Opinion

  • Zuma says one thing, “fellow” comrades another

    By Pinky Khoabane

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    February 28, 2017 was one of those days where we had ask to ask ourselves, whose word in the African National Congress (ANC) we must believe. In the conflicting messages that have come to characterise the ANC, the ruling party’s parliamentarians this week, turned down a motion to amend Section 25 of the Constitution and expropriate land without compensation.

    The motion was led by the EFF on the back of a statement made by President Jacob Zuma at the weekend where he reiterated his commitment to radical economic transformation and expropriation of land without compensation. Speaking at the launch of Operation Phakisa on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, the president said: “The 2017 State of the Nation Address focused on the critical importance of radical economic transformation. Land reform is a central pillar of the radical economic transformation programme. Let me reiterate what I said in the SONA: true reconciliation will be impossible to achieve if the land question is not addressed. If we do not radically change the patterns of land ownership, control and management in South Africa we will be creating problems for ourselves in future”.

    The President asked the crucial question: “How are we going to achieve all the goals mentioned in the State of the Nation Address and all the laws and policies that we are busy amending to enable faster land reform, including land expropriation without compensation as provided for in the Constitution?” Read the full speech here http://www.thepresidency.gov.za/speeches/address-president-jg-zuma-launch-operation-phakisa-agriculture%2C-land-reform-and-rural

    His answer came by way of an EFF led motion in Parliament calling to amend the Constitution. It offered to give the ANC the 6% vote it won in the national elections which would, in addition to the ANCs 62%, provide the two-thirds majority required to change the Constitution. We know this was an opportunistic move by the EFF. It has openly declared its hatred for Zuma and has openly denounced him as a president. How could it therefore enter into a negotiation with the ANC with Zuma at its head? The EFF is also in bed with the Democratic Alliance (DA) at municipal level. It has vowed to give away its votes at the next national elections if it means unsitting the ANC. It therefore stands to reason that its motion was just a bluff.

    It however managed to expose the ANC’s divisions and hypocrisy.

    ANC MPs turned the EFF’s motion down – a decision that created a rage on social media Twitter and Facebook.

    Tony Yengeni asked: Can an ANC MP slowly explain why African MPs failed to unite a common position on land expropriation without compensation?
    @kimheller3 #LandDebate #Zuma has called for Amendment of Section 25 & expropriation of land without compensation. Why are MP’s not supporting this?

    @_Phurah What happened today in parly was a sabotage of @PresidencyZA Zuma on his call of expropriation of land without compensation –

    In defending their decision, ANC MPs said it wasn’t ANC policy to expropriate land without compensation. That may be so but the immediate question is why the president had raised such a suggestion and as publicly as he did?

    The Constitution does not currently allow for land redistribution without compensation and stipulates that “no law may permit arbitrary deprivation of property” and that compensation must reflect “an equitable balance between the public interest and the interests of those affected”.

    While we all understand where the Constitution stands at the moment, the motion was to allow amendments.

    In a statement from the ANC Chief Whip, Jackson Mthembu, who is seen among ANC faithful as anti-Zuma following his calls for the resignation of the National Executive Committee (NEC) issued a statement saying expropriation of land without compensation was not ANC policy. He said the EFF was misplaced and overlooked numerous programmes and reviews that were underway. “The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has already undertaken to do a precolonial audit of land ownership, use and occupation pattern. Once the audit has been completed, a single law will be developed to address the issue of land restitution and the necessary constitutional amendments will be undertaken to effect this process,” the statement said.

    A day later the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) issued its statement attacking the decision by the party’s parliamentary caucus for opposing expropriation of land without compensation. It said it would seek an audience with the mother body for an explanation. “Land redistribution is an ANC program and must be implemented as such without fear or favour. Any delay by the ANC led government in implementing ANC resolutions will give grounds to demagoguery, opportunistic populist formations to throw rhetorics and portrays themselves as the champions of the poor and the working class. The funded mercenaries who are proudly bedfellows of our historical class enemies, will portray themselves as the solution to socio-economic challenges the country is facing whilst they are mere election footsoldiers of the neo-liberal political party that is advancing white supremacy,” the statement read.

    There is no doubt that land distribution is an ANC policy, what is seemingly divisive within the ruling party is the pace at which this must be done. And you have to ask whose interests are being protected by those in the ANC who want a slow pace of land redistribution.  By the time reviews of current laws are completed, if at all, the 2019 elections would have come and gone and the ANC will suffer greatly at the polls for having neglected to deal emphatically, with the question of land.

     

  • Why apologists of White Monopoly Capitalists are attacking Molefe

    By Magatshana Ntuli

    aqyqwi1bm5mjjj5fgelwBrian Molefe
    Why is dirt being thrown at Brian Molefe from all angles by white monopoly capital apologists, who bid and argue for South Africa’s current imbalanced economic status quo to continuously obtain? Molefe is one of the most competent and proven executives to ever emerge out of SA and his glittering track record attests to this pronouncement.

    He has shattered ceilings and excelled in each portfolio he has held. From being chief director at National Treasury, he went on to grow the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) into Africa’s largest fund managers and among the largest in the world as CEO.
    He also turned around the fortunes of Eskom, which was beset with a plethora of problems prior to his arrival. Molefe steadied the ship and restored the power utility to profitability and completely eradicated power outages during his tenure. Today SA enjoys both industrial and household load-shedding free electricity, thanks to Molefe’s stewardship.
    Having found no tangible fault to dirty Molefe, WMC put in place machinations to besmirch him through concocted and unverifiable allegations that were somehow smuggled into the so-called “State of Capture” report that desperately seeks to convince us that the state is dysfunctional and only operates at the behest of the Gupta family. Insanity indeed!

    Molefe’s resignation from Eskom was in no way an admission of any wrong doing as WMC and its media tried to make us believe. It was no wonder WMC and their disciples were shaken to their wits when he re-emerged in the limelight as an ANC backbencher in the National Assembly.

    Just as they had convinced our retired celebrity Public Protector to carelessly include Molefe’s name in her hatched report, WMC and its beneficiaries again put their machinations into motion with all arrows aimed at Molefe. Their disciples, who include some misguided ANC elements, were hired to create mystery around Molefe’s branch membership. They went into overdrive with the support of their media and even claimed that Molefe held multiple ANC branch memberships.

    In their increasing desperation, big guns, including some that just happen to be black, were rolled out to attack Molefe. Enter WMC’s incumbent chief disciple Sipho Pityana. Every time this man opens his mouth, he makes himself more ridiculous.

    Remember him almost talking mourners out of their ears with his self aggrandising political speech at the funeral of former cabinet minister Makhenkesi Stofile in August 2016. While others paid tribute to Stofile, Pityana embarrassingly chose that sombre occasion to publicly declare his allegiance and cement his alliance with WMC by attacking President Jacob Zuma and the ANC. After receiving glowing coverage from the mainstream media, Pityana and his gang called Save South Africa, which, in fact, is an opposition political party along the lines of Afriforum masquerading as a civil society organisation campaign.

    Like Afriforum, Save South Africa’s sole objective is to unseat the ANC from power and attack brilliant black people seen as a threat to whites’ interests. Molefe is an impeccable professional whom mediocre MPs on the opposition benches are afraid of debating, but prefer insulting him under parliamentary privileges protection, hence WMC’s opposition to his appointment to the august house.

    WMC prefers a weak ANC in Parliament and have been shaken by the arrival of this new solid ruling party MP that will take them head-on using factual information and nothing else.

    Molefe is not a howler like most opposition MPs, who are simply in parliament as WMC’s skippers. They argue for WMC and nothing else.

    It was, therefore, not surprising when Pityana rushed to his media friends to pen an open letter insulting the person of Molefe on Tuesday. The open letter was bereft of facts, but Pityana chose to stroke his ego, which is now higher than a church steeple.

    In the installment, Pityana gives himself the imaginary role of a modern day biblical judge. He laughably claims Molefe has a project with President Zuma which he will mobilise to defeat without elaborating.
    Yes Pityana, Molefe and the president have a special project of implementing radical economic transformation and speeding up land reforms. Is that what Pityana vows to block? Well, let him be warned that he will come to grief should he attempt in the path of these projects.

    Molefe is more qualified than Pityana’s DA MPs that seek to substitute Parliament with the courts in pursuit of protecting their unfair advantage and grabbing power. Molefe is not afraid of white people and will definitely transform National Treasury to serve the majority black populace if appointed to that portfolio. Treasury was captured a long time ago by WMC and needs the likes of Molefe to free it from the bondage of the Stellenbosch mafia, seeing that Save South Africa is just another anti-black lobby, despite possessing black members.

    Where were Pityana and his Save South Africa when Investec, Standard Bank and Absa were accused of and pleaded guilty to collusion in price fixing of the rand? He couldn’t wag his tail because the entire saga had the stench of WMC.

    One can only imagine the amount of noise from Pityana had any of these three been a black-owned bank? The “rashy” extent of Pityana’s moral measles is amazing. He is beginning to sound like a voice in the wilderness so he can continue to enjoy the crumbs dropping from his WMC masters’ high table in a senselessly spectacular manner.

    His vicious enthusiasm in bidding for WMC can manipulate headlines, but we will never accept their attempt to make poverty an acceptable condition for black South Africans by continuing to embrace a skewed economic landscape and landlessness in our own country.

  • Pravin please respect us – we’re Black & can think for ourselves

    By Devine Hadebe

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    Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s recent attacks on  Black interest groups cannot go unchallenged. Gordhan recently accused the Black Business Council (BBC) of representing the interests of a single family, believed to be a reference to the Guptas, without providing names or the evidence.

    He has also accused SARS Commissioner, Tom Moyane and Management of “supporting one family against 55-million South Africans.” These claims were also made without providing any evidence to substantiate them.

    It’s become pretty clear from his responses that the minister reserves different responses for different skin shades. While he’s very tolerant to concerns by our white counterparts and business – who it must be said pass very little judgement against the minister – he has been particularly intolerant of views and criticism from Blacks.

     

    Organisations representing Blacks, the poor and Black business have been critical of the way National Treasury and not Gordhan personally, has conducted itself in that it has not prioritised issues of poverty and economic transformation. Responding to the 2017 budget speech, BBC said the budget was way short of delivering radical economic transformation. It said, among other things, that government’s use of inflation targeting as its only means of economic transformation was “primitive”. http://(http://blackbusinesscouncil.org/bbc-responds-to-budget-speech-2017/).

    The ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) too didn’t spare treasury. It questioned the incoherence between Gordhan’s budget and President Jacob Zuma’s SONA speech calling it sabotage if it were to “trickle down to other departments.  The ANCWL also accused Gordhan of treating banks found colluding in currency trading with kids gloves. http://(http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/ancwl-slams-incoherence-between-gordhans-budget-and-zumas-sona-20170223)

    Pravin’s response to white and big business is always measured and respectful. It seeks to clarify with dignity, the pros and cons, of his actions. He goes to lengths to explain why a decision was taken, addressing the things he didn’t address in his speech and makes an effort to their confidence. He certainly never scolds  them like little boys and girls for “not knowing what’s good for the country” or dismiss them as he did the Hawks by telling them to “allow me to do my job”.

    Scolding Black people and business

    When responding to Blacks and their issues, Pravin has elevated himself to a parent who knows what’s good for them. He scoffs, dismisses and is downright condescending. Take Moyane’s case for example, who complained that Gordhan treated him like a little boy, a “nonentity” and even refused to shake his hand. http://www.fin24.com/Economy/zuma-to-intervene-in-gordhanmoyane-stand-off-20170224

    Instead of addressing the issues raised by his detractors, Gordhan has adopted a defensive stance, dismissing issues raised as being done  “at the behest of one family” and ridiculing them as those “who do not know how treasury works”.

    In a recent meeting at National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), Gordhan and BBC reportedly had a heated discussion in which among others, the minister accused BBC of trying to “capture treasury” in defending “one family”.

    To the minister, I say please respect us. We are Black but have the intelligence and mental capacity to separate our interests and those of our country from that  “one family”. You cannot lay claim to being the sole person who knows what is good for Blacks or what and how they think. And no Mr Minister, we are not so mentally incapacitated that we need the “family” to think for us.

    Sadly, commercial media have placed the finance minister on such a pedestal that he’s assuming a god-like figure even bigger than the iconic former President Nelson Mandela. This despite the fact that he’s the same man under whose watch banks looted the rand for almost ten years. He’s also the same man who is obsessed with rating agencies which we now know have been found to be fraudulent, a conduct for which they have had to pay hefty fines in the US. The difference is however that Mandela always had  an ear for the concerns of the black majority and the poor. During his term Mandela responded to criticism and concerns of the Black majority with dignity and respect. You may want to take a lesson from him Mr Minister.

     

  • CellC’s arrogance reeks of baas-and-boy-relationships in fronting

    By Pinky Khoabane

    22fe2a7b0a8b4f5cadfcc1b98f1a20ed

    The arrogance of CellC towards its BEE  partner exemplifies the baas-and-boy-relationships that have come to characterise BEE deals.

    The story of the domestic worker who is a major shareholder in an organisation that she knows nothing about, has no control over and from which she receives none of the customary benefits due to shareholders has become legendary since the advent of South Africa’s democracy. This phenomenon is called fronting. It is the rampant scourge in which white companies, required by law to promote Black people if they want to benefit from government tenders, resort to simply using names of black people instead of finding real shareholders with whom to share the economic spoils of the New South Africa.

    Once this blatant fraud became so widespread that government officials demanded to see the BEE partners, white companies involved in this unlawful practice turned to Black shareholders who they could use purely as tokens with which to collect the tender and discard thereafter. In these cases, the BEE partner remains on the fringes of the business while the white partner runs the operation on their own.

    That has come to be the norm in fronting which is why the arrogance of CellC towards its BEE partners, given that some of the members include high profile individuals, comes as a shock. After all, shareholders of CellSAF, the BEE partner, include the very vocal anti-Zuma campaigner, Mathews Phosa, MK Veterans, SANTACO and other groupings from around the country. What this tells you is that this baas-and-boy mentality in BEE deals has no bounds.

    Once the Saudi-based Oger Telecoms got its hands on the CellC licence, the black component in the deal was treated with contempt; corporate governance principles were flouted and agreements reached at the time the BEE partner sold 15% of its original 40% stake were simply thrown out of the window.

    It is simply is inconceivable that CellC has not held a board meeting in six years effectively denying CellSaf its rightful 25% representation. The point that cannot be denied is that the third mobile licence was granted for purposes of giving blacks a stake in the industry. At the time, CellSaf acquired 40% and later sold a 15% which left it with an outright 25% debt-free and unencumbered stake in 3C – CellC’s holding company.

    CellSaf was to retain its protection as a minority shareholder and the number of directors on the board of CellC was to remain the same. What has occurred instead is that the majority shareholder shut the door on the BEE partners, effectively running the business on their own. In its latest show of contempt, the CellC board has entered into a recapitalisation plan with Blue Label Telecoms without consulting its BEE partner. Apart from giving Blue Label Telecoms 45% stake in the company, the deal will see 10% go to six white men at a fee of R2000, while at the same time, diluting the stake of the BEE partner to 7%.

    It’s simply preposterous that anybody who lives in South Africa today, with the outcry for radical economic transformation at its levels, could accept that the vehicle for which broad based economic empowerment was devised, will now go to a bunch of whites – with six of them holding a bigger stake than that of the original Blacks for which the licence was intended.

    It is inconceivable that such a deal – which exemplifies the height of corporate greed –  should be allowed. CellSaf, in its decision to use its full might to fight this case, must be supported by all progressive South Africans who embrace the notion of a just and peaceful country in which all share in its wealth. Black South Africans have been patient while they wait for the crumbs from their masters’ table but that patience will run out. Deals of the nature of the CellC/Blue Label transaction will push South Africa towards the precipice of a revolt.

  • Sanitising White Corruption; Currency Rigging, SARB & Treasury

    By Devine Hadebe

    _94672427_southafrcacurrency

    In the immediate aftermath of the announcement that seventeen banks had been rigging the rand as far back as 2007, commercial media have gone out to spin the story but the key is where Treasury and South African Reserve Bank (SARB) have been in the ten years of absolute looting.

    From the onset it is clear that banks have been manipulating currency elsewhere, only a fool would think it wasn’t happening here but our media have focused their energies on exposing government corruption that they simply pulled a wool over our eyes. And to be clear to avoid being misunderstood, I and many others have no problem in exposing government corruption. We want it exposed. What we challenge are the double standards by media. We have been so inundated with news of government corruption that the media have put a lid on the currency scandal.

    IN May 2015, global media told us banks were colluding on currency. (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-21/us-britain-fine-top-banks-nearly-6-bn-for-forex-libor-abuses/6485510).

    It was clear then that banks like Barclays couldn’t just manipulate currency in the US and Britain and not in others countries like South Africa. The media effectively spun the story by claiming “no found evidence of malpractice or “serious misconduct” in domestic rand trading” (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-10-19/south-african-probe-finds-currency-traders-shared-client-details), but now we know better. This is the investigative mainstream media which can dig so deep into a story that distant relatives of public workers can be exposed and their deeds can dominate headlines. It is the same media that can tell you about the cousin-of-a-cousin of a municipal manager who got a tender from a deep rural town somewhere in SA (http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/outgoing-durban-mayors-cousin-wins-inchanga-ward-20160805).

    When news of what we already knew and had occurred right under the noses of our self-acclaimed ‘corruption busters, they had already lined up economists/ “experts” to explain the saga. It’s by no coincidence that each mainstream paper had an “expert” doing damage control over the corruption. Any outrage equivalent to what we saw against the Nkandla scandal vanished. The mission was to provide a soft-landing for widespread corruption by White Monopoly Capital companies, which we’ve been suspecting all along.

    Media spin in overdrive

    First their role was to remind whoever cares to take them seriously that this is not corruption but ‘colluding’. Corruption is a description reserved for Blacks. Some were sanitising it by reminding us that this is an ‘international’ problem, as if somehow it makes it better (http://www.sabc.co.za/news/a/d29b7580401704659855fb75889f6f7e/%E2%80%98Bank-collusion-a-global-phenomenon%E2%80%99-20171602).

    The Citizen reminded us not to “scare foreign investors” (http://www.business-index.co.za/Citizen_The-84455-business-website.htm), the kind that invest only in corruptible countries I guess.

    The usual SCARECROW of the Rand falling, foreign investment and Rating Agencies with their downgrade was now the roll.

    Where do they get these people honestly? Im talking of the kind to tell the victims that “you had it better, it could have been worse” don’t complain. The ones who reserve accountability and justice only for black corruption.

    I bet they already have “experts” lined up for soft-landing of Rating Agencies’ looting and their ‘colluding’. Come on now, we would be gullible to think that Rating Agencies are ‘colluding’ only in other countries but not in SA (https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jan/14/moodys-864m-penalty-for-ratings-in-run-up-to-2008-financial-crisis). It’s only a question of time before their corruption is exposed here as well. It cant be the stretch of the imagination that S&P Rating Agency’s Konrad Reuss’s advice to the ANC to do the “right thing in electing ANC leaders” is more of a threat than anything else. We can expect the ANC’s choice of leadership will determine a downgrade or not. We also expect that these are not isolated views by an individual at the helm of a rating agency but rather that they are held by all rating agencies. (https://businesstech.co.za/news/government/140053/sp-warns-whats-happening-in-sa-more-than-just-political-noise/).

    Where’s the Reserve Bank & Treasury in all of this?

    In the midst of all this the question that must be asked is this: where was/is our South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and National Treasury in all of this? Surely they can’t rely on the media’s narrative that all was or is rosy in our private banking systems, like we are expected to? I mean these are institutions whose sole mandate is to manage our finances and at which the Rand is at the centre!

    How can it be comprehensible that SARB and Treasury had no idea of this looting for a full ten years (2007-2014)? How could they have had no idea and had not foreseen such misconduct given that currency manipulation had happened in this country under the Mbeki era prompting him to appoint a commission, which upon its establishment, stopped the decline of the rand?

    Is it a case of negligence, incapacity or ‘colluding’ that for ten years, the same “Finance minister (who) has appointed certain banks as Authorised Dealers in foreign exchange that gives such banks the right to buy and sell foreign exchange”, conveniently forgot to “subject (them) to conditions within limits prescribed by the Financial Surveillance Department?” Could it be that for over ten years our Minister forgot to authorise Surveillance to “gather, analyse and disseminate information on cross-border flows”, in accordance to SARB? (https://www.resbank.co.za/RegulationAndSupervision/FinancialSurveillanceAndExchangeControl/ExconAdmin/Pages/default.aspx)

     

  • Mashaba is a danger to our country but so too is our media

    By Pinky Khoabane

    An analysis of media reportage of xenophobic utterances by King Goodwill Zwelithini and Herman Mashaba exposes media bias…

    Herman-Mashaba-pic-Gallo-Images-696x435

    In a divided country that South Africa is, the likes of Joburg City Mayor Herman Mashaba can get away with anything and everything – including inciting afrophobic attacks. Mashaba recently called African nationals illegally in the country “criminals” and accused them of “messing up” the City. His utterances have been followed by a spike in attacks on foreign-owned businesses and homes. 

    There has been very little condemnation by the media and the chattering classes whose outrage is determined by the media anyway.

    Contrast this mute response to King Goodwill Zwelithini’s utterances in March 2015 when he called for the deportation of foreigners.

    As soon as the remarks were published in the media, the Democratic Alliance (DA) was among the first to issue a statement condemning the King for “highly irresponsible” comments given the “recent spate of xenophobic attacks in South Africa. He should do the right thing, retract and apologise,” the party said.

    Where is a similar condemnation of its Mashaba?

    At the time, Zwelithini said his comments were taken out of context by the media but those in the media who know Zulu said the King didn’t mince his words when he “likened foreigners to parasitic fleas”.

    “Foreigners must go home – King Zwelithini” was the headline in The Citizen http://citizen.co.za/news/news-national/349347/foreigners-must-go-home-king-zwelithini/

    TimesLive’s headline http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2015/04/16/listen-to-exactly-what-king-goodwill-zwelithini-said-about-foreigners

    The Herald http://www.herald.co.zw/zulu-king-stokes-xenophobia/

    The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/20/south-africa-xenophobic-violence-zulu-king-goodwill-zwelithini

    Even constitutional lawyers entered the fray and analysed whether the King could be charged with hate speech and the punishment http://constitutionallyspeaking.co.za/xenophobic-statement-is-king-zwelithini-guilty-of-hate-speech/

    In Mashaba’s case, there has been little if any condemnation by the media. I couldn’t find a piece condemning him. Instead, the few articles written are about the anti-immigrants march and views by organisations against xenophobia who blame Mashaba. But no opinion pieces anywhere from our esteemed columnists.

    There were more articles on Mashaba’s shock of the planned “xenophobic attacks and his denunciation of xenophobia. The slant was similar in most newspapers: “No place for xenophobia in Joburg – Mashaba”.

    IOL: http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/no-place-for-xenophobia-in-joburg-says-mashaba-7876317

    TimesLive: http://www.timeslive.co.za/politics/2017/02/22/IN-FULL-No-place-for-xenophobia-in-the-City-of-Johannesburg-says-Herman-Mashaba

    The Citizen: http://citizen.co.za/news/news-national/1436145/why-xenophobic-joburg-is-so-angry-according-to-mashaba/

    Only the Mail & Guardian had a somewhat negative take on Mashaba and attributed the attacks to him albeit that by the end of the article the report had turned the blame elsewhere http://mg.co.za/article/2017-02-23-00-mashaba-still-scot-free-as-attacks-erupt

    By late afternoon, some on Twitter had begun speculating that it was only a matter of time before the media blamed President Jacob Zuma and the ANC and indeed, they were not to be disappointed as EWN shifted the story to the storming of the Joburg council and reported that Mashaba blamed the ANC. http://ewn.co.za/2017/02/23/herman-mashaba-blames-anc-for-violence-at-joburg-council.

    By the weekend, Mashaba’s utterances which have no space in our country today, will have been conveniently removed from our memory.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • OPINION: In memory of Black Press

    By Pinky Khoabane

    John_Dube

    In our series of Today in History, two days ago, we showcased a revolutionary, first president of the African National Congress,  Ntate John Langalibalele Dube. http://uncensoredopinion.co.za/today-history-john-langalibalele-dube-born/

    One of the key issues is how this man – and others of their time – in the 1800s and early 1900s – were able to have the foresight of recognising newspapers as tools for agenda setting and as tools for forging and coalescing the making of modern political and cultural consciousness.

    Dube was able to start a newspaper, Ilanga lase Natal something Black people in today’s world have struggled to do – not because they haven’t tried but the competition is fierce. A large section of the national media is a monopoly of a few privately owned newspaper groups. These groups are underpinned by large commercial sectors of the national economy. They have over the years represented those at the helm of the political and economic power – in the South African scenario white, rich and politically connected. This is the commercial or corporate media.

    Dube denounced the injustices in this country and used his newspaper, Ilanga lase Natal and that of fellow comrade and activist, Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje’s newspaper Tsela ea Batho to write several articles. Incensed by the promulgation of the Native Land Act, he used these newspapers to vent his anger.

    “If we have no land to live on, we cannot be no people,” he wrote.

    Plaatje in his book in 1916 Native Life in South Africa wrote: “awaking on Friday morning, June 20th, 1913, the South African Native found himself, not actually a slave, but a pariah in the land of his birth”.

    Comparing the rights of Black South Africans to inmates, he wrote: “Even criminals dropping straight from the gallows have an undisputed claim to six-feet of ground on which to rest their criminal remains”.

    Developing alongside corporate media has always been the rise of alternative media which was meant to report stories which were closer to the general public and which were largely ignored by corporate media.

    This genre of newspapers was started by men like Dube with his Ilanga lase Natal and Imvo Za Bantsundu which was edited by John Tengo Jabavu between 1887 and 1890. In addition there were religious newspapers. The Roman Catholics had  Izindaba za Bantu founded in October 1910, a “kind of Zulu Catholic mirror of contemporary events in Natal and Zululand”, according to the Black Research Collective. Moeletsi wa Basotho was to be its counterpart in Lesotho and was published twenty years later. Protestants were represented by, among others, the Anglican Church’s more militant Inkanyiso ease Natal (founded in April 1889), Izwe la Kiti (founded in September 1912), a newspaper sponsored jointly by the Lutherans and the Natal Missionary Conference, and the London Missionary Society’s Mahoko a Becuana (founded in January 1883).

    There was a plethora of these newspapers aimed at the Black audience but even then Black journalists were harassed, denied access to news sources and their owners found it extremely difficult to sustain them without advertising from white companies.

    WIthout the financial might many of these newspapers were either sold to corporate media or many of their journalists offered jobs in white-owned news publications that focused on black audiences.

    The Chamber of Mines started Umteteli wa Bantu in 1920 and Bertram Paver, Bantu World. Bantu World was later taken over by the Argus Printing and Publishing Company – the biggest press monopoly in Africa.

    Argus stamped its mark on Bantu World and developed it into a formidable force which owned several subsidiaries and  became a training ground for black journalists. Whites began taking an interest and liberals began contributing the narrative of what Blacks had to read. Anglo American for example, Africa’s biggest mining conglomerate, bought a third of Bantu Press.

    Enter Jim Bailey, who carved a new kind of journalism on Black Lives – sex, crime and sport – and through Black Drum and Golden City Post, created mass media of the Black Press. With liberal influence, the journalists who told stories of Black people from their perspective, had to tell the story from an “objective” stand point – a case we see in today’s corporate media.

    In the face of grave criticism regarding the concentration of ownership and control of the media in South Africa – which rates among the highest in the world – the white media establishment was forced to “unbundle”. Argus Holdings sold large parts to an Irish capitalist and international media mogul, Tony O’Reilly. It had also, a year before, sold Sowetan to a consortium of black businessmen, New African Investment Limited (NAIL). The O’Reilly Group had also assisted NAIL to buy the New Nation, the only alternative publication that was not owned by monopoly  capitalists.

    The Black Press died. In years past, Black journalists joined the profession to advance a political agenda that would see them contribute to the battle against white supremacy and the advancement of a just society based on equal rights for all but today’s Black journalist must think in a white man’s world if they are to keep their jobs in corporate media. They must write through a Western prism, promote a commercial agenda and promote the fallacy of “objectivity”. It virtually makes them lapdogs of Big Business. Corporate media in South Africa represents what Franz Fanon aptly described as “Black Skins, White Masks”. Black journalists and columnists who advance a view against white establishment and racial capitalism are purged from mainstream media.

    In the past five years of so, there have been new entrants in the mass media space in the form of the Gupta family and the Sekunjalo Independent Media Consortium  at The New Age and ANN7, and the Independent Group, respectively. Their entrance has been met with hostility by the white media establishment and unsurprisingly so.

    Then there are the smaller, alternative media in the form of Black Opinion, UnCensored and African Times. Like the alternative media in the US that changed the course of history by exposing Hillary Clinton for the war monger that she is, these are also receiving the wrath of mainstream media here. The biggest producers of FAKE News are now spending copious amounts of column space writing about FAKE News. They are even to hold a seminar on FAKE News. The establishment is shaken – it no longer holds the monopoly on “truth” or agenda setting.

    It is a bright day and future for information dissemination  – unlike Dube and Plaatjie, we live in a world where the means of producing news and agenda setting simply require a couple of Rands to start a blog instead of the hundreds of thousands that go into the printing press.

    Armed with a mobile phone, the men and women on the street in today’s world can access the diverse voices that are so pivotal in ensuring they make informed decisions that are crucial to democracy.

  • OPINION: Citi Bank’s admission of corruption leaves Reserve Bank red-faced

    By Pinky Khoabane

    CITIGROUP-RESULTS-16-01-2017-05-01-55-586-

    By agreeing to pay the approximately R70m admin penalty fine, CitiBank has effectively confessed to being a participant in the corruption involving rigging the rand.

    The Competition Commission announced the deal yesterday saying it would “encourage speedy settlement and full disclosure to strengthen the evidence for prosecution of the other banks”.

    Its confession will leave a lot of people red faced, not least the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and those who protected ABSA in the apartheid looting case on the basis that the R3.2bn which it was expected to pay back in 1998 would have crashed the banking system and the economy.

    Following the Competition Commission’s announcement that it would be sending 17 banks to its tribunal for price fixing and collusion, the SARB issued a statement which I described as puerile in a column last week. It said among others that it welcomed the investigation and would await the legal process to take its cause. The point the SARB was not acknowledging – and deliberately so – is that the Competition Commission had already investigated these banks and had established fraud. The commission had two whistleblowers in ABSA and Barclays. CitiBank is the third.

    But the reserve bank said it had conducted its own review of the forex trading processes in the country and had found no evidence of misconduct on the part of the banks. This is disgraceful given what the Competition Commission has discovered. If there was ever any doubt of the work by the commission the two whistleblowers and now the confession by Citi Group stand as testament of the SARB’s inefficiency and talks more to its corrupt relationship with the banks.

    It is indeed ironic that the same group of banks that have now been fingered in the manipulation of the currency were among the 80 or so CEOs who signed a petition against President Jacob Zuma’s choice of finance minister in 2015 – a decision which according to these fraudsters caused South Africa R500bn.

    Citigroup & its legacy of corruption
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    Last year, Wikileaks revealed a series of emails between Citigroup’s Michael Froman and Barack Obama’s advisors in 2008, which showed that despite its corrupt and derelict manner in handling its own financial matters, the banking group had also advised Obama on who to pick as his staff for first term.

    In an email dated Saturday, October 18, 2008, Michael Froman, using his official Citigroup email address of fromanm@citi.com, sent the following email to Obama’s advisors:

    “Review Teams

    “Attached is the latest version of the Agency Review teams. It is a closely held document, so please treat it with the same sensitivity as ours. If you all could take a quick look at the lists for the agencies in your area, that would be helpful. I think the hope is that, while there are no guarantees, some of the people on these lists might make their way into the agencies ultimately. Our role, therefore, is to check whether there is much overlap between the names here and the names were seeing/generating for sub-cabinet positions in each agency. There doesn’t need to be total overlap, but if there is a total disconnect, it would probably be better to rectify that now vs. later.

    “I hate to ask, since I just send you another long spreadsheet to check, but if you could do this tomorrow and get back to Lisa (copied here) and myself, that would be great. Thanks.”

    According to the WikiLeaks emails Froman began plotting who would serve in the Obama administration long before the election results came in.

    In an email to John Podesta dated September 18, 2008, Froman wrote:

    “Mark Gittenstein called to say he was in the process of inserting people into all of the work streams and indicated that Ron Klain would be their representative on the Personnel Working Group. I know and like Ron and am happy to work with him. Do let me know how you’d like to handle information flow, role in decisionmaking, etc. Thanks.”

    In another email dated October 15, 2008, Froman further shows he is playing a pivotal role in personnel issues. He writes to Podesta and Obama advisor Pete Rouse:

    “Please see attached. Pete, need to chat with you today about a time-sensitive Treasury issue. Please call at your convenience. 917-499-3433. John, got some feedback that Blair could well be interested in DNI. Also, spent some more time with Oszag last night and think he could be enticed to the NEC. Also, spent 2 hours  with Gene yesterday.”

    Another email suggests that Podesta allowed Froman to screen  potential new hires. Podesta wrote to Froman on October 13, 2008 to inquire:

    “Subject: Gerald Corrigan

    “Rahm raised as possible Treasury Deputy. Said he didn’t know him, but his name had been raised by others. You probably do. Worth considering?”

    Froman responded: “Yes, though quite a bit out of date.”

    There are many other emails that showed the extent of From and other CitiGroup’s role in shaping Obama’s staff.

     

     

  • All Black Lives Matter – even the 462 that died at Life Esidimeni

    By Pinky Khoabane

    Banner_Company_Esidimeni

    “Life Esidimeni (meaning a place of dignity)’ is how the website of the health facility in the news recently defines its service.

    Dignity!

    Only in South Africa perhaps do you kill 462 lives and present the notion of dignity. Actually, in our discourse you can kill that many Black lives and the South African media, depending on who you are, can overlook your murderers spree.

    Dignity presents a number of meanings, none precise, but we recognise dignity when we see it. Dignity in healthcare would require that there’s mutual respect between the service provider and the patient. We all know that with dignity comes respect and there’s a sense of self-worth which must play a major role in recovery – from any illness.

    If there is a group of patients who never receive dignity from both the health care providers and the public at large, it is mental health patients. We all know that mental health patients are demeaned, stigmatised and discriminated – even by the healthcare workers who are supposed to care for them.

    To boldly offer a statement that dignity is what it offers, Life Esidemeni would have to do better than have on its records the deaths 462 patients who died between September 2011 and May 2016.

    But perhaps more importantly, we would have to ask why Health Ombudsman Melagapuru Makgoba omitted this very important statistic. In 2012 alone, 109 patients  at this suddenly “great” facility died. In 2011, 130 people died. This happened without any outrage because generally, this is how the public thinks of Black lives – many die in public hospitals and as is now proven, even in this fake place of dignity – and nobody cares.

    Black lives are determined by a political and media agenda. I’ve said this over and over, miners, for example – Black – die all the time underground and as a result of toxic waste from mines – and you will not hear Sipho Pityana or most of the people who supposedly care for Black Lives utter a word. Mines send their workers back home to die….with silicosis, TB, and injuries they get in the line of duty. And they have no one to fight for them because the unions have been captured by white monopoly capitalists and some in the ruling party are shareholders in those mines.

    A hundred Black lives, transferred from Life Esidemeni to NGOs  in 2016 were lost – and this is tragic. In any country which values life, the uproar is warranted but we are a country where, unless there’s political mileage made, the commercial media and their handlers, couldn’t give a hoot.

    Only in South Africa will you have a minister – as Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has done – decide to return patients to a place of death. Like the health ombudsman, Motsoaledi has conveniently forgotten the 462 lives lost at Life Esidimeni.

     

     

     

  • Pityana, Pravin, Somebody say something #BankingCorruption

    By Pinky Khoabane

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    AFTER two days of a massive expose of corruption and looting by the banks, we have still not heard from South Africa’s protectors of the Constitution, our country and even Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. By the time this was posted, Treasury’s Twitter account had not said a word but then again there is that little matter of Gordhan’s daughter, Anisha, who is currently employed at Investec as a senior executive. Investec is among the 17 banks in hot water for collusion – an otherwise sanitises description for corporate corruption.

    The response from South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has been rather inept. It is under its watch and indeed mandate to ensure financial stability and it should have seen this fraud coming, more so that it says it had been reviewing foreign exchange operations of “authorized foreign exchange dealers in the domestic market”. The review, the SARB says, was to establish misconduct or malpractice and according to them, “the review found no evidence of serious and widespread misconduct in the South African foreign exchange market, but saw scope in the improvement in overall market conduct…”. https://www.resbank.co.za/Lists/News%20and%20Publications/Attachments/7681/SARB%20statement%20on%20Competition%20Commission%20announcement.pdf

    To borrow from one Sipho Pityana who has in the recent past been championing a campaign to #SAVESA and whose silence has also been deafening – “If it were not so tragic, it would be hilarious”.

    The SARB statement is indeed a mockery and so is the review it conducted given that the Competition Commission this week referred seventeen banks to the tribunal for collusion, price fixing and manipulating currencies – the sanitised description for corporate corruption. They are: Bank of America Merrill Lynch International Limited, BNP Paribas, JP Morgan Chase & Co, JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A, Investec Ltd, Stand New York Securities Inc, HSBC Bank Plc, Standard Bank Chartered Bannk, Credit Suisse Group, Standard Bank of SA, Commercerbank AG, Austalia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd, Nomura International Plc, Macquarie Bank Limited, Absa Bank Ltd, Barclays Capital Inc, Barclays Bank plc.

    Absa, Citigroup and Barclays are said to have co-operated with the Competition Commission and will not be fined but Standard Bank and Investec face a “cumulative R69.7 billion in fines representing 10% of their turnover for each of the years they have breached the Competition Act,” according to Business Day.

    The review of the SARB in light of this massive corruption which the Competition Commission says dates back to 2007, brings into question again, the independence of this monitory authority. It says it will wait for the legal process to run its course – we all know this is the lamest way out of a situation instead of taking action. Evidence of fraud and misconduct exists otherwise the Competition Commission wouldn’t have taken the drastic step to refer these banks – of all institutions – to the tribunal. The SARB should be taking serious steps against these institutions. In a debate organized by BlackLandFirst (BLF) on the merits of why ABSA must pay back the money in the case of the lifeboat scandal, Stephen Goodson, a former director of the SARB, said the institution was nothing more than an appendage of the banking system. The events unfolding in the aftermath of the banking corruption scandal would pay credence to his assertion.

    But why are the saviours so quiet and always so in the face of massive corruption conducted by the banks and corporations?

    In Pityana’s latest missive at government, in what he termed the real State of the Nation Address (SONA), he used the very sad and unfortunate case of the 94 mental health patients who died at the “extreme negligence by our government” as his opening remarks.

    “Indeed words fail me,” he repeatedly said in reference to the state of our nation. He took a jibe at President Jacob Zuma saying he would have much to say at SONA, which was to take place a week after his presentation, while omitting many of the mistakes he (Zuma) had made.

    He alluded to corruption and looting of state coffers as the crux of the malaise we face today. Pityana cannot be faulted for his views but the only problem is that like many of our messiahs, his outrage is selective. Pityana can hardly see the link between the company he represents – Anglo Ashanti – and the poverty, injustices and worker exploitation thrust upon the same people he claims to care about.

    In the aftermath of the bank corruption words have indeed, again failed him – this time in the true sense. He has had nothing to say nor can we expect much from the other fighters for a corruption-free SA. Corruption for them, is sadly selective. If done by public servants it is corruption and worth highlighting while corporations are seemingly immune.

     

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