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Birth of a Frankenstein monster

Paul Trewhela
05 August 2012

Paul Trewhela says corruption in the ANC goes a long way back

There is a passage which sends a chill down the spine, connecting a bad history to a bad present, and intimating a threatening future, in the new book by Martin Plaut and Paul Holden, Who Rules South Africa?, published by Jonathan Ball in South Africa and Biteback in Britain (see here).

The first of a number of major studies to appear before the ANC centenary conference at Mangaung in December, the book intersperses sections by Plaut - the Africa editor of the BBC World Service in London, who is a graduate of the University of Cape Town - and Holden, previously the researcher for Mark Gevisser's massive biography of Thabo Mbeki (Jonathan Ball, 2007) and subsequently author of The Arms Deal in your Pocket (Jonathan Ball, 2008) and The Devil in the Detail: How the Arms Deal Changed Everything (Jonathan Ball, 2011), co-authored with Hennie van Vuuren of the Institute for Security Studies.

Plaut's senior experience at the BBC World Service links up in this book with Holden's qualities of intellect and rigour (justly recorded by Gevisser) in research into the corrupting effect of the Arms Deal, going back to its inception by Thabo Mbeki while still Deputy President under Nelson Mandela.

Suggesting very deep structures of criminality in South Africa today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, the chilling passage appears in a chapter by Plaut with the title "Crime, Corruption and Connections" - a title all the more telling since the book was launched in South Africa in mid-June, only weeks before Zweli Mkhize, the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, spoke of "the confluence of politics, criminality and business" at the funeral of an ANC activist, the victim of a wave of political assassinations sweeping across the ANC.

"Crime, corruption and connections", indeed. The murdered man, Wandile Mkhize, shot when he returned home from the violent altercations at the ANC policy conference at Midrand, was still alive when Holden and Plaut launched their book....

In the same way, the former mayor of Rustenburg, Matthew Wolmarans, together with his former bodyguard, had not yet been convicted and sentenced, as they were last month, of the murder three years ago of an ANC councillor, trade unionist and whistleblower of true integrity, Moss Phakoe.

After they were convicted and sentenced, the general secretary of Cosatu, Zwelinzima Vavi, wrote in City Press last month that Moss Phakoe had previously been removed three times by Wolmarans from the mayoral committee, "for trying to expose corruption."

In an attack on the society's "nepotism, patronage, corruption and greed", Vavi stated that just before he was assassinated, Phakoe had "handed Wolmarans a dossier that implicated numerous politicians in acts of corruption in the municipality.

"He also had evidence of fraud in North West drought-relief projects. R33 million had been allocated for drought relief, but none of the money reached the communities in need. Instead, it was siphoned off through companies.

"Comrade Moss handed documents proving this fraud to the then minister for cooperative governance and traditional affairs, Sicelo Shiceka," Vavi continued. "Shiceka said he gave the documents to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU)."

"Crime, corruption and connections", stated Plaut and Holden in June.

The "confluence of politics, criminality and business," stated Zweli Mkhize in July.

And from Vavi, in memory of the murdered Moss Phakoe..."nepotism, patronage, corruption and greed."

In Plaut and Holden's book, the chilling connection to these judgements by Zweli Mkhize and Vavi comes from one of the most sinister men in South Africa's living memory, "Doctor Death" himself, Dr Wouter Basson.

Though acquitted on criminal charges in 2002, Basson continues to face an inquiry into his professional conduct as a doctor.

Plaut quotes from evidence by Basson's legal team during his trial that while running the notorious "Project Coast" from the headquarters of Special Forces in Pretoria during the last decade of apartheid dictatorship, its aim had been to "infiltrate the drugs and arms routes used by the ANC's armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe." (Plaut and Holden, p.270)

These words quoted here from Plaut's chapter are reproduced from a paper by Chandré Gould and Peter Folb, "Project Coast: Apartheid's chemical and biological warfare programme", published in Cape Town in 2002 by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research and the Centre for Conflict Resolution (see here - PDF).

They make total sense. In its reference to "drugs...routes", Basson's legal team here for the first time gave indication from the side of the apartheid state of its infiltration of criminal networks run by the ANC's military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), in exile - a confluence (to use Zweli Mkhize's acute term) between the apartheid state and a powerful fraction of MK in exile, a "confluence" of politics, criminality and the so-called "special" operations of the military.

In the same chapter, Martin Plaut provides a concise review of previously published material concerning the ANC's criminal networks in exile, a subject which I discussed in an article "Criminal networks in exile" on Politicsweb (2 July 2008).

He cites evidence provided by RW Johnson and others of help given to the ANC by criminals from the very start of MK's military campaign, with specific focus on the former gang-leader of the Spoilers gang in Alexandra, Joe Modise, later commander of MK in exile, subsequently Minister of Defence in the first two ANC administrations and, as Plaut quaintly puts it, "of later Arms Deal fame". (p.268)

Chris Hani had already pointed the finger at Modise in his famous "Memorandum" of 1969, written with six other MK colleagues, and assisted by Professor Jack Simons, two years after their participation in the Wankie campaign in then Rhodesia and their subsequent imprisonment in Botswana: a crucial document of South African history made public 40 years later by Hugh Macmillan in a paper published in 2009.

Across the decades, Hani's words continue to accuse the criminal beneficiaries of both Mbeki and Zuma administrations today.

They were "disturbed by the careerism" of ANC leaders, in receipt of salaries ("money inducements") which would "corrupt cadres at any level," these MK soldiers wrote in their Memorandum, for which they nearly paid with their lives.

Certain "symptoms" were "very disturbing and dispiriting," they continued.

These included the "opening of mysterious business enterprises which to our knowledge have never been discussed by the leadership of the Organisation." In Livingstone in Zambia's Western Province, they argued, "a bone factory whose original purpose was to provide cover for underground work in Botswana is now being used as a commercial undertaking.... And some of the people in charge of these enterprises are dubious characters with shady political backgrounds....Thabo More, who is supposed to be planning, directing and leading the struggle in South Africa is fully involved in these enterprises....

"The Leadership of the ANC can't but be blamed for this state of affairs," they concluded.

"Thabo More" was of course Joe Modise, of Spoilers and later Arms Deal fame.

Plaut cites material provided by RW Johnson accusing Modise of "running stolen car rackets from Zambia and encouraging bank robberies", of sharing a house in Lusaka with a drug-dealer and of having no legitimate means of explaining his extravagant lifestyle. The "routes used to smuggle arms and fighters into the country," he points out, also served "the more dubious interests of personal enrichment." (p.269)

The book is rich in detail and evaluation of this kind, in chapters by both authors. The significance of Brett Kebble, through his connections with ANC activists, with the gangster Glenn Agliotti and with the disgraced and convicted head of South Africa's (and Interpol's) police force, Jackie Selebi, is given proper place.

If there is a single thread, though, to set beside the malign cloud of corruption running through Who Rules South Africa?, it is the hollowing out of authority of the National Assembly. An over-mighty, corrupt executive, swollen in the model of Joe Modise as Mafia Boss of South Africa Inc, now threatens to devour the other institutions of the Constitution. 

In a chapter headed "The Arms Deal and the erosion of parliamentary power", Paul Holden pointedly writes: "The proportional representation system, in the service of a dominant party that effected political centralism on a grand scale, rendered the idea of independent MPs a figment. At every point in the Arms Deal, Parliament was ignored or actively browbeaten...."

The National Assembly was shown by the Arms Deal to have "only the most limited power to halt or even monitor the activities of the executive."

When MPs attempted to perform their constitutional duty, the "executive launched a public attack that could only have undermined confidence in South Africa's primary democratic institution." MPs were "quickly brought into line, harangued, harassed, removed from positions of power and slowly frozen out...". The result, in Holden's quiet but threatening words, is "a democratic system creaking under the weight of single party dominance...". (pp.123-24)

Shouldering its way into the negative space of this Parliament-that-isn't, Holden and Plaut scarily reveal the rise of the a Frankenstein monster: a despotic Executive twinned with Corruption.

In every service delivery protest across the land, "The people shall govern!" - the first principle of the Freedom Charter of 1955 - is shown in practice as a fraud and a sham.

If there is a single failing of this valuable book, it would be in not having devoted more attention to this fatal flaw of South Africa's democratic Constitution, alluded to by Holden, above - the absence of individual accountability of MPs, of members of provincial legislatures and in half of all municipal seats.

As "the most important item in the constitution" and "the key to the workings of the new political system", as RW Johnson pointed out in 2004 in his South Africa: The First Man, The Last Nation (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, p.207), the legislature - created by a bad electoral law, and governed by the party list - is offspring of a forced marriage between the Sovietism of the ANC in exile and the capitalist economy it inherited, following secret negotiations on the electoral law between the ANC and the National Party, then in its death-throes. This was a fix guaranteed to feed corruption through its exclusion of constituencies, and thus individual accountability of politicians.

Its result is is the opposite of what the founders of the ANC intended a century ago, and instead provides a replica of the Chamber of Deputies, in the totalitarian model of the Soviet Union and East Germany which patronised the ANC for the 30 years - the subject of Stephen Ellis's forthcoming book, The External Mission: The ANC in Exile 1960-1990, to be published by Jonathan Ball in September.

Democracy is not sustainable where the National Assembly is a cow-pen for highly-paid MPs, the majority bribed to stay silent and say "moo" when required by the cow-herd.

How did this happen, in a country where the vote was the most important focus of political discussion for a century? How did the democratic hopes of the people come to be so comprehensively trashed? And what is to be done about it?

Investigating this must be the task of another book, still yet to be written.

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Comments

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 responses to this article

Chris Hani

So who really ordered Chris Hani's execution ?

by DM on August 05 2012, 22:36
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Gangster paradise
Real action. Open the can of rotten worms so we can see who is crawling out.
"The people shall govern" - exactly - a political scam use by criminals to keep the attention of worshippers elsewhere while they are devouring the golden goose.

by nickl on August 05 2012, 22:59
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Birth of a Frankenstein Monster
ANCYL "prophesies" Zuma's expulsion as President and Malema's reinstatement to ANCYL and eventually President of South Africa, extermination of all whites, conversion of South Africa to be totally and completely "ungovernable". The result of which will be . .more

by Frankenstein's Nemesis on August 05 2012, 22:59
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About time!
One wonders why this information is only being released now. But, the unfortunate thing about this is that it will not reach the people who are most affected by mismanagement and bad governance - the poor and unemployed. A lot needs to be done to expose . .more

by Markza on August 06 2012, 02:02
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The Liberation Mafia again.....

.....drugs (Mx) to SA and stolen German takeaways smuggled from SA north.

My old friends, yet again,..... the racket that Harper and I stumbled upon in Harare & effectively started to enforce Zim (& global) Customs law against.

That . .more

by John Austin on August 06 2012, 02:24
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prehaps.....
...it is also embedded in the culture and that extra effort and care needs to be taken? this is not a racist thing, but if there is a known weakness in africa, then admit it and ensure that it cannot occur.....

look at sa today, it has a . .more

by onlooker on August 06 2012, 04:33
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Corruption was endemic in the Homelands long before 1994
SA taxpayer money was poured into Homelands and given to tribal chiefs for health,hospitals, education, roads - and just disappeared. Figures are in SA's annual budgets.

That corruption just spread through the whole country post 1994.

by Lyndall Beddy on August 06 2012, 06:59
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SA = A Criminal State
Led by the vile criminals in the ANC - what do internatinal comnmentators have to say? Why are they silent?

by Democrat on August 06 2012, 07:18
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Compelling but....................????
There is no doubt that the dark side of the anc is a moral black hole. Of course there is extreme criminality present in the political order it has created. Of course this extreme criminality is multiplying itself. But to suggest that anc members such as . .more

by DavidJ on August 06 2012, 08:56
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@John Austin
John, please speak up - list publications where I can read more. This Harare Don hypothesis sounds credible and interesting....

by Animal Farm on August 06 2012, 09:09
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Frankenstein
And then people label me a pessimist when I say that in the final outcome, the real liberation will still come through conflict that will leave more dead than alive in this country.....


by Animal Farm on August 06 2012, 09:11
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A lot of people are going to jail!
Every time I throw the bones I can see the forefather are angry at the looters and at the people that is supposed to be the leaders. Those who know and is quiet and say nothing is just as guilty!
The people are going to be stronger than the corrupt . .more

by Tokolosh on August 06 2012, 09:12
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ANC members not guilty?
Even members not guilty play there part. They all know about it but do nothing about it.

by In Wonder on August 06 2012, 09:16
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ANC is Criminal, everyone that supports them are accomplices
It has long been my contention that the ANC benefited from crime. They encouraged criminality through the street committees, while calling to make the previous regime ungovernable.
They have never retracted those instructions, nor put in place any . .more

by The Clever Native on August 06 2012, 09:47
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ANC criminality
Several contributors to these columns have now for months stated categorically that it is completely fair and just to discriminate against whites, all whites - not only former NAT supporters, because all were "Bloody apartheid . .more

by James Bell on August 06 2012, 10:15
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Various
@Tokolosh – Considering that Zuma threatened the voters by saying that “the ancestors” will know who they vote for, I wondered what “the ancestors” would think of what he has done. Perhaps he doesn’t believe or care about “the ancestors. If I were one . .more

by Open Minded on August 06 2012, 10:41
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Easy to ignore context.
It’s easy to criticize without considering context. The context of the ANC’s conduct and relationship with black marketers and criminals (at that stage) is apartheid. And this is what Paul ignores, disingenuously. Even the resistance against Nazi Germany . .more

by Charles on August 06 2012, 11:28
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RE: Chris was being naive
Chris Hani was being naïve (an improbable thing). Someone had to fund the RPG, the AK 47s, the food for the camps, the operations of the secret cells, etc. The source of the funds was deemed irrelevant (the Vetican has never funded any resistance against . .more

by Charles on August 06 2012, 11:42
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Why bother with Africa or SA?
Why do whites live in SA? Why bother with the way blacks run countries? You have a better chance of being murdered hijacked or similar and in the end the black folk will get rid of the white folk. Why do they still live in SA? It is beyond me.

by Failed unsafe corrupt country on August 06 2012, 12:06
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@ Charles
I am very grateful to Charles for his careful attention to the severe problems in the way of organising military resistance to the apartheid regime. It is quite true that even the United States government employed the services of the Mafia boss Lucky . .more

by Paul Trewhela on August 06 2012, 12:34
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Mafia States
Essential reading:
"Mafia States: Organized Crime Takes Office" by Moises Naim in Foreign Affairs, May/June 2012.

by Argus Eye on August 06 2012, 12:47
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@Paul Trewhela
You are of course making the assumption that most of the electorate are honest, intelligent people who can make the mental connection between their personal lot in life, and those whom they elect. This is of course totally naive. The ANC continues to win . .more

by Boer on August 06 2012, 12:50
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@Charles
I should have known. No matter with what proof anybody comes forward about the ANC, its criminal activities, its failed and outdated policies, there will always be somebody that will turn the argument around so that in the end it is all the fault of those . .more

by James Bell on August 06 2012, 13:31
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Election Reform
Dear Mr. Paul Trewhela,

Thank you for the clearly sincere acknowledgment.

Regarding electoral reform I wish to pint out some criticism of the conclusions you make and the basis of it.

The PR system is a product of a . .more

by Charles on August 06 2012, 13:34
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#Charles - correction
.... blamed Jan van Riebeeck and apartheid for all the sufferings blacks endured since 1652 ....

I do not know of any other subject about which so much lies, half truths and sophisticated disinformation has been written as about the struggle . .more

by James Bell on August 06 2012, 13:44
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PS-PR & Reality

PS: The biggest criticism of the PR system internationally is that it fragments parliament and leads to weak governments because of the difficulty of coalition making (and maintenance) resulting from even fringe parties being represented in . .more

by Charles on August 06 2012, 13:47
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@Boer
You seem to have a capacity of pea brain! How dare you undermine the mental capacity of Black people???

You are a bigoted racist and thats why Politicsweb is your refuge!!

by INHLAMBA on August 06 2012, 14:41
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@ Charles PS- PR & Reality
This is a good quality, informative discussion, but I wish it were taking place in the real world of South African political life. Since the great majority of politically active people in the country are in ANC branches (though there is decline in branch . .more

by Paul Trewhela on August 06 2012, 14:58
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From the archives...
The SACP and the Anglican Communion, with the Black Sash Ladies, set out to build a beautiful, powerful, amazingly Moral and Utopian, God-like Frankenstein monster: Only the best body parts would be and were used! Then the Black Sash and the UDF, and . .more

by JVR on August 06 2012, 15:10
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@Boer....

.....the "herd" doesn't always behave the way you describe.

In Chikurubi "F" Hall (Detainees' Hall), we acquired a game of Trivial Pursuit. With nearly 100x detainees, we couldn't all play. So six of the most educated (& willing) detainees . .more

by John Austin on August 06 2012, 15:35
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They killed Him.......
It obvious who planned the killing of the great communist Hani!!!!!!!!!

by Khazmula on August 06 2012, 15:57
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@ failed unsafe corrupt country
To answer your question - we bother because the Western World still believes in the Myth of St. Mandela. They will not have us, because the lie has become the truth, and Whites are Evil. So we have to stay here.

If the civilized world would . .more

by James on August 06 2012, 16:33
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the bonfire of our vanities
This is one of the most chilling articles I have read in a long time.
I have long held the view that the Republic of South Africa is in the grip of criminals, venal looters and associated bad eggs and many of my postings reflect this belief.
I . .more

by Plutarch on August 06 2012, 17:25
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Yes, Plute....

...until all the low hanging fruit has been stripped bare.

There is no need for conjecture nor guesswork on the form & modalities the ANCpf will deploy. A working model is alive & well in HARARE as I type.

Indeed, the exchange & . .more

by John Austin on August 06 2012, 17:44
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Of course Mr Plutarch,
it remains an incredible fact that South Africa's Liberal Class conspired with these men in the 1970s and 1980s to seize control of South Africa.

These Liberals seemed like ordinary people on the outside, some, like the Helens, are quite famous, . .more

by JVR on August 06 2012, 17:56
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@John Austin
I can usually identify with your opinions and views as you have firsthand experience of the tender mercies of Africa.

However, your contribution at 17.44 puzzles me. If I read it together with an assertion you made a few days ago that worst . .more

by James Bell on August 06 2012, 18:54
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@Charles (PS-PR&Reality)

I believe that you have deliberately written absolute nonsense about the DA. May I suggest that you may be a comrade close to the beating heart of the ANC elite.

For those who are interested in the DA's working policy please Google "DA . .more

by DM on August 06 2012, 18:58
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@JVR
I am impressed with your broad knowledge of the recent history of RSA.
Much of what you say is undoubtedly correct.
Many of your comments about the flower-children liberals of the 60s and 70s show a sharp summary of those characters.
I . .more

by Plutarch on August 06 2012, 20:17
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@ Charles on August 06 2012, 11:28
>>"To sum up, the creator of the monster was none other than the apartheid state (and those who voted for it). It alone created the conditions that led to a resistance that forced ordinarily honest human beings to rely on funds from bank robberies, drug . .more

by TheDrake on August 06 2012, 20:39
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@ IMHLAMBA

It does not help to attack the messenger IMHLAMBA. A far more powerful response is to discredit his message.

You can do this by quoting scientific studies to support your viewpoint. Many such studies and their statistical proofs are . .more

by Ivan on August 06 2012, 20:56
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Plutarch
What a sad sad existence. The future is bright but you see only doom and gloom because your head is stuck in a deep, dark, humid orifice.

by Real Talk on August 06 2012, 21:19
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@ Charles on August 06 2012, 11:42
>>"We also know they shredded much of the more horrific files before 1994. What is in those files that are worse than what we know? Why is Paul not enquiring into this? All of this (including killing women and children in the border war, and financing . .more

by TheDrake on August 06 2012, 21:23
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@ JVR on August 06 2012, 17:56
>>"Of course, the ANC had all intensions to seize power, and sharing with Liberals is last thing they would imagined to do. These days one would think that the joke was on the Liberals."

The mine proprietors in SA for one century were also the . .more

by TheDrake on August 06 2012, 22:08
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Mirror images.
How interesting to compare the closed-minded JvR, new poster Charles (who reads like Domza or other previous ANC nom-de-trolls) and Kom Net Met ... All different sides of the same bitter and bigoted coin. With an unhealthy bit of conspiracy paranoia . .more

by Loudly South African on August 06 2012, 23:50
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@Paul & Charles
If democracy comes from below, it is essential to think through what that means. Political activists can propose a 'change' that will bring politicians more 'under the control of the electorate' till the cows come home and it will be ignored by the ruling . .more

by Paul Whelan on August 07 2012, 00:33
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by James Bell on August 06 2012, 18:54

.....not quite sure what you are asking me ?

I'll try & give it a go, but come back to me if I have failed to answer you or missed your query, please?

THEOLOGY (including APARTHEID THEOLOGY), is an old tool of misuse of scripture . .more

by John Austin on August 07 2012, 00:41
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by James Bell on August 06 2012, 18:54

...your 2nd question:-

"Please comment on why ZIM, which never had apartheid, is an even bigger basket case than SA".

A lie repeated often enough, is believed eventually, ne James ?

Minority rule in ZIM & SA were BOTH a . .more

by John Austin on August 07 2012, 01:20
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@charles the ANC and their allies used terrorism - they were the insurgents
They entered the villages, planted bombs and terrorized the locals into joining their communist revolution. They overthrew the colonial governments and their place put one party states - they eliminated all other political parties. The insurgents you call . .more

by Anon on August 07 2012, 06:24
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@ and why should whites apologize for not accepting to make SA a communist monster?

Why did the whites have to apologize for defending themselves against terrorism?

Why should whites apologize for not wanting to become Mozambique - the poorest country in the world, a Zimbabwe? A Zaire?

Your ANC communist friends . .more

by Anon on August 07 2012, 06:40
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Mr Plutarch (and also Mr TheDrake)...
... one has to accept that ANC rule in South Africa is permanent. SA will only improve (or decline) as the ANC becomes better or worse. All dreams of DA rule, or of Afrikaners or white Anglos or white Liberals playing a key role in improving SA remain . .more

by JVR on August 07 2012, 09:15
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The ANC only has 33 percent of the Vote!
Because half the people did not vote at the last election, the ANC does NOT have 66 percent! If the people VOTE again, like in 1994, the ANC could easlily lose and a co-elition opposition government come into place.

by Lyndall Beddy on August 07 2012, 12:41
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There was NO plot to kill Chris Hani!
He was killed by 2 private individuals who were anti-Communist because Hani was their visible leader.

by Lyndall Beddy on August 07 2012, 14:10
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NO apartheid files were shredded!
They have been Classified BY THE ANC! Which makes you wonder what they are hiding!

by Lyndall Beddy on August 07 2012, 14:12
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@ INHLAMBA

It does not help to attack the messenger. A far more powerful response is to discredit his message.

You can do this by quoting scientific studies to support your viewpoint. Many such studies and their statistical proofs are available on . .more

by Ivan on August 07 2012, 16:20
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@John Austin
Your replies refer. Thank you for your balanced response. I would like to correspond with you more directly. If you are agreeable to this fax me your e-mail address to +27 865894385.

While I do not disagree with what you have said it is not the . .more

by James Bell on August 07 2012, 18:24
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@Lyndall Beddy
re plot to kill Chris Hani and Aparthied Files: Where does one find that info? Sadly my memory has faded a little.
How many remember the Poqo movement and the murders committed in the Transkei? This against innocent white traders!!!

by Esmeralder on August 07 2012, 18:32
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Classified Files
@ Esmerelda

Info from newspaper articles about what files are classified when those tapes were declassified for Zuma's court case. The ANC is the government and only they can classify or declassify.

by Lyndall Beddy on August 08 2012, 21:21
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Derby Lewis
@ Esmarelder

Tutu gave his reason for jailing Derby Lewis as that he had not made full disclosure of a "conspiracy" to kill Hani of which no proof existed or has come to light in 16 years!

by Lyndall Beddy on August 08 2012, 21:24
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Archives
Two truckloads of Special Branch files were taken from the archives Dept in Pretoria by the then Minister of Intelligence. I was told this at the archives dept when I was trying to find out what the SB thought of me in the 60's and late 50's before I went . .more

by Mafirofiro on August 13 2012, 18:35
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ANC GOVERMENT
SORRY TO STEP ON ONCE TOE!! BUT. IT's JUST A FEW NUMBERS THAT KEEPS THE ANC IN A SORT OF POWER AND TAX MONEY TO FEED THE TOP 6. THAT WILL RUN OUT IN A JEAR OR SO. FOR THE TIME BEING, WE REALY DID NOT CARE WHO GOVERN SA, AS LONG AS WE GET . .more

by L TRACKS on December 29 2012, 21:46
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