Zumanomics one and zero one

South Africa is very angry today; all except those who benefit from President Zuma’s extensive patronage system, and those who either don’t care or are too ignorant to care about what happens to their country.

They’re not angry because his knowledge of geography is as pathetic as his understanding of large numbers. They’re angry because Zuma has probably become the single biggest threat to the economy of this country. He’s just fired the Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene and replaced him with a little known crony, who failed dismally at being the mayor of a small town.

While the country’s Rand currency was struggling to regain value from an all-time low against the Dollar, David van Rooyen, Zuma’s latest addition to a network of questionable and downright incompetent appointees to positions of power, was being sworn in.

Not surprisingly, the media and others have been scathing in their criticism of Zuma and the cowardly members of the ANC who support this despicable creature. Read some of the criticisms here, here and most importantly here.

The seething continues…

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An Uprising, And Then A League Of Silly Women

Last week university students across South Africa rose up in protest against a hike in fees for the 2016 academic year.

Barring the few incidents of violence and destruction of property, it was a sight to behold. Never has the government of this country been shaken as much and by mere students, unified across racial, gender, socioeconomic and political divisions.

So frightened were the ruling politicians, that they caved in last Friday and announced a zero percent increase in fees for the next year. This week however, students at some institutions were still not satisfied, and continued protesting, mostly for the complete abolition of fees for tertiary education.

If students could rattle the ANC government this much, imagine what a unified South Africa could do. I think these are troubling times for the fat-cat rulers and their cozy futures doesn’t look so bright any more. Finally the ANC’s disdain for the citizenry has reaped a whole lot of detest.

Meanwhile, one of the embarrassing ineffectual wings of the ANC (the other being the Youth League), The Women’s League has decided this week to march on the Union Buildings to protest the “denigration of the image of President Zuma by so-called artists.” In other words (so they insist) they’re marching to protect the dignity and honor of the President, all  because an artist had the foresight temerity to paint a picture of His Loathsomess in an er, uncompromising but accurate position.

These women should be ashamed of themselves. Scratch that. They’re proud supporters of patriarchy after all. Seems it hasn’t occurred to them that you can’t protect the honor of a man who has none.

Oh well, back to the students.

For many people in this country who had given up hope of ever holding this government to account, our young generation have shown quite conclusively that it is possible. Thank you all for coming in from the cold.

For Shame, Saudi Arabia

Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in proportion to their readiness to doubt. Ambrose Bierce.
How’s this for a kick in the teeth of civilization?
Saudi Arabia was last month elected to chair a high-profile UN Human Rights Council panel that’s responsible for determining international human rights standards and reporting on violations around the world.

So what’s wrong with that? It’s old news anyway.

Saudi Arabia still routinely arrests, beheads, flogs, maims and imprisons human beings for simply expressing themselves freely. And they have this thing about women. Won’t even allow them to drive.

I’ve written previously about Raif Badawi who already received 50 of the 1000-lash sentence, and is still imprisoned for the ludicrous crime of expressing himself through writing. Now there is grave concern for 74-year old Karl Andree, a UK citizen who was arrested for having home-made wine in his possession. Karl has already completed a one year prison sentence and still has a 360-lash sentence hanging over his head.

These are but two examples of the many human rights violations this miserable desert kingdom has incurred. There will be many more. One has to wonder whether the UN thinks it’s more important to have Saudi oil, or human rights.

Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch frames it perfectly:

Saudi Arabia has arguably the worst record in the world when it comes to religious freedom and women’s rights, and continues to imprison the innocent blogger Raif Badawi. This UN appointment is like making a pyromaniac into the town fire chief, and underscores the credibility deficit of a human rights council that already counts Russia, Cuba, China, Qatar and Venezuela among its elected members.

Update: More Shame

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who is about 20 years old is still languishing in a Saudi prison and faces death by beheading. As if that’s not barbaric enough, the sentence includes him being crucified thereafter.

Ali was convicted for participating in the Arab Spring protests when he was still only 17 years old. I don’t know what’s worse – the sick judicial system that sentences a 17-year old kid to death by beheading, or the insane Sharia law that requires his dead body be tortured thereafter?

Loathing in the time of liberation

But when a woman decides to sleep with a man, there is no wall she will not scale, no fortress she will not destroy, no moral consideration she will not ignore at its very root: there is no God worth worrying about. – Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera.

Over the last 20 years, there is nothing I have grown to despise more than the ANC. Or rather the leaders who have twisted and mutilated this liberation movement so much, that it has degenerated into the rotting, ponging carcass it is today. If I were to take the liberty to alter slightly the quote above from Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera, it would go something like this:

But when a corrupt politician decides to usurp all power, there is no wall he will not scale, no fortress he will not destroy, no moral consideration he will not ignore at its very root: there is no God worth worrying about.

I have written many times before on this blog about the oh so many transgressions of the ANC, but I am unfortunately not as eloquent as writer, researcher, lecturer and political activist Dale T McKinley, who published an article in The Star newspaper. I will now take a further liberty and reproduce it here verbatum, because I think the whole world needs to know what is happening in South Africa.

Power, money define a modern ANC

One of the favourite sayings of ANC leaders over the years, and most often directed at those of its members who have departed the organisation for various reasons, is: “It is cold outside the ANC.”

It doesn’t take a political analyst or life-long movement activist to figure out the metaphorical meaning.

Simply put, the “warmth” inside the party is defined by being part of the ANC’s unequalled access to and use of institutional power – whether as applied to the ANC or the state it largely controls – and the accompanying material benefits (read: money) derived. Twenty years into ANC rule it is that “warmth” that has, in turn, come to define the party itself.

None other than the ANC number one himself confirmed this, even if for very different reasons, not long after he had ascended to the presidential thrones of party and country.

Speaking to the ANC Veterans League back in 2009, Zuma declared – without a whiff of contradiction or irony – that “money and positions have undermined the ANC (and changed its) character and values”.

He was quickly followed by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe who proclaimed that: “When selflessness, one of the principled characters of our movement, is being replaced by a newfound expression of selfishness, wherein personal accumulation becomes the main cause for divisions, we must know that the movement is in decline.”

No doubt both Zuma and Mantashe were attempting to present themselves as the “new” champions of some kind of moral regeneration campaign within the party. After all, they had succeeded in ousting Mbeki and his neoliberal technocrats, with Cosatu and the SACP leading the way, by claiming that theirs was a politics of returning the ANC “to the people” through a principled, accountable and exemplary leadership.

As has most often been the case with the ANC since 1994, however, the reality is a far cry from the rhetoric. Even if present before at the individual level, under Zuma’s leadership the pursuit of money and power (position in the ANC and the state) has become the sine qua non of membership and more specifically, advancement. Closely tied to this organisationally bound accumulation path is an effective “requirement” of an obsequious loyalty to Zuma himself, a willingness to defend and cover up for number one, whatever the cost.

Over the past several years the cumulative result at the macro-organisational level has been quite dramatic. The ANC has morphed from its earlier transition days as a “modern” bourgeois political party designed to consolidate a class-based system of power overlaid with narrow racial interests to an inveterately factionalised, patronage-centred, corrupt, rent-seeking and increasingly undemocratic ex-liberation movement.

In turn, this has framed more particular examples of the ANC’s inexorable political and organisational descent:

* The retreat into the political shadows of ever-increasing numbers of the “older” generation of members and leaders who have become disillusioned with the party’s trajectory and its present leadership.

* The marginalisation, expulsion and, on occasion, murder of those in the ranks who have opposed, questioned and/or exposed the conduct of leaders of the party and the state who are, in one way or another, part of the Zuma battalion.

* The ascendance of a new breed of militarised, dumbed-down, “yes baas” storm-troopers and securocrats whose core purpose is to police the masses and guard the party/state gates against unwanted questioners and intruders.

* The embracing and catalysing of a politicised ethnic identity alongside xenophobic, homophobic and misogynist attitudes and behaviour that potentially foreshadows an inward turn towards a pseudo-”traditionalist”, social proto fascism.

* The widespread disintegration of the ANC’s grassroots structures into mostly corrupt, localised factional vanguards “servicing” various party dons;

* The sustained socio-political rebellion of its “natural” constituencies among the poor and working class, the general response to which is a dismissive arrogance combined with heavy doses of repression; and

* The spectacle of professed “communists” and “radical” unionists enthusiastically espousing a politically and socially reactionary politics, defending and covering up corruption as well as engaging in the gradual balkanisation (and in some cases, liquidation) of organised working-class forces.

Such ANC characteristics have not however, as might be expected, led to a parallel decline in the number of ANC members. Indeed, if ideological and organisational coherence, actual job performance and delivery of mandates (whether as party or state leader and/or official), respect for rights enshrined in the constitution or adherence to the general letter of the law were the main criteria for prospective members, then the ANC would surely be an unpopular choice.

Instead, over the past decade or so there has been a considerable increase in membership growth. What this shows is that more and more people are being drawn to join the ANC not out of political/ideological belief or because they think the party is the best vehicle for sustaining democracy, advancing political cohesion or contributing to effective public service.

Rather, and as several recent research contributions to a special issue on the ANC at sub-national level of the journal Transformation reveal, the key drawcard of ANC membership is the pursuit of power and material advantage (most often in the form of money). This is directly tied to patronage and clientism, which have become the dominant forms of political and organisational direction and leadership under Zuma.

Flowing from the top downwards, these forms have ensured that each successive level of leadership and structure (within the party and the state) is umbilically linked to a particular faction competing for political control and position in order to access resources. In the process, internal democracy and lines of accountability become little more than irritants, pushed to the margins of rhetorical spin.

Not surprisingly, the cumulative result is that the line between party and state, at whatever level, has become more and more blurred. ANC structures, from top to bottom, graft on to the parallel state structures like parasites feeding off the bounty. The two “bodies” become progressively intertwined, the trajectory of one dependent on the other. Where there is mutual benefit to be had, the various “bodies” will co-operate, but it is just as likely that they will enter into (factional) conflict where there is competition.

Besides the sorry organisational and political state of the various ANC “leagues”, the ANC’s own core structures are in trouble.

By all accounts, a majority of ANC branches are either largely dysfunctional or racked with factional battles. The party itself has acknowledged that the majority of its provincial executives and parallel provincial structures are “unstable”. The “best practice” example of this is to be found in none other than number one’s backyard, with the conference of the ANC’s largest region – eThekwini – having to be postponed indefinitely due to infighting and allegations of cash for votes.

With crass accumulation as well as open and often violent factional conflict combined with regular exposures of massive fraud and manipulation of meeting and election procedures, the general state of things in the ANC looks more like a mass drunken fight in a casino than a 100-year-old party governing a country.

The outside world once helped us bring down the tyranny of apartheid. I fear we may soon again be calling upon the outside world to help us bring down the tainted liberator.

Da eish*

Generals gathered in their masses,
Just like witches at black masses.
Evil minds that plot destruction,
Sorcerer of death’s construction.
In the fields the bodies burning,
As the war machine keeps turning.
Death and hatred to mankind,
Poisoning their brainwashed minds.
Oh lord yeah!

Not exactly the kind of way to kick off the week, but the world’s pretty messed up 24/7, so what the hell.

And one of the biggest contributors in recent years to this messed-up world is ISIS. Otherwise known as Daesh. It sounds so innocuous doesn’t it, but can mean anything from “trample down and crush,” to “a bigot who imposes his view on others.”

It’s being reported today that Daesh have blown up the ancient temple of Baal Shamin in Palmyra, Syria. This temple had been standing mostly intact since 17AD, until these cretins came along to wage their religious war on mankind. Just last week, these retarded bastards beheaded the 82-year-old retired chief archaeologist of Palmyra, who apparently refused to cooperate with them.

Many newspapers report that ISIS/Daesh follow or practice a harsh version of Islam, but I don’t buy that. There is only one version of every religion, which unfortunately has been perverted over time by idiots like these. Off course religion generally, does not help its cause by being so bloody ambiguous. Which to my mind is one of the clearest signs that the whole thing is just man-made.

As far as the song is concerned: Black Sabbath may have composed War Pigs as an anti-war song, but it works well as an anti-ideology song too. And ISIS propagate a religious ideology that’s about as ghastly as it can get.

*eish. A South African word originating from the Xhosa language to express exasperation or disbelief.

Thank you Google

obedience

While visiting my cousins in Toronto back in 1995, they informed me that while they thought they had the best government in the world, they did not like the fact that their socialist democratic leaders had so much (collected) information on their citizens.

I remember thinking at the time that this was a good problem to have if your government was well, good. I actually did not see or experience anything during my lengthy stay there, which gave me any indication that the Canadian government was anything but good.

Fast forward 20 years, this is a kind of problem very few people in South Africa would like to have, considering that our current government is nowhere near good. In fact they’re leaning toward despotism. But I digress…

Google released their latest Transparency Report recently which shows that the South African government requested user data from them on 18 different occasions over a one and a half-year period, and they (Google) refused every single one. The requests also include the removal of content (presumably of a politically embarrassing or compromising nature) uploaded by users (citizens), from Google platforms.

Google 1, South African Government 0, Citizens WIN.

It’s extremely reassuring that Google upholds the values of freedom of speech, but whenever this government gets shown the finger, I find it personally satisfying.

So there you go, you prying kleptocratic fucks. I hope Google continues to give you what you deserve. Nothing!

The Waterkloof Air Force Base Mystery

WAFB

There’s a strange military base just about north of Johannesburg where mass corrupters occasionally sneak in and mass murderers sneak out, and nobody in charge seems to know how they do it.

The spooks in government tell us that this base is a National Key Point (NKP). For those who don’t know, an NKP is an area designated as of strategic importance against sabotage, and is thus of great importance for security purposes. If nobody (in government) knows how corrupt cronies or heinous murderers sneak in and out, it is very troubling for ordinary citizens.

A couple of years ago, a politically connected family managed to sneak their extended family into the country through this military base. They all went to a wedding, attended by The President of South Africa and other high-ranking politicians. They later told us that none of them had any idea how some of the other guests had arrived in the country through the Air Force Base. It was a complete mystery they told us. Some low ranking officials were blamed, others were promoted to cushy jobs and the mystery was neatly left to lie under a massive carpet.

Just last week, a mass murderer, a guest of the same government, managed the same feat; this time in the opposite direction, even while a High Court was busy compelling him to stay and be arrested. Again, us citizens were told that it was a complete mystery how. The only difference this time, is that the same government is trying to convince a High Court judge, that he is as stupid as the government thinks the rest of its citizens are.

Will he be fooled? More importantly, will he be able to find government liable and enforce a judgement? Time will tell. It’s an outcome that has serious ramifications for a democracy that is currently under siege.

Meanwhile, the citizens wait with baited breath to see which low ranking officials will be blamed, and whom will be promoted to cushy jobs in other areas of government. We also wait to find out if the bigger mystery of why the majority of citizens continue to submissively accept complete and bullshit from the government.

“Point of order, honourable Parasite…”

What you’re watching is a session of our Parliament. Correction! Was our Parliament. It is no longer any such thing.

That hallowed institution ceased to exist when Jacob Zuma and his cronies usurped it. What it is now, is merely a deception to keep up appearances for the credulous masses that conspire to keep this rabble in power.

It never fails to at the same time, amuse and infuriate me when these leeches call each other honourable. I’d be pleasantly surprised if more than a handful of them actually looked up the word in a dictionary.

Notice how the sheep rise to applaud the Pres… er jackal when he takes up position to answer frustrate questions from the Opposition. How very diffident? And what about the Speaker? What a model of prejudice?

This my friends is a very devious form of apartheid. It is called ANC democracy.

Zuminating the shit we’re in

dejapoo

While addressing a gathering of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Cape Town yesterday, President, Jacob Zuma regaled the gathering with how effective South Africa was at fighting corruption.

Zuma told this apparently unenlightened team of world leaders that his government had put in place institutions of graft-busting that were unbelievably non-existent during the apartheid era. Shocked members of the WEF were then led into a further secret:

There is a feeling that taxpayers’ money cannot be taken by other people. No matter if you are big or small, if there is a problem we have a structure to look at it.

Then in a moment of amazing candour the miscreant President revealed how he had valiantly hand-picked a team of ruthless investigators from his own cabinet and party to investigate the allegations of corruption against him. Unsurprisingly he was cleared.

Citizens of the country listening to Zuma’s address and reading about it later, were horrified, not because he was vindicated by this thorough team of investigators, but because the President had the audacity to take a gathering of international leaders for the fools he takes his own flock. Once again Zuma had shown not only his own countrymen the middle finger, but the rest of the world as well.

Eh eh eh eh eh…

Update: Found a recording of the WEF address by Jacob Zuma. Don’t you think Schwab, to the right of Zuma, is trying very hard to keep a straight face? The rest of us couldn’t.