my memory serves me correctly, I’m sure Maggs wouldn’t want me to eavesdrop on its meetings. So why does it want to sacrifice children on the twin altars of incendiarism and greed? In answer to that question I submit—and millions of people in this country and abroad honestly agree with me—that in Maggs’s quest to silence critical debate and squelch creative brainstorming it has left no destructive scheme unutilized. On this subject we get only a lot of blather and obfuscation from Maggs and its cultists. It vehemently denies that, of course. But it obviously would because it embraces Chekism with open arms. For the benefit of any doubting Thomases I will prove that point via an explanation of how it’s quite easy for Maggs to bombastically declaim my proposals. But when is it going to provide an alternative proposal of its own? Before you answer, let me point out that the very genesis of its termagant prognoses is in cronyism. And it seems to me to be a neat bit of historic justice that Maggs will eventually itself be destroyed by cronyism.

    Maggs has a knack for convincing neo-disloyal, wicked devil-worshippers that ebola, AIDS, mad-cow disease, and the hantavirus were intentionally bioengineered by anti-democratic pinheads for the purpose of population reduction. That’s called marketing. The underlying trick is to use sesquipedalian terms like “nondenominationalism” and “scientificoreligious” to keep its sales pitch from sounding closed-minded. That’s why you really have to look hard to see that Maggs has a strategy. Its strategy is to feed blind hatred. Wherever you encounter that strategy, you are dealing with Maggs.

    Ignoring this letter can be considered an admission of guilt on Maggs’s part. Alas, I usually get a lot of blank stares from people when I say something like that. What I mean is that Maggs is not just witless. It is unbelievably, astronomically witless. How dare Maggs calumniate helpless drug lords? Didn’t Maggs tell its accomplices that it wants to marginalize me based on my gender, race, or religion? Did it first give any thought to what would happen if it did? Of course, that question is ridiculous—as ridiculous as its churlish denunciations.

    I, hardheaded cynic that I am, do not wish to evaluate neopaganism here, though I avouch that Maggs used to be a major proponent of egotism. Nowadays, it’s putting all of its support behind gnosticism. As they say, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Maggs twists every argument into some sort of “struggle” between two parties. Maggs unvaryingly constitutes the underdog party, which is what it claims gives it the right to cause sick subversion to gather momentum on college campuses. Armed only with a white shirt, pocket protector, slide rule, thick glasses, and some other neat stuff, I have determined that if I had to choose between chopping onions and helping Maggs smear and defame me, I’d be in the kitchen in an instant. Although both alternatives make me cry, the deciding factor for me is that Maggs once tried to convince a bunch of us that censorship could benefit us. Fortunately, calmer heads prevailed and a number of people informed the rest of the gang that I decidedly hate how Maggs shows such callous indifference to those whose lives it’s ruined. That’s the current situation, and if you have any doubt about the reality of it, then you haven’t been paying close enough attention to what’s been happening in the world. This letter has gone on far too long in my opinion and probably yours as well. So let me end it by saying merely that Maggs prizes wealth and celebrity over and above decent morals and sound judgment.

  • Mayaya

    Prof, Ricky it seems you forget that the State has to go through Nedlac before any law affecting business is passed. Look at EEA and compare with with PEPUDA. EEA was watered down at Nedlac in 1998 and the recent amendments thrown out at Nedlac. Gov has passed toothless laws as a result of private interests.

    Now law that makes it difficult to sue employers and when one succeeds to sue the remedies are so ineffectual that there is impunity means employers are protected. Nothing stops civil organisation to assist poor employees sue employers. Afriforum did but which other civil society org did?

    Prof, I requested your assistance what did you do? You ignored me just like the SAHRC. So for some of us whilst we support any constitutional litigation, we worry that those who assist the always do so in strictly state constitutional litigation.

    Prof as a constitutional law professor you should know that the Bill of Right applies across. To suggest that only the state needs to be sued is rather a betrayal of your understanding of constitutional law and what it seeks to achieve.

    Sirjay Johnson, your comments are rather disappointing. You do not know me yet you make such sweeping statements about me. I am amazed at your poor level of analysis. My earlier comment was an observation on constitutional litigation by civil society that is always against the state when the private sector also violates rights. Nowhere did can you find anything that suggests I am an apologist for the ANC even though a member.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    September 1, 2011 at 23:08 pm

    Hey Ricky,

    The Naval Cooperation Agreement between UK and SA was formally terminated in 1976 – that included an agreement with the UK for SA to buy naval vessels from the UK.

    Recall the “constructive engagement” policies of the US and UK until the mid to late 1980s.

    That was pretty much the pattern with the developed countries with the exception of the Nordic countries. It includes West Germany which at the time was among SAs biggest trading partners.

    On Libya – how can it possibly be correct politically for agreements to be entered into with “the rebels” when the politics of Libya has not even started to approach the issue of forming a government?

    With agreements in place, it cannot be in the interests of those countries to allow a government to form which will take a different view.

    Unless you know something different to what has been reported, the point that Vuyo made has to be valid.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    p.s. The point which Vuyo made that I agree with is from September 1, 2011 at 15:24 pm :

    “Regardless our feelings about him personally, the Caucasian hypocrites who claim to uphold the ‘rule of law’ have breached all international norms of conduct to cut a 35% oil deal with the supposed rebels.”

  • Michael Osborne

    “0nly the state has a police force …”

    Pierre, this smells suspiciously like the kind of retrograde sentiment we heard from the dreaded anti- horizontalists in the application debate of a decade ago.

    Re loss of trust in the ruling party, I take your anecdotal point. But I am sure you are aware of the tendency of the chattering classes to project its own disenchantment onto the masses — only be disappointed again and again when ordinary people reaffirm their dogged support of the party of liberation, in an always surprising show of what Lenin presumed to scorn as false consciousness.

  • JV Loza

    Having lived in a country with a high political instability, with 187 coups-d’etat in over 181 years of life, one doesn’t need to be a brainy political annalist to appreciate that:
    -……A dictatorship needs three things:

    Full control of the media: The citizens must not know about the fraud and corruption going around, even if its results are clear as daylight…

    Full control of the judiciary: Fraud, corruption, cronyism are legalized. Dissenters are convicted as criminals. In this case “traitors to National Security”

    Full control of the army, or police, or armed militia or paramilitary groups. Terror and intimidation are excellent tools to remain in power. If necessary, dissidents “suffer accidents” or “disappear without trace”………Regrettably, the ANC hopes put in the Youth League seemed to have backfired, as there is another contender for the title of dictator………

  • anton kleinschmidt

    @ MDF Avatar (or maybe not)……

    What a wonderful way to start the day. Not just one letter but three of them ….. really lifted my spirits


    I want to ask the experts. What is our recourse in an instance where the CC has clearly erred in an unanimous or split judgment ?

    In the event, the Constitution is amended to remove one or some of the fundamental constitutional human rights ?

    What will we do the day the main branches of government clash ?

    Can the CC abrogate to itself the powers and functions of the JSC ?

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Michael Osborne
    September 2, 2011 at 3:54 am

    Hey Prof MO,

    “Re loss of trust in the ruling party, I take your anecdotal point.”

    It’s not entirely accurate that people are losing trust in the ANC – those who I know are pretty pissed off at the shenanigans at various levels. It is the leaders who are the focus of the annoyance and not the ANC – this is where the power struggles are located anyway.

    Ramathlodi says (i)n the 17 years, we have witnessed sustained and relentless efforts to immigrate the little power left with the executive and the legislature to civil society and the judiciary..

    Given the massive electoral victories since 1994; the nearly absolute discretion to its deploy cadres to the various institutions of democracy, wide latitude in creating laws (that meet the constitutional requirements), the ANC has little excuse for its dismal failures in so many areas.

    It’s interesting that the attacks on the CC are based on vague generalisations – nobody has (or, it seems, is capable of) listing the judgements which are believed to be hampering the government.

    Ishmael (September 2, 2011 at 7:51 am) asks for example “(w)hat is our recourse in an instance where the CC has clearly erred in an unanimous or split judgment?” – without being able to point to a specific instance which leads to the question.

    That (with Ramathlodi’s piece) to my mind reflects an attempt to undermine and cast aspersions on the CC as a means to deflect parliament’s dismal failures despite having all it needs to get the show on the road.

    Lessons will have been learned during the last local government elections where the ANC promised to review the process of nominating councillors which it is not doing much about. It’s hardly likely then that people will go out en mass and vote for the DA. It’s more likely that when LGE preparations begins again in a few years, people will dig in their heels and not trust the ANC leaders to do the right thing.

  • Michael Osborne

    @ Maggs

    “It’s not entirely accurate that people are losing trust in the ANC”

    It is quite a subtle point to distinguish between losing confidence in the entire leadership and losing confidence in the organisation. Generally speaking, the former is quite closely associated with the latter — unless you see the organisation as a metaphysical entity that transcends history and has a spiritual life independent of whatever rascals happen to have (temporarily) grasped the reins of power… (Reminds me a bit of Noam Chomsky, who insists that the U.S. is the greatest country that ever existed; it just happens to be led exclusively by thugs.)

    (Anyway, Maggs, you should be arguing with PdV about this. It was I who told him that the masses were still very much in love with the ruling party.)

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Michael Osborne
    September 2, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Hey Prof MO,

    “Generally speaking, the former is quite closely associated with the latter”.

    I can only but speak to my own experience.

    Among my circle we frequently have hectic discussions regarding various aspects of politics. Often it leads to dissatisfaction with the ANC leaders.

    Nobody in this group has even contemplated abandoning the ANC – that does not even come up as a side discussion.

    What does come up is “how do we get this ship back on track?”

    Many of my friends have renewed their ANC membership in the last year, after letting that lapse for a long while – the belief is that we need a resurgence of activism if we are to create the kind of country which we will be proud to leave to future generations.

    I have not yet – only because I’ve been too lax to seek out the branch in my area. Maybe next week or the following or sometime soon, hopefully.

    On the other hand it’s quite fun being able to say what I feel without “bringing the ANC into disrepute” 😛

  • Maggs Naidu –

    p.s. “unless you see the organisation as a metaphysical entity that transcends history and has a spiritual life independent of whatever rascals happen to have (temporarily) grasped the reins of power…”.

    It’s not that complex, more like “we are the ANC” – we elect leaders and provide votes. If it goes wrong, then its because of the poor choices we made – we must elect better leaders.

    As the moment of my Streetwise Two approaches, I’ll be a sport and allow you to recoup the almost certain losses. I’ll bet that Zuma will not be re-elected ANC President in 2012.

  • spoiler

    What drivel. Why is anyone surpised. The ANC is not democratic, has no undertanding of the rule of law and would rather run the country as a dictatorship. Next step – the POI act – how long before thats declared unconstitutional – although if you pack the CC with enough Moegoe’s , no problem it will fly…

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder
    September 1, 2011 at 22:55 pm

    Hey Dworky,

    “You may laugh, but Maggs (like Vuyo and Zuma), employ impeccable logic”

    I suspect that Dr Vice was talking about you when she wrote this.

    We move easily about a world made in our own image, validating our own values and beliefs and sustaining our own comfort, unimpeded by the kinds of structural and systemic challenges black people face daily.

  • spoiler

    And about you too Maggs – who has more time to hog this blog than anyone else it would appear.

    Why does Vice need to racialise it. Employed educated people everywhere suffer the same myopia when it comes to the lives of the poor regardless of their race. I guess we should renounce our education, jobs and homes and go live in shacks – if they can’t move on up we’ll have to get down.

  • zoo keeper

    So the ANC is being held back by the evil Consitution?

    The same Constitution they have amended 16 times when they had 2/3rds majority?

    If you can’t get it right after 16 goes at it, does that not show rank incompetence at its most glorious?


    Don’t forget Prof its all about power and untrammelled power at that. Apartheid was not something from outer space. It was the use and abuse of State resources for the benefit of the elite.

    The same State apparatus that existed to conduct Apartheid is now occupied by the ANC. There is nothing “new” here.

  • spoiler

    Precisely Zook – then the “Swart/rooi gevaar” was used as a scare tactic and divert attentiion away from what was really going on. Now we have JuJu and co scapegoating whites, the media and big business for the same purpose.

  • Brett Nortje

    Maggs Naidu – says:
    September 2, 2011 at 11:34 am
    Michael Osborne
    September 2, 2011 at 11:04 am

    “Hey Prof MO,

    “Generally speaking, the former is quite closely associated with the latter”.

    I can only but speak to my own experience.

    Among my circle we frequently have hectic discussions regarding various aspects of politics. Often it leads to dissatisfaction with the ANC leaders.”

    Most people would call that ‘circle jerking’. Meanwhile, you, Pierre and the Arch take it badly that we will no longer be responsible for this kind of shit:

    SABC probe finds R1,4bn in misuse of funds, fraud

    Unit suspects rampant Soccer World Cup graft at broadcaster
    Published: 2011/09/02 06:30:19 AM

    THE Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is investigating misuse of funds and fraud amounting to R1,4bn at the SABC.

    The extent of the fraud and misuse of public funds comes as the SABC is once again appealing to the government for a bail-out.

    The SIU has finalised six cases concerning the public broadcaster which have been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority for a decision on prosecutions.

    The unit’s sweeping probe into financial irregularities started at the request of the SABC 10 months ago.

    It has now asked for an extension until March because investigators have uncovered further irregularities at the broadcaster — including wasteful expenditure and possible criminal behaviour relating to last year’s Soccer World Cup.

    Among the staff being investigated is a former group CEO, the SIU’s acting head of communications, Marika Muller, said yesterday.

    Last month, the SABC asked Parliament for money to fund, among other things, the roll-out of digital terrestrial television, early retirement packages and the purchase of new programmes.

    The request came two years after the government granted the struggling public broadcaster a R1,47bn loan guarantee, with some performance targets that the SABC has failed to meet.

    The Treasury told Parliament the broadcaster would need about R7bn over three years to meet its needs, but SABC head of strategy Justice Ndaba suggested at a media briefing recently that the figure was closer to R600m.

    The SIU investigation was prompted by an auditor-general’s report that found evidence of substantial fraud at the SABC.

    The auditor-general said he did not have the time or the resources to investigate further. Much of the evidence for the SIU’s investigation was provided by trade unions with members at the SABC.

    The probe, covering the period from January 1 2005 to October 25 last year, looked into:
    – R1,2bn paid out to 20 employees with business interests in companies that did business with the SABC;
    – R2,7m in costs on petrol cards held by 11 employees;
    – R150m in impairment losses for content that was purchased but never aired;
    – R34m in non-payroll payments to staff for travel, security, legal and personal protection;
    – R47m in commissions paid to staff from the commercial enterprises division from April 1 2008 to March 31 last year; and
    – R12,8m paid to 51 employees suspended on full pay from April 2006 to August 2009.

    The SABC is expected to report a loss of R88m for the financial year ending March due to criminal conduct and fruitless, wasteful and irregular expenditure.

    At least R87m of this is to be written off.

    In the previous financial year the SABC wrote off R44m, with R22m listed as “outstanding”.

    Ms Muller said that over and above these investigations, 20 revenue contracts were analysed for compliance in terms of legislative, regulatory and policy requirements and 17 referred for further investigation.

    Investigations are also being conducted in conjunction with the police and the Specialised Commercial Crime Unit into several allegations of fraud.

    One docket had been registered with the Specialised Commercial Crime Unit by the SABC against a former divisional head.

    The SIU had worked on eight criminal matters, six of which were complete “with a decision on prosecution” pending, and two more investigations were continuing.

    “While the SIU believes it is likely a substantial number of civil and criminal cases will be brought against individuals and entities involved in the irregularities, it’s too early to make an assessment as to specific details,” Ms Muller said.

    “We will certainly push hard to recover funds lost as well as for prosecution where we feel that criminal activity has occurred.”

    She said the second phase of the investigation would involve “possible fruitless or wasteful expenditure and possible criminal behaviour related to expenditure around three Soccer World Cup transactions”.

    There will also be further investigations into procurement and petrol card use, as well as the two outstanding cases.

    The SIU regards the SABC investigation as a landmark. It is the first time a public entity has approached the unit — in this case, the SABC board in March last year — to conduct an investigation.

    SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said yesterday that the board requested the investigation after the auditor-general’s report left unanswered questions about allegations levelled against employees.

    “The board wanted finalisation on issues raised in the report. There were cases that needed to be followed up and if there was action that needed to be taken, then it had to be taken — and where money had been taken illegally, then it would have to be recovered,” Mr Kganyago said.

  • Brett Nortje

    September 2, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Don’t mind telling you: I’m disappointed! After the way you and Nyamizile Booi tried to hold the Executive to account as the Constitution provides?

    Ishmael, what is wrong with the different branches of government being at loggerheads?

    The US has just been through it – did that democracy fall? No! National resolve is focussed squarely on getting their deficit down now.

    If you love your country and want to see it pull back from the brink propose a motion of no confidence in the President, and pass a motion of censure against Juju.

  • zoo keeper

    @ Spoiler

    Spot on!

  • Nordlicht

    anton kleinschmidt –

    “MDF Avatar (or maybe not) … really lifted my spirits”

    My thoughts exactly. Yet he claims he didn’t write those masterpieces. He is too modest, methinks. Or maybe not? In which case, my guess is that those letters were penned (so to speak) by one Mikhail D. Osborne.

  • anton kleinschmidt

    Anyone who still believes that the ANC can pull South Africa back from the brink of a total administrative meltdown should read the SABC story posted by Brett. This disaster is probably a microcosm of the greater realm “controlled” by the ANCs deployees.

    As Maggs tells us…..”Nobody in this group has even contemplated abandoning the ANC – that does not even come up as a side discussion.” This from apparently well informed members of the support base who still delude themselves that “a resurgence of activism” will somehow undo all the damage arising from years of mal-adminstration and worse.

    The top executive led by the President needs to acknowledge that they have failed and call on the expertise that exists in the broader community, beyond government, to help launch a rescue program.

    This is analogous with need to make an urgent life saving trip from A to B. Your are sitting in a car with the keys in your hand but you do not know how to drive. The sensible person would take urgent steps to find a capable driver.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Maggs

    “I suspect that Dr Vice was talking about you when she wrote this …”

    Maggs, it is evident that Dr Valarie Toussrock, of Madison Wisconsin, assisted only by a powerful random word generation program (“PRWG”) was referring to you when she wrote the following:

    “It’s best to ignore most of the quotes that Maggs so frequently cites. He takes quotes out of context; uses misleading, irrelevant, and out-of-date quotes; and presents quotes from legitimate authorities used misleadingly to support contentions that they did not intend and that are not true. In short, if we let Maggs steal the fruits of other people’s labor, then greed, corruption, and ageism will characterize the government.”


  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Maggs

    “Nobody in [my] group has even contemplated abandoning the ANC”

    Funny you should say that, Maggs, because the same is true of my group. In fact, the successive abominations of the ruling party only increases our support, because it is precisely by virtue of our unflagging zeal that the party will be brought back from the brink!

  • Andrew Buttress


    If you are worried about a kleptocarcy there are many ways to solve the problem…the multiple opposition parties that appear on the ballot everytime we have an election.

    If it is not possible to remove the ANC at the ballot box can we really call ourselves a democracy or just a one party state under the guise of one?

    True democracies exist when governments are regularly removed from office. 17 years of ANC rule is enough!

    Cheers :)


  • Brett Nortje

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder says:
    September 2, 2011 at 16:08 pm


  • Brett Nortje

    anton kleinschmidt says:
    September 2, 2011 at 15:28 pm

    A billion Rand – down the tubes – so the ANC leadership of the moment can have a propaganda arm for its faction fights.

    And what is our ‘independent’ communication authority doing while the SABC is flouting the establishing legislation?

    Why is the SABC allowed to broadcast?

  • anton kleinschmidt

    @ Nordlicht……aha, illumination, or more smoke and mirrors

  • Maggs Naidu –

    anton kleinschmidt
    September 2, 2011 at 15:28 pm

    Hey AK,

    What do you propose is a sensible way forward?

    Let’s see if we can establish such a conversation.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder
    September 2, 2011 at 16:04 pm

    LOL Dworky.

    “Dr Valarie Toussrock, of Madison Wisconsin, …”.

    I was wondering where you got all that kak from.

  • Friend

    And then these poor and marginalized individuals, who cannot go out and earn a living, so what they do is they (some) put on their shoes for the day and walk a million miles to make a cross next to the ANC on their ballot just to spite me whos tekkies he’s probably wearing.

  • anton kleinschmidt

    Hi Maggs

    As a first step I think that there needs to be recognition and acknowledgement within the Executive that things are going badly wrong as evidenced by the SABC debacle. There are plenty of others.

    Second, there needs to be a comprehensive plan drawn up with the help of civil society to identify where the administration of government is going wrong and decide on what steps need to be taken to rectify matters. This is not particularly complex because the self evident nature and cause of most of the problems.

    Third the executive in the form of the President needs to lead the charge and make some very hard decisions which may not suit all deeply entrenched vested interests. The time has come for the ANC to discard some of it’s historical baggage

    If Government and their supporters take to heart the matters raised in the attached then they will have some pretty compelling guidelines….

    I am a DA supporter but nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see the ANC reversing the trends so unfortunately exemplified by the SABC

  • anton kleinschmidt

    And Maggs…

    On my support of the DA I was glad that the DA made only limited gains in the recent elections. Had they won, say, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria they would have been in deep trouble. I do not believe that they have the administrative capacity to take such large additional responsibilties. The DA needs to build capacity and this takes time. The ANC have provided plenty of unfortunate examples of what happens when you are out of your depth.

  • John Roberts

    I have a burning desire to vent my spleen on The ANC. To start, The ANC’s reasoning is circular and therefore invalid. In other words, it always begins an argument with its conclusion (e.g., that it’s a saintly figure—philanthropic, noble, and wise) and therefore—not surprisingly—it always arrives at that very conclusion. One of The ANC’s most loyal zealots is known to have remarked, “The ANC is clean and bright and pure inside.” And there you have it: a direct quote from a primary source. The significance of that quote is that The ANC’s proxies have the gall to accuse me of shattering other people’s lives and dreams. Were these callous moochers born without a self-awareness gene? The answer is rather depressing, but I’ll tell you anyway. The answer begins with the observation that whatever your age, you now have only one choice. That choice is between a democratic, peace-loving regime that, you hope, may counteract the subtle but pervasive social message that says that without The ANC’s superior guidance, we will go nowhere and, as the alternative, the violent and venal dirigisme currently being forced upon us by The ANC. Choose carefully because The ANC tries to make us think the way it wants us to think, not by showing us evidence and reasoning with us but by understanding how to push our emotional buttons.

    Given The ANC’s record of shady dealings, we can say that its slurs are based on a denial of reality, on the substitution of a deliberately falsified picture of the world in place of reality. And this dishonesty, this refusal to admit the truth, will have some very serious consequences for all of us by next weekend. On the other hand, when people see snooty bohemians behaving like snooty bohemians they begin to realize that I am not a robot. I am a thinking, feeling, human being. As such, I get teary-eyed whenever I see The ANC promote the sort of behavior that would have made the folks in Sodom and Gomorrah blush. It makes me want to hammer out solutions on the anvil of discourse, which is why I’m so eager to tell you that The ANC likes to cite poll results that “prove” that its undertakings epitomize wholesome family entertainment. Really? Have you ever been contacted by one of its pollsters? Chances are good that you never have been contacted and never will be. Otherwise, the polls would show that what I just wrote is not based on merely a single experience or anecdote. Rather, it is based upon the wisdom of accumulated years, spanning two continents, and proven by the fact that finding the best way to demand a thoughtful analysis and resolution of our problems with The ANC is a challenging problem indeed. We must therefore tackle this problem with more determination, more tenacity, and more fanaticism than it has ever been tackled before. Only then will people realize that it’s our responsibility to reinvigorate our collective commitment to building and maintaining a sensitive, tolerant, and humane community. That’s the first step in trying to open minds instead of closing them, and it’s the only way to keep the faith.

    Will I allow The ANC to trivialize the issue? As long as there is breath in my earthly body, I assure you I will not. What I will do, however, is inform as many people as possible that The ANC’s vaporings are a house of mirrors. How are we to find the opening that leads to freedom? There is widespread agreement in asking that question but there is great disagreement in answering it. The ANC has the nerve to call those of us who break the neck of its policy of authoritarianism once and for all “conspiracy theorists”. No, we’re “conspiracy revealers” because we reveal that The ANC is trying hard to convince a substantial number of audacious serpents to undermine everyone’s capacity to see, or change, the world as a whole. It presumably believes that the “hundredth-monkey phenomenon” will spontaneously incite inimical potlickers to behave likewise. The reality, however, is that in a tacit concession of defeat, The ANC is now openly calling for the abridgment of various freedoms to accomplish coercively what its vulgar belief systems have failed at.

    The ANC and I disagree about our civic duties. I aver that we must do our utmost to rise to the challenge of thwarting its crass plans. The ANC, on the other hand, believes that we’ll be moved by some heartfelt words on the glories of totalitarianism. Yes, statistical details released by a third-party agency indicate that ignoring the problem of emotionalism will not make it go away, but here is the point that is worth considering: It’s causing all sorts of problems for us. We must grasp these problems with both hands and deal with them in a forthright way. The ANC has separate, oftentimes antipodal, interests from ours. For instance, it’s intererested in depriving people of dignity and autonomy. In contrast, my interests—and perhaps yours as well—include telling people that my purpose here is not to anneal discourse with honesty, clear thinking, and a sense of moral good. Well, okay, it is. But I should point out that by The ANC’s standards, if you have morals, believe that character counts, and actually raise your own children—let alone teach them to be morally fit—you’re definitely a doctrinaire goofball. My standards—and I suspect yours as well—are quite different from its. For instance, I assert that The ANC has conceived the project of reigning over opinions and of conquering neither kingdoms nor provinces but the human mind. If this project succeeds then misguided airheads will be free to promote the lie of pessimism. Even worse, it will be illegal for anyone to say anything about how The ANC wants to be the one who determines what information we have access to. Yet it is also a big proponent of a particularly detestable form of solecism. Do you see something wrong with that picture? What I see is that The ANC has gotten away with so much for so long that it’s lost all sense of caution, all sense of limits. If you think about it, only an organization without any sense of limits could desire to flush all my hopes and dreams down the toilet.

    Anyone with an IQ two points higher than a wet sponge’s knows that The ANC represents the most inferior form of corporate evolution. But, even so, it is more than a purely historical question to ask, “How did The ANC’s reign of terror start?” or even the more urgent question, “How might it end?”. No, we must ask, “What exactly is the principle that rationalizes The ANC’s loathsome slogans?” My best guess, for what it may be worth, is based on two key observations. The first observation is that one need not look any further than The ANC’s incorrigible personal attacks to see that what may seem insignificant or humorous to The ANC is often hurtful and confusing to others. The second, more telling, observation is that even if one isn’t completely conversant with current events, the evidence overwhelmingly indicates that the main dissensus between me and The ANC is that I think that The ANC’s put-downs are not just retroactively ineffective but proactively inert. It, on the other hand, contends that it’s inappropriate to teach children right from wrong.

    We mustn’t let The ANC make excessive use of foul language. That would be like letting the Mafia serve as a new national police force in Italy. The first response to this from The ANC’s secret agents is perhaps that anyone who disagrees with The ANC is ultimately closed-minded. Wrong. Just glance at the facts: To believe that The ANC can be trusted to judge the rest of the world from a unique perch of pure wisdom is to deceive ourselves. I do not wish to endorse Fabianism but rather to illustrate that The ANC has, on a number of occasions, expressed a desire to lead a shrewish jihad against those who oppose it. On all of these occasions I submitted to the advice of my friends, who assured me that even when the facts don’t fit, it sometimes tries to use them anyway. It still maintains, for instance, that people don’t mind having their communities turned into war zones.

    The ANC is careless with data, makes all sorts of causal interpretations of things without any real justification, has a way of combining disparate ideas that don’t seem to hang together, seems to show a sort of pride in its own biases, gets into all sorts of base-minded speculation, and then makes no effort to test out its speculations—and that’s just the short list! My current plan is to tear down The ANC’s fortress of denominationalism. Yes, it will draw upon the most powerful fires of Hell to tear that plan asunder, but I do not appreciate being labeled. No one does. Nevertheless, we can’t stop it overnight. It takes time, patience and experience to snap its worshippers out of their trance. I want to talk about the big picture: The ANC’s most progressive idea is to weave its morally crippled traits, illiberal roorbacks, and selfish hypnopompic insights into a rich tapestry that is sure to transform our society into a naive war machine. If that sounds progressive to you, you must be facing the wrong way.

    While I know very little about empty-headed skinheads, I do know that purists may object to my failure to present specific examples of The ANC’s mindless invectives. Fortunately, I do have an explanation for this omission. The explanation demands an understanding of how The ANC’s abysmal, mudslinging publications leave the current power structure untouched while simultaneously killing countless children through starvation and disease. Are these children its enemies? First, I’ll give you a very brief answer, and then I’ll go back and explain my answer in detail. As for the brief answer, its unrealistic attempt to construct a creative response to my previous letter was absolutely pitiful. Really, The ANC, stringing together a bunch of solecistic insults and seemingly random babble is hardly effective. It simply proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that I defy the pigheaded, quixotic lounge lizards who torment, harry, and persecute anyone who crosses its path, and I defy the powers of darkness that they represent.

    Many people respond to The ANC’s loquacious expostulations in the same way that they respond to television dramas. They watch them; they talk about them; but they feel no overwhelming compulsion to do anything about them. That’s why I insist we improve the lot of humankind. For better or for worse, The ANC may have access to weapons of mass destruction. Then again, I consider it to be a weapon of mass destruction itself.

    You may be picking up on something here in all of my responses to The ANC’s gruesome expositions. All of my responses presume that I will not let myself be forced into anything. That’s too big of a subject to get into here so let me instead discuss how when a mistake is made, the smart thing to do is to admit it and reverse course. That takes real courage. The way that The ANC stubbornly refuses to own up to its mistakes serves only to convince me that I’ve managed to come up with a way in which its essays could be made useful. The ANC’s essays could be used by the instructors of college courses as a final examination of sorts. Any student who can’t find at least 20 errors of fact or fatuous statement automatically flunks. Extra credit goes to students who realize that many organizations lie. However, The ANC lies with such ease it’s troubling. But this is something to be filed away for future letters. At present, I wish to focus on only one thing: the fact that The ANC’s warnings are unpleasant. They’re unnecessary. They’re counterproductive. Whenever I encounter them I think that I am tired of hearing or reading that absenteeism is absolutely essential to the well-being of society. You know that that is simply not true. Let me conclude by stating that The ANC’s scribblings are complete drivel. You can quote me on that.

  • sirjay jonson

    Maggs: “…unimpeded by the kinds of structural and systemic challenges black people face daily.”

    Do you realize Maggs that most human beings, even the rich if not more so, but not those we need concern ourselves with, suffer at being impeded by the kinds of structural and systemic challenges all people face daily.

    Note the difference I made in your quote… cheers

  • sirjay jonson

    @ Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder
    September 2, 2011 at 16:08 pm
    @ Maggs

    I like it Fass, do I see compassion entering your life.

  • sirjay jonson

    @ Brett Nortje
    September 2, 2011 at 16:31 pm

    I know I go on as a Canadian, rough and ready etc… however, it comes to mind, that the term in Canada with respect to the public broadcaster (the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation – CBC) is as follows:

    “…at arms length”.

    In a true Democracy where all the players play by the rules (or suffer significant consequences) such an agreement is sacrosanct.

  • sirjay jonson

    Hey Brett: on a lighter subject… why doesn’t SABC do repeats of Noot vir Noot when the season ends…

    Are they that clueless?

  • sirjay jonson

    @ Brett: if you and Fass are really into a hunt in Canada, I would suggest winter time by skydoo, racing across the glaciers through the forests under breathtaking mountains that take the breath away, the nightly wolf howls while you try to sleep all a part of it, the ever present possibility that a rather big bear will see your sleeping bag with you in it as a chocolate bar. Seem to remember you had some interest?

    A dear white friend asked me today, he who set up a kos plus for the farmers and their workers, that he had been asked by a friend that “should I immigrate to Canada?” My dear unnamed friend who had skelms break through the roof of his business a month ago, R40k lost, when he went to Capetown to deal with his insurers he was hijacked… well, only in SA.

    The question, Canada? My first response was ‘can they deal with the cold’ as in
    -40 centigrade when your bladder’s discharge chrystalizes before hitting the ground.

    Can you image… folks willing to face that to leave South Africa.

    I told him: “ah well man… its a great country, they’ll love it. Frozen or not.”

  • Brett Nortje

    Sirjay, since I was a kid I’ve been obsessed with dogs that can do what they were bred for so my reading list as a child was heavy with Faulkner, Jack London, Farley Mowatt, etc. (The neighbours were Canadian.) I’d read up on huskies before there were any here.

    So you can imagine how those visual images appeal to me.

  • sirjay jonson

    Brett: “So you can imagine how those visual images appeal to me?

    Very much so, ja man.

    However, I would suggest not leaving SA as emigrant, but rather visit Canada, make Cdn friends.

    Let me know if your are serious for a hunting visit as I have to contact old and dear friends to put it in place, the years pass so quickly when you are my age.
    A dear friend and companion, an Indian elder passed last week, married to one of my former lovers, gee, the years fly by.

    Ask Prof for my email.

  • Brett Nortje

    Sirjay, I’ll find you – I can find anything on the net. I’ll have to start saving.

    Never fear – no-one is going to run me out of this country. Anyone who would like to try better come loaded for the proverbial bear, to continue your metaphor.

    Sirjay, did you see the Business Day article I posted yesterday about the latest Altbeker study? Creating low-paid jobs for R37 000, and temporary jobs for R100 000?

    Nothing here is going to change soon, except, that more people will lose hope.

  • John Roberts

    Because of Canada’s attitude I usually don’t respond to its ebullitions, but this time I’ll make an exception.

    With this letter, I hope to provide a trenchant analysis of Canada’s bruta fulmina. But first, I would like to make the following introductory remark: The central paradox of Canada’s politics, the twist that makes Canada’s overgeneralizations so irresistible to the most oppressive trolls you’ll ever see, is that these people truly believe that the rigors that Canada’s victims have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement. Canada justifies its scabrous op-ed pieces 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 Canada’s claim that it’s renowned for its racial and cultural sensitivity then it will fracture family unity. The baneful nature of Canada’s attitudes is not just a rumor. It is a fact to which I can testify. In my view, Canada is not your average sniveling, pouty boor. It’s the deluxe model. As such, it’s unmistakably poised to turn me, a typically mild-mannered person, into a homophobic, rash vat of antinomianism by the end of the decade.

    If the mass news media were actually in the business of covering news rather than molding public attitudes to impose a “glass ceiling” that limits our opportunities for promotions in most jobs, they would undoubtedly report that Canada does not merely display an irreconcilable hatred toward all nations. It does so consciously, deliberately, willfully, and methodically. Canada always cavils at my attempts to deliver it from its appalling ignorance. That’s probably because Canada has a reckoning coming. Okay, that was a facetious statement. This one is not: Our top priority in the upcoming weeks must be to shatter the adage that Canada is a paragon of morality and wisdom. Look, of course that’s going to be tough. Anybody who tells you it’s going to be easy or that one can wave a magic wand and make it happen hasn’t been paying attention to how Canada operates. Nevertheless, I shall be blamed by ignorant persons when I say that what Canada insists are original equivocations are nothing more than warmed-over versions of egotism. Cruel as that maxim may appear, it sees the world as somewhat anarchic, a game of catch-as-catch-can in which the sneakiest kleptomaniacs nab the biggest prizes.

    Sure, Canada can fabulize about how it is a refined organization with the soundest ethics and morals you can imagine. That doesn’t change the fact that it says that antagonism is a wonderful thing. You know, it can lie as much as it wants but it can’t change the facts. If it could, it’d truly prevent anyone from hearing that it’s trying to get us to acquiesce to a Faustian bargain. In the short term this bargain may help us establish a supportive—rather than an intimidating—atmosphere for offering public comment. Unfortunately, in the long term it will enable Canada to concoct labels for people, objects, and behaviors in order to manipulate the public’s opinion of them.

    It may be soothing and pleasant for Canada to think that big emotions come from big words, but you may make the comment, “What does this have to do with lackluster, mumpish schemers?” Well, once you begin to see the light you’ll realize that I would be grateful if it would take a little time from its rigorous schedule to protect our peace, privacy, and safety. Of course, pigs will grow wings and fly before that ever happens.

    The point is that most people aren’t willing to swallow what Canada is serving up: a triple scoop of biggety sprinkled with biggety and topped off with warm biggety sauce. Not to change the subject or anything, but Canada thinks it’s good that its announcements use psychological tools to trick us into doing whatever it requires of us. It is difficult to know how to respond to such monumentally misplaced values, but let’s try this: I have absolutely no idea why it makes such a big fuss over vigilantism. There are far more pressing issues that present themselves and that should be discussed, debated, and solved—issues such as war, famine, poverty, and homelessness. There is also the lesser issue that if we were to let Canada get away with reducing history to an overdetermined, wireframe sketch of what are, in reality, complex, dynamic events, that would be a gross miscarriage of justice.

    I respect Canada’s theatrics, although its votaries claim to have no choice but to eliminate the plebiscitary mechanisms that ensure a free and democratic society. I wish there were some way to help these miserable, balmy swindlers. They are outcasts, lost in a world they didn’t make and don’t understand. Rather than respond to my letters with reasoned arguments, Canada prefers to drain our hope and enthusiasm. Although this method of attack is unparalleled in any other sphere of literary controversy it does prove that I find that some of Canada’s choices of words in its utterances would not have been mine. For example, I would have substituted “self-pitying” for “piezocrystallization” and “shiftless” for “consubstantiationist.”

    According to Canada’s distortions, distractions, and outright deceptions, Canada’s animadversions are a breath of fresh air amid our modern culture’s toxic cloud of chaos. Fortunately, most of the people who are seriously interested in preserving our civilization know that the reality is that Canada wants to twist the truth. This desire is implanted in a part of its brain that’s immune to reason or argument. Consequently, there’s no chance that we can get it to see that it would have us believe that it is omnipotent. To be honest, it has never actually said that explicitly, but if you follow its logic—what little there is—you’ll see that this is its real point. Will someone please explain to me what it is in our lives that can possibly make someone adopt approaches that have not been tested to try to solve problems that have not been well-defined? Because I certainly have no idea.

    Canada refuses to come to terms with reality. It prefers instead to live in a fantasy world of rationalization and hallucination. It may seem at first that the account I have just given of Canada’s programs of Gleichschaltung really shows that its agents provocateurs internalize and adapt to the unwritten realities they must work under. When we descend to details, however, we see that Canada is typical of inaniloquent Huns in its wild invocations to the irrational, the magic, and the fantastic to dramatize its words.

    Double standards are always spineless. I explained the reason for that just a moment ago. If you don’t mind, though, I’ll go ahead and explain it again. To begin with, its narrow mind cannot embrace that feeling of pure philanthropy that first prompted people to reach the broadest possible audience with the message that I, for one, have been a veritable oasis of civility in the present debate. I will now cite the proof of that statement. The proof begins with the observation that Canada knows how to lie. It’s too bad it doesn’t yet understand the ramifications of lying.

    Canada doesn’t want equal time. Canada doesn’t want pluralism. Canada just wants to give me reason to wander around in a quagmire of self-pity and depression. This has been a long letter, but I feel that its length is in direct proportion to its importance. Why? Because Canada’s ruling-class morality needs a working-class kick in the heinie.

  • anton kleinschmidt

    @ Brett…..on the canine front you might want to try The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wrobelewski

  • Maggs Naidu –

    anton kleinschmidt
    September 2, 2011 at 17:39 pm

    Hey AK,

    You will find that much of what you say is already covered in the ANC Polokwane resolutions, the election manifesto, Zuma’s State of the nation addresses and other official presentations.

    The nub of where it could have led to, was recognised it seems in your second post – so well spotted.

    I suppose the question ought to have been – what do we, as ordinary South Africans do in manageable/achievable steps to create a better life for all?

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Sirjay

    “I have to contact old and dear friends to put it in place,”

    I suspect Brett may be more interested in old and “deer” friends!

    In Slovenia before the war, we used to hunt deer, elk, boar, lynx and black rhino. But those days are over now.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Maggs

    “what do we, as ordinary South Africans do in manageable/achievable steps to create a better life for all?”

    I’ll tell you what we do, Maggs. We redouble our support for the ANC. It is only because ANC fears that some of the chattering classes (like Pierre), no longer trust it, that its leadership has been a little dodgy lately. Once ANC is assured of our eternal loyalty, it will go from strength to strength!

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder
    September 2, 2011 at 22:39 pm

    Hey Dworky,

    “We redouble our support for the ANC.”

    I dunno – I’m thinking that the way forward is to vote for an alternative party.

    Some party that is not structured on racial lines, represents the vision of Nelson Mandela, is free of corruption, is free of hypocrisy and other nice sounding stuff.

    What say you – is the DA our new party of choice?

    That will sort South Africa out, eh!

  • Maggs Naidu –

    p.s. PdV did not claim not trust the ANC any longer – read his post again – it’s his friends who are “asking questions about corruption etc”.

  • John Roberts

    @ Fassbinder

    Are you satisfied that my vocabulary consists of more than just FUCK ?

    Need I point out that compared to headlong, presumptuous extortionists like you, every pimp is a man of honour?

  • anton kleinschmidt

    @ Maggs ….you ask

    “I suppose the question ought to have been – what do we, as ordinary South Africans do in manageable/achievable steps to create a better life for all?”

    I would say that the electorate should place the ANC on notice that if they continue on the present course they will be voted out of power, sooner rather than later. The best way to convey this message is to vote for the opposition, preferably in the form of the DA.

    The ANC reaction to the recent electoral setbacks, albeit minimal, tells us that they are sensitive to loss of support.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ John Roberts

    I must concede that you have a vocabulary that extends beyond the term “FUCK.”

    That having been said, I respectfully submit that your FUCK/NON-FUCK ratio has sometimes been a little dodgy.

    But I may be wrong.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    anton kleinschmidt
    September 3, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Hey AK,

    “The best way to convey this message is to vote for the opposition, preferably in the form of the DA.”

    Our political parties are divided on a racial basis and to some extent a socio-economic divide.

    By its own suggestions, the DA draws its mandate from ‘minorities’ in general and Whites in particular. Given that and without going into detail about that, it’s unlikely that it will draw much support from outside its traditional support base.

    In any event the challenges inherent in the ANC are found, albeit to a lesser extent, in the DA. Consider too that thugs will follow the power.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    September 1, 2011 at 22:16 pm

    Hey Ricky,

    “Why does Gaddafi suddenly become a hero just because he says something negative about the US?”


    Files found at a Libyan government building show strong cooperation between the CIA and Muammar Gaddafi’s intelligence agencies, a report says.

  • anton kleinschmidt

    @ Maggs

    In my opinion, slow progress is being made in shifting away from the race based politics that you refer to. Although progress is slow, we are getting there as an increasing number of black people realise that the DA would very much like to cultivate trust outside their traditional white base. A sudden major shift is unlikely but this is probably a good thing for the reasons that I mentioned earlier. To succeed the DA has to demonstrate competence in government where the ANC fails.

    Certainly the DA faces the same challenges as those faced by the ANC but the DA performance in the Western Cape suggests that they are handling these challeges more effectively. All the DA has to do, is more of the same and over time they will increase their political footprint. They must also deal with any corruption with absolute ruthlessness. No exceptions and immediate expulsion

    One thing that worries me about the DA is the manner in which they will handle the white racists in their ranks going forward. They do exist and I have encountered a few. They can cause massive harm if they are not dealt with and thrown out of the party.

  • Michael Osborne

    @ Maggs

    “By its own suggestions, the DA draws its mandate from ‘minorities’ in general and Whites in particular.”

    As an empirical matter this is true. But I suspect there is something circular about the way you deploy it in argument. To break it down into its component parts, your argument appears to run like this:

    Premise 1. The DA draws most of its support from minorities.

    Premise 2. Africans will not vote for a party that draws most of its support from minorities.

    Conclusion: Africans will not vote for the DA.

    I am sure that something like this “reasoning” renders it impossible for many non-Africans to vote for ANC. But how are we going to break out of his pattern of racial polarisation if such a self-perpetuatiing restraints of political options remains in place?

  • izeze


  • izeze

    John Roberts
    September 2, 2011 at 21.49 pm

    Bruta fulmina et vana? Bovina sancta!

  • Maggs Naidu –

    anton kleinschmidt
    September 3, 2011 at 14:44 pm

    And Michael Osborne
    September 3, 2011 at 14:53 pm

    “Premise 2. Africans will not vote for a party that draws most of its support from minorities.”

    I think that premise is wrong.

    Perhaps the DA ceiling is better understood in respect to the policy, strategy and tactics developed in the context of the extract from Vice’s piece which I quoted above :

    We move easily about a world made in our own image, validating our own values and beliefs and sustaining our own comfort, unimpeded by the kinds of structural and systemic challenges black people face daily.

    I think that most South Africans will vote for a party which seems have voters interests uppermost on their political agendas. As Prof Schlemmer writes in the piece which Anton linked above “Ah – but the promises show us that they still love us!

  • anton kleinschmidt

    @ Maggs

    “I think that most South Africans will vote for a party which seems have voters interests uppermost on their political agendas.”

    I would hope so, and what the DA needs to do is demonstrate to voters that they care more than the ANC does. I think that they are making progress in this regard.

    In my opinion the DA are demonstrating more concern for the voters through the medium of more effective delivery. Or to put it differently, the DA are more effective than the ANC when dealing with the challenges and obstacles to delivery. The DA have already convinced their own constituency, and they must now concentrate on the very large bloc of voters who fail to pitch up at the voting stations to support the ANC. Does that resonate?

  • Michael Osborne

    “Perhaps the DA ceiling is better understood in respect to the policy, strategy and tactics”

    I do not think policies count for very much. Most voters (of all demographies) are too ill-informed to base their vote on policy platforms. Few know (or care), that the DA is in favour of the BIG Few know (or care), that the DA and the ANC’s macro-economic policies differ very little from each other. Unfortunately (and this is of course not just a SA reality), most voters decide between parties based on emotive affiliation, branding, race, personal charisma, etc.

    (Consider: The ACDP is more in tune with popular sentiment on the death penalty than either the DA or the ANC. Does that get them many votes? I doubt it.)

  • John Roberts

    @ Izeze

    Cum grano salis !

  • Maggs Naidu –

    AK & Prof MO,

    It’s the sounds bites and overview that matters most as Prof Schlemmer notes.

    Affirmative Action & Employment Equity = creating a better life for all.

    Equal Opportunities & Labour Flexibility = maintaining the structural and systemic inequalities and exploitation.

    Prof MO it’s agreed that “most voters decide between parties based on emotive affiliation, branding, race, personal charisma, etc”.

    If parties other than the ANC want to attract more voters then it will be sensible of them to speak to issues that voters are sensitive to.

    The DA cannot speak primarily to issues that affect the poor in general and Black in particular – it will run contrary to the interests of its core supporters.

    The ANC has it much easier – it can quite easily contextualise the rise in fortunes of those “who did not join the struggle to be poor” as part of its success in economic transformation irrespective of whether many may have raided the ‘family silver’ to get to their new found extreme wealth.

    Even the Mogoeng appointment will be regarded as ‘one of our own’, whose mother was unemployed and father was an unskilled labourer, that has risen to the highest court in the land. There will be those who will complain, as they usually do, as we celebrate about the phenomenal rise of the child from Goo-Mokgatlha.

    Political parties have to re-invent themselves if they are to make a difference in the foreseeable future – it’s in the interests of all of us. The DA is a White party sometimes reaching out to Blacks perhaps and COPE is COPE – so something different has to happen.

  • anton kleinschmidt

    @ Maggs…….”The DA cannot speak primarily to issues that affect the poor in general and Black in particular – it will run contrary to the interests of its core supporters.”

    I would disagree and I would hope that the DA executive would disagree as well.

    It is profoundly important to the DAs “core supporters”, of which I am one, that the DA speaks and ACTS very forcefully on “issues that affect the poor”. I would have it no other way. If we do not address the plight of the poor then we face a very dangerous future, and the interests of the DAs core supporters will be severely damaged, if not destroyed.

    As things stand right now I do not believe that the ANC is ACTING decisively on matters that affect the poor. The ANC is good in the speaking role but poor when it comes to acting. There is far too much wastage, administrative incompetence and corruption interdicting the ANC delivery process. This is where the DA are gradually demonstrating an ability missing within the ranks of the ANC and it is this edge that the DA need to build.

    The is obviously a concomitant need for the DA to build administrative capacity so here is a supplementary thought. Where the DA wins control of an ANC area they must try and retain expertise that does exist. They must entice competent existing ANC deployees to the DA not simply fire them. Note that the emphasis is on competent and money talks. These deployees often have deep links in the poor communities and if they become part of a DA administration the benefits could well be exponential.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    anton kleinschmidt
    September 4, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Hey AK,

    “I do not believe that the ANC is ACTING decisively on matters that affect the poor.”

    That’s being rather gentle (wisely so :P) – I’ve made my views on how I think the ANC leaders regard the poor previously.

    It’s best illustrated by the furore over the nomination of Judge Mogoeng for the post of CJ. Of course Zuma did not so long ago suggest that Malema is suitable to be President of SA – so his choices as suspect as they are, it not unexpected.

    The CC is the final frontier for the protection of the the interests of the poor. Undermine that and the interests of the most poor and vulnerable I our country are likely to suffer – Zuma has done just that. I reckon that he gives a toss. His next appointment of a CC judge will no doubt support the sense that Zuma wants to weaken the CC and turn it into an extension of the Executive.

    The ANC under president Zuma has become in practice a shadow of the movement it ought to be.

    All this however does not change the political landscape much.

    There are many examples which run contrary to what you portray as your expectations of the DA. It’s unwise for a political party to “entice competent existing ANC deployees to the DA not simply fire them”. Deployees have or ought to have a primary responsibility to ensure the roll out of their party’s policies and programmes and thus should to be drawn from the party’s existing ranks. As an example the minimum wage in our country cannot by any means be regarded as a living wage – if the DA advocates for a higher living wage, it’s core constituency will revolt. It is silent as you probably observed on the tragic human rights abuses in the Cape Winelands per the report I noted elsewhere.

  • Brett Nortje

    Maggs Naidu – says:
    September 4, 2011 at 14:44 pm

    Typical Maggsism.
    “It is silent as you probably observed on the tragic human rights abuses in the Cape Winelands per the report I noted elsewhere.”

    Maggs, you are such a bullssssssssshitter! It is a wonder you do not head Human Rights Watch as you seem made for it and it for you.

    According to the industry, 14 Farmers were interviewed out of 5000 in the Western Cape, 260 people in total, of which 85 were farmworkers, 32 former farmworkers and 16 living on farms.

    Were they cherry-picked? Is that a representative sample?

    Have you no shame?

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Brett Nortje
    September 4, 2011 at 15:39 pm

    Hey Goofy,

    Thank you – you’ve made the case that I was trying to make better than I could have illustrated.

    No doubt AK and Prof MO will note the essence behind my contention (that particularly poor Black people recognise only formations which are formed from among themselves will have meaning for their own sense of well being) is entirely supported by your comment.

  • Brett Nortje


    You’re fillibustering again!


    Only dishonest people like you let a good argument stand in the way of the facts.

  • anton kleinschmidt

    @ Maggs

    On the question of deployee loyalty, I would suspect that someone who is about to lose their livelihood would not buy into an argument dictated by party loyalty. I am talking about competent (stress competent) people employed at local government level who can add value to the communities in which they work regardless of who is in power. In the developed world, it is called a professional civil service. The very idea that civil service employees might see loyalty to the ruling party as being more important than professional commitment is disturbing. It does, however, help explain poor service delivery.

    I do not recall silence from the DA on the farm report. They have claimed, with some justification I think, that although there are cases of abuse the report has distorted the facts through inadequate representivity as pointed out by Brett.

    What I find sad about that report is that an entire farming community has been tainted when many of the farmers have gone to considerable lengths to improve the lot of their workers. A tour of the Ceres area will confirm this. I have just driven through the area and was impressed by the quality of the labourer communities on the farms that I saw.

    The farmers guilty of bad behaviour are probably a small minority and deserve to be dealt with ruthlessly. I seem to recall the relative DA MEC making just this point. This scourge is certainly not confined to the Western Cape despite the impression created by the report. Could it be that some of the present and ex labourers interviewed are also an insignificant minority out to grind personal axes.

    It is all about balanced perspective but I can never understand the apparent desire of ANC structures to undermine the vital farming sector

  • Maggs Naidu –

    anton kleinschmidt
    September 4, 2011 at 16:29 pm

    Hey AK,

    I can point to examples of good, “competent” people rid of by e.g. the DA in areas where it came to power. So too with the ANC. I would not support retaining known cadres of other parties in key positions. Our civil service is political rather than professional – both have their upsides and down.

    Your suggestion that “although there are cases of abuse the report has distorted the facts through inadequate representivity” is pretty much where our approach begins to diverge.

    It reflects as I see it the dilemma that the DA faces with regard to the tension between its core support vis-a-vis materially broadening its support base.

  • Brett Nortje

    Oh! I see!

    Screw the truth, is it?

  • Brett Nortje

    anton kleinschmidt says:
    September 4, 2011 at 16:29 pm

    Maggs is quite comfortable condemning an entire race because of the actions of 0,3 % of that people.

    If whites are being condemned, that is…

    “The farmers guilty of bad behaviour are probably a small minority”

  • anton kleinschmidt

    @ Brett….agreed as regards the o,3% blame paradigm, it is the unfortunate norm within ANC structures

    @ Maggs……you say…..”Our civil service is political rather than professional”

    You are quite right and I would like to see that change. Both the ANC and the DA get rid of people when achieving power and I believe that this is very bad for service delivery if the people concerned are performing well. That is the whole point of de-politicising the civil service. With every change we squander scarce skills.

    We need a civil service run by professional bureaucrats whose only function is to ensure that their area of responsibilty delivers to the electorate. If this does not happen we will see ongoing decline in the level of service delivered and the poor will suffer the most. I cannot think of a single non political upside of a politicised civil service. Can you?

  • Maggs Naidu –

    anton kleinschmidt
    September 4, 2011 at 20:58 pm

    Hey AK,

    “agreed as regards the o,3% blame paradigm, it is the unfortunate norm within ANC structures”

    I’m not sure what you mean by that. Consider the responses to PdV’s call to his “fellow white South Africans” – the ugly nature of the beast which emerged had nothing to do with ANC supporters and our views.

    Anyway – a professional civil service may have its advantages. I would like to see a single civil service across all spheres of government. It was said a while ago that we are headed that way – hopefully president Zuma will “retire” in 2014 and progress can be made towards straightening out the administrative constraints towards that end.

    But there is also a downside to a professional civil service – recall that the cry for “floor crossing” went to bite those calling for in in the butt.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    anton kleinschmidt
    September 4, 2011 at 20:58 pm

    “I cannot think of a single non political upside of a politicised civil service. Can you?”

    Would you want for example Director-Generals to be professional civil servants?

    A Provincial DG would then report e.g. the National DG even where the competence is provincial in say Health or Education. How would the policy framework of the incumbent political party in the province be rolled out if it is different in terms of say priorities peculiar to the province, when the provincial DG has a line reporting to national?

    How would a particular individual or group of individual civil servants with the expertise required in the province be retained by the province if they were required by national in some other area?

    I don’t think that there are easy or simple answers to any of these.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Brett Nortje
    September 4, 2011 at 20:29 pm

    Hey Goofy,

    “If whites are being condemned, that is…”


    It’s not my intention to condemn anybody, let alone an entire race.

    The point I make and will continue to make is that our politics is structured primarily on racial lines.

    If parties want to get a broader representation then they have to reinvent themselves.

    A party which draws its mandate mainly from Whites cannot possibly make the kind of policy interventions to materially improve the lives of particularly poor Black people simply because it will threaten its core constituency.

    Prof MO suggested that the DA supports BIG – it’s probably because they do not have sufficient political clout to implement it.

    On the other hand there would be a huge outcry among its supporters if the DA joined the campaign to outlaw labour brokers and of to lift the minimum to a liveable wage.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    ” there would be a huge outcry among its supporters if the DA joined the campaign to… to lift the minimum to a liveable wage.”

    Maggs, with respect, anyone who know anything about economics knows that the minimum wage must be lifted to create more jobs. I predict that, if the minimum wage were raised, even MORE Chinese factories would flock in Newcastle.

    We demand DECENT jobs and DECENT wages!

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder
    September 5, 2011 at 0:11 am

    Hey Dworky,

    “Maggs, with respect, anyone who know anything about economics knows that the minimum wage must be lifted to create more jobs.”

    Verwoerd knew a lot about this kind of economics – especially the kind you postulate. Create a large cesspool of cheap labour from the hewers of wood …

    Great plan – keep Black people largely in poverty ad infinitum.

    It’s precisely this kind of thinking which I have been at pains to illustrate to AK that will keep our politics race dominated.

    It is also interesting that when it’s convenient then we defer to the western democracies for guidance on policy, governance and democracy. When it comes to social and economic justice then let’s use autocratic, anti-democratic and/or despotic states and vision.

    Let’s ignore the reality that the most stable and largest economies have high minimum wages.

    Why bother, eh – this affects Black people in general and African people in particular!


    Since the last federal minimum wage increase in 1997, state minimum wage increases have provided an important boost to the incomes of low-wage workers and their families. These states have provided a testing ground for the exaggerated claims of harm made by minimum wage opponents. If the minimum wage had substantial negative effects on the economy or the well-being of low-wage workers, then it would have been observed in these states. The reality is that the states with higher minimum wages have not seen ill effects. This has been shown both in rigorous econometric studies and in assessments of broad economic indicators. These findings confirm what has been seen in a variety of other economic analyses of the minimum wage.

  • Brett Nortje

    Remember Maggs’ ‘expose’ about whites hunting black children?

    ‘Trofeejag’-foto alles net ’n grap, sê 2 seuns se familie
    2011-09-03 22:12
    Lucas Ledwaba in Bloemhof

    “Dit was alles net ’n grap,” sê die betrokkenes by ’n skokkende foto wat die afgelope week opnuut ’n openbare storm veroorsaak het.

    Die foto van ’n wit tiener wat by ’n swart seuntjie hurk, het verlede Sondag op die voorblad van die Sunday ­Times verskyn met die opskrif “Wanted: Facebook ­racist.”

    Die foto is glo gevind op die Facebook-blad van ene “Eugene Terror­blanche” (waarskynlik ’n sinspeling op die naam van die vermoorde AWB-leier, mnr. ­Eugène Terre’Blanche). Dit het drie jaar gelede vir die eerste keer opgeduik en toe ook opslae gemaak.

    Talle burgerlike en menseregtegroepe het daarteen uitgevaar en die polisie het ’n dossier daaroor aangelê.

    “Terrorblanche” het intussen van Facebook verdwyn, maar City Press, Rapport se susterkoerant, het die familie van die twee seuns op ’n plaas naby Bloemhof in Noordwes opgespoor.

    Die seuns se identiteit word beskerm.

    Die families sê die foto was net ’n poets.

    “Hy (die wit jong man) is nie ’n rassis soos berig is nie. Hy is geskok deur die hele ding en weet nie hoe dit in die media beland het nie,” sê mnr. Louis Vertue, sy prokureur.

    “As mense wat nie die ware verhaal ken nie, hom op die foto herken, kan hy in gevaar wees.”

    Dié “ware verhaal” het City Press later gehoor by die ouers van die swart seuntjie tydens ’n ontmoeting waarheen ’n familielid van die wit seun hulle gebring het. Alles het glo begin op ’n dag in 2008 toe die swart seuntjie sy pa en die wit seun tydens hul rondtes op die plaas vergesel het. Die seuntjie het moeg geword en op die gras geslaap.

    “Ons het gelag omdat die seuntjie soos ’n dooie mens daar gelê het. Die wit seun het gesê ek moet hom optel en in die skadu neerlê en vra toe of hy ’n foto kan neem. Die wit seun het sy geweer, waarmee hy duiwe skiet, by hom gehad. Ek het toestemming gegee,” sê die pa. En nee, hy was nie kwaad of beledig nie.

    Hul storie is in beëdigde verklarings herhaal. In sy verklaring sê die pa ’n foto is in 2008 op die plaas geneem waar die swart seuntjie met ’n geweer in die hand oor die wit seun staan. Toe het almal ook hieroor gelag. Daar is geen spoor van dié foto nie.

    Op ’n dag in 2008 het die polisie opgedaag nadat hulle glo ’n selfoon by ’n ongeluk naby Schweizer-Reneke opgetel en die foto van die wit “trofeejagter” daarop gevind het.

    “Die polisie wou weet waar die seuntjie is. Ons het alles verduidelik en hulle na die seuntjie se skool geneem. Die kind was nooit in gevaar nie. My seun is gesond. Hy lewe.”

    Geen ondersoek is aan die gang nie, maar die Valke bekyk wel die 2008-dossier, sê mnr. MacIntosh Polela, ’n woordvoerder. Dit sal help om vas te stel wat met dié saak gebeur het en hoe die foto op die internet beland het.

  • Brett Nortje

    Hhmmm! Is Maggs Patel on a micro-level?

    PETER BRUCE: The Thick End of the Wedge – The Editor’s Notebook

    As Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel sticks to his doomed course to reindustrialise SA, I chuckled the other day when I read a minister (it might have been him) being quoted saying “you can’t shop your way out of recession”.

    Published: 2011/09/05 07:15:54 AM

    AS ECONOMIC Development Minister Ebrahim Patel sticks to his doomed course to reindustrialise SA, I chuckled the other day when I read a minister (it might have been him) being quoted saying “you can’t shop your way out of recession”. In fact, that is exactly how we engineered our last economic boom. By shopping.

    Consumer booms are nothing to be sneered at. There was a fine piece in the Weekend FT by Alan Beattie, who suggested that the industrialised West is in such economic trouble now, and that there are clear signs it is beginning to affect big “emerging” economies such as China, that “unless, improbably, developing economies can rapidly switch to a consumption-based model, they are likely to be vulnerable to a serious drop in demand in the US and Europe”.

    As he says, it’s improbable. The world, for all sorts of reasons, is hesitant and anxious. Weak political leadership in the US and Europe is one. At home, does anyone have any certainty about what is going on? At no time since we became a democracy has the political and economic outlook seemed less assured. Businesses aren’t investing. Citizens aren’t shopping. It’s not even clear another interest rate cut would serve its traditional purpose.

    More often than not, in times like these, it’s no one thing or person that’s at fault. But a government’s job is to do its best in the circumstances, and ours isn’t.

    Sticking to its guns on the Julius Malema matter gets the ruling party a fraction of the way to recreating the confidence required to get people spending again, but there’s a long way to go.

    I say Patel is doomed to failure because I don’t think he understands how wealth is created. Like Malema, he believes it’s just there . Attending church before his disciplinary hearing, one of the reporters also there tweeted Malema as saying: “We are asking for a simple thing. We must all have a portion of this cake. We must all eat.”

    That’s Malema’s delusion in a nutshell — he believes that the economy consists of a fixed amount of wealth. When the cake is eaten, it’s all over, so be quick. He has no taste for growing new wealth in the land.

    It’s the same core attitude that infects the way Patel approaches business. Even as he calls for calm when labour laws are being discussed, he contributes to the tensions. Speaking in Parliament last week, he hauled out an earnings survey showing that a million workers earn less than R850 a month and compared it to one showing that executive directors of large-cap companies on the JSE earn about R925000 a month. Why compare a representative sample with a nonrepresentative one, if not to excite envy and hatred?

    He’s talking about literally a handful of people. Most of us in the middle classes earn way, way less. Our houses are mortgaged and we’re in debt to our eyeballs trying to avoid catastrophic state schools and hospitals and paying outrageous prices for the things the state (his state) administers.

    Patel’s a trade unionist and he does union work in the Cabinet. “The more we polarise the public debate on the labour market … the less we are able to create the conditions for a partnership,” he said in the same debate.

    What sanctimonious rubbish. Sir, you’re one of the great dividers yourself. How about you stop it?

    He shows the same slip when it comes to business. In his world, all companies make pots of money all the time, and all workers are oppressed and exploited all the time. Did he utter a sound when Numsa strikers trashed the premises of small, struggling engineering companies, many of whom live, daily, on the brink of ruin?

    We are deindustrialising because there’s no point any more in the little guy taking industrial risk.

    Patel shouldn’t have a jobs target; he should have a business startup target.

    I agree with Patrice Motsepe that we should accept the fact that this economy is going to be a mixed one, with the state doing business too. But if the state continues to brush aside the legitimate concerns of private businesses the way it does, of people who take huge risks with little guarantee of success other than their own confidence and commitment, we’re on a hiding to nothing.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Brett Nortje
    September 5, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Thanks Goofy for pointing that piece out.

    Bruce says … a million workers earn less than R850 a month and compared it to one showing that executive directors … earn about R925000 a month.

    I got struck by the horror of a million workers earning less than R850 per month.

    Bruce on the other hand asks (w)hy compare a representative sample with a nonrepresentative one, if not to excite envy and hatred?

    This thinking is not far which informed a speech by the then Minister, Dr Lapa Munnik, who was then reported by none other Madame Zille (wrongly) for having said that pensioners could live on R20 per month – it affected White people so the furore was huge.

    That Bruce is not immediately appalled by the magnitude and the scale utter disregard for workers is astounding – which is consistent with the line our dear Dworky has been pushing i.e. a few crumbs is better than none.

    Anyway that goes to support my view that it’s unlikely given the current configurations that the majority of voters will get the kind of empathy from the DA which will enable a material shift in voting patterns.

  • Brett Nortje

    Poverty is the human condition, Maggs.

    What is your alternative? That million people – jobless?

    Few countries have been able to lift the majority of their citizens out of poverty – by two or three generations of prudent economic policies – and, sometimes, even they struggle to get the tuning right.

    The very least we can demand of our countrymen is that they try their best and not steal goods and services provided for those who have nothing.

  • Brett Nortje

    Remember this?,7515,186-187_2025450,00.html

    City Press, Johannesburg, 04/11/2006 18:53 – (SA)

    Ngoako gets ‘Zuma-ed’

    Makhudu Sefara

    THE Scorpions’ raids on the homes of former Limpopo premier Ngoako Ramatlhodi this week will deepen divisions in the ANC with the “Zuma camp” already rallying behind him.

    The ANC Youth League, one of the loudest supporters of ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma, yesterday called the raids “another attack on our democracy” and accused the Scorpions of engaging in “yet another fishing expedition”.

    The league was to have met Ramatlhodi late last night to discuss the matter before commenting further.

    The elite investigating unit of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) swooped on Ramatlhodi’s “pumpkin paradise” mansion in Tzaneen, Limpopo, and his second home in Faerie Glen, Tshwane, at 6am on Thursday.

    They were looking for further documentary evidence to assist them in their probe into alleged corruption linked to the R750 million social security tender allocated by Ramatlhodi’s provincial government in 2002.

    City Press understands that the Scorpions had “essentially completed” their investigation and had raided the homes to ensure they were “not leaving behind” important information when Ramatlhodi is finally charged.

    A source said Ramatlhodi and his unnamed lawyer had, at some stage, been summoned to appear before investigators to be interrogated.

    “Ramatlhodi provided answers which have since been found to be untrue,” the source said.

    This apparently related to his claim that he had financed his R1.1 million Pretoria home with an access bond from a bank he had used to finance his Tzaneen mansion. Investigators apparently did not find this in bank records. They are also investigating how he acquired two Mercedes-Benz sedans and a Range Rover in 2003.

    But an angry Ramatlhodi yesterday scoffed at claims that the Scorpions were closing in on him. He suggested the raids occurred only after he had written to the NPA demanding to know the status of the probe.

    “I wrote (to) them about three weeks ago to say that my admission (as an advocate) had been delayed because of the so-called investigation. I wanted a letter from them to say what was happening. I can’t sit here (at home) and read newspapers, I have gone to school.

    “They then replied, acknowledging receipt of my letter and said they would respond in due course. The next thing, they respond by raiding my homes . . . This is how people use state organs against their comrades,” he said.

    The raids came shortly after Ramatlhodi made headlines by accusing President Thabo Mbeki of “autocratic behaviour” and dividing the ANC.

    Although Ramatlhodi yesterday refused to link the raids to his comments about his former friend, others in the ANC – all linked to the “Zuma camp” – said the actions were “further proof” that the Scorpions were being used as a “private army” in the ANC succession battle.

    Ramatlhodi’s woes date back to 2002 when the Limpopo government re-awarded a three-year R750 million tender to disburse pensions to Cash Paymaster Services-North (CPS).

    CPS’s empowerment partners are Northern Corporate Investment Holdings (Nicoh). Its directors include lawyer Solly Mohale and businessman Gideon Serote. Ramatlhodi refers to the two as his friends.

    But it was a shareholders’ tiff at Nicoh over whether a charitable trust, Baobab, should be allowed a 10% shareholding that sparked the trouble.

    It is claimed Baobab was used to channel funds from pension monies to the provincial ANC and politicians who included Ramatlhodi and former finance MEC Thaba Mufamadi.

    Ramatlhodi issued a statement through the ANC on Friday claiming that the investigation over the past three years “has been highly prejudicial”.

    In an interview with City Press yesterday, he accused the Scorpions of defying court decisions. He said they had, at some stage, refused to return documents seized at Mohale’s and Serote’s homes although two courts had demanded they do so.

    Ramatlhodi said the unit had again raided Mohale’s home on Friday, looking for the same documents it was initially ordered to return by the courts.

    “They (the Scorpions) have gone crazy, they are drunk with power and I am not impressed at all. They claim to defend the law but when a court rules against them, they go to another judge,” Ramatlhodi said.

    The Scorpions had arrived at his home while he was sleeping and had “traumatised” his 11-year-old who was preparing to go to school.

    They had taken several documents, including bank statements, and his “personal file” with items he had kept since his time as Limpopo premier. They also took two cellphones, which they later returned, he said.

    In his statement, Ramatlhodi had said how former National Director of Public Prosecutions, Bulelani Ngcuka, had told him he was being probed.

    Scorpions prosecutor Cornwell Tshavhungwa, who was in charge of the investigation, later said there was no case against Ramatlhodi.

    When Tshavhungwa was later arrested on an unrelated matter, the case against Ramatlhodi was re-opened.

    Ramatlhodi yesterday said Ngcuka had approached him long after he had stepped down, to get him (Ramatlhodi) to persuade Mohale and Serote to withdraw their then court challenge to the raids. He said Ngcuka had promised the NPA could “see to it” that “no prosecution” took place if the two withdrew their court challenge.

    Ngcuka could not be reached for comment yesterday.

  • Brett Nortje

    Or this?

    Ramatlhodi’s lucky escape

    Official documents obtained by the Mail & Guardian reveal the extent of the corruption allegations against former Limpopo premier Ngoako Ramatlhodi, highlighting how lucky he was not to be charged.

    Ramatlhodi, an ANC heavyweight, was voted on to the national executive committee at number 20 and is 23rd on the party’s provisional list for Parliament. Only the Scorpions’ lengthy corruption probe stopped him being appointed national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) in 2005 and it is speculated that he is a contender again, or may be headed for Cabinet.

    The Scorpions decided about a year ago to charge Ramatlhodi, but acting NDPP Mokotedi Mpshe overruled the decision in November after Ramatlhodi made representations to him and restarted a stalled high court application for admission as an advocate — the latter a prerequisite for the NDPP’s job.

    The Scorpions’ probe started in 2004 after allegations that Ramatlhodi and his then finance MEC, Thaba Mufamadi, got kickbacks from the BEE partner of Cash Paymaster Services, which Ramatlhodi’s administration had contracted to manage social grant payments.

    Mpshe’s decision not to prosecute followed consistent protestations of innocence from both politicians and others implicated. But evidence in Ramatlhodi’s case — and even his own admissions — reveal serious conflicts of interest, if not outright criminality. Documents obtained by the M&G include a 2005 question-and-answer exchange between the Scorpions and Ramatlhodi, which he appended to his renewed application for admission as an advocate, and a 2006 Scorpions court application for search warrants detailing their case against him.

    R30-million profit
    Central to the saga was Northern Corporate Investment Holdings (Nicoh), Cash Paymaster Services’ BEE partner, which profited by about R30-million from the grants contract between 2000 and 2003.

    Nicoh was controlled by lawyer Solly Mohale and businessmen Gideon Serote, Haroun Moti and Habakuk Shikoane.]

    Shikoane, Limpopo’s cane furniture king, became the Scorpions’ star witness, the search warrant application shows. He claimed in affidavits that Ramatlhodi had a hand in Nicoh’s formation. “Mr Ramatlhodi told us that he wanted us to form a company that could apply for tenders. I knew that this project would be a success because the premier himself initiated it.”

    In his formal answers to the Scorpions Ramatlhodi denied this, but confirmed participating in a related initiative launched by ANC-linked company Thebe Investments.

    Shikoane also claimed Ramatlhodi was a secret beneficiary of Nicoh, obtaining a regular percentage of payments to it. He handed over two hand-written “distribution lists”, indicating a 15% profit share for “Chief”, who he said was Ramatlhodi, over two months in 2001. Nicoh bank statements subpoenaed by the Scorpions for those periods showed payments according to the same percentages as those reflected in the lists. Ramatlhodi told the Scorpions Shikane’s claim was a “blatant lie” and he was “not acquainted at all” with “Chief”.

    The Scorpions raided Nicoh co-stakeholders Mohale and Serote in 2004 and seized evidence, including further “distribution lists” similar to Shikoane’s, giving independent corroboration.

    But the two challenged the warrants in court, which ordered the return of all evidence on technical grounds. In 2006 the high court authorised fresh seizures, but by this time the evidence was gone.

    The Pumpkin Palace
    The Scorpions did make progress on another front, however, in tracing actual payments. In two cases, money from Nicoh or Mohale helped Ramatlhodi buy property.

    In 2000, Ramatlhodi bought the “Pumpkin Palace”, a mansion outside Tzaneen, for R1-million. Nicoh issued three cheques, totalling just more than R1-million, to local businessman Michael Toulou, who used one of the cheques, for R785 000, to open a money market account.

    Soon after, a R500 000 bank cheque on this account was issued to a Tzaneen company called Magic Merkel Motors, owned by one Rayhaan Hassim, who paid a similar amount towards Ramatlhodi’s purchase of the mansion. Two more cheques from Toulou’s money market account, totalling R190 000, were used to pay for interior decoration at the Pumpkin Palace.

    In his written explanation Ramatlhodi admitted asking Toulou to make the payments, but expressed surprise that the money came from Nicoh.

    He said: “On inquiry it transpired that Mr Mohale owed Mr Toulou money which he paid out of his portion of the earnings of Nicoh.”

    Cattle business
    Ramatlhodi said Toulou advanced the R500 000 as a loan which he still intended repaying. Although there was no written loan agreement, Ramatlhodi said Toulou was looking after cattle belonging to him, which was his security.

    The R190 000, he said, was in consideration for some of his cattle which Toulou had sold on his behalf. He admitted, however: “I have no documentary proof of the sale of the cattle.”

    If Ramatlhodi’s explanation is true, it does not absolve him of a glaring conflict of interest: he admits a financial relationship with Toulou, but Toulou was a business partner as early as 1998 of Demetrios “Jimmy” Kourtoumbellides, a controversial Limpopo businessman who benefited from massive provincial property tenders, and Johannes Moolman, who chaired the provincial tender board that controversially re-awarded the social-grants tender to Cash Paymaster Services in 2002.

    Ramatlhodi and his Cabinet appointed Moolman.

    In 2003 Ramatlhodi bought another residential property, this time in Pretoria; R100 000 of the purchase price came from Mohale’s family trust.

    In his answers to the Scorpions, Ramatlhodi did not dispute this, but said it was a “loan” from Mohale, a “family friend”.

    He appended a purported copy of the loan agreement.

    If true, Ramatlhodi’s explanation may relieve him of criminal liability. But the admission of a financial relationship with a man involved in a company re-awarded a lucrative tender by his administration less than a year earlier reveals another serious conflict of interest.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Brett Nortje
    September 5, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Hey Goofy,

    “What is your alternative?”

    It’s unsurprising that you (or Peter Bruce and Dworky) find the gross injustice defensable.

    I would continue supporting the ANC and the alliance partners and mobilising as many people as I can to lobby our rather lax government to eradicate the awful ‘slave worker’ mentality that exists.

    There is very little that stands in the way of government doing what is needed.

  • Brett Nortje

    You’re prevaricating.

    Do you want to see that million people unemployed?

  • Brett Nortje

    EDITORIAL: Missing the point about jobs

    THE discussion about whether the best way to tackle unemployment
    is via wage subsidies or a relaxation of labour legislation
    misses the point. It’s not a matter of either/or. We need both.

    Published: 2011/08/19 07:27:25 AM

    THE discussion about whether the best way to tackle unemployment
    is via wage subsidies or a relaxation of labour legislation
    misses the point. It’s not a matter of either/or. We need both.

    What should be debated is how to introduce both reforms as
    quickly as possible.

    Yet divergent ideological positions within the Cabinet continue
    to hinder decisive action. While Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan
    and Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel are clearly in
    favour of easing the existing regime, Trade and Industry Minister
    Rob Davies and Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel have
    steadfastly avoided the issue.

    The government’s New Growth Path economic development strategy
    aims to create 5-million jobs by 2020, which would bring the
    unemployment rate down to about 15%, yet makes no provision for
    the relaxation of labour laws. On the contrary, the official
    position up to now has been that the private sector is simply not
    trying hard enough to work with the government to address

    Furthermore, at the presidential jobs summit this year – which
    was ostensibly aimed at forging a constructive relationship
    between business and government that would aid job creation – the
    government was decidedly unsympathetic to business’s complaints
    about the inflexibility of the labour market and the excessive
    power of trade unions.

    At the conclusion of the summit Mr Davies implied that business
    would just have to soldier on, because more relaxed labour laws
    were out of the question.

    It is absurd that a debate over the pros and cons of wage
    subsidies can take place while new legislation that would further
    restrict the flexibility of the labour market is under discussion
    in the National Economic Development and Labour Council.

    Last year, the Department of Labour published four draft
    amendment bills that would undoubtedly increase the burden on
    employers and discourage them from hiring new staff.

    It is abundantly clear that if the government wants to create
    employment it needs to lighten the regulatory burden on business.
    While wage subsidies could be helpful, they cannot be seen as a
    primary policy instrument for dealing with the broader
    unemployment problem. That will require policies that boost
    economic growth and expand the economy’s employment absorption

    In addition to raising the skills of new entrants to the labour
    market, obstacles such as overly-rigid labour legislation need to
    be broken down, not built up further. The New Growth Path is
    supposed to be a pragmatic approach to addressing SA’s social and
    economic backlogs. But if the plan is to succeed,
    ideologically-based opposition to tried and tested job creation
    measures will have to be abandoned.

  • Brett Nortje

    FRANS CRONJE: Economy
    We continue to ignore the young and poor at our peril

    Published: 2011/08/29 07:14:55 AM

    AFTER more than a decade of prosperity, SA’s business community
    became complacent. Transformation had secured short-term economic
    stability. Not enough attention was paid to the growing numbers
    of poor and unemployed.

    That changed at Polokwane in 2007. The poor moved from being a
    non-issue to being the issue. Economic radicalism emerged to fill
    the void left by 15 years of economic neglect of young black
    people. In response, organised business has fallen back on its
    old remedy: more and higher doses of transformation. This time
    the remedy may fail.

    In the midst of the London riots, the BBC interviewed a woman who
    runs a youth centre in London. They asked her why the riots had
    happened. She said too many young Britons had no jobs, no
    prospect of getting jobs, no futures, nothing to inspire them, no
    hope, and nothing that made them feel part of society. They were
    bored and society behaved as if they did not exist. Hence they
    went looting – partly to get back at society but also because it
    was something to do. It gave their lives some meaning to stand up
    to police, burn a few cars or steal a pair of shoes.

    The same problems apply to SA although in even greater measure
    than they do in the UK. Only a third of SA’s children grow up
    with both their parents. Only six out of every 10 children who
    sit in grade one will ever reach matric. Of that original 10,
    only three will pass matric. Fifty percent of South Africans aged
    25-34 do not work. A third of all households in SA get their
    biggest source of income from welfare. There are now almost three
    welfare recipients for every person who pays income tax.

    These figures, and there are many others like them, are the
    symptoms of an economic vacuum. It is a vacuum that affects
    mainly young black South Africans between the ages of 15 and 34.
    The majority of people in this group will not receive a proper
    education and half of them will never work. Like the London
    youths, they have no prospects, have nothing to do, and have no
    stake in a stable society.

    Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum and SA’s economic vacuum
    is now being filled with political and economic radicalism. One
    aspect of this radicalism is the promise to nationalise mines,
    banks and land. Such radicalism is an inevitable symptom of a
    society as ill as ours. To wish it away is to wish the poverty
    and the inequality away.

    To people who read business newspapers, nationalisation might be
    the economics of Disneyland – but it is effective politically. It
    may come to offer many young South Africans some hope for a
    better tomorrow. It promises they will have a role in shaping
    that tomorrow and so gives some meaning to their lives. It tells
    them that they are being heard and recognised.

    Even if a better life does not materialise, it offers them some
    prospect of getting their own back at society, which they may
    rightly recognise as having forgotten them. More than anything,
    nationalisation may be effective in all these things because no
    one is presenting a viable alternative to young black South

    Part of the problem we confront today is that some in business
    have made the mistake of believing their own propaganda: that
    transformation offered a route to a prosperous and more equal

    Transformation was important politically in the 1990s to co-opt
    black political leaders into not wrecking the economy they
    inherited in 1994. It was very effective in doing this. So
    effective in fact that many prominent black South Africans today
    regard it as a policy holy cow. Black political leaders and their
    close associates were handed shares and directorships. The German
    luxury cars, five-star hotels and fine dinners were a welcome
    change from the dusty townships, prison cells and bleak European
    winters that had been their lives in the fight against apartheid.
    Those lucky enough to benefit from the transformation bonanza
    quickly forgot their still- struggling former comrades.

    In some respects, the policy of transformation was too
    successful. Wealthy South Africans became complacent. Business
    saw that its short-term future was secure. SA was run by Thabo
    Mbeki , organised business and organised labour. The African
    National Congress (ANC) had not nationalised the economy, the
    stock market boomed, commodities boomed, and growth reached 5% by
    the mid-to-late 2000s.

    The failure of public schooling, growing inequality and rising
    unemployment were non-issues. Those who warned of dark clouds on
    the horizon were dismissed as naysayers and A fro-pessimists.

    In the minds of many, if anything upset the apple cart then
    another dose of transformation could always be dispensed.
    Politically, the poor were a non-issue.

    Then in December 2007 at Polokwane, all that came apart and the
    wheels fell off the apple cart. The comfortable Mbeki/
    business/labour nexus was no more.

    The radicals, who had been kept in their place under Mbeki, saw
    that the reins of power were within reach.

    As President Jacob Zuma dithered on policy, the radicals decided
    to take charge. Suddenly it was the ANC Youth League and the
    Congress of South African Trade Unions that were featuring in
    business papers here and abroad when it came to economic policy.

    Business responded by promising more transformation, this time in
    higher doses.

    An economic Codesa was proposed – years of negotiation that would
    serve to buy off the radicals.

    However, this time it is unlikely that transformation and the
    promise of one-on-one engagement with the ANC will work. Fewer
    than 1% of South Africans are senior managers. Fiddling with the
    racial make-up of that group will make no difference to the
    disenfranchised masses. Corporate social investment spending has
    alleviated ad-hoc social crises. But it can make no impression on
    the 50% of young black South Africans who do not work.

    The ANC may increasingly lose credibility in the eyes of many
    black people and will in future not have carte blanche to
    negotiate on their behalf, as was the case at Codesa.
    Transformation has served its purpose in securing short-term
    economic stability and run its course. That some senior business
    leaders now propose more of it, and more one-on-one engagement
    with the ANC, suggests that they do not properly understand the
    nature of the problem they face.

    Business may negotiate its way out of the current crisis and buy
    itself a few more years of breathing space. The ANC may clamp
    down on its youth league leader, Julius Malema, and a veneer of
    economic policy stability may be restored. But, inevitably, if we
    do not change the structure of our society, we will reach this
    crisis point again.

    Getting SA out of this damaging cycle will require offering a
    better alternative than the economic radicalism currently on
    offer. Such an alternative must not just have economic logic. It
    must also serve to rally the spirits of young people by giving
    them the hope that tomorrow will be better than today and that
    they have a role in making it so.

    . Cronje is head of the unit for risk analysis and deputy CEO of
    the South African Institute of Race Relations

  • Brett Nortje

    Maggs, I can see I need to give you the Basic South African Economics reader AGAIN.

    Bear in mind Michael Spicer has been….er…undeployed.

    MICHAEL SPICER: Nationalisation
    Once business has its house in order, it can speak out

    Published: 2011/08/18 07:16:19 AM

    AS WE strive to attain a high- growth, high-employment and
    inclusive economy, what does business need to do to get its house
    in order? To misquote the French philosopher, Voltaire: “We must
    cultivate our own garden before we worry about and change the

    All analyses of the South African economy over the past few years
    have a similar thrust: that, despite the many achievements since
    1994, the economy is growing too slowly to meet the urgent
    aspirations of its people. In particular, they all identify one
    feature that sets SA aside from its peer economies: the low
    proportion of the potential workforce in employment. It is our
    failure to include a much higher proportion of the population in
    the formal economy that provides fertile ground for populist

    All these analyses point to the need to raise growth rates to 6%
    a year or higher and to raise employment substantially. The
    question is, how? One approach is for the business sector to
    continue to argue stridently for the need for the government and
    labour to change their ways. The failure of policy and governance
    in government, and the self- defeating consequences of the wage
    and strike strategy of the unions, would not need much debate if
    this were merely a matter of rational discourse delinked from
    political power and interest considerations. But the problem is
    that this is not a clean slate. The burden of the past looms
    large. Business’s house is not in order. In addition, the global
    financial crisis has undermined trust in business both
    internationally and in SA.

    In this environment, amid the frustration caused by the
    government’s inability to “deliver” services and to stimulate
    growth and employment, and particularly with all the factional
    power plays in the ruling alliance, it is only too easy to
    scapegoat business as one of SA’s problems, and to ignore its
    policy proposals, however sound they may be.

    To escape the cycle of finger-pointing between business, the
    government and labour, it is necessary for business both to put
    its own house in order and to speak to the policy agenda. Hence,
    to take the nationalisation debate as a starting example,
    business needs to deal with it not just in IQ but in EQ
    (emotional understanding) terms.

    The reality is that 80%-90% of the stocks of most companies are
    held by institutional shareholders representing the pensions and
    savings of workers. Of SA’s institutional investors, black
    workers’ pension and provident funds now are the majority. In the
    mining industry, revenue goes to employees, providers of services
    and goods, taxes, reinvestment and the providers of capital. The
    last category receives a relatively small share. So the purported
    purpose of nationalisation, which is to provide additional
    benefits to SA and its communities, could only occur at the
    expense of workers’ pensions and if the state had surplus capital
    to take over the role of institutional investors. This is aside
    from the insuperable constitutional issues. The old business
    habit of preferring to speak behind closed doors and to shy away
    from robust public engagement creates a public vacuum, which is
    filled by those shouting loudest.

    But it is also imperative to address this issue in EQ terms. The
    time is ripe for a reassessment of Anglo-Saxon capitalism. This
    does not mean abandoning the core precepts of markets and the
    capitalist system, but rather a return to the earlier phase of
    values-driven, what one might call Puritan, capitalism with its
    future orientation, its emphasis on savings, investment,
    long-term horizons and benefits of economic endeavour accruing
    not just to the individual but to the community as a whole.

    One part of such Puritan values was a moderate lifestyle and
    executive remuneration that was truly performance-based, that had
    long-term horizons and was sensitive to the ratio of highest to
    lowest earners. This ratio seems to have cut adrift from the
    levels that existed for many decades in the US and UK and cannot
    be explained in terms of supply and demand of scarce skills.

    There are two sides to the employment coin. In order to make the
    essential argument about changing the incentives in the labour
    market that inhibit the expansion of employment, not to mention
    the counterproductive behaviour of trade unions, it is equally
    necessary for business to examine its attitude to employees.
    While generalisation is invidious, there are too many South
    African businesses whose words and actions are at odds. The
    practice of too many is still to treat employees as units of
    cost, to be ruthlessly excised at the drop of a hat.

    While many companies have made a genuine effort at an inclusive
    transformation that tries to offer opportunities for employees
    across the racial spectrum, it is also clear that there are too
    many that have approached this critical issue with a compliance
    mentality, ticking the boxes in a way that accords with the
    letter of regulations but not the spirit.

    Let me say something about anticompetitive practices. The essence
    of capitalism is competition, yet we know that, given the
    opportunity, companies collude to increase profits and rents by
    reducing competition. Opening up to the international economy in
    the 1990s and the liberalisation pursued by the government in
    those days provided fresh competitive breezes that have been
    strengthened by competition legislation. Yet South African
    business has been slow to adapt and in recent years there has
    been far too much collusion and market-rigging.

    The Consumer Protection Act was the consequence of the many
    devices that too many companies used to pull the wool over
    consumers’ eyes, to keep prices artificially high and to confuse
    consumers with unintelligible contracts. The irresponsible
    extension of credit to consumers, who could not cope with the
    debt, was also part of this.

    In many respects the formal economy looks more like the
    consumption- and debt- oriented societies of Europe and the US
    than the fast-growing savings and investment societies of Asia.
    We are close to living beyond our means. The national focus must
    be more on saving and investing in order to grow the national
    cake rather than pretending that we can redivide the existing
    cake in a way that will meet current needs sustainably.

    So business has to review its own values and actions. Business
    must do the right thing and do it on its own impetus. Change on
    these terms will not be a sign of weakness but a sign of strength
    and confidence, and will help underpin the essential arguments
    for a business-friendly, market-oriented democracy.

    Let me add a word about the idea of an economic Codesa. This
    seems to be the product of rather superficial thinking. The
    circumstances are now different from 1990-94, when the contesting
    political forces were unified in their objectives and had strong
    leaders with good strategic understanding. In the current, highly
    factionalised environment, the circumstances and framework
    required for a constructive outcome are absent.

    In conclusion, my approach is to keep the faith in our
    constitution and the sound institutions of our democracy and to
    defend them where necessary. One of the paradoxes of the
    nationalisation debate is the sense of personal liberation I feel
    to speak out on what needs to be done. I believe there is more
    than enough talent and goodwill for S A to get through these
    difficult days. Business is already playing a solid role in
    sustaining the national life and could do more if it makes some
    of the changes I have mentioned.

    Spicer is CEO of Business Leadership SA. This is an edited
    version of a recent speech to the South African Institute of
    Chartered Accountants.

  • Brett Nortje

    SIM TSHABALALA: Nationalisation
    AMID the controversy over calls for the nationalisation of mines
    and farms, Sim Tshabalala, the head of Standard Bank SA, today
    sets out the argument against the proposals by the ANC Youth

    Published: 2011/07/07 06:43:55 AM

    The ANC Youth League and other opinion makers have been arguing
    for a while now that South Africa’s mines and banks should be

    It should be accepted that these proposals are not merely the
    product of shrewd political manoeuvring. As analysts from across
    the political spectrum have pointed out, they are the effects of
    the pain and anger caused by persistent grinding poverty for
    millions, deep-rooted mass unemployment, and a level of
    inequality that is both morally unacceptable and constitutes a
    real threat to social cohesion. The statistics are chilling: 65%
    of South Africans live on less the R550 a month – less than a
    monthly satellite TV subscription. 12% are desperately poor,
    struggling to survive on R150 a month. One in five children shows
    signs of malnutrition. The unemployment rate for black South
    Africans under 30 is over 50%. Two-thirds of 15-to-30 year olds
    who want work have never been able to find a job. The richest 10%
    of South Africans earn more than the other 90% combined. Few
    would deny that we are sitting on a powder keg which is ready to
    explode for there are plenty of struck matches around.


  • Brett Nortje

    ITUMELENG MAHABANE: Politics, race distract us from core issue of
    Perhaps it is because both are easy to pronounce on for Everyman,
    and we are a most opinionated nation

    Published: 2011/07/22 07:11:17 AM

    WITH President Jacob Zuma ‘s state of the nation speech, Finance
    Minister Pravin Gordhan’s budget speech, and even Economic
    Development Minister Ebrahim Patel’s New Growth Path, which had
    jobs as the premise for its proposed redirection of our capital
    accumulation, it seemed SA was focusing on the details of our
    most critical challenge.

    For anyone who doubts the extent and centrality of jobs as a
    crisis, think on this: employment in SA is between 40%-50%. We
    should ditch talk of unemployment since the technical definitions
    mask the real crisis.

    The fact that SA – an upper-level, middle- income country – has
    that employment rate, and a labour utilisation rate of 60%, is an
    extraordinary and freakish concept. If we do not get millions of
    people to work, we are, to use a quaint English expression , dead
    in the water. Nothing else matters.

    Economic inclusion is more important in SA than economic
    redistribution. The two are not mutually exclusive – but it
    remains important that we understand ( morally and practically)
    which should be the focal point and which plays the role of
    enabler. There is also the simple logic that effective economic
    inclusion should lead to better economic representation.

    So it is alarming that, having honed in on the essence of our
    core challenge of economic inclusion and begun the exercise of
    prioritising the details of job creation, in a startling blur we
    find ourselves gravitating to that at which we so excel –

    South Africans have an exceptional penchant for distracting
    themselves, or being distracted, from manifestly core issues.
    There are two general distractions, politics and race. Perhaps it
    is because both are easy to pronounce on for Everyman, and we are
    a most opinionated nation. Politics and race have no real
    normative frames (although most critical theorists would
    disagree), nor technical confines, and so everyone is empowered
    to yell from the rooftops.

    Such fundamentally subjective issues are obviously appealing for
    those who have power and authority but perhaps limited
    discipline-based competencies or rigorous cognitive interests. It
    is human nature to revert to comfort zones.

    This sudden talk of an E conomic Codesa is a case in point. There
    is clearly a need for discussion and reaching a common
    understanding of priorities, challenges and hopefully solutions.
    Surely that means enabling, at the very least, a common language
    and tangible baseline even if there is a differing perspective?
    Worryingly, there appears to be little interest in establishing
    that empirical and normative baseline. This is the biggest
    failing of the Department of Economic Development.

    The National Planning Commission at least attempted it.

    If we go back to employment – radically improving the
    contribution of wage income to South African households as being
    the biggest challenge facing SA – what do we understand of that

    First, contrary to conventional wisdom, at its recent peak growth
    in the local economy began to create net jobs. Second, skilled
    South African workers are reasonably compensated by global peer

    But their income is reduced by a few core problems: South African
    employment means they are likely to support more people than
    their global peers, while less effective public services mean a
    considerable percentage of their salary is taken up by things
    such as education and transport.

    Unskilled South African s, who make up the overwhelming majority
    of workers, earn a poverty wage. Many of them cannot be
    effectively retrained for better prospects and must rely on wage
    subsidies. In short, poverty and inequality are directly
    correlated to low employment. So what does that mean?

    First, we must get the economy to grow faster sustainably.
    Essentially this is about increasing fixed investment and the
    size of our tradable sectors. Second, we must create skilled
    workers. That is fundamentally about fixing our education
    system – including a more practical redesign of post-matric
    training and education.

    University is not necessarily the answer to effective employment.
    Third, government spending has to become more efficient and
    improve delivery of what we might term a public (service) wage
    subsidy. This requires disciplined output-based prioritisation
    and ruthless accountability.

    While these seem self-evident to me, clearly they are not to all.
    Nevertheless, before we rush off to an E conomic Codesa, the
    question we need to ask ourselves is how we create a normative
    approach to the economic challenges facing us so that we can
    synthesise a common action plan?

    There are three themed questions to ask in order to arrive at
    that juncture: What are the major demand and supply challenges
    facing the country? How do we build a domestic economy predicated
    on socioeconomic sustainability, empowerment and capability,
    performance and reward? How do we improve the state’s ability to
    provide effective, wage-subsidising, public services?

    . Mahabane is a partner at Brunswick. He writes in his personal

  • Brett Nortje

    Getting the idea yet?

    ALLISTER SPARKS: The criminal neglect of burgeoning youth

    While analysts and commentators are punching panic buttons over
    Julius Malema’s nationalisation demands, it is as well to note
    that it is not he who poses a threat to our future.

    Published: 2011/07/06 08:21:18 AM

    While analysts and commentators are punching panic buttons over
    Julius Malema’s nationalisation demands, it is as well to note
    that it is not he who poses a threat to our future. It is the
    existence of a huge and fast-growing constituency of young,
    poorly educated and desperately disillusioned young people that
    does so.

    Malema is a symptom, not a cause, of this dangerous situation
    arising. He is a product of it, poorly educated, ill-informed and
    a social misfit. And being part of this constituency of the
    disillusioned he has a gut feel for its grievances and knows how
    to exploit them. That is what is enabling him to emerge as a
    player in our politics.

    But it is the governing alliance, particularly the Jacob Zuma
    Administration, that is responsible for this dangerous case of
    criminal neglect. The whole country, regime included, has been
    aware of it for years. Columnist after columnist has written
    about it; countless study groups have warned about it, saying it
    is a time-bomb in our society; specialists have itemised its
    causes, warning that a large number of our state schools,
    especially primary schools, are dysfunctional; international
    tests have shown that our literacy and numeracy levels, at school
    and even in our universities, are among the lowest in the world.
    Everyone is wringing their hands about it.

    But the government does nothing.

    Analysts have been pointing out for years that poor education is
    the root cause of youth unemployment, and that the only way to
    help leverage these millions of unskilled young people — nearly
    half the population under age 35 — into the economy is to amend
    our labour laws to allow for low entry-level wages so they can be
    trained on the job. Others have suggested the establishment of
    special development zones where wage agreements can be locally
    negotiated in depressed parts of the country.

    But the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), part of
    the governing alliance, says no. So the government does nothing.
    And so the problem of youth unemployment grows and grows, year
    after year.

    Now Malema is exploiting it and half the country is in a panic —
    to say nothing of foreign investors. Not that Malema is saying
    anything new. He has been yammering on for years about

    nationalising the mines and expropriating land without
    compensation. No-one has taken much notice of him in the past,
    because all rational South Africans (and there are plenty of
    those in government) know that nationalisation would be

    The numbers have been computed and published repeatedly, showing
    that the costs would be ruinous for the country, as they were for
    Zambia when Kenneth Kaunda nationalised its copper mines in 1969.
    It is surely self-evident, too, that if South Africa were to
    confiscate either its mines or its land without compensation, it
    would likely face international sanctions, at least from the
    United States and the European Union.

    So why the panic now if nationalisation is a non-starter? It is
    because Malema’s populist cry is suddenly gaining traction within
    that burgeoning constituency of the disillusioned. That is what
    happens when the grievances of disillusioned people — especially
    young, impressionable people — go unattended year after year
    until eventually they feel themselves to be an abandoned and
    aggrieved generation; that nobody gives a damn about their

    They become susceptible to simplistic solutions — and to
    That can happen when one of their own kind, someone like Malema
    who can identify with their grievances pops up with a
    silver-bullet solution. It’s easy, he says, just nationalise the
    mines and take back the land that the thievish whites stole from
    us then we can all share in the ill-gotten wealth they have kept
    to themselves all these years.

    It may not catch on at first, but keep chanting such quick-fix
    slogans over and over and one day, as the aggrieved constituency
    grows and feels emboldened by swelling numbers and the young
    rabble-rouser’s demagogic skills become more potent, the idea is
    liable to ignite and rip through the dry forest of

    The infuriating thing is that this problem was foreseeable well
    before 1994. But there has never been an attempt to devise and
    implement a policy to deal effectively with it. We have seen a
    plethora of acronyms purporting to do so — RDP and GEAR, ASGISA
    and now the New Growth Parth — but none has touched on the
    bedrock issues causing the problem: fixing the education system
    and amending the labour laws to ease our young people into
    first-time jobs where they can acquire skills and start climbing
    the economic ladder.

    There isn’t even a proper debate about doing this, nothing beyond
    empty declarations of good intentions while down on the ground
    everything carries on as before.

    Why the inertia? Sadly, it is because our heroic struggle for
    liberation has morphed into a selfish struggle for individual
    gain. From idealism to greed in one giant leap for ownkind.

    This is the result of poor leadership. We need strong leadership
    to provide a vision of how to drive our new democracy from the
    phase of transformation to the phase of development and maturity,
    of how to uplift all sectors of our society together.

    We have lacked such leadership. Our vision has been blurred by
    the fact that our liberation movement was steeped in a socialist
    ideology throughout the struggle years, only for its entire
    intellectual universe to collapse just as it came to power,
    leaving it in a state of confusion.

    The vision went fuzzy when the liberation movement was pitched
    into a globalised free-enterprise environment it didn’t
    understand and was reluctant to accept. As it has groped around
    in this intellectual no-man’s-land, further complicated by the
    worst economic recession in a century, the various elements of
    its broad coalition have undergone different degrees of
    adaptation to the new realities they found themselves facing.
    Some have not adapted at all.

    As a result they have been at loggerheads ever since, with the
    different factions fighting one another continuously for control
    of a political machine whose heroic struggle record assures it of
    power regardless of its lack of any collective vision now. This
    new struggle has become their consuming interest to the exclusion
    of all else.

    It has degenerated into a jousting match for the capture of key
    positions in the ruling party, and thus ultimately in government.

    It’s a personal power game that has become so corrupt that even
    some of the tenderpreneurship deals, I’m told, are aimed at
    making money to use as bribes for support at the next ANC
    congress in December 2012 — which will be a sad tainting of what
    is supposed to be a celebration of the centenary of the founding
    of that once great movement.

    A corrupt game of greed in which Julius Malema is being allowed
    to become a key player because none of those who should be
    exercising leadership are willing to risk their positions by
    getting on the wrong side of him and the constituency of the
    disillusioned he has been allowed to mobilise.

    If limp leadership continues to allow this to happen, it will all
    be downhill for the promising new South Africa.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Brett Nortje
    September 5, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Hey Goofy,

    “Do you want to see that million people unemployed?”

    Less than R850 per month is not what I regard as ’employment’.

    Those people will be better of unemployed and taken care of by the state.

    At R1000 per month = R1 billion. It’s less than the cost of General Cele’s leases.

  • Gwebecimele

    For a lighter moment. Is this how officials describe their leaders.

  • Brett Nortje

    Typical Maggsism.

    1) How long do you think that is sustainable?

    2) How many people do you think the state and big business can provide with ‘meaningful work’?

    Have you internalised none of the debate?

  • Gwebecimele
  • Maggs Naidu –

    Brett Nortje
    September 5, 2011 at 13:35 pm

    Hey Goofy,

    It’s sustainable forever – our national revenue can manage R1 or 10 billion per year.

    Why do you think that employers who pay less than R850 per month ought to be allowed to continue to exist?

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Maggs

    “Less than R850 per month is not what I regard as ‘employment’.
    Those people will be better of unemployed and taken care of by the state.”

    Maggs is right. We demand DECENT JOBS with DECENT WAGES.

    The PRC makes the terrible mistake of allowing millions of people to be employed in sweatshops where they earn tiny salaries, making Nikes for fat Americans. Result: China is stuck with an overheated economy, 8% annual growth rate, unsightly polluted cities, and exhausted workers.

    We would not want that for our people!

  • Brett Nortje

    Gwebecimele says:
    September 5, 2011 at 13:45 pm

    Overnight, nationalisation will cause the kind of capital flight this country has seen expanded over 4 decades.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder
    September 5, 2011 at 13:53 pm

    Hey Dworky,

    “China is stuck with an overheated economy, 8% annual growth rate, unsightly polluted cities, and exhausted workers.”

    I have absolutely no doubt that is the kind of life you want for especially the poor Black people here.

    Anyway – China’s economy may be over heated with the elite being super rich – there are still over a billion people there who are poor to abjectly poor.

    If you want to replicate the China type approach to our economy the endorse the disregard for the environment, quality assurance, food safety standards, intellectual property rights, human rights and more.

  • Brett Nortje

    Maggs Naidu – says:
    September 5, 2011 at 13:49 pm

    Maggs, can you get your ass out of the ivory tower for 5 minutes?
    Do you labour under the misapprehension there is an extensive social security safety net?

    Just the million newly unemployed you turfed out will cost that. Many of them word piecejobs. What about their dependants?

    Why should 1 million people working domestic jobs work for a R1400 minimum wage if other people are getting R1000 for doing nothing as you propose? Add 1M more to the ranks of the unemployed. 1M people have lost their jobs since the start over the last couple of years.

    There are 14 million welfare dependants supported by 4 million taxpayers already. You’ve just added another 2M.

    It all adds up – only, you can’t add 2+2.

  • Gwebecimele

    The ANC-led government is a “bodyguard of whiteness”.

    Those is one the views of radical thinker and writer Andile Mngxitama, the publisher and editor of the journal New Frank Talk. He was part of a four-member panel discussing the topic Not in Black and White at the Mail & Guardian’s Literary Festival, currently under way at the Johannesburg Market Theatre.

    Author and journalist Fiona Forde, writer and civil servant Sandile Memela and author, poet and intellectual Antjie Krog made up the rest of the panel.

    In supporting his argument, Mngxitama said the ANC has the political power to push for land reform but “they will not exercise it because they are protecting old white privileges, bottom line. I cannot think of any other rational explanation.”

    He went further and said South Africa is a white country under black management and that the ruling party can no longer make any promises to its supporters before elections.

    Only the party’s youth leader, Julius Malema, who is currently facing disciplinary action that could see him expelled for five years from the party if found guilty, can save the party from losing support through his radical expropriation of land without compensation and nationalisation of mines policy.

    Mngxitama argued against the theme of the day stating that in fact things are still “black and white”.

    Asked by Forde if he would like to see a non-racial South Africa, he declined to answer. “How do we seriously talk about a non-racial society when the whole project of 1994 has normalised the places of black people and the places of white people in society?” asked Mngxitama.

    Pressed further, he said he desired a free society where whiteness is totally irrelevant, and suggested land redistribution as a way to achieve that.

    “Don’t you think that it would be nice if we don’t have these white men running around with so many slaves on their land? Shouldn’t this be the first question?”

    But Krog pointed that the Constitution allowed for a radical land reform plan. “Why is it taking so long? … The whole farming industry has not worked out what kind of farms people want.” She called for a radical land redistribution plan by the ANC government.


    Mngxitama agreed with Krog and said the ruling party had not tested the limits of the Constitution in addressing land redistribution, despite having the political power to do.

    However, Memela, who throughout the discussion had encouraged a non-racial approach to South Africa, argued that individuals needed to take responsibility and do whatever they can to lift others up, because there was not going to be a plan to redress South Africa’s inequalities.

    “The inequalities are so deeply rooted that it is not going to be eliminated in Andile’s lifetime or mine. We can only try to raise little children, make them not to be ashamed of themselves because they are black or white; it’s what it is.”

    The Mail & Guardian Johannesburg Literary Festival hopes to be bigger and better this September. To mark the city’s 125th birthday the festival will focus on Jo’burg as both an African city and a world city. Visit our special report here.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Brett Nortje
    September 5, 2011 at 14:04 pm

    Hey Goofy,

    You’re not making sense. As usual.

    My point of departure is that is cannot be in the interests of the DA to support an increase in the minimum wage – your comments (and that of Peter Bruce and Dworky) support that.

    Anyway our government can afford R3 billion per month if that is what it takes.

    You still have not said why employers who are paying less than R850 per month should be allowed to exist.

  • Brett Nortje

    You’re not listening. As usual.

    The only work you can find in a rural area is at a piecejob. Twice a week, R100 a day.

    R800 a month.

    It is not your government that affords R3B a month.

    It is this country’s hard pressed taxpayers.

    I’m not going to defend the DA – let them do it themselves – but, are they not the party proposing a basic income grant?

    As usual, you’re off the mark on all the issues.

    It is common cause now small business is the main engine for job creation. If unemployment is to be dented those we would not normally regard as employers are going to have to be.

    Must I quote Itumeleng Mahabane at you again?

    “If we go back to employment – radically improving the
    contribution of wage income to South African households as being
    the biggest challenge facing SA – what do we understand of that

    First, contrary to conventional wisdom, at its recent peak growth
    in the local economy began to create net jobs.

    Second, skilled South African workers are reasonably compensated by global peer

    But their income is reduced by a few core problems: South African
    employment means they are likely to support more people than
    their global peers, while less effective public services mean a
    considerable percentage of their salary is taken up by things
    such as education and transport.

    Unskilled South Africans, who make up the overwhelming majority
    of workers, earn a poverty wage. Many of them cannot be
    effectively retrained for better prospects and must rely on wage
    subsidies. In short, poverty and inequality are directly
    correlated to low employment. So what does that mean?

    First, we must get the economy to grow faster sustainably.
    Essentially this is about increasing fixed investment and the size of our tradable sectors.

    Second, we must create skilled workers. That is fundamentally about fixing our education system – including a more practical redesign of post-matric
    training and education. University is not necessarily the answer to effective employment.

    Third, government spending has to become more efficient and improve delivery of what we might term a public (service) wage subsidy. This requires disciplined output-based prioritisation and ruthless accountability.

    While these seem self-evident to me, clearly they are not to all.”

    Including Maggs.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Maggs

    “[The] China type approach to our economy [woiuld entail] disregard for the environment, quality assurance, food safety standards, intellectual property rights, human rights …”

    Maggs is right. I heard of a man living in a desperate poverty near Diepsloot. Most of his food he gets by rummaging in rubbish tips. In 2009, he was offered a job. But, when told that it would mean that he would have to sacrifice “quality assurance,” “food safety standards” and “intellectual property,” he was heard to say: “Thanks, but no thanks.”

    True story, Maggs!

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Brett Nortje
    September 5, 2011 at 14:57 pm

    Hey Goofy,

    “The only work you can find in a rural area is at a piecejob. Twice a week, R100 a day.”

    You’re stretching the question to fit the answer.

    Nice try – no go away.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder
    September 5, 2011 at 15:22 pm

    Hey Dworky,

    I once heard of a man who sniffed too much cocaine.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Hey Goofy and Dworky,

    See Jacko Maree, Standard Bank Group (SBK) Chief Executive, agrees with me!

    Moderating executive pay not the answer says Maree


  • Brett Nortje

    Maggs Naidu – says:
    September 5, 2011 at 15:47 pm

    Indeed I do. Most people in rural areas wish they were paid R100 a day.

  • Brett Nortje

    Maggs Naidu – says:
    September 5, 2011 at 16:14 pm

    Another nasty mhlungu with Stockholm Syndrome. Did Frans Cronje not predict more protection money from big business?

    Why do you not ask Jacko why Standard Bank appears to be dragging its feet when it comes to respecting the protections offered by the Consumer Protection Act?

  • Brett Nortje

    Are loyal and disciplined members of the ANC like Ramatlhodi and Mpho Mogale ever truly ‘fired’? What exactly does one have to do to get kicked out the ANC?

    Oh – Wait! I know….

    Support a losing faction in a putsch.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Hey Goofy,

    Check this out.

    Interestingly the oke is not in denial about the violations of human dignity and rights.

  • izeze™

    “Support a losing faction in a putsch”

    LOL 😀


    I really want to know precisely why you titled this particular blog, “Why Ramatlhodi
    promotes an autokratic kleptocracy – Constitutionally Speaking”.
    In either case I really enjoyed the article!Thanks for your time-Lou

  • Pingback: The election results were good but the cabinet … not so much | Nic Borain()