05/28/2006

WE HAVE MOVED

It's time for a change. We have moved to a new domain at someamongus.com. Please update your links, feeds and bookmarks.

08:50 Posted in Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: South Africa

05/17/2006

Thoughts on Zuma

Just a few thoughts on our man of the moment (or should it be man of the year) regarding his recent acquittal and so-called “comeback”. Since getting back I’ve been checking out what was said in the local blogosphere and in media after trial. A posts that I would particularly like to highlight is from Commentary, I fully agree with the sentiments expressed therein, particularly the following by Laurence :

 

But I’m not going to second-guess the judge. I’m willing to accept that justice was done, the system worked, and Zuma isn’t a rapist. But he’s still a scumbag.

 

Lest we forget, Zuma put himself in this position. He was a cad. The self-styled head of South Africa’s “moral regeneration movement” took sexual advantage of a psychologically disturbed young woman who, by all accounts, thought of Zuma as a father-figure. During the trial, he enunciated the evil idea that women are “asking for it” in the way they dress; in this case, by wearing a knee-length skirt. Women’s groups are correct to call this a “setback”: in a country which already has one of the highest incidences of rape in the world, the damage Zuma did will take years to undo.

 

That sound you may have heard while reading the above quote was the hammer hitting the nail on the head! This perfectly summarizes exactly how I feel about the Z, he may try and put on his happy-go-lucky-uncle-who-just-loves-the-working-man face, but if you look beyond that, you begin to see the true Z – a selfish, egotistical clown who loves living the high life while all the time playing the populist card when it suits him.

 

But the rape trial is history.

 

It’s time for us to look ahead and consider what lies in store for the “indomitable” Z (and the rest of us), as he lurches forward towards his corruption trial. While I am sure he will be Yengenied, let’s consider the insane notion that he by some miracle actually gets off (even thinking of that gives me a bit of a heady feeling like I’m not getting enough air). There seems to be a fair bit of debate going on over whether the Z-man could actually go all the way to Tuinhuis…

 

There’s no way and the reason starts with an M and ends with a “you-don’t-mess-with-The-Legacy. Ever.”

 

That’s right, if the big man hasn’t put his stamp of approval on something, it will not happen. Many pundits have been commenting on the fact that the “battle-lines” have been drawn between Mbeki supporters and those that support Zuma. What kind of battle do these pundits have in mind – an insurgency by a small plucky band of Zuma loyalist, or perhaps a glorious charge light-brigade style to victory after the conclusion of the corruption trial? There’s no way - Zuma was history once Mbeki fired him from the Cabinet.

 

Much has been written of Zuma’s support base and the belief that this electrified band of clowns in arms will be at the vanguard of any Zuma victory. To this I have to say – what support? A bunch of disorganized and obsessed weirdo’s ranting outside the High Court, or maybe the ANCYL or Cosatu, or other so-called far leftists in the ANC?

 

The people outside the court were good and burning things and labeling people “bitches”, but I hardly feel they’ll carry much weight in the presidential succession debate. Then there is the ANCYL. Between organizing their 310th party of the year, laundering Brett Kebble’s cash and organizing their “babe magnet” cars I cannot think of one, not one initiative the ANCYL has ever managed to spearhead and carry through to its conclusion. Blowhards of the first order who never deliver.

 

As for Cosatu, their track record in influencing national debate has been anything but strong of late – remember the “stayaway to protest unemployment” last year - total flop. Plus remember Vavi spinning himself into oblivion in an attempt to explain how they were for JZ president, but not really. Brittle support at its best.

 

The final group is probably the strongest – the determined leftist within the tripartite alliance. Some might point to there show of strength last year at the acrimonious national conference, but to me this was not really about Zuma and all about Mbeki’s leadership style. The left, tired with being sidelined, caught Mbeki unawares and forced him to make concessions in an attempt to placate the base. This will not happen again.

 

Mbeki is probably SA’s canniest political animal. He has had a lot of practice from his time in exile to his in-house coup to become SA’s president after Madiba. If Zuma and motley crew of wannabe’s think they’re going to upset The Legacy, they’ve got another thing coming.

 

Michael: Fredo, you're my older brother... and I love you...but don't ever take sides, with anyone, against the family again. Ever.” - Godfather (aka. T. Mbeki)

10:58 Posted in Politics | Permalink | Comments (6)

05/16/2006

Back in the hotseat

Just completed an incredible month long trip to Asia - what a place! The sheer scale and scope of what is happening on that side of the globe is truly awe-inspiring. People, places, machinery, technology, focus, ambition, education, all very fitting adjectives for describing what I saw and literally felt while I made my way from meeting to meeting. Although I have made numerous trips there before, this time made a much greater impression on me for some reason. I guess when you are in SA there is a tendency to get a bit sucked in by what is happening around you and lose a bit of perspective of the bigger picture.

 

I see the usual suspects are still very much in play – the ANCYL calling people Lucifer (are we in the 16th Century?), Jay-Z was found not guilty and sung his Machine Gun song (the man is obsessed with phallic symbols) and of course the Prez. meditated over it all with his “Native Club” (sign me up!).

 

“Those who can, do. Those who can’t join the Native Club”

 

PS : the "Proudly South African" post was a work in progress from awhile back that slipped through the publishing software, will rework it and get it back up soon.

 

14:40 Posted in Blog | Permalink | Comments (3) | Tags: South Africa

04/25/2006

32% and now this...

This is a MUST SEE VIDEO!! from 60 Minutes. Draw your own conclusions.

03:10 Posted in International | Permalink | Comments (1)

04/24/2006

The revolution rolls on

So I see the good times are still rolling in Cape Town. If you’re guessing by good times I mean chairs are being thrown around and knives are being drawn on the Mayor – you’re definitely on top of your game! Democracy (SA style of course) is truly on the march in Western Cape where democratic principles like Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Association are ably protected and defended by the ruling party :

 

Max Ozinsky, deputy secretary for the ANC in the Western Cape, said Zille had visited the area without telling the ANC councillor, Elese Depoutch, or the party's leadership about it. "She has been working in the area for the past six or seven years, and she has always supported those who disrupted the ANC meetings," said Ozinsky


Come now Max, tell us what you were really thinking…


“That cow, Zille dared to venture into our bastion of ANC meritocracy, who the hell does she think she is? The most esteemed Comrade Manto??” (my mistake, that last sentence contained an oxymoron - Manto meeting any part of her constituency is like the Pres. admitting he made some mistake in policy.)


Speaking of the Prez, I see he decided to issue for the following royal edict statement

 

“Today, we need to ask ourselves whether we, cadres of our movement, are still upholding the unimpeachable track record of Ellen Khuzwayo and other past ANC cadres," he wrote in his weekly letter. We need to ask ourselves whether the seeds of self-sacrifice they planted into our organization have not begun to fall on thorny, barren soil of self-interest!"

 

Which of course in the lingua franca of Delmas can be roughly translated into “Did you say the taxpayer will pay – in that case Pimp my ride!” or if you have the more refined Pretorian way of speaking “Hell yeah! Send that Beemer over thissaway!”.

 

Public Service. It’s tough but someone’s gotta do it.

09:50 Posted in Farcical | Permalink | Comments (4) | Tags: South Africa

04/18/2006

We need more fear!

Just seen the very interesting "V for Vendetta". Was it a nice bit of agitprop cinema, hell yeah! Was it about the Bush administration, hell yeah! Can we take a bit of the message and apply it to our own country, hell yeah!

 

"People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people."

 

A simple, catchy little movie slogan, but one that makes a lot of sense if you consider its implications. At its core democracy is all about action and reaction - you deliver poor, incompetent service to the electorate and you get booted out of office. You deliver fine, visionary leadership and you are rewarded with a continued control of the levers of power. This means a healthy level of fear needs to permeate the governing group - fear of failing in their mandate, fear of the electorate calling them to account, fear of being driven from office. I'm not talking about a paralysing terror of making a mistake, I am talking about a healthy fear that keeps the government on their toes and mindful that they are not South Africa, but merely represent South Africa. Those in power need to understand that they are transitory and remain in power only so long as we allow it, not the other way round.

 

Now think of our current government, be it at national, provincial or local level - do they have this healthy sense of fear of the electorate? Or do they act like arrogant, paternalistic clowns who seem to have more in common with medieval lords-of-the-manor rather than elected public officials. This attitude can be easily seen from the Eastern Cape where this idiot was allowed to poison the Province for SIX years, to the spend-taxpayers-money-like-a-drunken-pirate-so-we-can-get... at the Department of Justice. No Repercussions=No Fear=Governmental Arrogance=Faux Democracy.

 

The governing party knows it. The opposition knows it. The electorate doesn't know it. If the government decides to do something or follow a particular course of action, there is not a damn thing you or I can do about it. Nothing. Oh sure we can moan and maybe kick up a fuss in the Court's but inevitably the government will get what it wants...because it can and because it faces no prospect of punishment at the polls (at least in the near-midterm). There is no fear. This point was ably illustrated in the last government elections and in this post where it was noted that dissatisfaction with the government led to virtually no retribution by the electorate at the polls. Suckers. 

 

In any other sane democracy Manto's handling of the Aids crises would have brought down the government, the NIA scandal would have led to widespread concern among the populace, the various service delivery protests would have led to a major reevaluation of the direction government is taking in terms of delivery. Not in our faux-democracy. Here it is business as usual and these controversies are treated as speed-bumps on the way to national (ANC) glory rather than the national disgraces they should be.

 

So keep complaining, but don't hold your breath because: no-ones listening...because the don't have to.

 

Update : No fear and arrogance in action.

05:15 Posted in Politics | Permalink | Comments (5) | Tags: South Africa

04/11/2006

"And I'll raise your Pajero a BMW X5..."

Image hosting by Photobucket

When Royals play. We are not amused.

The Eastern Cape is once again pushing hard to get "The Worst Province. Ever" award this year. Showing your tax money is being wisely spent, we have the following fine bit of news about the joyrides among the provincial royalty :

 

Johannesburg - Two Eastern Cape traditional kings have damaged the brand-new luxury German cars the provincial government gave them last month, Dispatch Online reported on Tuesday. It said the two BMW X5s were now grounded and had been sent for repairs. The vehicles belonged to King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo of AbaThembu BakaDalindyebo and King Zwelonke Sigcawu of AmaGcaleka.

Fixing the two cars, which were insured, would cost R40 000. Two days after taking delivery of his luxurious car, Dalindyebo drove over a signpost about 20km from KwaZulu-Natal. Local Government and Traditional Affairs spokesperson Siki Wababa-Putini said the car had a damaged front wheel and suspension control arms, costing about R25 000.

 

Can't we get Chelsy Davy down to the EC to raise the bar a bit?

14:45 Posted in Social | Permalink | Comments (0)

04/05/2006

Make your voice heard!

Do you think it is time for Jay-Z to expand his singing repertoire beyond "Awuleth' umshini wami" (bring me my machine gun)?
No way! The man is better than any Idols contestant.
Yes, I would prefer him moving towards something closer to his style eg "Hit me baby one more time"
As long as he's not acting like that pompous, whiskey drinking egomaniac I'm happy!
As a member of the ANCYL, I'm 100% behing Msholozi...except when Brett Kebble says otherwise.
Jay who?
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com

09:35 Posted in Farcical | Permalink | Comments (1) | Tags: South Africa

SAIRR Report

You would think since ’94 inequality had decreased? Well, apparently not if a report from the SA Institute of Race Relations is to be believed – it has increased dramatically, especially among the African population : 

 

"Increases (in levels of inequality) were most dramatic for the African population, which saw levels... rise by 21 percent... since 1996," the institute said in a statement issued to mark the publication of its annual South Africa Survey. Such growing inequality was in part an indication of the growth of a black middle class. Of concern, however, was that "such growth has been accompanied by an increase in poverty among the lowest income groups".

 

The survey showed the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day - the measure of absolute poverty - had more than doubled since 1994.

 

Again, this is post-’94. 

07:35 Posted in Social | Permalink | Comments (4)

04/04/2006

The Mother City is in big trouble

The coverage of last week’s little tussle between Helen Zille and the ANC over the new World Cup stadium seems to have given passing reference to why Zille took such drastic action. The DA may have won the Mayor ship and wrested control from the ANC, but I think their actions were driven by a growing reality over the massive challenge they face in running the city. The stadium battle is only the first problem the DA will face in a city that is in dire need of upgrades and service delivery.

 

To further this point and understand the long road ahead for the City lets look at a few highlights from an article written by Carol Paton in the Financial Mail :

 

Cape Town's electricity and sewerage infrastructure is crumbling and in urgent need of huge investment; the administration is weak, demoralised and distrustful of Zille; the housing crisis grows every year no matter if the province spends its entire budget; and the city faces a R3bn price tag to meet Fifa requirements for the soccer World Cup in 2010.

 

The elephant in the room is the housing shortage and the inability of previous City administrations to tackle the problem :

 

As with all city politicians that have gone before her, housing is the problem that is most on her mind. Cape Town, says Zille, gets about R350m/year for housing - which would allow almost 9 000 matchbox houses to be built annually, assuming that infrastructure for water and sewerage has been paid for out of the city's other budgets. 
"There are 250 000 households on the waiting list, which grows by 16 000/year. You don't have to be Einstein to figure out that you are going backwards every year," she says. It's a numbers game that the city just can't win, and rather than continuing to promise everyone a house it would be far better to take an honest look at housing policy: either changing the national budget to ensure that there will be brick houses for all, or changing the policy to fit the budget by giving everyone services, like water and sewerage, but not all of them houses, she argues.


 
It might be a more realistic way of looking at the problem. But Zille is completely without influence to change national housing policy. And were she to try to do it alone, announcing to the poor of Cape Town that the DA did not plan to build houses, would be political suicide for her party.

 

Then there is the less visible but also important :

 

Six years ago, the Unicity Commission - a body set up to strategise the merging of Cape Town's six metropolitan substructures - put the sewerage infrastructure backlog at R1,4bn. Neighbourhood-based sewage pump stations built decades ago are no longer able to deal with the demands of a city of 3m people. But since the commission's warning, no investment in sewerage infrastructure has been made, except for an emergency R200m at one of the sewerage works. 

 

And of course who could forget :

 

The electricity crisis is more visible. Cape Town needs additional generating capacity urgently and the city will have to campaign hard with national authorities to make sure that it gets it sooner rather than later. Aside from the crisis in the supply, the distribution network - 6 000 substations that fall under the control of the city and now regional electricity distributor RED1 - are decrepit. With a maximum lifespan of 30 years, most are 33 years old and, says an official, "have been in crisis maintenance mode for five years". It is these substations that continually trip the network when Koeberg attempts to bring the power back up after an outage.

 

If the DA pulls this one off, they deserve to move on to bigger and better things…

 - (Big hat tip to Hex) -

08:04 Posted in Social | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: South Africa

04/03/2006

한국인

답변들이 많이 있을지 없을지 모르나, 특별한 대상 없이 게시하는 일반적인 게시물입니다. 혹시 남아공에 거주하면서 이 블로그를 읽고 계시는 분이 있으신지 궁금합니다. 만일 이 블로그를 읽고 계신분이 있으시면 , 이 블로그 Comments Section에 간단한 자기소개나, 글을 남겨주시면 감사하겠습니다.

09:45 Posted in Random Thoughts | Permalink | Comments (3)

It's on~!

It was one of those weeks –

 

Mrs Fantastic in Seoul (Aka. Mrs Lee) : Good morning Someamongus and I’m sure it’s a fine day your side.


Someamongus : Umm yeah I guess its okay…


Mrs Fantastic : We have great news for you (I’m thinking, good for you or me – cynical bastard). We have decided to expand our operation and that means more business for your business.


Someamongus : (the alarm bells are of course ringing by now, but I play it cool – Clarke Gable style) Why that’s great news! Could you please give me a bit more details?


Mrs Fantastic : (sound of laughter at the other end of the line) Why Someamongus, you are always so enthusiastic aren’t you? Don’t worry I will send you all the details by email.

                                          

                                                 - click –

 

So begins the ride. I have in short been slapped with a project that will take at least six months to complete (a very busy six months) along with accompanying fun and games. So will this cut into blogging time – yes. Will that mean a repeat of the past weeks pathetic blogging progress – gawd I hope not!

 

Thanks for all the emails wondering where I’d disappeared to. Let the blogging continue~~~

09:25 Posted in Blog | Permalink | Comments (3)

03/28/2006

Makes you think...

...doesn't it? :

 

The words of Zalmay Khalilzad, the United States envoy to Iraq, were so chilling last week because they gave voice to a growing fear. He warned that “we have opened a Pandora’s box’’ that “would make Taliban Afghanistan look like child’s play’’. He was referring to the nightmare scenarios of civil war provoking wider regional conflict drawing in Iran, Turkey and Syria.



Afghanistan’s violence is on a smaller scale but still vicious. Last year 1 400 Afghans were killed. The choice of targets is particularly cruel -- teachers and schools have been attacked, along with administration officials. The introduction of suicide bombings indicates new outside support, which prompted the gloomy recent assessment to the US Congress by the director of the Defence Intelligence Agency that attacks are likely to increase.



The war on terror has failed -- it has been the most catastrophic blunder in half a century of British and American foreign policy. Ill-conceived and spectacularly badly implemented, it was redolent of an old-fashioned understanding of conflict and quaint faith in superior military technology.



It has had precisely the opposite impact from that allegedly intended, by significantly increasing the threat of terrorism while alienating Muslim opinion across the globe. Yet the politicians who made the decisions, who lied, and ignored and manipulated expert opinion are still in power and uttering the same platitudes.

 

15:19 Posted in International | Permalink | Comments (1) | Tags: South Africa

03/27/2006

Don't worry Mama's here...

Does liddle-baby-Thabo need protection fwom da big bad man? Don't worry Mamma Mbete's here baby, she'll protect you from the bad man from the DA with his nasty, nasty questions :

 

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has rejected as "outrageous" claims by an opposition MP that she sought to protect President Thabo Mbeki at the expense of parliament's constitutional obligation to hold the executive to account. Mbete's political adviser, Lulamile Mapholoba, said that questions put to members of the executive, including the president, must comply with parliamentary rules and practices. If this did not occur, the question would be disallowed.



Mapholoba was reacting on Friday to a statement issued by DA MP Eddie Trent last week, criticising the Speaker for rejecting a question about whether Mbeki had met the head of Thales International, Jean-Paul Perrier, in May last year. Thales and its South African subsidiary, Thint, are facing trial later this year, along with former deputy president Jacob Zuma, for alleged corruption. Mapholoba confirmed that the question had been disallowed because some of the words used were "sarcastic and hence offensive", and the fact that it was not in order to suggest a member might have acted improperly.

 

Oh boo-friggin'-hoo, if the Prez. can't handle a bit of sarcasm in a question he should get out of politics now. I haven't watched Parliament Live recently but I do remember the boo's and cat-calls that emanated from the ANC back-benchers each time a member of the Opposition was making a speech.

 

Dry your eyes Baleka, I think that joyride official trip you took to Liberia has clouded your judgement.

10:27 Posted in Politics | Permalink | Comments (1) | Tags: South Africa

Classic Kirby~

When you're on fire you're on fire :

 

With the municipal elections safely out of the way, our political life is subsiding back to normal. An eternally grateful Mr Mbeki has been released from his disagreeable four weeks of country-arrest, and is back striding the world stage on our behalf. SABC news department loyalists no longer have to traipse around the lower end of the democratic compass recording their master’s every piety for reproduction in inspiring quarter-hour instalments each evening at seven. But for Eskom, these would have been electrifying as well.



Relieved of the exigencies of the municipal hustings, members of the central executive of the African National Congress are now able to get back to more crucial matters. And none more crucial than deciding who from among ANC ranks is going to be elected to lead the party’s new and imaginative campaign of moral degeneration.



This extraordinary volte-face has become necessary by force of circumstance. The mandarins of the ANC are acknowledging that, from among their ranks, only someone of Jacob Zuma’s singular qualities could ever have been charged with the regeneration and reinforcement of a nation’s moral texture. There was good reason for appointing him to flush out and purify the national soul. He was the only one among the ranks of the ruling party -- or their hangers-on -- of the requisite ethical fortitude. He was top of the heap, the very acme of probity and restraint. Together with his disciples in the ANC Youth League, Jacob Zuma jealously occupied South Africa’s moral uplands. Sadly, with his attentions now diverted by other and graver personal issues, he has left both his political brothers and a nation bereft. We now have only one way to go: back down into the sewers. If the ANC Youth League have their way we won’t even have a bitch to burn on the way....

 

Brilliant! Be sure to go read the rest for yourself...

05:07 Posted in Columnists | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: South Africa

03/26/2006

Useful Idiots Pt. II

Something needs to be said.

 

The latest revelations about just how dirty Brett Kebble was and how he had a number of senior ANC heavyweights under his little finger is indicative of a serious malaise affecting the ruling party. I remember a while back some ANC Youth League functionary declaring something to the effect that Kebble was "our white man". In other words the ANC Youth League believed that they were the ones calling the shots and Kebble was just some happy-go-lucky fat white guy who they (the league) could go to to get some cash when they needed it. 

 

But Kebble was the player, the puppet master who used these idiots ego's and lust for the latest Visa platinums to suck them into his world of chequebook politics. You wonder why Kebble managed to avoid paying tax for so long, or why he seemed to always be one step ahead in the PR war with the Scorpions? It's because he had all of these fools dancing to his tune as he changed his personae to suit whatever the situation - generous donor to the arts/africanist/patriot/BEE pathfinder - it's easy to do all this if you're using other people's money!

 

But of course the blowhards at the ANCYL didn't see this. No, instead they just focused on those "babe magnet" cars, designer suits and pampering their juvenile ego's. The same can be said for all those listed in Kebble's loan list - what the hell does crooked Tony Yengeni need R1.4m for? Doesn't he have enough cash from Thales already? It is really starting to seem that the political elite in the ANC are playing a one-upmanship game with each other to see who can buy the best silk-tie/exotic trip on government money/latest luxury vehicle, all the while the majority of the population lives in poverty.    

 

Here's an adage I think should be stapled onto the forehead of every Party crony who thinks he's hit the big time when a "friend" from big business wants to lend him some cash "no strings attached" -

 

                  "I fear the Greeks, even when they bring gifts" - Virgil

04:02 Posted in Politics | Permalink | Comments (1) | Tags: South Africa

Dirrrty Brett Kebble

- Dirrrrty! Brett Kebble's evil empire and all of its morally bankrupt connections have finally seen the light of day in an auditors report commissioned by institutional investors Allan Gray and Investec. The heady stink of greed and corruption hangs heavy over the report and a number of Party big-guns are named. Top receivers of Kebble's ill-gotten gains were the ANC who he apparently "loaned" R18-million to, other ANC heavyweights on the payroll who were loaned money included :

 

• Mac Maharaj, former Transport Minister (R280000);

• Popo Molefe, former North West premier (R768000);

• Former ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni (R1.4-million);

• Dali Tambo, son of late ANC president Oliver Tambo (R11.096-million)

•Sello Rasethaba, director of Matodzi (R9.667-million);

•Eric Molefe, former chairman of Exel Petroleum, the black-owned oil company (R431000);

•Chris Nissen, former Western Cape ANC leader (R370000);

•David Barritt, Kebble’s former spokesman (R10.295-million);

•Sharif Pandor, husband of Education Minister Naledi Pandor (R979966);

•Dominic Ntsele, a Kebble business associate (R2-million);

•Lunga Ncwana, a prominent ANC Youth League member (R7.060-million); and

•Andile Nkuhlu, a Youth League leader and former JCI executive (R333000).

 

The forensic report recommended that : 

 

•Criminal charges and civil claims be laid against the auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC);

•Criminal charges and civil claims be laid against former Randgold directors and officers; and

•Randgold claim back about R390-million from Kebble’s estate.

 

Where did all this money come from? Well, it is alleged that Kebble siphoned off R2-billion in Randgold & Exploration shareholders’ money through a series of deals he orchestrated.

 

03:15 Posted in Social | Permalink | Comments (2) | Tags: South Africa

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