Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Man Behind the Millions

RAGS TO RICHES: David Mabilu Picture: SOWETAN

PROPERTY developer David Mabilu has all the trappings of wealth, from his R14-million mansion in Joburg to a fleet of luxury cars, including a R2.4-million Ferrari California and a R2-million Aston Martin DB9.

Mabilu is the son a former domestic worker, Maria, and ex-mine labourer, Nndanduleni, and was born in Soweto.

Today, just one of his companies has accumulated at least R3-billion in contracts and tenders.

After matriculating from Tshidimbini Secondary School in Venda, he enrolled at the University of Limpopo and then at the University of Johannesburg, where he obtained a master's degree in development.

He started several ventures before establishing Vharanani Properties, a housing and infrastructure development firm, in 2001.

The company's projects range from low-cost houses to a R224-million office park.

His other companies include Mamasumo Properties, Mbengwa Mining, Vharanani Mining, Khwinisa Technologies and Promafco, a property development company building a medical accommodation complex in Polokwane, Limpopo.

His businesses have afforded him the finer things in life, including a 4081m² estate in exclusive Sandhurst and a multimillion-rand compound in Polokwane.

His fleet of cars includes a BMW 5-series and a Mercedes-Benz S Class V221.

He has donated millions to poor communities, including R500000 to build additional
classrooms at his former school, Mveledzandivho Primary School in Chiawelo.
He met his fiancée, Phala Mokgophi, about 13 years ago, and today they have three children, Mbilu, Gumani and Lufuno.

Mokgophi, 38, is a former shareholder of Vharanani Properties and owns several businesses of her own, including Takalani Engineering and Nyadzani Business Enterprises.

Mabilu and Mokgophi are a power couple in Polokwane and count among their friends Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale and ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Does Jacob Zuma Deserve Your Vote?

An open letter to Mr Jacob Zuma, the President of South Africa.

Dear Mr President.

As a South African citizen, I cannot fathom where to begin expressing my anger and disdain towards you and your totally useless government. As the President of this country your are a dismal failure in protecting the basic "right to life" of your countrymen.

Before the race card is played, let me just clarify, I am not writing this as a white South African, but as an African born on this continent, and as a once proud, true African son.

The massacre that took place at Marikana happened on your beat. The blood of a nation is on your hands.

This country is on the brink of economic suicide due to rouge strikes and faltering greedy unions.

The countless murders that rock this country's roots on a daily basis are a reflection of your total inability to rule and govern this once awesome Rainbow Nation.

You have allowed this country, that was once the crown jewel of Africa to become a jester on the global stage.

As the fourth president of South Africa, you have more blood on your hands than your 3 post apartheid predecessors put together.

A nations pride is carried by its people and built by a government who are able to supply the basic needs in return to its people.

Education, Health Care and Economic stability are what history is created and built on. Your inability to provide the very basics to our nation is a true reflection of your personal greed.

While you have absolutely no shame on spending R250 million on your personal "village", you do not have the balls to take a stance against violence and corruption.

On the matter of "basic rights", education is a right, not a privilege. You will go down in history as the fool who turned his back on his country because of the slap happy way in which you and your grossly under qualified Minister Ms Angie Motsege have handled the issue regarding basic learning material supplies.

You both should be tried for treason due to the sabotage that you have allowed to take place against our already disillusioned youth.

Need I remind you Mr President that it was the youth who set the wheels of change in motion in 1976.

Do not think Mr President, that the youth of today are any less qualified of starting a new uprising.

Mr President, I wonder how it is possible for you to get the votes needed at Manguang for you to run for President again.

Rocket science aside, its simple, as 4500 delegates will decide the future of a nation on your personal promise of enrichment. Mr Mandela was quoted as saying that "never again will the majority be dictated to by the minority".

I do not think that Mr Mandela ever dreamed that this horrid atrocity would ever take place again in his life time.

I cannot believe that the ANC that fought for equality, and were able to change the history of this country, are going to allow you to inflict further carnage on our country.

I for one do not believe that you Mr President, deserve my vote, and I strongly urge my fellow country men of all race and gender to value their vote and think carefully before casting it for a government that has proved that it cannot control crime and has no idea about the basic needs of its people.

It is a sad day for me as I am now not only one of the millions of disillusioned South Africans, but I too mourn the senseless death of a friend whose life was taken for no other reason than your failure to provide what you you promised your people when you recruited their vote.

I urge you Mr President to take a stand for once and for all before its to late for my country, even if that stand means your resignation due to your incompetence.

I am not asking for the ANC to be removed from Government, I am asking you to make the right decision and put your Country before your personal greed.

Wayne Richards

(posted on his FB wall earlier today by a good friend of mine - Wayne W. Richards - who has just lost a close friend due to crime.)

Sunday, November 4, 2012



 Hannes Engelbrecht

The new colonials have arrived.

Without as much as a whisper the South African government allowed at least 400 000 Chinese to swamp the country during the past six years. Chinese migrants, mainly from the overpopulated Fujian province in China, have been shipped off to South Africa at an alarming rate. Spreading all over the country.....
Even in the remotest parts, between 6000 and 12000 “Chinese shops” sprang up – indicating that the phenomenon is well-orchestrated by both China and South Africa.
Prof Colin McCarthy, retired from the University of Stellenbosch, first noted the “Chinese colonization”. Says Prof McCarthy: “All the evidence indicates that the project to set up such an extensive network of Chinese shops, all following the same pattern and targeting the same market, was well researched, well planned, well organized and well financed”.
The young, unemployed couples from Fujian province settled into the network – pushing up cheap Chinese plastics, products and clothing into a lucrative retail chain far bigger than Pick n Pay, Pep Stores or Edgars. And to make matters worse: most of the Chinese shops are not registered and do not pay any taxes in South Africa; not even import or export duties – in fact, China put its clothing exports to South Africa to R11,3 billion in 2010; while South Africa’s failing statistics put the Chinese clothing imports at only R6,7 billion! It means that in one single year R4,6 billion worth of Chinese clothing entered South Africa illegally.
A South African Revenue Services employee spilled the beans on a small Chinese shop in a rural area where, when raided by SARS, R1,2 million was found under the counter.
Janet Wilhelm of the HSRC observes: “It is amazing how so many people can enter a country seemingly unnoticed!” She quotes the SAPS Aliens Investigation Unit as saying “many Chinese travel to South Africa via Mbabane, Maputo and Maseru from where they enter South Africa with false identity documents by road”.
Patrick Chong, chairman of the Chinese Association of South Africa, says: “Many would enter on tourist or student visas then simply stay”.
Researchers of Noseweek followed the Chen family where one pioneer settled illegally in South Africa, spreading within four years to 172 members of the family scattered across Lesotho trading Chinese products.
What is even more mind-boggling and sinister is that the South African ANC government officially proclaimed Chinese as “honorary blacks”, making them exempt from affirmative action, quotas and Black Economic Empowerment. 
The whole “Chinese” experiment has been carefully planned, criminally enhanced, and no doubt… vast sums of money are involved, lining the pockets of very influential South African politicians.
It is ironic that while populists like Malema and Shivangu walk about claiming "land and minerals for the South African people", the ANC government has allowed at least 400 000 additional Indians and Pakistanis, at least 400 000 Chinese and at least 10 million illegals from Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Mozambique, Angola and now also Zambia into the country...

Zuma Stealing South African's Money

Helen Zille, Leader of the Democratic Alliance

4 November 2012

Today my colleagues and I visited President Jacob Zuma’s compound at Nkandla to see what a R250 million renovation with public money looks like.
We felt it was important for us to see the compound for ourselves before we embark on court action against the President for this blatant abuse of power.

This is state-sponsored corruption on an unprecedented scale.

We cannot let him get away with it.

On the 16th of October we wrote to the President, and to various government ministers, asking for the truth about Nkandla. We asked them for details on how much was spent, on what, by whom, and under what provision of law.

We got no response other than to acknowledge receipt of our letters. Today we are giving President Zuma and his government a further 72 hours to respond. If there is no substantive response by close of business on Wednesday 7 November, we will instruct our lawyers to make preparations to take him and the government to court over what is now known as ‘Nkandlagate’.

The news of our visit was met with open threats of violence from the ANC and the SACP. No ANC leaders repudiated or condemned these threats. In fact, they were amplified with inflammatory and race-loaded rhetoric by senior ANC leaders. We will not be intimidated from exercising our constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight and focus public attention on the facts. And we will not allow the ANC to declare certain areas ‘no-go zones’ in our country.

The ANC has condemned our visit here today because they say this is the ‘private residence’ of the President. They don’t see the irony in that statement. It is exactly because this is the private residence of the President that this publicly funded upgrade is so wrong.

When almost a quarter of a billion rand of public money is spent on a private residence, then it cannot be considered ‘private’ any longer.

President Zuma has lost the right to call this his private residence. Nkandla belongs to each and every South African who has to sacrifice the basic services they need, so that the President could turn his home into a five-star fortressed palace.

One day we will look at it as a monument to the fight against corruption, a reminder of a President who thought he could get away with stealing the people’s money.
Abusing public money for private benefit is the very definition of corruption. The R250 million spent on Nkandla is the most brazen case of corruption since the Arms Deal, in which President Zuma also played an active role.
In fact, the two cases are closely linked. It is a matter of court record that the bribe paid by Schabir Shaik to then Deputy President Zuma in 2000 was to help fund the original construction of the Nkandla compound. Zuma abused his position as President to escape prosecution in that case. Now he has abused his position to finish the renovations to his homestead with public money.

The DA has never been intimidated by the ANC, and we are not now. The truth must come out about Nkandla. President Zuma must answer to all South Africans for stealing their money for his personal use.

Jacob Zuma's Nkandla

Nkandla - DA leader Helen Zille has laid a charge under the Gatherings Act against the ANC for blocking a public road during her failed attempt to visit President Jacob Zuma's KwaZulu-Natal homestead.

A large group of ANC supporters sang as they waited for her to leave the Nkandla police station on Sunday.

When the convoy transporting the Democratic Alliance and a media contingent left the satellite police station, African National Congress supporters shouted "hamba" (leave).

An ANC supporter was arrested for drunk and disorderly outside the police station.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said another man was arrested earlier, during a demonstration by ANC supporters, for having an unlicensed firearm.

"The man was in possession of a rifle. He will be charged for discharging a firearm in public and possession of a firearm."

Zille said Zuma had lost the right to call his home a private residence.

"Nkandla belongs to each and every South African who has to sacrifice the basic services they need, so that the President could turn his home into a five-star fortressed palace.

"One day we will look at it as a monument to the fight against corruption."


She questioned how the government could spend R248m on Zuma's home, when it would not pay to transport the relatives of the victims of the Marikana shooting to the Farlam commission of inquiry.

Earlier police stopped her and her entourage from approaching Zuma's homestead, in the village of KwaNxamalala, saying they wanted to prevent violence.

Zille was told she could not pass the police roadblock as there were ANC supporters on the road to Zuma's home. She said the party had permission to gather on a public road outside a school opposite Zuma's home.

Several cars carrying ANC supporters passed the police roadblock on a side road. They carried sticks and sang Dubhula iBhunu (Shoot the Boer).

Buses full of ANC supporters were allowed to pass on the main road.

Riot police

When Zille asked officers why they were allowed to pass, she was told they would open a case against the organisers of the ANC march.

"We never intended to go inside Zuma's home, we only wanted to gather opposite his compound on a public road," Zille said.

About 700m from where the Democratic Alliance was stopped, police in riot gear prevented ANC supporters from advancing. Officers formed a human chain across the road.

Police had several armoured Nyala personnel carriers, two trucks with water canon, and a helicopter in the area.

Jacob's Nkandla




RIP Democracy in South Africa


 Born 27 April 1994 - Died 4 November 2012

Entered this world with much fanfare and adoration from the global community on 27 April 1994, and had a very rosy childhood under the patronage and guidance of the first democratically elected leader of the nation.

 A new custodian took over the supervision of this still growing but vibrant economy on 14 June 1999, and the following formative years were spent mainly in denial of the scourge of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle eating Beetroot and Garlic as prescribed by Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, instead of being sustained and nourished by a balanced diet of international investment and industrial expansion.

Things really started going downhill in a kamikaze spiral however, when the incumbent was ousted from his position on 24 September 2008, and replaced by a leopardskin & loincloth clad, Nike wearing polygamist, with a penchant for soliciting bribes and being embroiled in ongoing corruption and tender scandals, an ever increasing concubine of wives and offspring (some illegitimately born out of wedlock), and no moral compass or accountability to the populace for his actions or in-actions whatsoever.

Finally passed away quietly on 4 November 2012, when all semblance of a democracy was finally extinguished forever, by the prevention of the opposition from inspecting a 'publically funded' luxury retirement home for the 'philanderer-in-chief', by his illiterate and impoverished supporters, who still blindly vote for "Jobs, Freedom, Houses and a Better Life for All' at every general election since 1994.
nkandla nov 2

RIP Democracy, you will be sadly missed by all the tax payers of South Africa, who supported you in the 18 short years you were with us.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Jacob Zuma and his Nkandla

Answers about security spending at President Jacob Zuma's private home have raised only more questions. Phillip de Wet and Sally Evans report.

President Jacob Zuma should not only have known exactly how much security upgrades at his Nkandla homestead would cost, but he should have been intimately involved in their ­planning, according to Cabinet ­regulations.
But Zuma has said he does not know about the details, a claim that has been backed by Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi.
"I don't know how much it costs," Zuma said in reply to a question put to him earlier this month, explaining that he did not ask about the details of security arrangements for Cabinet ministers either.
In Parliament this week, Nxesi said if anyone was to blame for overspending at the president's private home it would be his department, reinforcing an earlier statement that public works had simply implemented plans drawn up by state intelligence agencies, the police and defence force.
Under ethics rules, this would mean Zuma was in contravention of the Ministerial Handbook, with which Cabinet ministers, although not necessarily the president himself, must comply.
In terms of the handbook, an office bearer must submit a formal request for public works "to make a contribution towards security measures" recommended by police evaluators. The official is then not only responsible for getting quotations for the work, but must also claim the money spent from the department of public works before paying it to the contractors involved.

 Nxesi originally claimed that the work done at the Nkandla compound had complied with the requirements of the handbook, which sets a reviewable maximum expenditure on security at private homes of R100 000, although he later said the work had been in compliance with the National Key Points Act.
But this law states clearly that security spending at a declared key point – ordered by the minister of defence in the interests of the country – is for the account of the owner.
This, in the case of the Nkandla home, is either the Ingonyama Trust, which owns the land on which it is built on behalf of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, or Zuma, the lawful occupant. The trust is the landowner in law of 2.7-million hectares of KwaZulu-Natal.
Failure to spend the money necessary to secure a key point without reasonable cause can carry a jail term of up to five years under the Act.
The law empowers the minister of defence to "take, or cause to be taken, any or all of the steps which in his opinion are or may become necessary in respect of the security" of a key point – but only with the consent of the owner, who remains liable for the cost, unless the minister chooses to reduce the liability.
The payment for state spending on securing key points, should an owner fail to comply or the state offer a loan or contribution, should come from a specially created account – the special account for the safeguarding of national key points.
Leaked information
But documents released by the department of public works (which now denies releasing them) as well as leaked information reveal that about R240-million spent at the Zuma house was ascribed to the public works portfolio for accommodation for very, very important persons (VVIPs).

Nxesi and his department have consistently refused to speak about the Nkandla security work, citing a secrecy obligation in the key points law. This week the presidency was asked whether Zuma had submitted a request for public funding to secure his home, or whether security measures were installed after the military took over contracts, but it did not respond.
Parliament's standing committee on public accounts this week deferred a decision on whether to investigate the Nkandla spending. A similar preliminary inquiry by the public protector is under way.
Among the issues that might be investigated is the extent to which security costs were inflated with what a senior source close to the matter has described as "inflated concern" by those tasked with the security assessment, which required the construction of underground bunkers.
The bulletproof glass used at Nkandla, the source told the Mail & Guardian, had to be specially manufactured because it was required to be of a higher standard than that regularly used by banks, cash-in-transit companies and in other high-risk areas. "They are extremely paranoid, worse than security specialists in the United States," said the source, who wanted to remain anonymous.
Last week City Press published figures showing R3-million was spent on bulletproof glass at the homestead. The company identified as the supplier, South African Bullet Resistant Glass, would not comment on either the cost or the nature of the product it had supplied.

Jacob Zuma's Decade of Destruction

After a 10-year legal war, President Jacob Zuma is trying to prevent the tapes that got him off the hook from being made public.

It is almost 10 years since the Mail & Guardian first revealed that the Scorpions were investigating then-deputy president Jacob Zuma – on November 29 2002.

Since then Zuma's decade-long battle to avoid prosecution on corruption charges has been the real political tsunami, ripping through institutions and careers.

It has led to the recall of a president, the factionalisation of the ruling party and its government, the destruction of the Scorpions, the departure of three national directors of public prosecutions and the tainting of the reputation of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Now Zuma's bid to avoid his day of reckoning – including accounting for the seed money that first funded what has become the Nkandla monstrosity – has entered a bitter new phase following the NPA's refusal to hand over copies of the so-called spy tapes.

The Zuma tapes

 The tapes – secret recordings by the intelligence services of discussions between members of the Scorpions, the NPA and prominent political figures – were leaked to Zuma's lawyer, Michael Hulley, and used as the basis of the claim that the Zuma prosecution had been tainted by an "abuse of process".

Then-acting national director of public prosecutions Moketedi Mpshe cited intercepted conversations of former Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy as central to his decision, in April 2009, to discontinue the prosecution.

In excerpted transcripts released by Mpshe, McCarthy appeared to have a number of discussions in late 2007 with people outside the NPA – including then-former national director of public prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka – about the timing of charges being reintroduced.

Read More: The spy tapes timeline

Of concern was the looming Polokwane conference of the ANC – and the impact that recharging Zuma might have on the outcome.

McCarthy also appeared to make a special effort – with Ngcuka's assistance – to have the NPA's court papers in the Constitutional Court filed and made public on their due date, Friday December 14.

The papers – in reply to Zuma's constitutional challenge to the search and seizure operations carried out against him – set out the case against the man challenging Mbeki for the ANC presidency.

The intention appears to have been that delegates gathering in Polokwane that weekend would, in Ngcuka's intercepted phrase: "Wake up, think: What are we doing?"

Mpshe's decision
In justifying his decision, Mpshe emphasised there had been a valid case against Zuma. He also noted that the prosecution team itself believed the case should continue and that it should be left to a court to decide whether to stop the prosecution.

But Mpshe argued: "Mr McCarthy used the legal process for a purpose other than for which the process was designed to serve, that is, for collateral and illicit purposes. It does not matter that the team acted properly, honestly, fairly and justly throughout. Mr McCarthy's conduct amounts to a serious abuse of process and offends one's sense of justice." It later emerged that part of Mpshe's legal justification appeared to have been lifted from a Hong Kong judgment that was later overturned on appeal.

McCarthy, who by then had left to join the World Bank, has never given his version of events.

The DA steps in
In 2009 the Democratic Alliance went to court to try to have Mpshe's decision reviewed and set aside.

A preliminary point was the right of the DA as part of the review process to have access to the "record of decision" – the documentary evidence on which Mpshe relied when deciding to terminate the case, which included representations made by Zuma's lawyers.

The prosecuting authorities refused to deliver the record on the basis that it contained the representations, which had been made on a confidential basis.

The DA then applied to receive what was termed the "reduced record" – the material on which Mpshe relied, minus the written representations from Zuma.

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled that the party did not have sufficient direct interest or "standing" to bring the case and dismissed the DA's application for the record.

The appeal court ruling

 The DA took this ruling to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

In March this year the appeal court ruled in the DA's favour, making an important determination on the rights of political parties to go to court in the public interest. On the record of decision, Judge Navsa made the following key finding: "Without the record a court cannot perform its constitutionally entrenched review function …The DA … has merely asked for an order directing the office of the national director of public prosecutions to dispatch … the record of proceedings relating to the decision to discontinue the prosecution, excluding the written representations made on behalf of Mr Zuma … I can see no bar to such an order being made."

The order
Navsa ordered that within 14 days – by early April – the national director of public prosecutions produce the record, with the following caveat: "Such record shall exclude the written representations made on behalf of [Zuma] and any consequent memorandum or report prepared in response thereto, or oral representations if the production thereof, would breach any confidentiality attaching to the representations."

The judgment also made reference to concerns expressed by Zuma's lawyers that there might be material in the record of decision that might adversely affect his rights and to which he might justifiably object.

To meet this concern, acting national director of public prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba gave an undertaking that her office would inform Zuma of the contents of the documents to be released so that his lawyers could raise any objections.

It is this loophole that Jiba and Hulley have used to block the release of the spy tapes.

Return to Stalingrad

 In the drawn-out litigation with the Scorpions, Zuma's lawyers became notorious for what was termed the Stalingrad approach – fighting off the prosecution street by legal street by taking technical and preliminary points.

The response to Navsa's ruling carries the same hallmarks. Two days after the expiry of the appeal court's deadline, the state attorney wrote to the DA saying the NPA was still compiling the record. In addition, there were "certain tape recordings" that were still in the process of being transcribed.

But the state claimed it was obliged to give Zuma's legal team an opportunity to consider whether there was any objection to the disclosure of the recordings.

The completed transcript was delivered to Hulley by April 25, to which he responded in a manner that suggested he believed he had been given a veto right, something not suggested by the appeal court judgment.

Asking for more time to consider the matter, Hulley noted: "We are presently not disposed to consenting to the release of any further information to the DA …"

No further response was received from Hulley until after the DA launched a new North Gauteng High Court application on September 18 to compel the NPA to comply with the appeal court order.

Since then, Jiba has argued in court papers that the recordings or transcripts are "inextricably linked" with Zuma's representations and therefore cannot be disclosed without Zuma's consent. Such objections, she argues, will have to be referred back to court for adjudication.

Hulley has merely indicated – without providing any argument – that at the hearing Zuma's lawyers will argue that the transcripts do not fall within the ambit of the appeal court order.
This leaves the DA in the absurd position that none of the material on which Mpshe publicly based his decision forms part of the "official" record.

Any adverse ruling in Gauteng is sure to be appealed.

What are they hiding?

 The reluctance to deal with the tapes is both substantive and procedural.

All indications are that Mpshe took his decision under enormous pressure.

The political atmosphere in the run-up to the withdrawal of charges was extremely heated. Mbeki had been recalled in September 2008. Zuma was the ANC presidential candidate for the national elections just more than two weeks away.

Key Zuma allies made it clear to the M&G at the time that the ­lobbying was intense (although not necessarily communicated directly to Mpshe) and included implied threats of wider disclosure of surveillance material that might be personally, politically or professionally embarrassing to members of the NPA or Scorpions.

Mpshe's apparent reference to an obscure Hong Kong judgment might suggest that a decision was taken –and then legal reasons dug up to justify it.

Now, given that the prosecution team disagreed with the decision –and Wim Trengove, a senior advocate with deep knowledge of the case, had publicly lambasted it – there must be real concern in the Zuma camp that Mpshe's decision might not stand up to court scrutiny.
By blocking access to the transcripts, claimed as the very foundation of Mpshe's decision, Zuma's lawyers are preventing any meaningful review at all.

What else are they hiding?

 So far, the only transcripts provided are small snatches of what intelligence sources have conceded was very extensive surveillance.

One intelligence source claimed to the M&G that the high-security conference room at NPA headquarters itself was bugged.

Justice would demand that the full context of the exchanges be disclosed.

It is possible that counterveiling interpretations and events might emerge from the full record that were not given due weight in the fevered atmosphere of April 2009. More likely, however, is that the full recordings – and the circumstances of their capture and delivery, both to Hulley and to the NPA – might disclose details that are embarrassing, if not illegal.
Certainly, the legality of the initial recordings, never mind the legality of their disclosure to Hulley, may well be called into question.

This is so, despite the inspector general of intelligence concluding that taps by both the National Intelligence Agency and police crime intelligence were legally authorised by the designated judge.

Former acting head of crime intelligence Mulangi Mphego revealed in court papers that the initial judicial approval for the surveillance of McCarthy was sought on the basis that he was suspected of links to a drugs cartel.

Now Judge Willie Seriti, who granted the application for the wiretap, would have us believe that he applied his mind to this application but does not remember coming across this extraordinary allegation about the man who was head of the Scorpions at the time.
And former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils has said publicly that he was bypassed by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) – contrary to instructions he had issued after the hoax email debacle – when the agency applied for its own interception order.
It was the agency tapes, which covered most of the material disclosed by Hulley, on which the NPA relied for its decision.


 As Mpshe explained at the time: "Although [Hulley's] recordings sounded authentic, the NPA decided to approach agencies that have a legal mandate to intercept telephone calls with a view to ascertaining whether they may have legally obtained recordings of the same conversations.

"The NIA confirmed to the NPA that it indeed had legally obtained recordings of many of the same conversations that were obtained during the course of its investigation into the circumstances surrounding the production and leaking of the Browse Mole report.

"The NIA indicated that it was able to share these legally with the NPA for the purposes of the investigation and for reaching a decision in this matter."

So it is clear that Mpshe based his decision on material he obtained from his own resources, although he was alerted to its existence by Hulley.

How the NPA will now argue that this material is governed by the confidentiality of Zuma's representations awaits illumination in the North Gauteng High Court. Do not expect enlightenment anytime soon.

Jacob Zuma - A 10 year Timeline

We look back at the 10 years since the M&G first revealed that the Scorpions were investigating then-deputy president Jacob Zuma.

October 9 2001
Schabir Shaik and French defence company Thomson-CSF raided simultaneously in four countries as part of the arms deal probe. The Zuma link to the investigation is not disclosed.

November 29 2002
Mail & Guardian breaks the story that the Scorpions are investigating then-deputy president Jacob Zuma for allegedly attempting to secure a bribe from Thomson, since renamed Thales.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Bulelani Ngcuka announces the prosecution of Shaik but declines to prosecute Zuma despite, saying there is a “prima facie case” against him. Later that year, Ngcuka is embroiled in allegations he was an apartheid spy.

July 2004
Ngcuka resigns.

October 2004
Shaik goes on trial.

May 2005
Shaik convicted on all counts, including bribing Zuma.

June 2005
New NPA head Vusi Pikoli announces decision to charge Zuma. President Thabo Mbeki sacks Zuma as deputy president. Zuma begins mobilisation to support his legal and political comeback.

September 2006
Zuma case struck from the role when NPA not ready to proceed, given disputes about validity of raids on Zuma.

March 2007
Crime intelligence operation begins to monitor members of the NPA and Scorpions and secretly bug Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy.

May 2007
The Browse Mole report is leaked, prompting NIA investigation into the Scorpions.

November 2007
Supreme Court of Appeal rules in favour of the NPA with respect to appeals relating to various search and seizure exercises.
Late 2007,
shortly before the ANC’s Polokwane conference Security services secretly tap phone conversations involving McCarthy, Ngcuka and others outside the NPA about the timing of charges being reintroduced and their impact on the Polokwane conference.

Friday December 14 2007
NPA files papers outlining the case against Zuma in the Constitutional Court.

December 2007
Jacob Zuma ousts Thabo Mbeki as ANC president.

December 28 2007 
The Scorpions serve Zuma an indictment to stand trial in the high court.

July 2008
The Constitutional Court rules that raids on Zuma were valid.

September 12 2008
Pietermaritzburg Judge Chris Nicholson holds that Zuma’s corruption charges were unlawful on procedural grounds.

September 20 2008 Mbeki resigns after his “recall’” by the ANC.

January 12 2009
Supreme Court of Appeal overturns Nicholson’s ruling.

April 2009
Acting national director of public prosecutions Moketedi Mpshe discontinues the prosecution of Zuma, citing as his reason the secret recordings. In his legal justification he describes McCarthy’s conduct as “a serious abuse of process”, but emphasises there had been a valid case against Zuma. Mpshe releases excerpted transcripts of the tapes.

Democratic Alliance goes to court to have Mpshe’s decision set aside, but the North Gauteng High Court dismisses the application.

March 2012
Supreme Court of Appeal overturns the high court ruling and orders that the national director of public prosecutions produce the record of decision on which Mpshe based his decision to drop the case.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Jacob *Litigation* Zuma

  • JULY 2006, sued Highveld Stereo for R7-million for broadcasting the song My Name Is Zuma, which commented on his rape trial.

  • August 2006, sued The Citizen for an article alleging that Zuma slept with a prostitute procured for him by Schabir Shaik; sued Sunday World for a humorous article with a punch line suggesting that Zuma was an incessant liar; sued Rapport for a reader's letter saying he was a "rapist"; and sued the Sunday Independent for an article in which commentator William Mervin Gumede opined that African culture was being invoked to justify rape or to silence rape victims. The four claims totalled R20-million.

  • January 2007, two claims against The Star for Zapiro cartoons. A third claim filed against the Sunday Sun for a cartoon by Mvuyisi Wilber Mfebe that depicted Zuma in a boxing ring, having lost a round to "Women Against Rape". The claims totalled R15-million.

  • March 2007, two claims against Sunday Times columnist David Bullard for a total of R6-million.

  • December 2008, R1-million claim against Rapport for alleging that Zuma used the services of a prostitute. Quickly followed by another against The Star for the article "ANC gags Zuma".

  • December 2010, sued Rapport for publishing a photograph depicting Zuma at a braai alongside Steve Hofmeyr and Leon Schuster, and captioned "Dingaan's picnic". - Andile Ndlovu

Friday, October 26, 2012

Joburg Becoming City of Ruins

Friday Oct 26, 2012 
Joburg becoming city of ruins as historic properties fall into disrepair
There is hope, and despair, for some of the finest heritage buildings in Johannesburg's inner city. Four that have raised concern are the Drill Hall, the Rissik Street Post Office, the Marshall Street Barracks and the MOTH Hall.

These days the historic Drill Hall in Joubert Park is surrounded by illegal businesses.

The most concerning of all is the Drill Hall in Noord Street, which was proudly refurbished and restored at a cost of R10 million 10 years ago as an iconic building steeped in history. But it has since been hijacked by people purporting to be caretakers and who are collecting rent.

The heritage building is now partially vandalised, completely neglected, dirty, and surrounded by illegal businesses such as mechanics and street traders. Illegal adverts and vagrants are everywhere. There is no security or caretaker.

Its history dates from 1904 when it became headquarters of the Transvaal Volunteers, South African soldiers who fought alongside the British in the Anglo-Boer War in 1899 to 1902.

It is also known for the Treason Trial in which 156 anti-apartheid activists, Nelson Mandela among them, were charged with high treason.

The DA in Joburg has expressed concern that the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC) is allowing this, and other heritage buildings, to go to rack and ruin.

"Less than 10 years ago, the city spent all this money refurbishing and restoring the historical building. We cannot believe that a heritage site building with such enormous history for the city is completely neglected by the JPC," said DA Joburg councillor Bongani Nkwanyana.

It was not clear which local government department or municipal entity should take responsibility for such neglect, he said.

The City of Joburg says the Drill Hall is a provincial government property that is being transferred to the city under the auspices of the JPC. All renovations and improvements will be a joint effort by the province and council, said City of Joburg spokesman Nthatisi Modingoane.

The Marshall Street Barracks was damaged in a fire in 2002.

A good news heritage story is that finally there is hope for the Marshall Street Barracks.
Anchen Dreyer, DA spokeswoman on public works, says R233.5m over a three-year period has been allocated for the rehabilitation of the dilapidated old barracks.

"While an undisclosed amount has been allocated in the current financial year for designs and documentation for rehabilitation works, an amount of R53.1m has been allocated in the next financial year for consultants and a contractor for the commencement of rehabilitation works on the building," said Dreyer.

"This emerged from a written reply by the minister for public works, Thulas Nxesi, to a question I sent to his department in Parliament."

The barracks have been vacant and vandalised for more than a decade. In 2002, the damaged building was almost gutted by a fire.

While it is legally protected by the National Heritage Resources Act of 1999, the national Department of Public Works has been negligent and has allowed the building to deteriorate to such an extent that is now practically in ruins, Dreyer said.

"The building is an eyesore in an area that has otherwise been refurbished by the private sector; with many previously abandoned buildings now being put to good use.

"It is only by highlighting the issue and applying pressure on the minister that the DA managed to get a commitment that this once beautiful building will be restored to its previous condition."

Some renovations have taken place at the Rissik Street post office.

There is also good news for the Rissik Street post office.

According to historian Flo Bird, an agreement on the fate of the post office is in the final stages of negotiations and will be decided this week.

Bird said she was told by the council that the agreement would then be signed and the development for Rissik Street would be under way.

The development lease agreement would be signed on completion of negotiations and site handed over to the developer.

There would be a six-month wait to obtain necessary approvals. Construction would take a maximum of 18 months after that.

"This is disappointing as we had hoped the agreement would be signed by the end of this month. They have been discussing it since July. We have to hope the deal won't fall through because time is money for property developers, even if not for the [council]," she said. The building has been empty since 1996. In 2002, the clock hands and bells were stolen from the tower.

Its brass light fittings, switches and wooden balustrades have been stripped.

The building, built in 1897, has been badly damaged by three fires in recent years, but renovated.

The old MOTH Hall, a derelict three-storey building, stands in the shadow of the monument for fallen soldiers on Remembrance Square, just off Loveday Street.

Once a monument to glory, today it has about 700 destitute occupants. Conditions are shocking. The building was supposed to be used as a temporary shelter for desperate people streaming into the city in search of food and shelter, and to relieve pressure on the Central Methodist Church. The building is governmentowned.

The City of Joburg did not respond to individual queries about the Rissik Street Post Office, the Marshall Street Barracks or the MOTH Hall.

Up to R30bn in State Money Stolen

David Lewis

25 October 2012
Governments are failing to tackle entrenched violence and corruption: International crime conference considers success factors for addressing crime in Africa

Leading international researchers are today examining why government policies on crime are failing and what could be done to affect improvements. They are speaking at the third annual international crime reduction conference, hosted by the Crime and Justice Programme of the Institute for Security Studies. Some of the key themes arising concern the government's tendency to provide simplistic solutions to the factors that lead to violence and corruption. For example, by relying on the police as the primary response to emerging challenges of crime and violence. This approach simply does not work in most contexts and can lead to other destructive consequences such as increased police brutality and repression.

Paul-Simon Handy, Deputy Executive Director at Institute for Security Studies, opened, saying: "Violence, crime and corruption have the potential to severely undermine a country's development. To develop good criminal justice policy we need to better understand crime by exploring the complicated social, cultural, economic and political factors that drive or hinder it."

"The work presented comes at a time where we, particularly in South Africa, need to reflect on the issues which potentially threaten our democracy, our freedom and our future." These include increased levels of public violence as a desperate response of communities who have had enough of corruption and resulting service delivery failure by the state. Sadly, as the Marikana tragedy highlights, those with political power were quick to deploy state violence to respond to a problem that needed understanding, compassion and negotiation.
Dr Anthony Collins, University of Kwazulu Natal said that whilst we may criticise violence, SA is a fundamentally violent society, which sees violence as an acceptable way of solving problems. Research has shown that 90% of people support hitting children; 80% support the death penalty; 74% think violence is appropriate in interpersonal relationships; and 60% of young adults think coercion is appropriate in sexual encounters. We only dislike violence when we are the victims but think it is appropriate to use against others. The failure to draw the link between acceptable and unacceptable violence is behind our policy failure in addressing violence in society.

Solutions start with children, and ensuring they become healthy, non-violent adults. Professor Mark Tomlinson, Stellenbosch University presented research showing that home based mother-infant intervention using community health workers significantly improved mothers interaction with their children, and their children were therefore less likely to experience insecurity in their attachment to the parent. Insecure attachment has been found to be associated with high rates of behavioural problems such as bullying and violence.
Looking at how we address this problem as young people enter society, Chandre Gould, Senior Researcher for the Institute for Security Studies, said that if we are to reduce crime and violence in South Africa, we need to reduce the barriers for young people to enter the economy. Many young people lack both the hard and soft skills to enter the job market. This problem is exacerbated by the high levels of violence children are exposed to in their homes as a result of high levels of domestic violence.

This exposure results in depression, fear, anger and anxiety that impacts on young people's ability to cope, make friends, and engage in constructive civic activities. Interventions at a community level are one way to address these problems. There are enormous challenges to non-governmental organisations who seek to support young people. However, by rethinking how local initiatives could be better supported by the state, for example by providing predictability in funding, there is potential for great opportunities to strengthen resilience amongst our youth.

Discussing the role of legislation in addressing violence, Bill Dixon of Keele University, UK, said that governments like to legislate because it looks as if they are doing something about an emerging crime problem. However, legislation can't just overturn social or organisational culture. Hate crime legislation for example, where it has been implemented, is open to interpretation and can be a double edged sword to be misused by the police to punish ‘troublemakers', rather than to more fairly punish genuine hate crimes.

Furthermore legally entrenching differences based on race, gender or sexuality can be profoundly unhelpful. The counter argument was that legislation can provide vulnerable groups with leverage to advocate for greater attention to be given to a problem of discrimination.

Gareth Newham, Head of the Crime and Justice Programme at the Institute for Security Studies, considered the threats to the rule of law in South Africa. In addition to ongoing statements made by powerful politicians attacking the judiciary, there is a profound absence in political will to improve the functioning of the criminal justice system.

The carefully considered recommendation emerging from a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system in 2007 have largely been ignored by the current administration. Rather than appointing skilled and experienced people with integrity to head the police and the prosecuting authority, and strengthen these agencies, the opposite has happened.
Those appointed have inadequate experience and in the case of NPA head Menzi Simelane, were known beforehand to lack integrity. As a result of poor leadership, these agencies have been engulfed in controversy rather than improving public safety. Arguably, this is happening because corruption at the highest levels of political power.

The police made 1.6 million arrests in the last year. Most of these arrests were against poor people for crimes less serious than shoplifting. In spite of up to R30 billion in public money being lost to corruption each year, the police only made 56 arrests and achieved 11 convictions for crimes covered by the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Act. It is increasingly clear why professional people who are known for their integrity and expertise are not being appointed to head up the police or the National Prosecuting Authority.

Statement issued by David Lewis, Proof Communication, on behalf of the Institute of Security Studies, October 25 2012

Civilians Called For Active Service ?

Reservists face call-up to African war zones

GRAEME HOSKEN | 26 October, 2012 00:361 Comments

Civilians who have undergone military training could soon be called up for active service and be deployed on potentially deadly peace-keeping operations.

The South African army - already overstretched by peacekeeping deployments across the continent - is fast preparing for the deployment of hundreds of additional troops, including civilian reservists, to peacekeeping missions. There are some 15000 army reservists.

Prior to yesterday's announcement, President Jacob Zuma said he would strongly consider deploying soldiers to Mali on an African Union peacekeeping mission. If Zuma gives the go-ahead, the deployment could happen early next year.

Army chief Lieutenant-General Amos Masondo yesterday confirmed the urgent requests by Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"We are waiting to hear what needs to be done," he said.

Masondo said the appointment of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as AU Commission chair would lead to increased demands for South African forces to be deployed elsewhere Africa.

Via Gordon Fox /BKA
"Unfortunately, we are limited by our numbers. If the request is approved, the forces will have to include lots of reservists.

"We simply do not have enough permanent force members. We are already overstretched in Africa, with hundreds of our troops deployed internally on our borders."

Masondo said vast amounts of money were currently being spent on training, and that the upgrading of equipment was a priority.

Army force preparation commander Major-General Luvuyo Nobanda said serious focus was being put on the reservists.

"Currently a company of reservists (150 soldiers) is deployed on every mission. We have no other option. Unfortunately, they are also facing big challenges," he said.

Mali's government is currently embroiled in violent confrontations with al-Qaeda linked groups trying to overthrow the state.

The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, along with the UN, is currently involved in bloody battles against rebel forces who are armed with heavy artillery and tanks.

The proposed deployments are being considered while 3000 South African soldiers take part in an exercise at the combat training centre in the Northern Cape.

A senior officer - deployed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2010 - said the missions would require more than just a few hundred troops.

"These rebels are not playing around. They have serious numbers and serious fire-power. They are battle-hardened and have been at war for years. If we don't do this right we will be bringing body bags home," he said.

Army reserve chief, Major-General Keith Moloape, said ideally there would 65000 reservists available rather than 15000"

Daily in South Africa

Robber found in full police gear.
With the identity of a white policeman (Grobler).
Plus a stolen police cap.
Plus stolen police shoes.
Plus a stolen firearm.
Plus a stolen police bulletproof vest.
And dressed in many layers of other clothing ..... to get rid of it (and confuse his pursuers) as he fled.

Please forward this ....... because no one dare officially publish this.
To show South Africa and the world what happens here EVERY DAY !!!!!!
Robber found in full police gear.
With  the  identity  of  a  white policeman (Grobler).
 Plus a  stolen  police cap.
 Plus stolen police shoes.
 Plus a stolen firearm.
Plus a stolen  police   bulletproof   vest.
 And  dressed   in   many layers of other clothing  ..... to  get  rid  of  it  (and confuse his pursuers)  as  he  fled.

Please  forward  this   .......   because   no  one   dare  officially   publish  this.
 To  show  South Africa  and  the  world  what  happens  here  EVERY  DAY    !!!!!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

South Africa - Over the Rainbow

It has made progress since becoming a full democracy in 1994. But a failure of leadership means that in many ways, South Africa is now going backwards.

ON JUNE 26th 1955, 3,000 South Africans gathered in a dusty square in Kliptown, a district of Soweto, a sprawling black township on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Members of the African National Congress (ANC) congregated alongside their anti-apartheid confederates to proclaim a new vision of the future. The next day police broke up the meeting (Nelson Mandela disguised himself as a milkman to escape). But the dream had already been declared. “The people shall govern,” announced the Freedom Charter. South Africa would belong to all of its people, no matter what their colour. There would be work, education and security for all. Everyone would be equal before the law. It was an extraordinary affirmation, full of hope and the promise of a better future.

Today the square is named after Walter Sisulu, an ANC hero and mentor to Mr Mandela. It boasts shops, offices, a conference hall and a pricey hotel. As the birthplace of the new, inclusive South Africa, it has become a stop on the tourist trail. But just across the railway track, rickety shacks huddle together. The roads are rutted and muddy. Communal latrines stand useless, their doors open and rubbish piled inside. Next to them on the uneven ground wobbles a portable toilet, its door padlocked against vandals. A sludgy stream trickles past, fouled by children unable to find the key in time. Walter Sisulu Square is close by, but the aspirations of the Freedom Charter are nowhere to be seen.

In the 18 years since black-majority rule began and South Africa became a full democracy, its people have made progress. Many more now have access to clean water and electricity. Between 1996 and 2010 the proportion living on less than $2 a day fell from 12% to 5%. The racist legislation of apartheid has been abolished. The new constitution is liberal and inspiring.

And yet in other ways South Africa is in a worse state than at any point since 1994. In August police shot dead 34 miners on strike at a platinum mine near Marikana, in North West province. Since then wildcat strikes have broken out at other mines. Some operations have been suspended. Thousands of miners have been sacked. In September Moody’s, a credit agency, cut South Africa’s sovereign rating, citing the declining quality of the government, growing social stresses and worsening conditions for investment.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s leaders have floundered. The ANC’s leadership is up for re-election at a party conference in December. South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, faces possible ejection as party leader—which would prevent him from being the ANC’s presidential candidate in elections in 2014.

The past two months’ industrial strife is about more than just pay or perks. The protests are a symptom of the deep malaise that has taken hold of South Africa. The ANC was dealt a bad hand in 1994, and it has played that hand badly. South Africa’s difficulties are now so entrenched that the ANC looks incapable of solving them.

The starkest measure of South Africa’s failure is the yawning gap between rich and poor. Under apartheid, such inequality was by design. Since apartheid came to an end, a tiny black elite has accrued great fortunes. But that has only widened the wealth gap. South Africa’s Gini coefficient—the best-known measure of inequality, in which 0 is the most equal and 1 the least—was 0.63 in 2009. In 1993 it was 0.59. After 18 years of full democracy, South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world.

Unchartered territory

Persistent inequality is in part down to the government’s failure to educate young South Africans, particularly black ones. In the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, South Africa ranks 132nd out of 144 countries for its primary education and 143rd for the quality of its science and maths. In the Department of Basic Education’s national literacy and numeracy tests last year, only 15% of 12-year-olds (sixth graders) scored at or above the minimum proficiency on the language test. In maths just 12% did.

Nokubonga Ralayo, a 20-year-old university student from Khayelitsha, a vast black township on the edge of Cape Town, says success comes down to being able to afford a better school. “It is hard to escape your background when you are growing up,” she says. Three-quarters of white pupils complete the final year of high school, but only a third of black pupils.

Schools suffer from poor equipment. Only 20% have libraries, and only 7.5% actually have any books. Almost half of all schools rely on pit latrines instead of proper toilets. In July textbooks that pupils should have received in January were found tossed into rivers in an effort to hide the failure to deliver them.

The standard of teaching is low, too. Training is inadequate. South Africa needs 25,000 new teachers a year but only around 10,000 qualify. Maths and science teachers are in particularly short supply. Many arrive late to school and leave early, spending barely half their allotted time in class. Many fail to turn up at all on Fridays. The teachers’ union is more concerned with protecting its members, even the incompetent ones, than with training them. There is little political will when it comes to improving education and few repercussions when those in charge perform badly.

These failures represent a colossal waste of money as well as talent. Education accounts for about a sixth of all government spending—more than in Rwanda, say, which does much better in rankings. Since 1995 South Africa has spent 5-7% of its GDP on education. Today the figure is 6.7%, more than in Brazil.

Chronically poor education means that thousands of jobs go unfilled. Almost half the 95,000 or so nursing jobs in the public sector are vacant, according to the South African Institute of Race Relations. Meanwhile, official unemployment is about 25% and the real figure nearer 40%. (In 1994 unemployment was 20%.) Unequal education creates unequal employment. The unemployment rate among blacks is 29%, compared with 6% for whites. Youth unemployment is over 50%. Young people who fail to find work by the age of 24 will probably never have a full-time formal job.

Skills shortages are a brake on growth and are just one reason why the country’s inclusion in the BRICS (albeit as an afterthought) looked incongruous. In September the Reserve Bank reckoned that South Africa’s growth rate for 2012 would be just 2.6%. Countries such as Nigeria and Angola have galloped ahead in recent years, with growth pushing 10%, albeit from a lower base. The economy, much smaller than that of the other BRICS, is likely to be toppled from its spot as Africa’s biggest by Nigeria’s in the next decade.

The recent wave of industrial action will only bring that moment nearer. After the miners at Marikana won a handsome pay rise, 75,000 miners, chiefly of gold and platinum, went on strike, mostly illegally. Anglo American Platinum, the world’s largest platinum miner, has fired 12,000 workers. Gold One has sacked over 1,400. Industrial action has now spread beyond mining. In September 20,000 lorry drivers went on a three-week strike, affecting deliveries of petrol, coal, cash and other goods. A deal was signed on October 12th, but textile workers in Newcastle, the third-largest city in KwaZulu-Natal, are on strike, along with municipal workers in North West province. There is talk of a nationwide strike by local-government workers.

In October Gill Marcus, governor of the central bank, said that the past two months had hurt South Africa’s reputation as a place to invest. She pointed to R5.6 billion ($643m) in net equity-market outflows on October 8th as evidence of a loss of confidence.

“The outlook at the moment is deteriorating rapidly,” she said. Mark Cutifani, chief executive of AngloGold Ashanti, the world’s third-biggest gold producer, says the strikes in the mining industry could lead his company to shrink its operations in South Africa.

Corporate investors have come to expect trouble, says Peter Attard Montalto, an emerging-markets analyst at Nomura International, an investment bank. South Africa used to see large, if infrequent, foreign investment, but it has seen virtually none since the beginning of the year. Investors are worried about labour laws, the prevalence of strikes and the unions’ close relation with the ANC. Increasingly, they have somewhere else to put their money.

The trouble with politics

Economic malaise and the chronic failure of government services are an indictment of South Africa’s politicians. Under apartheid, a role in the ANC was about sacrifice and risk. Today it is a ticket for the gravy train. Jobs in national and local politics provide access to public funds and cash from firms eager to buy political influence. For someone from rural South Africa, who has a poor education and little chance of getting a good job, a seat on the local council may be the only way out of poverty. Higher up, the rewards are even greater. The public protector, who looks into public-sector misconduct, is investigating reports that hundreds of millions of rand are to be spent on improving Mr Zuma’s private homestead in the village of Nkandla.

Because the stakes are so high, competition for power is bitter and sometimes bloody, particularly at the local level. In the past five years over 40 politicians have been killed in KwaZulu-Natal, a province with a history of political violence, and at least five more in Mpumalanga, a province in the north-east of the country. The killing is often about money. Sometimes whistle-blowers are murdered to stop them revealing corruption; sometimes rivals are disposed of. In 2009 Moss Phakoe, a municipal councillor in North West province, was shot in Rustenburg after handing over a file detailing corruption in the municipality to a high-ranking ANC official. Phakoe had been trying to get senior ANC members to investigate the matter. The former mayor of Rustenburg and his bodyguard were jailed for the murder.

In August Lindiwe Mazibuko, the parliamentary leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), accused the ANC of creating a class of “tenderpreneurs,” in business to get state contracts using their connections in government. Outright bribery of low-level officials is common.

No one knows how much money corruption costs the country but the effect on its democracy is devastating.

Whether people are prosecuted for graft seems to depend on whom they know. Few think Julius Malema, a populist former leader of the ANC Youth League now excommunicated from the party, would be facing charges for money laundering had he not turned against Mr Zuma.

That lack of accountability is partly down to the country’s system of party lists at general and provincial elections; individual MPs are not answerable directly to voters, but solely to the party managers who determine their ranking on the list. Only at the lowest level—the municipalities—is there a system of constituencies (or “wards”) and then only for half the seats. This means politicians have little incentive to provide for their voters.

The gap between leaders and voters is mirrored inside South Africa’s unions. At the annual conference of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in September, Zwelinzima Vavi, Cosatu’s boss, warned that “different lifestyles and material realities are creating a leadership which is not fully in tune with what members are facing.” This has arisen, in part, said Mr Vavi, because Cosatu has become preoccupied with politics and its relations with the ANC, rather than with standing up for workers’ rights. There was, Mr Vavi admitted, a sense that some union leaders were loth to take up issues for fear of embarrassing the ANC. Disenchantment with unions makes wildcat strikes more likely.

A call for something new

So far the opposition poses little threat to the ANC’s dominance. In the 2009 general elections an ANC splinter group, the Congress of the People, won just 7% of the vote. It has since spluttered on, amid infighting, financial difficulties and the return of some prominent members to the ANC. The Inkatha Freedom Party, which controlled KwaZulu Natal until 2004 when it lost control of the province to the ANC, has withered away. In the 2009 election it won less than 5% of the vote.

That leaves the DA, which won 17%, as the main political opposition to the ANC. But so far it has failed to win over poor, black voters. It runs the Western Cape but no other province, though it has its sights on Gauteng, the richest, at the next poll. Despite having a black deputy leader, it is still seen as a white party. Ms Ralayo, the Cape Town student, says she would never vote for the DA, as she still believes the party’s policies discriminate against black and coloured (mixed-race) people.

The DA must therefore find a way to broaden its appeal without losing its existing supporters. In September Helen Zille, the party leader, called for a new movement based on a commitment to the constitution. She asked those members of the ANC who rejected populism to join her. The response has been muted. The ANC’s constitutionalists are unlikely to jump ship unless the party looks to be on the verge of losing power. At the moment it is not.

The solid support for the ANC, which still regularly attracts over 60% of the vote, is partly due to its liberation credentials and partly down to race. It also helps that the ANC has more money than any other party. It can afford to go to townships days before elections and hand out food parcels. It still convinces a diverse range of black South Africans that it has their interests at heart. Poor black South Africans have benefited from social grants, the working class from the party’s pro-labour stance and the power of the unions, and the middle and upper classes from its policy of “black economic empowerment”.

Thus the most important check on the ANC comes from outside party politics. Lobby groups and NGOs have a commendable history of holding the government to account and stepping in where it fails, although funding, whether it comes from the government or from donors, is limited. One NGO, Section 27, is taking the education department to court over the textbook fiasco. Rape Crisis supports victims of rape, of which there are many, offering them counselling and helping them pursue justice. The Social Justice Coalition, which works mostly in Khayelitsha, is calling for improved policing and better sanitation. Abahlali base Mjondolo, or “shack dwellers”, campaigns for public housing.

The media, too, remain critical. Some fear that the “secrecy bill”, a law intended to protect state information, will be used to stifle criticism of the government. The law has not yet been passed, and in the meantime newspapers, in particular, continue to nag the government about its poor performance and lambast it over corruption.

Most important are South Africa’s courts—especially the constitutional one—which have long been hailed as a bulwark against the ANC’s authoritarian and corrupt tendencies. By and large, the judiciary is still independent and committed to the laws and constitution, but the ANC repeatedly tries to pack it with its friends.

The weakness lies in the police and the national prosecuting authority, both essential to upholding the rule of law. They are not independent, nor perceived to be. Whether the government’s influence over prosecution is direct or indirect, the authority does not always act without fear or favour in politically sensitive cases, says Pierre de Vos, a constitutional-law scholar at the University of Cape Town.

The judiciary will be a test of the ANC’s democratic credentials. Some within the government seem increasingly uncomfortable with the Constitutional Court’s independence and the tendency of its judges to criticise the party. Last year’s appointment of Mogoeng Mogoeng as the court’s head was not encouraging. The rejected, more experienced, candidate was Dikgang Moseneke, the deputy chief justice, who insists that judges are accountable to the people, rather than politicians.

The young ones
They would welcome some textbooks

Almost one-third of South African voters are now too young to have any direct memory of the oppression of apartheid, or of the popular struggle against it. Their loyalty to the ANC is not as inevitable as that of their parents or grandparents. Ms Ralayo admits she is disappointed in the party. “Power changes people,” she says. “Looking at where we are now, it is hard not to feel depressed. You see people fighting over power, people who will do anything for money or power.” She believes that change will come when citizens feel the government is no longer untouchable.

But so far there is little sign of change from the ANC. Marikana should be a wake-up call to the government, but South Africa’s leaders, engrossed by factional infighting, appear deaf. If the government does not respond more vigorously, the country could see a surge in the kind of populism peddled by Mr Malema.

The immediate test of the ANC is its leadership election, to be held at its conference in December. Kgalema Motlanthe, the deputy president, is Mr Zuma’s most likely opponent. Some think he would be a more competent leader, but he is less popular than the president and has not officially said whether he will stand.

That leaves Mr Zuma unchallenged for now. He came to power promising to tackle unemployment and corruption, but has accomplished little. He owes so much to South Africa’s vested interests that it is difficult to imagine him embarking upon radical reform. If he is simply re-elected without promising anything new, it will be a worrying sign that the ANC has failed to grasp what ails their country. The tragedy of Marikana appalled South Africans and outsiders alike. If it does not jolt the government into action, what will?