Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Concentration Camps 1899 - 1902

The Concentration Camps
1899 - 1902

by Hennie Barnard

"They are not buried here; they are planted. And they will for ever be growing in the hearts of the Boer people."

B Barnard on Concentration Camp Day 21 May 1995 at Balmoral Concentration Camp Cemetery

  • Aliwal North
  • Balmoral
  • Barberton
  • Belfast
  • Bethulie
  • Bloemfontein
  • Brandfort
  • Heidelberg
  • Heilbron
  • Howick
  • Irene
  • Kimberley
  • Klerksdorp
  • Kroonstad
  • Krugersdorp
  • Merebank
  • Middelburg
  • Norvalspont
  • Nylstroom
  • Pietermaritzburg
  • Pietersburg
  • Pinetown
  • Port Elizabeth
  • Potchefstroom
  • Springfontein
  • Standerton
  • Turffontein
  • Vereeniging
  • Volksrust
  • Vredefort
  • Vryburg


1. Introduction 2. Background
3. Course of the holocaust
3.1. The war against woman and child begins
3.2. False pretences
3.3. Planning for death
3.4. Let them die of hunger
3.5. No hygiene
3.6. Hospitals of homicide
3.7. The highest sacrifice
4. Consequences
  • 4.1 "Peace"
  • 4.2. Called up by the enemy
  • 4.3. Immortalised in our literature
  • 4.4. We may not forget
  • 4.5. Pillars of support
5. Effects
6. Summation
Their only crime
7. Sources

The Concentration Camps

1. Introduction

The concentration camps in which Britain killed 27 000 Boer women and children(24000) during the Second War of Independence (1899 - 1902) today still have far-reaching effects on the existence of the Boerevolk.

This holocaust once more enjoyed close scrutiny during the visit of the queen of England to South Africa, when ten organisations promoting the independence of the Boer Republics, presented her with a message, demanding that England redress the wrongs committed against the Boerevolk.

Family arrived at the consentration camp

2. Background

The Second War of Independence was fought from 1899 to 1902 when England laid her hands on the mineral riches of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (Transvaal) under the false pretence of protecting the rights of the foreigners who swarmed to the Transvaal gold fields.

On the battlefield England failed to get the better of the Boers, and decided to stoop to a full-scale war against the Boer women and children, employing a holocaust to force the burghers to surrender.

3. Course of the holocaust

3.1. The war against women and children begins

Under the command of Kitchener, Milner and Roberts, more than homesteads and farms belonging to Boer people were plundered and burned down. Animals belonging to the Boers were killed in the cruelest ways possible while the women, whose men were on the battlefield, had to watch helplessly.

Killing sheep Leaving the sheep rotten

The motive behind this action was the destruction of the farms in order to prevent the fighting burghers from obtaining food, and to demoralise the Boers by leaving their women and children homeless on the open veld.

Before the blast The blast Destroyed for king and country

However, England misjudged the steel of the Boer people. Despite their desperate circumstances, the women and children managed to survive fairly well in the open and their men continued their fight against the invader.

Women and children on the run - away from the English

More severe measures had to be taken. The English hoarded the Boer women and children into open cattle trucks or drove them on foot to concentration camps.

3.2. False pretences

To the world England pretended to act very humanely by caring for the fighting Boers' women and children in "refugee camps". An English school textbook published in 1914 in Johannesburg, but printed in England, Historical Geography: South Africa, by JR Fisher, makes the following claim:

"During the later stages of the war, the relations, women and

children, of those Boers still in the field, were fed and cared

for at the expense of Great Britain, a method of procedure which,

though humane, postponed the end of the war, at the expense of

many valuable lives and much money."

This statement is contradicted by various sources. The Cape Argus of 21 June 1900 clearly states that the destitution of these women and children was the result of the English's plundering of farms: "Within 10 miles we (the English) burned not less than six farm homesteads. Between 30 and 40 homesteads were burned and totally destroyed between Bloemfontein and Boshoff. Many others were also burned down. With their houses destroyed, the women and children were left in the bitter South African winter in the open." The British history text book says nothing about this.

Awfully generous of the English to care for those whose houses they destroyed!

Breytenbach writes in Danie Theron: "The destruction was undertaken in a diabolic way and even Mrs Prinsloo, a 22 year old lady who gave birth to a baby only 24 hours ago in the house of Van Niekerk, was not spared. A group of rude tommies (British soldiers), amongst whom a so-called English doctor, forced their way into her room, and after making a pretence of examining her, they drove her out of the house. With the aid of her sister, she managed to don a few articles of clothing and left the house. Her mother brought a blanket to protect her against the cold. The soldiers robustly jerked the blanket out of her mother's hands and after having looted whatever they wanted to, put the house to fire. Afterwards the old man was driven on foot to Kroonstad by mounted kakies (British soldiers), while his wife and daughter (Mrs Prinsloo) were left destitute on the scorched farm."

England's claim of caring for the Boer women reminds one of somebody who boasts to have saved the life of someone he himself has pushed into the water. However, there is one vital difference: The holocaust on the Boer women and children began in all earnest once they had been forced into the concentration camps under the "care" of the British!

Family at the beginning - newly arrived with tea and bread (English Propaganda).

Despite the English claims that the concentration camps were "voluntary refugee camps" the following questions must be asked:

- From whom did the refugees flee? Certainly not from their own husbands and sons!

- How can the fact that the "voluntary" women and children had to be dragged to the concentration camps by force be explained?

- Why should the "voluntary refugee camps" be enclosed by barbed wire fences and the inmates be overseen by armed wardens? Kimberley camp had a five meter high barbed wire fence and some camps even had two or three fences!

- Why would one of the camp commanders make the following statement quoted by Emily Hobhouse: "The wardens were under orders not to interfere with the inmates, unless they should try to escape."? What kind of "voluntary refugee" would want to escape?

Perhaps the words of the Welsh William Redmond are closer to the truth: "The way in which these wretched, unfortunate and poor women and children are treated in South Africa is barbarous, outrageous, scandalous and disgraceful."

3.3. Planning for death

The English claim of decent actions towards the Boer women and children are further contradicted by the location of the concentration camps. The military authorities, who often had to plan and erect camps for their soldiers, would certainly have been well aware of the essential requirements for such camps. Yet the concentration camps were established in the most unsuitable locations possible.

At Standerton the camp was erected on both banks of the Vaal River. It was on the Highveld, which ensured that it was extremely cold in winter and infested with mosquitoes in summer. The fact that Standerton had turf soil and a high rainfall, ensured that the camp was one big mud bath in summer, even inside the tents.

The same circumstances were experienced in camps such as Brandfort, Springfontein and Orange River. At Pretoria, the Irene Camp was located at the chilly southern side of the town, while the northern side had a much more favourable climate. Balmoral, Middelburg and other camps were also located on the south-eastern hangs of the hills to ensure that the inhabitants were exposed to the icy south easterly winds.

Merebank camp was located in a swamp where there was an abundance of various kinds of insects. Water oozed out of the ground, ensuring that everything was constantly wet and slimy.

By October 1900 there were already 58 883 people in concentration camps in Transvaal and 45 306 in the Free State.

The amenities in the camps were clearly planned to kill as many of the women and children as possible. They were accommodated in tattered reject tents which offered no protection against the elements.
Emily Hobhouse, the Cornish lady who campaigned for better conditions for the Boer women, wrote: "Throughout the night there was a downpour. Puddles of water were everywhere. They tried to get themselves and their possessions dry on the soaked ground."
(Hobhouse: Brunt of the War, page 169.)
Dr Kendal Franks reports on the Irene Camp: "In one of the tents there were three families; parents and children, a total of 14 people and all were suffering from measles."

In Springfontein camp, 19 to 20 people where crammed into one tent.

There were neither beds nor mattresses and nearly the whole camp population had to sleep on the bare ground, which was damp most of the time.

One person wrote the following plea for aid to the New York Herald: "In the name of small children who have to sleep in open tents without fire, with barely any clothes, I plea for help."

3.4. Let them die of hunger

According to a British journalist, WT Stead, the concentration camps were nothing more than a cruel torture machine. He writes: "Every one of these children who died as a result of the halving of their rations, thereby exerting pressure onto their family still on the battle-field, was purposefully murdered. The system of half rations stands exposed and stark and unshamefully as a cold-blooded deed of state policy employed with the purpose of ensuring the surrender of people whom we were not able to defeat on the battlefield."

The detainees received no fruit or vegetables; not even milk for the babies.

The meat and flour issued were crawling with maggots. Emily Hobhouse writes: "I have in my possession coffee and sugar which were described as follows by a London analyst: In the case of the first, 66% imitation, and in the case of the second, sweepings from a warehouse."

In her book, Met die Boere in die Veld (With the Boers in the field), Sara Raal states that "there were poisonous sulphate of copper, grounded glass, fishhooks, and razor blades in the rations." The evidence given on this fact is so overwhelming that it must be regarded as a historical fact.

3.5. No hygiene

The outbreak of disease and epidemics in the camps were further promoted by, inter alia, the lack of sanitary conveniences. Bloemfontein camp had only 13 toilets for more than 3 500 people. Aliwal North camp had one toilet for every 170 people.

A British physician, Dr Henry Becker, writes: "First, they chose an ill-suited site for the camp. Then they supplied so little water that the people could neither wash themselves nor their clothes. Furthermore, they made no provision for sufficient waste removal. And lastly, they did not provide enough toilets for the overpopulation they had crammed into the camps."

A report on a Ladies' Committee's visit to Bloemfontein camp stated: "They saw how the women tried to wash clothes in small puddles of water and sometimes had to use the water more than once."

3.6. Hospitals of homicide

Ill and healthy people were crammed together into unventilated areas conducive to the spreading of disease and epidemics. At first there were no medical amenities whatsoever in the camps.

Later doctors were appointed, but too few. In Johannesburg there was one doctor for every 4 000 afflicted patients.

A report on the Irene camp states that, out of a population of 1325 detainees, 154 were ill and 20 had died during the previous week. Still this camp had only one doctor and no hospital.

In some camps matters were even worse. The large Bloemfontein camp did not have a single doctor; only one nurse who could not possibly cope with the conditions. During a visit to Norvalspont camp Emily Hobhouse could not even find a trained nurse.

The later appointment of medical personnel did not improve the conditions. They were appointed for their loyalty towards the British invasion; not for their medical capability. They maltreated the Boere.

Emily Hobhouse tells the story of the young Lizzie van Zyl who died in the Bloemfontein concentration camp: "She was a frail, weak little child in desperate need of good care. Yet, because her mother was one of the 'undesirables' due to the fact that her father neither surrendered nor betrayed his people, Lizzie was placed on the lowest rations and so perished with hunger that, after a month in the camp, she was transferred to the new small hospital. Here she was treated harshly. The English disposed doctor and his nurses did not understand her language and, as she could not speak English, labelled her an idiot although she was mentally fit and normal. One day she dejectedly started calling:

lillyvzyl.gif (54356 bytes)

Mother! Mother! I want to go to my mother! One Mrs Botha walked over to her to console her. She was just telling the child that she would soon see her mother again, when she was brusquely interrupted by one of the nurses who told her not to interfere with the child as she was a nuisance." Shortly afterwards, Lizzie van Zyl died.

Treu, a medical assistant in the Johannesburg concentration camp, stated that patients were bullied and even lashed with a strap.

Ill people who were taken to the camp hospitals were as good as dead. One woman declared: "We fear the hospitals more than death."

The following two reports should give an idea of the inefficiency of the camp hospitals: "Often people suffering from a minor ailment were violently removed from the tents of protesting mothers or family members to be taken to hospital. After a few days they were more often than not carried to the grave."

"Should a child leave the hospital alive, it was simply a miracle."

(Both quotations from Stemme uit die Verlede - a collection of sworn statements by women who were detained in the concentration camps during the Second War of Independence.)

3.7. The highest sacrifice

In total 27 000 women and children made the highest sacrifice in the British hell camps during the struggle for the freedom of the Boerevolk.

Mrs Helen Harris, who paid a visit to the Potchefstroom concentration camp, stated: "Imagine a one year old baby who receives no milk; who has to drink water or coffee - there is no doubt that this is the cause of the poor health of the children."

Should one take note of the fact that it were the English who killed the Boers' cattle with bayonets, thereby depriving the children of their food sources, then the high fatality rate does not seem to be incidental.

Despite shocking fatality figures in the concentration camps, the English did nothing to improve the situation, and the English public remained deaf to the lamentations in the concentration camps as thousands of people, especially children, were carried to their graves.

The Welshman, Lloyd George, stated: "The fatality rate of our soldiers on the battlefields, who were exposed to all the risks of war, was 52 per thousand per year, while the fatalities of women and children in the camps were 450 per thousand per year. We have no right to put women and children into such a position."

An Irishman, Dillon, said: "I can produce and endless succession of confirmations that the conditions in most of the camps are appalling and brutal. To my opinion the fatality rate is nothing less than cold-blooded murder."

One European had the following comment on England's conduct with the concentration camps: "Great Britain cannot win her battles without resorting to the despicable cowardice of the most loathsome cure on earth - the act of striking at a brave man's heart through his wife's honour and his child's life."

The barbarousness of the English is strongly evidenced by the way in which they unceremoniously threw the corpses of children in heaps on mule carts to be transported to the cemeteries. The mourning mothers had to follow on foot. Due to illness or fatigue many of them could not follow fast enough and had to miss the funerals of their children.

According to PF Bruwer, author of Vir Volk en Vryheid, all the facts point out that the concentration camps, also known as the hell camps, were a calculated and deliberate effort by England to commit a holocaust on the Boerevolk

4. Consequences

4.1. "Peace"

As a direct result of the concentration camps, the "Peace Treaty" of Vereeniging was signed, according to which the Boer Republics came under British rule.

4.2. Called up by the enemy

It is a bitter irony that during World War I England laid claim to the same boys who survived the concentration camps to fight against Germany, which was well-disposed towards the Boerevolk.

Thereby they had to lay their lives upon the line for the second time to the benefit of England.

Kroniek van die Kampkinders (Chronicle of the camp children) by HS van Blerk describes how, after World War I, this generation were, in addition, kept out of the labour force and how they were impoverished - all simply because they were Boers.

4.3. Immortalised in our literature

In this modern world it seems as if few people realise the hardships our forefathers had to endure in order to lose our freedom only without forfeiting the honour of our people.

Therefore, it is proper to look at the reflection of the concentration camps in our literature, where the nobility of our forefathers is immortalised.

(In the translation of Afrikaans into an other language, it is unavoidable that most of the splendour of the original words will be lost, but the translator will do his utmost to at least convey the message.)

A new song to an old tune

C Louis Leipoldt (excerpt)

You, who are the hope of our people;

You, who our people can barely spare;

You, who should grow up to become a man;

You, who must perform your duty, if you can;

You, who have no part in the war;

You, who should sing and jump for joy -

You must perish in a children's camp

You must be eliminated for peace:

Fold your hands tight together,

Close your eyes and say amen!

Whooping-cough and consumption, without milk:

bitter for you is the fate of life!

There is your place, at the children's graves -

Two in one coffin, a wedding couple!

Al you gain is that we will remember:

Our freedom more precious than woman or child!

In the Concentration Camp

(Aliwal North, 1901) C Louis Leipoldt (excerpt)

You are cringing away from the gusts of the wind

The chill seeping through the hail-torn tent -

Your scanty shield against torturing torrents;

The June chill bursts over the banks of the Vaal -

And all you can hear are the coughs from your child, and the

ceaseless patter of rain on the canvas.

A candle stub, just an inch before death

faintly flickering in a bottle

(a sty offers more comfort and rest)

But here, at night every thought is

a round of torture and tears.

Here, the early-born child flounders

Here, the aged fades away

Here, all you can hear is wailing and sighs

Here, every second is a lifetime of dread;

Every minute leaves scars

on your soul, sacrifice without end.

Forgive? Forget? Is it possible to forgive?

The sorrow, the despair demanded so much!

The branding iron painfully left its scar

on our nation, for ages to see, and the wound is too raw -

Too close to our heart and to deep in our souls -

"Patience, o patience, how much can you bear?"

Leipoldt also wrote heartbreaking verses on a soap box to the memory of children who could at least be buried in this luxury:

They made you in England, little soap box
To serve as coffin for our children
They found little corpses for you, soap box
And I have witnessed you as coffin.

Equally unforgettable is AG Visser's description of an orphan in the concentration camp in his poem,

The Youngest Burgher:

The camp of women is ruled by silence and darkness

The misery kindly concealed by the night

Here and there a minute light is flickering

Where the Angel of Death is lingering.

In this place of woe and of broken hearts

A young boy's muffled whimpers quiver through the night

Who can count all the tears, who can measure the grief

of an orphan alone in the world

Later on in the poem De Wet describes the struggle to the escaped child who wishes to join the commando:

Freedom demands from our ranks

Men of courage who taunt mortal danger.

But also in the camp, the mother, the nurturer

And the innocent child on her breast.

And the reward? Perhaps on the plains

A lonesome grave doused by no tears.

Sometime, perhaps, posterity might honour our heroes...

Boy, do you feel up to it? General, I do!

4.4. We may not forget

In total there were 31 concentration camps. In most cases, the adjoining cemeteries are in still in existence and are visited as often as possible by Boer people to mentally condition themselves to continue their struggle towards freedom.

There were concentration camps at: Irene, Barberton, Volksrust, Belfast, Klerksdorp, Pietersburg, Potchefstroom, Vereeniging, Turffontein, Balmoral, Nylstroom, Standerton, Heilbron, Kimberley, Bloemfontein, Middelburg, Kroonstad, Heidelberg, Krugersdorp, Vryburg, Vredefort, Brandfort, Springfontein, Bethulie, Norvalspont, Port Elizabeth, Aliwal North, Merebank, Pinetown, Howick and Pietermaritzburg.

4.5. Pillars of support

Amidst all the misery brought upon our people by the English, there were pillars of support: firstly the certainty that our cause was just and fair and based upon faith. However, there also were people who made major sacrifices in an effort to ease the burden of Boer women and children.

No study of the concentration camps could possibly be complete without mention of the name of Emily Hobhouse. This Cornish lady was a symbol of light and decency for Boer women and children.

Emily Hobhouse did everything within her power to assist the women and children. As a result of her efforts to persuade the invaders towards an attitude of humanity and reason, she was banned from South Africa by the British authorities.

However, the Boerevolk remains grateful towards Emily Hobhouse for her efforts and her remains are resting in a place of honour under the Women's Monument in Bloemfontein.

Other people who spoke out against the barbaric methods of England were: J Ellis (Irish), Lloyd George (Welsh), CP Scott (Scottish), William Redmond (Welsh) and Ramsey McDonald (Scottish).

5. Effects
  1. Today, the numbers of the Boerevolk are at least 3 million less that it would have been, had the English not committed genocide on the Boerevolk. This robs our people of our right to self-determination in the new so-called democratic system. (In truth, democracy means government by the people and not government by the rabble as is presently the case in South Africa.")
  2. The holocaust, together with treason committed by Afrikaners (take note: not Boere) such as Jan Smuts and Louis Botha, forced the Boerevolk to sign the peace accord of Vereeniging which deprived our volk of its freedom.
  3. The alien and inferior British culture was forced onto our people.
  4. The various indigenous peoples of South Africa were insensitively bundled into one Union without giving a thought to their respective identities and right to self-determination.
  5. As in the case of the Boerevolk, the local black nations were effectively robbed of their freedom, which gave rise to the establishment of the ANC in 1912 (two years after the foundation of the Union) to struggle for black nationalism.
  6. The British system of apartheid, which they applied all over the world (for instance also in India, Australia and New-Zealand), had to be imported to control the mixed population. The first manifestation of this were signs reading "Europeans" and "Non-Europeans". No Boer ever regarded himself as a "European". Apartheid invoked racial friction and even racial hatred which has in no means abated to this very day, and the bitter irony is that the Boerevolk, who had not been in power since 1902 and who also suffered severely under apartheid in the sense that apartheid robbed them of their land and their work-ethics, are being blamed for apartheid today.
  7. England's pretence for the invasion was the rights of the foreign miners. Yet after the war, these very same miners were treated so badly by their English and Jewish bosses that they had to resort to general strikes in 1913 and 1922 (3 and 12 years after the establishment of the British ruled Union), during which many mine-workers were shot dead in the streets of Johannesburg by the British disposed Union government. So much for the rights of the foreign miners under English rule.
  8. The efficient and equitable republican system of government of the Boer Republics was replaced with the unworkable Westminster system of government, which led to endless misery and conflict.

6. Summation

The concentration camps were a calculated and intentional holocaust committed on the Boerevolk by England with the aim of annihilating the Boerevolk and reeling in the Boer Republics.

Comparing the killing of Jews during World War 2, proportionately fewer Jews were killed than Boer women and children during the Second War of Independence.

Yet, after World War 2, England mercilessly insisted on a frantic retribution campaign against the whole German nation for the purported Jewish holocaust. To this day, Germany is being forced to pay annual compensation to the Jews, which means that Germans who were not even born at the time of World War 2, still have to suffer today for alleged atrocities committed by the Germans. Should England subject herself to the same principles applied to Germany, then England must do everything within her power to reinstitute the Boer republics and to pay annual compensation to the Boerevolk for the atrocities committed against the Boerevolk.

"Their only crime was that they stood between England and the gold of Transvaal."

  • Message of Vryheidsaksie Boererepublieke to the queen of England.
  • Mediadienste. (1995) P 1 - 7.
  • Suid-Afrikaanse en Algemene Geskiedenis vir Senior Matriek, (Tweede Uitgawe) by BG Lindeque. Juta (1948) Pp 235, 239, 240, 249 - 258, 268 - 272.
  • Juta se Nuwe Geskiedenisleesboeke vir primêre Skole, Standerd IV by Alice Jenner. Juta. (Date of publication unknown) Pp 41, 42, 49 - 54.
  • Russia and the Anglo-Boer War 1899 - 1902 by Elisaveta Kandyba- Foxcroft. CUM Roodepoort. (1981) P 254.
  • Vir Volk en Vryheid by PF Bruwer. Oranjewerkers Promosies. (1988) Pp 346, 348, 407, 411 - 413, 416 - 455.
  • Die Laaste Veldslag by Franz Conradie. Daan Retief Publishers. (1981) Pp 62, 77, 78, 83, 123 - 126, 129 - 132.
  • Historical Geography of South Africa. Special edition for Standard III of South African Schools edited by F Handel Thompson. Henry Frowde, Oxford University Press, Hodder & Stoughton, Warwick Square EC. (1914) Pp 160, 165, 167 - 168.
  • Gewapende Protes by PG Hendriks. Oranjewerkers Promosies. (1988) Pp 8, 11, 12, 21, 24, 27, 29, 30, 46, 53 - 62, 94, 95.
  • Kroniek van die Kampkinders by HS van Blerk. Oranjewerkers Promosies. (1989) Pp 35 - 38, 49, 65 - 67, 70, 74, 75, 152.
  • From Van Riebeeck to Vorster 1652 - 1974. An Introduction to the History of the Republic of South Africa by FA van Jaarsveld.Perskor. (1975) Pp 197, 199, 202 - 205, 209, 217 - 220, 253.
  • Vyftig Gedigte van C Louis Leipoldt, 'n keur deur WEG Louw. Tafelberg Publishers. (First edition 1946) Pp 19 - 23.
  • Gedigte by AG Visser (third print). JL van Schaik. (1928) Pp 57 -61.
  • Family narrations as recounted since the Second War of Independence from generation to generation. (Author's great-great-grandmother was detained and tortured in the concentration camp at Heilbron.)

Julius Malema

Julius Malema mansion pictures, Sandton mansion and Limpopo mansion, ANC Youth League South Africa

Just look at that, nice nehhhhhhh, I love the mountain views….

Now this is really funny. The guy built a room for his car, not a garage people, a room upstairs for his range rover sport.


Look at the room upstairs I thought that was funny enough until I saw his car

Jacob Zuma's house in Nkandla, South Africa

THE cost of the expansion of President Jacob Zuma’s family homestead in Nkandla in northern KwaZulu-Natal, estimated at R65 million last year, has rocketed to almost R200 million, a source close to the project has revealed.
The source said the cost soared because of additions to the architectural plan, unforeseen expenses as a result of transporting building material to this remote rural area and rising construction costs.
Although Zuma is expected to be financially responsible for part of the building expenses, the taxpayer is expected to foot the largest chunk of the bill, said the source

According to the Mail & Guardian’s original report on the project last year, the expansion will turn the presidential homestead into a sprawling precinct that will include a police station, helicopter pad, military clinic, visitors’ centre, parking lot with parking for at least 40 vehicles and at least three smaller houses that will serve as staff quarters.

Weekend Witness has learnt that other extensions that added to the soaring cost include fencing and the construction of roads within the precinct.

Phase one of the project comprises two houses — a double-storey and a guesthouse — which are expected to be completed shortly as soon as builders complete the roof-thatching.

Locals in Nkandla would not comment openly about the project. Those who spoke to Weekend Witness expressed their excitement about what was going on in their area.

Said an elderly woman who spoke on condition of anonymity, “Having a president as a neighbour has already started benefiting us as we now have running water and electricity.

“We hope this new development will help attract other development projects in the area, especially with regard to job opportunities for our youth,”

The views of people at a local shop were generally that although the Zuma homestead is like a mansion in a sea of poverty, local people have not lost hope that one day the government will provide them with subsidised housing.

Presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya referred all inquiries about the expansion to the Public Works Department (PWD), saying it is handling the project.

The response from Thami Mchunu, spokesperson for the PWD to a list of detailed questions (see box) was that the department “is not in a position to answer any questions related to the accommodation of the president of the country”.

“The accommodation for the executive falls under the ambit of the National Key Points Act* and we therefore cannot provide any details as this can compromise the safety and security of the executive.”

* The National Key Points Act was first promulgated in 1980 and amended as the National Key Points and Installations Act in 2007. Like its predecessor, it seeks to protect places and areas deemed to be of strategic national interest against sabotage or other forms of attack.

• Are projected costs above R65 million as reported?

• If they have soared, what are the reasons behind that and what is the new figure?

• How much is going to be spent by President Zuma on the whole project and how much will be footed by the state?

• Can you confirm that the whole project is done on behalf of the Public Works Department? If so, how is President Zuma going to reimburse the state after the completion of the project?

• When is phase one of the project going to be completed and when will the entire project be finished?

• Are there any other developments projected for the area?

Zuma slams ANCYL


President Jacob Zuma on Saturday tore into ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema over his calls for a regime change in Botswana – hours before the league abruptly withdrew its statement on that country.

The league said it felt the “leadership of the ANC took serious exception to the statement and classified that statement as a transgression of the ANC’s Constitution and policies”.

In an exclusive interview with City Press in Durban on Saturday, Zuma for the first time spoke out against Malema’s calls for regime change in Botswana.

In a ­pre-emptive strike before publication, the league apologised and promised to “whenever expected, be available to listen to political and organisational guidance from the leadership”.

Zuma told City Press that the youth league’s comments on Botswana were “not in keeping with our policies, whether on a government or ANC level”.

Not like the apartheid government

We are not going to be like the apartheid government and interfere with our neighbours. We promote good neighbourliness and we don’t interfere in the internal affairs of other people,” Zuma said.

He said that while Malema’s earlier utterances on Zimbabwe and Libya had been “talked through politically”, the Botswana comments “went far beyond that in every respect”.

“If you start talking about sending a command or unit to go in and engage in political activity to change the government of a country, that is a very serious statement. You therefore need a different kind of intervention to ordinary political discussion,” he said.

Zuma said Malema’s comments suggested that the youth league saw the Botswana government as illegitimate.

“The ANCYL looks at Botswana as if the government was not elected by the people of Botswana. If you are a democrat, you have to understand democracy. In Botswana, there are regular elections and this government was elected by the people of Botswana.”

Humble pie

In a rare case of eating humble pie, the league promised to “never define itself outside the policy confines and directives of the ANC”.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said the damage done to Zuma’s image, and to the ANC and the government, “will not be changed with an apology”, indicating the ANC will not drop the matter.

“The matter is now beyond the youth league. The ANC will now weigh this up, apology or no apology,” Mthembu said.

Zuma said he was sure Botswana understood these were not the views of the ANC or government, but of the youth league “thinking in its own way”.

Zuma also promised action against those who were fingered in the public protector’s report about dodgy police leases, saying he was “almost at the end’’ of examining it and would “certainly have to take action”.

Fighting corruption

Zuma defended his administration’s approach to fighting corruption.

I personally have signed off on at least 18 investigations. You cannot say that this current administration has done less than what happened before.

I think we are doing our best to fight corruption. In fact, we are even talking about changing tender procedures to tighten the rules and limit the possibilities for corruption, something that has never been discussed before,” he said.

Some of the ANC’s allies are unhappy with the apparent lack of speed in dealing with National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele and Minister of Public Works Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde.

Cosatu’s Patrick Craven said Cosatu was unhappy that the president seemed to be stalling.


“There is an element of indecisiveness that we of course would prefer not to have. Of course he has time to look into issues, particularly in respect of the police leases, but it is taking too long.”

ANC Veterans’ League president Sandi Sejake said Zuma was “indulging the enemy” by dragging his feet in acting against those fingered in Madonsela’s report.

“If you engage in corruption, you are part of the enemy. If you take so long to act, you are indulging the enemy. Zuma must show that he agrees with the Public Protector, especially because she has been threatened about these things.”

On Malema’s Botswana threats“There are certain things that have been said that are verging on disciplinary action. The officials (of the ANC) have been discussing the matter and must have decided what needs to be done, but I don’t think they want to say that publicly now.’’

On Swaziland"There has been an unfortunate kind of sentiment that Zuma is giving his friend a favour. This is not true. This is a loan, not a grant, which is clearly spelled out when it comes to how it is going to be paid back.”

On the Public Protector’s report“I am almost towards the end of my process and once that comes, we will almost certainly have to take action. I don’t think people should be in a hurry. We are acting against corruption, but we can’t act outside the procedure."

Who is Steve Bosch?

14 August, 2011

Businessman Sthembiso Steve Bosch has remained largely below the radar, despite his strong political ties to the ANC Youth League in Julius Malema's stronghold of Limpopo.

Bosch, who studied at the Tshwane University of Technology, has been involved in the ANC Youth League for 16 years.

He said: "In 1995, the first ANC league branch in what was Pietersburg was launched by a couple of young individuals, myself included, and I assumed the position of the treasurer-general of the youth league."

Bosch remains a member of the ruling party.

Soon after he started supplying building materials in 2001, he "immediately recognised my role in ploughing back into the communities in which I do business".

In 2003, he started Sizani Build It, the company that donated cash to Malema's Ratanang Family Trust, as well as to Jacob Zuma's educational trust in 2007.

Glossy pictures of Bosch standing alongside Malema, Zuma, Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale and housing MEC Soviet Lekganyane can be found in provincial brochures.

Bosch's 100%-owned Sizani Build It has also won a number of lucrative tenders in the province, including the R41.3-million deal to build 189 RDP houses in Seshego, Polokwane.

In August last year he became a "strategic investor" in Aurecon, an international engineering and project management company. In November, Aurecon won the R3.3-million tender to be the project management unit for Limpopo's Department of Housing.

Malema: The deals continue

14 August, 2011

Today a Sunday Times investigation can reveal a web of tenders worth tens of millions of rands manipulated through companies controlled by Julius Malema and his associates in the ANC Youth League.

Project management units (PMUs) appear to be the key mechanisms they use to influence how tenders work.

PMUs oversee the work done by companies that win tenders, and in two key Limpopo government departments - roads and transport, and housing - this role has been outsourced to private companies with links to Malema and his cronies.

The transport department's PMU contract went to On-Point Engineering, and the housing department PMU was outsourced to a company called Aurecon.

Malema confirmed his "family's shareholding" in On-Point through his Ratanang Trust to the Mail & Guardian last week. Malema associate and former youth league treasurer Steve Bosch {S’thembiso Bosch} has a stake in Aurecon.

Yet, both Malema's relative, Tshepo Malema, and Bosch's own company, Sizani Build It, have also scored government tenders from the same departments. Both departments tried to downplay the influence of these PMUs in awarding lucrative tenders that then go to Malema's associates.

Thesan Moodley, spokesman for the department of transport, said On-Point provided only "technical support" to the bid specification committee. "They cannot make a decision on who gets anything. The final decision is made by the department."

He denied On-Point had played any role in awarding tenders to companies linked to Malema.

But he admitted that they gave advice on tenders to officials who make the final call.

The Limpopo Department of Housing said its project management unit's role was "strictly to monitor and ensure that contractors build RDP houses according to specification and ensure quality", said spokesman Dieketseng Diale.

"Aurecon has no role whatsoever in awarding tenders in the department."

She also denied Malema had any influence over tender awards. "Malema does not work for the department and therefore he is in no position to decide or influence who is awarded a tender. Your inference is purely shaped by racial prejudice."

The department of housing is now headed by two former youth league members.
But several sources in the province close to government tender processes said Malema was a key driver in ensuring tenders are dished out to his associates.

"It's clear that Julius Malema is behind the manipulation," a veteran ANC member and senior Limpopo government official told the Sunday Times, speaking on condition of anonymity.

He said there was "no administrative need" for project management units, which simply served as engine rooms to manipulate tender awards.

"These boys (of the youth league), they manipulate where the tenders go. They deploy people to the project management units, bid committees and selection panels to make sure the tenders go to the right people."

Recent tender documents seen by the Sunday Times show several entities whose owners are close to Malema received tenders from roads and transport - the same department that gets "technical advice" on dishing out tenders from Malema's company, On-Point.

On July 14 and 15, Bosch's Sizani Build It won two building tenders from the department of roads.

Aurecon, in which Bosch also has shares, also landed a R3.3-million PMU tender for "priority/pilot housing projects" last year from the department of housing, according to the tender documents.

Both Limpopo housing MEC Soviet Lekganyane and head of department Clifford Motsepe are former league members who served under Malema.

Bosch declined to comment on Aurecon or explain his relationship with Malema.

"Obviously you have this obsession about Malema that you want to write anything to sell your papers."

Other Malema cronies who benefited from roads tenders include Tshepo Malema - despite the fact that Malema's On-Point provides the roads department with advice on tenders.

Tshepo Malema's company, Arandi Trading, won a tender on July 14 for supplying the department with "painting materials".

Asked about the paint supply tender, he said: "I don't talk to the media. That's not my work. My work is to do business."

Friend who gave Juju R1.2m car is in tender trouble

07 August, 2011

Matome Hlabioa, who "lent" ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema a R1.2-million Range Rover, has been red-flagged by the auditor-general for receiving irregular tenders from the Limpopo government.

In total, Hlabioa has won more than R200-million in tenders from the province, including R60-million in deals to build three schools. He denied Malema pulled strings for him.

Now a confidential "audit finding" sent to the Limpopo Department of Education on April 29 flags irregularities and sloppy record-keeping with regard to 102 tenders - including the three tenders worth R60-million won by Hlabioa's MPPJ Property Development Company - and asks the province to explain them.

Regarding the company's largest single contract for a school, worth R33-million, the department could not:
  • Provide the bid documents;
  • Provide any record of how well the bid scored during the adjudication process; or
  • Provide any record of compliance.
Yet the tender bid committee still appointed MPPJ - as it did in two other tender deals where documents were missing.

When contacted, Hlabioa said if any tender documents were missing it was the department's fault.

"We don't get tenders through the back door ... we submit all the relevant documents," he said. He declined to provide the tender documents to the Sunday Times.

Hlabioa admitted he had a close relationship with Malema: "He's like my son. I started looking after him when he was very young, since 2001."

But he denied Malema was now repaying the favour, saying he won tenders based on the quality of his work, "not whether I know Julius or President (Jacob) Zuma".

Hlabioa said he would continue to support Malema even if "he becomes president" because "I'm not going to let that boy suffer".

"When Julius gets a job which pays him money (and) a salary, I will gladly say to him, 'My man, you are emancipated, you are independent, no more'," he said.

Dickson Masemola, the MEC for Education in Limpopo, told the Sunday Times that the auditor-general's document was simply "a discussion between the auditor-general and my department on issues they may have picked up" - not the final audit. Masemola said "it would be inappropriate to comment" before he'd received the final report.

While these issues could be resolved before the final auditor-general's report is released, the red flags raised during the audit appear to support claims that tenders are manipulated in the province to suit politically powerful figures.

A new group called the Forum of Limpopo Entrepreneurs spoke out this week about what it said was widespread tender corruption in the province.

"We suspect Malema used his powers to influence who gets tenders in the province," said Siviko Mabunda, secretary of the forum. The forum claims to have more than 2000 members.

"The police must do their job and investigate. If they find any wrongdoing, (Malema) must be arrested," he said.

Malema still enjoys support in many quarters in a predominantly rural province where 46% of working-age adults can't find jobs.

Emmanuel Makgoga, who represents poor communities living on mines in eastern Limpopo, said many rural youths looked up to Malema and did not hold his flashy lifestyle against him.

"Here he's still our hero," said Makgoga. "We don't see any problem with his money because he's the president - unless it was got by illegal means."

The Mail& Guardian reported this week that a company with direct links to Malema was involved in managing and disbursing a reported R4.6-billion worth of tenders and contracts on behalf of Limpopo's Department of Roads and Transport .

The paper reported that On-Point Engineers was formed just days before it successfully bid for a three-year contract worth R52-million .

Malema confirmed to the newspaper that his Ratanang Family Trust was a "shareholder" in On-Point Engineers but insisted he did not "participate actively" in the company or influence tenders.

"I just queue when the dividends are due ... not me, the trust does that," he said.

Attempts to solicit comment from Malema were not successful at the time of going to print.

Taxpayers to pay Travelgate debt

August 13 2011

Taxpayers will fork out millions of rands to pay off debts racked up by MPs in the Travelgate scandal.

Despite numerous undertakings to act against MPs over the years since the scandal broke, Parliament has failed to recover about R12.2 million owed by its members after the institution controversially purchased the debtors’ book from the liquidators of Bathong Travel in 2009.

Bathong was one of six travel agencies implicated in the infamous and unresolved travel voucher scandal.

Information released this week has revealed that when the Bathong debts were purchased for R380 000 MPs still owed about R5.4m, of which the liquidators had managed to recover only R413 303 – or 7.6 percent – from 19 of the 89 MPs on the agency’s books.

More recent information has shown that this amount eventually rose to about R17m as more “debts” were uncovered, leaving Parliament in the red to the tune of about R12.2m. This debt will now be written off, Secretary to Parliament Zingile Dingani told journalists in Cape Town this week, which leaves taxpayers to foot the bill.

Parliament buried this information until Eastern Cape High Court Judge Sytze Alkema ordered its release on July 28, when the Centre for Social Accountability, an NGO from Rhodes University, successfully challenged Parliament’s refusal to provide the information via the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

Judge Alkema had harsh words for Parliament, saying it was clear throughout the process that it was more concerned with its public image – and those of its members – than with getting to the truth or collecting the outstanding debts.

“The above entries (from parliamentary minutes) indicate a strong desire, for reasons not known but giving rise to wide speculation, on the part of Parliament to prevent those claims from being pursued. It was particularly anxious to protect those claims from public scrutiny in a court of law,” the judge said.

“Parliament was acutely aware of the public interest in the matter … It went to some lengths to prevent the publication of information contained in the schedules (the list of 89) in order to protect it against adverse public opinion – even purchasing the claims. But public opinion is not the same as public interest. Public interest is at stake when the structure of institutional democracy is threatened by a culture of ‘secretive and unresponsive’ government,” Judge Alkema concluded.

Tender boss paid Malema R1.2m


ANC Youth League president Julius Malema was paid R1.2m, through a Johannesburg architect building his home, by businessman Steve Bosch, the Sunday Times reported.

Records have shown that Bosch's company, Sizani Build It, made two payments from its Standard Bank account on Malema's behalf, to an Investec bank account - belonging to architect Aurielo Cimato, the report indicated.

Sizani Build It

Company profile
Sizani Build It is involved in community development by supplying building materials to many projects across the Greater Letaba area.

DescriptionSizani Build It comprises retailing, warehousing and distribution of building material. It is one of the country’s largest suppliers of building material and an emerging property developer, competent in providing a professional building service.
Key facts and figures
It specialises in distributing building material across the Limpopo Province. Sizani Build It is also involved in the construction of low-cost housing throughout the province and is currently constructing the 189 community residential units in Seshego.
Empowering the community
The company has embarked on funding projects. In 2009, it was one of the sponsors that donated a house in Seshego, through the president of the ANC Youth League, Julius Malema. The house was handed over by President Jacob Zuma and Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale.
In 2010, another house was donated in the Letaba Municipality and was handed over by the MEC for Local Government and Housing Soviet Lekganyane and mayor of the Greater Letaba Municipality, City Modjadji.

Contact:S’thembiso Bosch, Director

Physical Address153 Blaauwberg Street, Ladine, Polokwane 0353

Postal AddressPO Box 1217, Polokwane 0700

Tel:+27 15 297 5834

Fax:+27 15 297 3420


The report indicated that Bosch had scored tenders worth tens of millions of rands in Limpopo, and Cimato is building Malema's multimillion-rand house in Sandton.

An amount of R900 000 was deposited on March 4 this year, and another R300 000 on June 4, with "J Malema" as a beneficiary reference.

The bank sent confirmations to Malema via SMS, it was reported, but Malema has denied receiving any benefit from Bosch.

"There is no money that came from me or any of my entities," he told the Sunday Times when contacted.

He then referred all questions to Bosch, adding: "I don't care whether he answers you or not, it’s none of my f**king business!"
Bosch has refused to explain the payments to the newspaper, and denied that any SMS confirmations were sent to Malema.

"Do you know how many Malema's are here in Polokwane and Botswana?" he said.