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Category Archives: Setting them straight: explaining away bias

CAPE TOWN/SOUTH AFRICA, 10JUN2009 -Jacob Zuma,...

Ek issie ooit guilty gevind nie. Behalwe met die Shaik ding maar ek wassie innie hoffie. | news | sa news | ‘You are morally corrupt’.

Dear Mr. Zuma,

Excuse me for the casual way in which I address you, but I just can’t bring myself to call you President Zuma until such time as you begin to act like one in the matters surrounding Julius Malema and many other current issues. This letter to you is just a way for me to convey my concerns, frustrations and conclusions I draw as a youngish white English-speaking South African male who, contrary to what you may think, holds only one passport. Just like my real South African white Afrikaans brethren, I too am not going anywhere and hence I keep an eye on the news and often find myself wondering how we have come to this point in South Africa.

I have a problem when an individual such as Julius Malema can live the lifestyle he does on the income he declares. I guess there is nothing new in this concern, as he has been doing it for a while now, and it has been pointed out by many in recent days.

What really concerns me though is the way that an individual who becomes the leader of the ANCYL (let’s not forget that it is a division of the ANC) can become so wealthy so quickly. Given his level of education, one may be pushed to see how this is possible were it not for dealings that are not entirely above board. I am not simple, so his harping on about being “poor but creditworthy” really does not fool me. Nobody is that creditworthy. The man is obviously up to his elbows in cash and loving it. Every person is of course entitled to earn a living, but when they clearly earn significant amounts of money by doing what would seem to be very little at all, one wonders how they come by this wealth.

Let’s assume for a minute that Julius is not guilty of any crime. If this is the case, why can he simply not divulge the source of his extensive wealth? We can all go on with our lives safe in the knowledge that the head of the ANC Youth League is on the straight and narrow, that he earns an honest wage, and that the president of our country is not commenting as there really is no need. If this wonderful trust fund of his is used for philanthropy, why can he not show the public the work being done and the flow of money into the fund and to the benefactors? If this trust fund is receiving money for all this wonderful charitable work from above-board sources, why can these not belisted? Surely they’d be honoured? I would be! | news | sa news | ‘You are morally corrupt’.

Lekker om iemand tee te komwat bereid is om vir die bandiet wat party mense die president noem, te vertel wat hy dink. Gevaarlik, maar ook so as jy in die pad af stap.  Gee hom hel ouboet.


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CAPE TOWN/SOUTH AFRICA, 12JUN2009 - Maria Ramo...

Een handjie in Absa, een handjie in Rupert se Richmont? Groete vir Trevor?

So nou skielik is Malema/Zuma? se antwoord “fok die Ruperts”.  Presies hoe hy daarby uitkom is nie so belangrik as dat hy homself nou verontskuldig deur weer iets in die Afrikaner se wereld uit te sonder om aan te val nie.  Nou skielik is die Rupert familie verdagtes?  Intussen is die land reeds in die moeilikheid. lees mooi wat hierbo staan. ABSA het $43 000 000 nodig om te kan voldoen aan die nuwe Basel vereistes m.b.t. likwiditeit.  Dit is nadat ons die afgelope jare doodgegooi is met hoe sterk hulle kapitaal verhoudings was. Ons het al die pad te kenne gegee dat likwiditeit by ABSA n probleem is. Hoe anders kan jy verklaar dat n bankgewaarborgde tjek tien dae neem om by ABSA in kotant omskep te word. Los maar die “bedrog verskoning” – dit werk net vir mense wat nie weet wat aangaan nie. En onthou, ABSA is maar net A gegradeer deur Fitch omdat Barclays hulle kan regop hou. Standard Bank daarenteen het n baie swakker gradering gekry. Die land is aan die brand mense, en intussen speel Malema met vuurhoutjies langs die Ruperts se “grasdak-huis”. Insgelyks is dit fassinerend dat n tabak “legacy” n groot deel van n land se media kan beheer, maar dis mos maar hoe RSA werk. Onder beheer van die grootvyf, of ses, of hoerveel ook al.

ANCYL desperately seeking conspiracies

July 28 2011 at 09:00am

st p3mugRAMOS2REUTERSAbsa group CEO Maria Ramos gestures during the Reuters Africa Investment Summit held in Johannesburg March 8, 2011. Absa Group, the South African bank majority owned by Barclays will likely need another $43 million this year to boost liquidity to meet tighter regulations, Ramos said on Tuesday. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko (SOUTH AFRICA – Tags: POLITICS HEADSHOT BUSINESS)

Deon de Lange

THE ANC Youth League has taken a scatter-gun approach in defence of its beleaguered president, Julius Malema.

It is blaming everyone from the Rupert family to media giant Naspers, Absa CEO Maria Ramos, DA MP Wilmot James and other “capitalists” and “imperialists” for the difficulty in which the youth leader finds himself.

The league yesterday apparently tried to deflect attention from Malema’s family trust, which is allegedly funding the young leader’s lavish lifestyle through tender kickbacks. It said in a statement that Naspers – owner of Media24, which publishes City Press – and its “master” were behind the latest allegations against Malema.

City Press reported on Sunday that businessmen had allegedly made payments into the fund in exchange for Malema’s intervention in the allocation of government tenders.

The newspaper claimed one businessman had admitted to receiving a government tender after depositing R200 000 into Malema’s Ratanang Family Trust, and several other businessmen, notably in Malema’s home province of Limpopo, had done the same.

“(Media24) publications replicate the apartheid ideology of white supremacy and portray black people as corrupt or superstitious human beings, with no potential to develop and engage in conscious social, political and economic issues confronting South Africa,” the league said.

The ANCYL took a swipe at one of South Africa’s wealthiest families, the Ruperts, who are shareholders in Naspers, as well as ex-Treasury director-general and current Absa board member Maria Ramos.

The statement also asked whether Naspers shareholders, the Ruperts, and board members Fred Phaswane and Professor Jakes Gerwel approved of “the manner in which their (news)paper is used to fight political battles”.

The league implied Ramos had a hand in Malema’s woes as she had “publicly opposed policy positions (of the league), particularly on the nationalisation of mines”.

The statement went on to draw comparisons between the media’s revelations about Malema and the hacking scandal playing itself out in Rupert Murdoch’s media empire after revelations that the now defunct News of the World tapped into the voicemail records of several royals, celebrities and crime victims in search of tabloid scoops.

“Is the Rupert family… approving the Murdoch hacking strategy of prying into the personal accounts and private lives of political personalities?” the statement asked.

Among a list of rhetorical questions the league posed to City Press – “(we are) asking these questions not with the intention of getting honest answers from City Press” – were the following:

l “How much farm and agricultural land does the Rupert family own in South Africa today, and how did they acquire such land?”

l “If indeed an amount of R200 000 has been deposited into the trust to facilitate a deal, and this is illegal, why did City Press not open a criminal case against Mr Malema and the person who claims to have deposited a bribe into his account, because the laws of this country force them to do so?”

l “What is the role of Absa, whose CEO, Mario Ramos, has publicly opposed the policy positions of the ANC Youth League, particularly on the nationalisation of mines?”

l “Why is Wilmot James, the DA federal chairperson, a director of News24, owner of City Press, and these right-wing newspapers?”

James resigned his Media24 directorship several months before being elected to Parliament in 2009. He told The Star yesterday the league was “simply trying to duck the issue”.

“They should be focused on rooting out corruption in their own ranks. And they should understand that the DA takes issues of possible conflicts of interest seriously. That is why I resigned my position at Media24,” he said.

The league said it was asking these questions “to educate and walk with members of the public about the ulterior motive of the capitalists, imperialists and their representative in the form of the Rupert family, who will do everything in their power to maintain the status quo in South Africa”.

Complaints have now been lodged against Malema with the police, the public protector and the SA Revenue Service.

Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela has confirmed that a preliminary investigation is under way after the priority crime unit received a case docket from the Brooklyn police in Pretoria, where AfriForum lodged a criminal complaint this week.

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Caricature of Idi Amin, the president of Ugand...


My family and I moved to Canada just over two years ago and I have never looked back since.  While the Home Coming Revolution say there is an increase of the people wanting to return we are certainly not amongst them and would immigrate somewhere else before returning to South Africa.

Looking at the site itself only one side of the picture is painted, it is certainly not balanced and as a result find it to be propagandist. Bridget Britten-Kelly stated in a News24 story that blogs on the site increase by 137% but provides no figures. There is no indication of why people want to return, what percentage of people wanting to return actually do, what is number of people who immigrated verse the number of people returning and how many people leave the country or are planning to leave the country each year. She also does not state how many people who have returned actually re-immigrate or are unhappy with this decision to return. It really sounds like some neo-liberal organisation.

We have not involved ourselves in the South African community here at all; but we come across South Africans almost every day, it is honestly unavoidable in a city like Vancouver. We have not met any that want to go back and there seem to more and more arriving all the time.

Anyone can make it

My wife had found a new career and is enjoying it; I will soon be starting on a Canadian qualification at a top institute, which will lead to new and better career prospects. My son enjoys school and has an abundance of future opportunities available to him; including the opportunity to study at the best universities in the world where entrance is based purely on GPA. By this time next year we will own property in one of the hottest property markets in the world. It does take time settle in and moving half way across the world comes with a set of challenges, but by making the most of your move you can do it quite quickly.

We are not wealthy or particularly well qualified, just your average people; so if we can do it then so can anyone else. In fact we were in the middle to high income bracket in South Africa, here we are in the middle-income bracket and are still able to save far more than we did in South Africa.

The sense of freedom one feels living in a country like Canada cannot be explained, it is something that has to be experienced. After living here now for over two years we could not be happier and have decided never to return and will be proud citizens this time next year.

Crime is not the only factor

In South Africa, like most people, our family was a victim of crime. We enjoy living in a society is pretty safe and we never feel threatened by crime. However that is simply one reason for us not to return. The fact that Canada is stable and economically sound also makes a big difference. A major stress reliever is that everything runs as it should and government departments provide the high level of service that my tax money pays them to do.

It is difficult to predict what one’s life will be like ten or twenty years from now, but this is what you have to consider when deciding to immigrate anywhere or return to your home country. Looking at what is happening in South Africa there are certainly new concerns and for the sake of our future and our children we will take our chances here. These are additional reasons for us not wanting to return.

One man can be dangerous

Crime is still a consideration, however a much greater concern should be not be Julius Malema’s comments but the rising support of the policies touted by him within the ANC and its alliance partners. Yes, he is part of the larger ANC organisation and is confined by the constitution but his racial slurs are not criticised by the party leadership, nor are his attacks on the West. Of greater concern is his push for nationalisation is gaining momentum. The current ANC leadership appears too weak and does not seem to be able to handle him. This proves that he is becoming increasingly powerful and influential within the organisation making a serious potential candidate for its leadership.

One man can make a difference; look at Mugabe, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Idi Amin. In fact Hitler promoted Pan-Germanism while Malema is promoting Pan-Africanism. The thing to remember is these leaders certainly did not allow little things like constitutions to get in their way. If the ANC does go ahead and changes the constitution to legally allow the appropriation of land, mines and banks by the government then what is stopping them from making other self-serving changes such as extending the presidential term indefinitely.

Inefficiency does not create employment. One does not have to be an economics professor to understand that inefficiency leads to greater unemployment in the long the run. The ANC has not been successful in running the public organisations it is mandated to do. High crime, falling education standards, unemployment, no service delivery, corruption, unqualified financial reports of municipalities and inefficient government service is the order of the day.

There is no sign that it is improving in any way, in fact things are regressing. It appears that the government’s attitude is that it could be worse rather than let’s make it better. There is not a sense of “Let’s be all we can be”. Now if nationalisation goes ahead (there is a strong possibility it may) this style of management is going to be brought into organisations that are currently run by educated and experienced professionals. This does not paint a good picture for the future of those organisations, the unemployed or South Africa.

The right type of FDI is needed

Recently Wall Mart took over Massmart and some have seen that as countries wanting to invest in South Africa. Massmart is a drop in the ocean for Wall Mart and honestly all they are doing is taking over existing infrastructure. The type of investment South Africa needs to attract for it to be beneficial is one where new factories and technology is brought into the country and this is simply not happening. New companies wanting to invest into South Africa are put off by governments who want to start a process of nationalisation and this will result in a decline in foreign direct investment into the country. Why should they invest in South Africa when they can freely invest in many other countries in the world, especially those that have a cheaper and more efficient labour force?

The Youth League leaders, wearing Armani suits, drinking Johnnie Walker and driving German luxury vehicles, promotes nationalisation as cure for unemployment. It obvious this is more in self-interest rather than to uplift the poor and youth. If they were interested in the youth they would be promoting a solid education system, entrepreneurial skills within the youth, labour efficiency and an open market which encourages business and investment. This will allow South Africa to compete with the rest of the world and is really the only cure for unemployment. Even communist countries such as China understand this principle.

Stability is good

South Africa is a democracy, no doubt. However the difference between living in Canada and South Africa is that non-performing governments get voted out of power and so are forced to perform.

Are things getting better in South Africa? Are any of the countries underlying problems being addressed? The answer seems to be no for both of these. Prices have increased dramatically, even our better off family members are finding increasingly difficult financially. Unemployment is unacceptably high, crime is not getting any better and the education system does not have the ability to provide the country with a decently skilled work force.

Then one has to ask, will it be any better ten or twenty years from now when our children need to find jobs? I think it will be very unlikely that it is unless the country gets a leader who is strong and places the wellbeing of the country over his own interests in the most passionate way. On the other end of the scale the likely hood of Canada or Australia still being stable in ten to twenty years from is pretty good. They have been stable democracies for many years and will continue to be

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Brain Sandberg has it wrong if he believes the Walmarts of this world are built on corporate human rights violations (Walmart threatens human dignity, Letters, May 19).

First, these workers have a choice — if they are coerced it is slavery and Walmart should be condemned unreservedly. Admittedly, for anyone to choose to work for a very low wage in bad conditions and for long hours, such a choice cannot be made out of a particularly good set of circumstances. By the standard of the average Business Day reader, it could even be called inhumane.

However, the alternatives in many poor developing countries are: scavenging garbage dumps, prostitution, begging, engaging in criminal activity, and trying to make a living of subsistence farming and informal street vending. The same applies to child labour. You cannot assume the alternative is going to school — as opposed to child prostitution or criminal activity. In fact, child labour in the West was fairly common until after the Industrial Revolution.
Contrary to middle-class sensibilities, studies have shown that people perceive “sweatshop” labour more favourably than agricultural work and street vending. It is not just that these “sweatshops” improve meagre monetary positions, they also contribute to increased job prospects for women, educational opportunities and intergenerational mobility.

Second, Mr Sandberg should add up the low hourly wages in “sweatshops” and compare it to the average per capita income. Working 10 or more hours in a “sweatshop” puts many of these workers in a better position than their fellow low-skilled workers outside the exploitative textile garment industry.

Finally, Mr Sandberg should look at China. Already some western firms are pulling out of China and looking for areas with more “competitive” (cheaper) labour. Chinese “sweatshop” workers are beginning to reflect some of the increased prospects mentioned above by demanding and justifying higher wages, moving into higher skilled sectors and continuing to break the poverty cycle. You have to start somewhere. In striving towards the noble goals of human dignity and social responsibility, we need to be cognisant of context-specific realities and the unintended consequences of well-intended policies.

Where and when Walmart behaves unethically, it should be condemned. Corporatist lobbying of politicians and undue government interference in the economy are two sides of the same corporatism coin. It robs us of real choices and is the source of many of the problems in today’s so-called “free market” economies. But we should not throw out the baby with the bath water. I suspect convincing Mr Sandberg of the human dignity and social responsibility inherently implied in a free (or should that be “freed”) market society would be a waste of time.

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