from Daily Mail:
Click on extract above to read full article
In a world driven and defined by immorality, the truth is often obscured by propaganda. The boundaries between natural and artificial are blurred. The conscious becomes the unconscious. To challenge the rationale is bold. To explore the minefield is brave. To unearth the truth - nothing better. Ne ultra - nothing beyond.
By Bheki Dungeni:
Monday, November 5, 2012
After much reflection and consideration on quite a number of things happening around, this notion eerily crossed my mind, and for the first time I began to ask myself questions I had never asked before. But one question that overshadowed most of them was this simple, yet so complex inquiry: Where did it all go wrong?
Also, I have to admit, I had made a pact with my ‘journalistic gods’ that I will keep away from anything ‘political’ for some time, but thanks to our ‘gifted politicians’, I was forcefully stirred out of my peaceful slumber.
If the recent events are anything to go by, I believe millions, if not billions of people all over the world have noticed that something is amiss, and whatever it is, it is not only jeopardizing unity among all, but it has left South Africa rattling along the rancid edges of what many tend to call a ‘point of no return’.
This piece does not set out to conclude on anything, but to try and find answers to this rather perplexing question. Where did it really go wrong?
Would it be for the fact that a party that has been in existence for over 100 years, and has run the country for the past 18, has fallen victim to the evil forces of profligacy? Or is it because the ideologies set down when South Africa attained her independence remained merely inscriptions within the pediments of the Freedom Charter, and did not see the light of day? How about maybe the country took a left turn, when it was supposed to turn right (Led by the one and only)?
Well, to begin with, I would love to refer you to a statement from the President of South Africa himself, which did not only leave me gob smacked, but truly dismayed. I have never been one to point a finger at the other, but after that sentiment the President put out, I felt like pointing a finger all the way to his heart. Probably poke it even, and assess if it’s still in touch with the world around it or not.
“Let us solve African problems the African way, not the white man’s way,” President Jacob Zuma was quoted saying, at the opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders in Parliament.
I would love to quote the rest of it, but truth be told, my heart would not allow me.
Maybe we would like you recap a bit, Mr. President, and go back a little bit, because it certainly seems it’s a lot easy for political leaders nowadays to forget things as is it for some of them to bid for a ‘four-legged’ Buffalo (Would have made sense if maybe it had two. Rare-breed).
When did it all suddenly become a question of doing it the ‘white man’s’ way or the African way? When did all the principles and tenets penned down in the Freedom Charter wash down the drain? Was it not you Mr. President who has been advocating for unity among South Africans; black, white, Coloured, Indian, Chinese or any other race?
It is truly sad, if not disheartening, that the man at such an echelon in the governing house would truly utter such words, especially when the country is grappling with multitudes of conflicts that are simultaneously boiling with each and every day. If that statement, Mr. President, is not racist, then we all didn’t get the memo. Probably we were in a different train going somewhere else, where we never got to see words like ‘racism, prejudice and segregation’. You would certainly be forgiven to think that such political views brandish nothing but conceit.
I have a suggestion, Mr. President. Why not let the ‘white man’ have what is his then? Let him have his sky-scrapper buildings that he ‘brought’ into the land, and maybe we can all finally cram up in caves, crevices, and mud-huts that we seem like we ‘truly miss’ so bad. How about giving back his suits that you always seem cooped up in every time you appear at conferences and conventions? Or your stylish ‘blue-light’ convoy that is entirely a ‘white man’s’ creation?
Let me not even mention the iPad, which you tap on and touch with ease, warmed by the beauty of civilization, technology and now the digital world. I’m sure you will do just fine counting your cows, goats, sheep and corn fields using stones and your fingers. Oh, wait, you wouldn’t even know how to count because it was the same ‘white man’ who taught you all this, and today you’re telling the people that ‘lawyers will not help you’?
My message is simple: I think it’s time people woke up from their dreams of going back into the primitive world; where animal skin, feathers, traditional beer, five or more wives and walking barefoot would be the style of the day. Let’s enjoy it as a culture and tradition, and celebrate it forever and ever if we have to. But let’s not try and undo the road to civilization, because surely by trying to bring it all back together is like trying to undo a whole two to three centuries.
You would die before even starting on such a journey, Mr. President. We have already been influenced by many different cultures. We have already taken the leap into civilization and left the ‘dark, stone-age’ days behind us. I am sorry to break it down to you, but as bad as it may seem or sound, especially to the older generation, its either we fight it (whatever it is we are fighting), or make it work for everyone else. Well, I wouldn’t take the first option, as we have already seen what fighting has done. Who would want to relive Apartheid?
Five words: Get on with the programme
Honestly, has it not crossed your mind that South Africa is probably one of the only countries in the world that is still blaming the ‘white man’? How long will it go on and when will it end?
Again, thanks to our forever-opinionated Comrade Blade Nzimande, the barrel of the gun has suddenly shifted to the media now. He claims South African media is ‘unfair and unbalanced’. ‘Unfair and Unbalanced’ in what way, I ask myself.
Like I said, it certainly seems easy to forget for many politicians in the country. It seems it is easy to remember animal skins and ‘spears’ from the 1800s, but pledges set down merely 18 years ago vanished with the blink of an eye.
Was it not the same media that was at the forefront of atrocities back in the day when the country was fighting apartheid? Was it not the same media that chased after riots, marches and uprisings in townships, to show the world the plight of the people? Soweto and Sharpeville, anyone?
How about the same media that afforded people like Nelson Mandela a platform to share their views and hopes for South Africa with the world? Who filmed him and followed him around? It surely wasn’t CNN, BBC or Sky News, was it? If you know the history of media houses in South Africa, you would certainly know that most of them haven’t changed much. Some of the media houses and companies that covered the uprisings during apartheid days are still the same that are in existence today. What’s new?
Probably what Nzimande means is media houses should only cover events where the ANC is about to hand over keys to 50 new RDP house owners in the communities, sidelining the millions that are squeezed into townships and shacks, and have been waiting for houses for years now. Maybe what he is suggesting is that media houses should get VIP seats at their dinner tables, and leave thousands of mine workers striking, marching and slaughtering each other around the country in the name of ‘better salaries’? Probably what he means is that media houses should come ‘dance’ and dine with the ruling party at their galas and conventions, and neglect protesters burning down libraries, streets lights, infrastructure and stoning cars in Khayelitsha because they demand better housing, better services, water and electricity.
Well, I got news for you, because the same media that you invited to the ANC 100 years centenary celebrations will be the same media that will stretch its arms to cover the millions of rands in tax money that the party is channeling into its coffers day in day out. It will stretch its arms to dig up allegations and reports about arms deals, corruption, money laundering and ‘tenderpreneurship’ in the country.
If it has ample space in its hands, it will be the same media that will be the first to know that the Presidents nephew’s car was hijacked while his bodyguard was waiting for some KFC somewhere in the land, while workers at ‘his mine’ go without salaries for months. How about being the same media to capture sterling HD pictures of ‘Rolex’ watches precariously dangling on the wrists political demagogues claiming to be at the realm of the ‘poor’.
It will be the same media that will be the first to catch a glimpse of thousands of books and stationery dumped somewhere in Limpopo, while students suffer at schools and go for months without them. How about being the first to know that the man at the top of the governing house is getting married for the umpteenth time, thanks to the ‘middle-class’ tax-paying citizens of South Africa ‘cordially sponsoring’ the weddings?
There is no need to sugar-coat things here, or is there a need to compile reports in favour of one against the other. That, my dear comrades in the political spheres, would be tantamount to unethical, ‘unfair and unbalanced’ reporting, as Nzimande put it. It would certainly be uncalled for, especially when political heads have proved to everyone that their chosen path is theirs and theirs only. Should it go unchallenged? I don’t think so.
Well, thanks to the media, the country now knows that the President wanted, and still is probably going to use more than R200m taxpayers money for the ‘upgrading’ of his ‘homestead’.
Thanks to the media, the country now knows that government officials get charged of different crimes but never face the dock, as cases get ‘miraculously’ dropped, and to some extent, courts peculiarly burn down somewhere in Polokwane.
Oh yes, thanks to the media, the country now knows that police were involved in the bombing of a correctional services vehicle, killing people and wounding more than a dozen, because they wanted to help criminals escape.
Without the media, this country would be in the dark. But, most importantly, it wouldn’t be in the dark as it would be without the ‘white man’s’ technology. (Let’s be honest, a mere fire wouldn’t light up Johannesburg the way its glistening lights at night do today).
With that said, I am certainly looking forward to another long vacation from politics, and go back to enjoy the beauty of the world without ‘politics’ breathing down my neck, and hopefully I will wake up on the other side of Mangaung. Honestly, It seems it has become one big circus where, if Julius Malema is not swindling tenders and money somewhere, Mr. President is busy trying to convince the world that everything is okay and there is absolutely nothing to worry about. For now, all I can say is let’s brace ourselves people, and simply hope nobody is going to dance themselves out of their ‘red’ neckties come December.
16 October 2012
If uncollected rubbish dumps, lack of running clean water and a dilapidating infrastructure inspire you Julius, then I suppose you should relocate to Harare.
Greetings to you Julius. I am sure you will note that this is my second letter to you on the same subject matter.
I understand that you visited my country Zimbabwe recently, and that you continue to be inspired by how ZANU (PF) has decimated our economy and its potential. Well, Julius, I dare say that your standards are obviously not that high and I forgive you for that. You see, this is the case with most black Africans; all you have to do is look throughout Africa to realise that the black man, left to his own devices, has dismally failed to raise his standard of living despite having all the resources he needs.
Your country, South Africa, is currently suffering from the same disorder and events in the Limpopo province, where you come from, certainly do not inspire me. Shouldn't you be rather spending your energy there to get things right?
There are historical reasons for that I think, the main one being that coming from poverty backgrounds, black Africans do not really demand or expect much from their leaders. You see Julius; there is just something about us black people and our standards. They are just so low and your inspiration from the Zimbabwe situation proves that to me. By the way, Julius, I forgot to ask you whether you had electricity at the wedding you attended because on that day, I didn't.
If stinking uncollected rubbish dumps, lack of clean running water and a dilapidating infrastructure inspire you Julius, then I suppose you should relocate to Harare. I have a perfect spot for you where you can, once again, get inspired using pit latrines as some of you do now in a developed South Africa. I understand that this is also the case in Limpopo, where some infrastructure is in bad shape even after some black owned companies were paid to do the work to repair it. I am sure you are aware of that. That hardly inspires me Julius.
I am an enthusiastic believer in economic transformation and the ownership of our economies by the majority and not by international monopolies and oligopolies who are to me, the new colonialists. On that point I fully agree with you. However, that does mean that I should accept a substandard life style. I don't know about you Julius, but I note that you aspire to live in Sandton (the taxman willing) and not in Thembisa as most of your brothers and sisters do (not that there is anything wrong with living in Thembisa).
I don't know whether you are aware that Zimbabwe does not actually control its mineral wealth? These have been dished out to the Chinese and to ZANU (PF) cronies some of who are reported to be now building mansions there in Durban. We don't even know where our diamond revenue is going Julius, can you believe that? I guess that inspires you Julius.
You no doubt, will also be inspired by our agricultural revolution (as you would call it), where now we cannot even feed ourselves and must import maize from Zambia. Yes Julius we in Zimbabwe now "own" those farms but they are useless and lying idle.
Julius, in Zimbabwe, we even own closed factories and shops, we own our own airline which is grounded, we own all our state enterprises that are facing closure because of mismanagement, we own steel mills, power stations, railways, mines; hell you name it Julius and we own it. But all that we own is either underutilised, in a state of disrepair or being driven to the ground through corruption or mismanagement. That's inspirational Julius, isn't it?
My advice to you Julius, is to use this "sabbatical" that the ANC has forced upon you wisely, and study and improve yourself. You do have some good arguments on how we must begin to ameliorate the condition of black Africans. You however, need to sharpen your thinking skills.
Africa needs future leaders who are educated, principled, who have integrity and are sensitive to the dynamics of the environment that they operate in. If you by any chance aspire to be one of those, good luck, but I can tell you that will not get that from coming to Harare to insult our intelligence. You seem to have a unique gift of persistently doing that.
Julius, economic freedom in this lifetime is possible, but only if we insist on high standards of leadership and delivery. Nationalisation will not achieve that economic freedom, nor will violence, greed and corruption. Fighting for higher wages is like a slave, fighting for a daily tea break; it will not fundamentally change the economic relationships in South Africa.
I shall be in touch with you again soon, and we may perhaps sit down and inspire each other on the need to develop both our countries and come up with new economic models. Let us rather spend our energies on that, don't you agree?
Finally I encourage you to choose your friends wisely Julius, because the tide is turning and true economic freedom is coming soon to Zimbabwe. Real economic freedom Julius, which you might want to be once again inspired by.
Your comrade in the economic struggle to free Africans from dictatorship, incompetence and poverty.
Vince Musewe is an independent economist currently in Harare. You may contact him on email@example.com
I’ve often suffered the misfortune of being called “a mouth piece for the enemy”, usually by people who claim to be ANC loyalists. As a relatively young South African, who has spent most of his conscious years in our cancerous democracy, maligned by constant promises of transparency, accountability and competence, I quiver because I had no idea who this enemy is. I have unfortunately allowed the term to occupy most of my thoughts and I have reached several conclusions.
The enemy here not only represents white South Africans who are obviously unsatisfied by the direction (or lack thereof) of the country but equally opinionated Black, Coloured or Indian South Africans who share similar sentiments.
Sadly, these ‘loyalists’ are naturally oblivious to their own conditions brought upon by the people they constantly claim to be willing to die and kill for. They are usually readily available to cause havoc to any individual, group or opposition party because a large majority are unemployed and their occupation is protest, vandalism and disruption. They equate the relevance of these protests to the apartheid era, except this time, in defense of the very government that oppresses them. They are loyal nonetheless to the leadership because they can be bussed in anywhere to stand in contention with something they hardly understand, if the know what it is they are against at all.
Even a greater number of them are the youth. The biggest victims in my opinion of this veiled democracy. They’re being crippled with flawed education but no chaos there; there are after all more pupils in classrooms now than in 1994. Quality is optional and out of gratitude, the loyalist accepts education that rates part of the lowest in world.
An even comical sign of loyalty was when the SACP and COSATU marched in support of Zuma’s administration, celebrating his success since taking public office. Ironically, now the constitution is an obstacle to our President’s agenda
They descend on you en masse wherever you are. The ANC women’s leagues, major loyalists, are willing to turn their backs on the people they should be standing up for. Last week our President, perhaps the only survivor of the Stone Age met with other traditional leaders who gathered in support of the Traditional Courts Bill. Out of loyalty, the ANCWL joined our tribalist Zuma in time travel by endorsing him for a second term, a step that will take women’s rights 600 000 years back.
The thing is, it is not necessarily just Zuma they support. Loyalists oppose every other opportunity for progressive change. It isn’t the ANC they were defending on Sunday when they stopped Zille’s intentionally dubious visit to Nkandla, they were purely just defending a man who can do no wrong in their eyes. This loyalty bears fruit, because it fast tracks the supporters’ position in the queue. When its time to dish up, such devotion is beneficial
This culture of crushing the voices of these ‘mouth pieces for the enemy’ will be the demise of our democracy. Should I be satisfied with incompetence, complacency and poor service delivery purely because I am a black person and owe my freedom to the ANC? Am I less of a black person for disagreeing with the party’s leadership?
Perhaps my loyalty changed when I stopped supporting the man and grew back to the party in hopes of restoring it to what it was almost a century ago. We often make the mistake of never finding the connection or distinction between deployed leadership and founding principles of a particular organization. If your loyalty has blinded you, I ask this, is this the vision of Luthuli, Sobukwe and Biko?
The common assumption is that if you vehemently oppose the manner in which an ANC led government does things and express your views in a liberal tone, you’re automatically labeled a DA member or counter-revolutionary.
It would be ambitious to the point of foolishness of me to describe the South African voter as independent, I mean we say we but are we really? As long as deferring from archaic, tribal rule is seen as a disdain of black heritage and back-stabbing the people who sacrificed their lives for the freedom we claim to have today, we cannot be independent.
The reality we face is that South Africa now has to deal with an inactive, unemployed and unskilled youth that is running out of patience and if the government still believes that all it expects from that youth are praise singers, they are sitting on a ticking time bomb. The amplified voices of these youths will one day speak out for themselves and they will be their own mouth-pieces, which will be highly necessary when testing their loyalty to the country and that will be true freedom.
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER Thabo_SerokeY
“Misguided loyalty will not help you or your sons”
Why wouldn’t he? It’s a quick fix to get rid of all his nasty skeletons. You can read of some of them on our Twitter feed on the left.
from Times Live:
Speaking at the opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders in parliament yesterday, Zuma said Africans had their own way of solving their problems through traditional institutions.
"Prisons are done by people who cannot resolve problems.
"Let us solve African problems the African way, not the white man's way," Zuma said, to cheers from traditional leaders.
"Let us not be influenced by other cultures and try to think the lawyers are going to help. We have never changed the facts. They tell you they are dealing with cold facts. They will never tell you that these cold facts have warm bodies," he said.
Zuma's view could be seen as an endorsement of the controversial Traditional Courts Bill, which has women's rights groups, the ANC Women's League and the Ministry for Women, Children and People with Disabilities up in arms.
Drafters of the bill have argued that it will offer the prospect of access to justice to 18million citizens who live in the rural areas.
But women's rights groups believe the bill will disempower millions of rural women by not allowing them access to the formal justice system when they have been wronged.
They believe this and other problematic provisions make the bill unconstitutional.
One of Zuma's ministers, Lulu Xingwana, who presides over the Ministry for Women, Children and People with Disabilities, has been a fierce critic of the bill, demanding it be redrafted altogether.
When the bill was discussed in parliament in September, she said: "Let me remind you the constitution has an equality clause that supersedes custom. I plead with the National Council of Provinces not to pass this bill [because it] is an apartheid-era piece of legislation.
"It's oppressive to women and discriminatory . We don't think traditional courts should be allowed to impose forced labour. Why are we taking our people [back] to the dark ages?"
There had been "no consultation" with rural women, Xingwana said.
The ANC Women's League - which has endorsed Zuma for a second term - has also called for the bill to be recalled.
Zuma was adamant yesterday that traditional authorities had sufficient capacity to deal with legal matters affecting people under their jurisdiction.
"Our view is that the nature and the value system of the traditional courts of promoting social cohesion and reconciliation must be recognised and strengthened in the bill," he said. But he realised there were genuine concerns that the courts fell outside of a proper legislative framework.
According to Zuma, there was no need to involve external law-enforcement agencies in issues that could be solved by a chief.
He slammed Africans who had become "most eloquent" in criticising their cultural background.
"We are Africans. We cannot change to be something else."
Zuma also lashed out at critics of the government who, he said, continued to mislead the poor into believing "poverty was worse" now than in the apartheid era.
He said there was no factual basis to claims that the gap between the rich and the poor was widening.
"It is an absolutely wrong statement and has been repeated and we have almost come to believe it is true. It is not scientifically correct. It is a spin to criticise the democratic government."
Before 1994 the population of black people had not been counted and therefore any gaps in wealth could not be measured, Zuma said.
"It's a manipulation of the words to make us who are in a democratic country responsible for the sins of apartheid.
"It [the gap between rich and poor] has not been growing since 1994, it has been narrowing.
"Poverty was worser [sic] than what it is now. Fifteen million poor people get the [social] grant, which they didn't get before. If that's not closing the gap, what is it?"
Zuma urged traditional chiefs to do their part to quell violent wildcat strikes over service delivery and working conditions.
He said another Marikana massacre could not be tolerated.
But, he said, international commentators who likened such events to the violent apartheid days were unjustified.
"No, we will never go back to apartheid. In apartheid times the Marikana situation was a daily occurrence. People were being killed left, right and centre, and there was no one to stop it. It was a culture, the nature of government was different," he said.
A letter from FNB’s Paul Harris to his mate “Jeff”, telling him not to be concerned about those in South Africa, had gone viral. Many have responded to billionaire Harris, the kindest rebuttal being that from his elitist perspective, Harris has no clue about what the ordinary South African is facing or concerned about. We first place Harris’ letter to Jeff and then Jeff’s brilliant response. Lastly there is a rebuttal found without reference, but an equally excellent read.
HOPE all is well with you guys. I will drop you a line later with the family news but I would first like to respond to the e-mail you sent me attaching an article by Clem Sunter, which seemed to concern you about us here in South Africa.
You also sent me an article last year by Moeletsi Mbeki warning about the danger of an "Arab Spring" in South Africa. I often get e-mails like this from "concerned friends" worried about us, which is sweet of you guys. Of course we are concerned. Some worrying things have happened but we have been through and survived much worse in much more volatile environments. Including the Boer War, two World Wars, apartheid, the financial crisis without a bank bailout, the Rindapest, Ge Korsten and Die Antwoord!
However, for as long as I can remember there have always been people who think SA has five years left before we go over the cliff. No change from when I was at school in the sixties. The five years went down to a few months at times in the eighties!
But it seems the people who are the most worried live far from the cliff in places like Toronto, Auckland, London and other wet and cold places. Also from St Ives and Rose Bay in Sydney, Dallas and Europe and other "safe places" that are in the grip of the global financial crisis, which by the way is quite scary. Many of them have survived decades of rolling "five years left" since they left South Africa. So maybe they will be right one day!
My message is, please don't stress about us in South Africa. We are fine. We are cool. We know we live in the most beautiful country in the world with warm and vibrant people. There are more people here with smiles on their faces than in any country I have ever been to.
Young people are returning in droves with skills and a positive attitude. Collectively we bumble along and stuff many things up while letting off a hell of a lot of steam (have you heard of a chap called Julius Malema?). Yet in between South Africans do some amazing things like win a few gold medals, big golf tournaments and cricket and rugby matches.
The South Africans I know get off their butts and do things to build our country rather than whinge from a position of comfort. We actively participate in projects that improve the lot of underprivileged communities. I would not trade for anything last Saturday in a hall full of 1500 African teachers singing at the top of their voices and demonstrating their commitment to improving education in their communities.
We have our challenges and surprises. The standard deviation of our emotions are set at MAX. You are never just a "little bit happy" or a "little bit sad". At one moment you can be "off the scale" pissed off or frustrated or sad or worried or fearful or depressed. The next moment you are "off the scale" exhilarated, or enchanted, or inspired, or humbled by a kind deed, or surprised by something beautiful. It makes life interesting and worth living.
We also have passionate debates about the future of SA. Helped of course by red wine which you must taste again because it is getting better every year! Clem makes a great contribution to the debate as others like Moeletsi Mbeki do. Russell Loubser, the former head of the JSE, made a feisty speech the other day that has whipped up emotions. Up to MAX on the emotions meter of the ANC Youth League whose campaign for nationalisation of the mines was attributed to people who have IQs equal to room temperature.
South African politics has always been volatile, we have opinions that could not be further apart and it evokes emotion on a massive scale. Interesting and stimulating for those that want to take it seriously but noise in the system to me. Fortunately we are rid of apartheid that would have definitely pushed us over the cliff. These are the birth pangs of a new and unpredictable democracy. So buckle up and enjoy the ride and contribute! That is the message I convey to South Africans.
Sad as it is, it is true that the South African diaspora has a largely negative influence on confidence in South Africa. It would not be a problem if their fretting about how long we will last before we go over the cliff was merely a reflection of their concern for us, their friends and family.
The problem is that it does impact foreign investment, which is important for economic growth. A person who is thinking of coming to visit or investing is often put off by listening wide-eyed to the stories of people who have gapped it.
As you know I host many foreign visitors and I have never, EVER, met anyone who has visited for the first time without being blown away by the beauty of the country and the warmth of the people. It is not for nothing that South Africa has the highest ratio of repeat visitors of all long-haul destinations.
So, Jeff, how can I help you stop stressing out about us? Maybe best is that you get exposed to some articles and websites that give a more balanced and uplifting perspective of South Africa. So please don't worry and if you get a chance, put in a good word for us.
All the best
* This article was first published in Sunday Times: Business Times
31 October 2012
David Bullard gets his hands on a leaked copy of the reply to the viral email...
Last week a letter from FNB's Paul Harris to his ex pat mate "Jeff" appeared on the Homecoming Revolution website. It then appeared as a filler piece in the Sunday Times Business Times section and the following morning was used to bulk out Business Day. It's now said to have "gone viral" which is just another way of saying that a lot of people with nothing better to do have e.mailed it to their entire address book.
Thanks to the services of a shadowy group of anarchists known as WikiLies we have managed to get our hands on a leaked response from Jeff to Paul Harris. Read on...
Jeez mate....If I'd known my e.mails to you were going to go public I would never have attached that jpeg of those two obliging dusky maidens who joined us both on my boat on Pittwater. One of the lads down at the yacht club told me that your e.mail to me appeared in some fish-wrap newspaper last Sunday and that I ought to respond because it paints me as a bit of a wowser.
I can take a hint and obviously it was stupid of me to send you copies of articles by the likes of Clem Sunter and Mbeki Jnr when it was perfectly obvious that you would have already read them. So I won't do it again. But what's all this stuff about often getting e-mails from "concerned friends" and telling us that it's sweet of us to care. I hope I haven't grown thin skinned after all these years in Aussie but I did find that a touch patronising old buddy. Those quote marks suggest that you doubt my sincerity which is definitely not the case.
I know you're hooked up to that Homecoming Revolution outfit which tries to persuade South Africans to bring their skills back home after they've qualified for foreign citizenship. Purely out of interest, what is the ratio of black to white South Africans that you're tempting back? It would be interesting to know because some cynical bastard once suggested that Homecoming Revolution's main job was to bring people back to fix up the mess caused by the new elite. In which case I hope it's working for you.
Now I know you've survived many things before like Ge Korsten (a joke...right?) and that your land is beautiful, you are all cool people and even manage to win the odd sporting event once you've persuaded your politicians that the team should be selected on talent rather than demographics. I also know that you have some top business brains there and that there are many hard working people in SA (I used to be one of them, remember?) but please don't accuse those of us who criticise SA's politics of whingeing from a position of comfort. And I'm afraid I had to reach for the sick bag when you started beating the drum about all the good works you do for underprivileged communities. So did Jimmy Savile.
You ask if I've heard of a chap called Julius Malema as if I've been going walkabout in the outback these last few years. We do have telly in Oz you know and broadband that is rather faster than yours so of course I've heard of this thieving layabout. And he worries me more than he seems to worry you.
You've come a long way since those days at Rand Consolidated Investments in the early eighties Paul. I see in the Sunday Times rich list that you are among the top 20 richest men in SA with a fortune estimated at around R2bln. Wow.....who would have thought? I know you live in a very secure complex with 24/7 guards and I am damn sure that your financial affairs have been cleverly structured to legally avoid paying any more tax than you really have to.
That's the privilege of the super rich and I don't have any problem with that. My problem is that I am not sure you are really qualified to speak for the average Saffer when you tell them to buck up and put on a happy face because they're all rainbow children. You're in the very fortunate position of having a lot more choice than the majority of your countrymen and I have no doubt that you have hedge strategies in place should your sunny optimism turn out to be misplaced.
Back in 2007 I recall that you spent R20 million on a campaign to get little Thabo to take crime seriously. I searched the internet and found this piece to refresh your memory. You were forced to withdraw that campaign after government threatened to pull accounts from FNB. It was a PR cock-up of note and to make things worse the rest of the business community put the boot in as well. You were accused of setting up in opposition to the democratically elected government. So it's hardly surprising that your backbone has taken a pummelling and that you are keen to make amends now. But writing complete claptrap and burying your head in the sand is no way to do it.
You claim in your e.mail that you have passionate debates in SA but you know that isn't the case. You know that all the leading newspapers depend on government advertising to survive and that they silence voices they find too strident. You also know that the SABC is a shambles and that Primedia are now seen by many in Gauteng as the national broadcaster. Their saccharine recipe for broadcasting ensures that those too critical of government are labelled un-South African or racist and are, from then on, excluded from the right to debate.
You ask how you can help me from stressing about South Africa Paul. Let me tell you. We ex-pats may sometimes give the impression that we think your politicians are a bunch of incompetent knuckleheads who couldn't pull a greasy stick out of a dead dingo's arse (to coin a local phrase). I assure you that we do this because that's how brand SA comes across after 18 years of freedom. There will be those who demonstrate schadenfreude but many of us still have family there and are genuinely concerned about Clem's 25% failed nation status probability.
What worries me most is that you are a leading business figure and yet you don't seem to be seeing the big picture. On the contrary you seem decidedly laid back and are simply hoping things will work out. I guess if you're worth R2bln and in your sixties then that's a luxury you can afford. What I cannot understand though is how pretending things are OK when they are so obviously far from OK is a good business strategy. Remember that ghastly Dealstream episode, not to mention SPJi and the vast losses in equity trading during your watch? How could you forget? The analysts suggested after the event that the losses could have been much lower if the problems had been recognised and acted upon earlier.
And that's all I'm asking Paul. Your country is being run into the ground by a bunch of commies who don't even support capitalism. How can you expect them to perform? And the amount that is disappearing out of the back door ought to worry you as much as it worries the rest of your less, fortunate countrymen. Kids don't get text books, pregnant women sleep on the floors of ill equipped public hospitals, tenderpreneurs keep the luxury car market buoyant but fail to build the roads they were contracted to.....it's a farce mate. And I won't even mention the succession of dodgy police chiefs you've suffered.
So please Paul, take off those expensive rose tinted specs of yours, smell the raw sewage and stop pretending you have a functioning government. Then I'll be only too happy to put in a good word for you when I get the chance.
See you later
Billionaire banker says SA is “fine”, psychologists urge public to be gentle with him.
Psychologists have begged South Africans to be compassionate towards billionaire banker Paul Harris, after he wrote a letter announcing that the country was “fine”. “This is what happens when you live in the money-bubble,” said one. “It’s easy to be optimistic about South Africa when you can move to Monaco with the change between your couch pillows.”
Harris made headlines on the weekend after a letter he penned to a friend went viral. In the letter, Harris reveals that the country is “fine”, and assures his friend that “there are more people here with smiles on their faces than any other country I’ve been to”.
This morning the staff at his country seat confirmed that Harris, worth R2-billion, was more than qualified to speak about ordinary South Africans.
Indeed, Mr Harris has got his finger on the pulse of the common man,” confirmed his butler, Fotheringham. “The finger is made of platinum, so he doesn’t actually have to touch the common man, and I disinfect it every day, but still, he does it.”
Housekeeper, Mrs Shortbread, said that Harris often remarked on how all South Africans, regardless of socio-economic status, smiled warmly whenever they saw him.
Och aye, people just light up when he walks into a room!” she gushed. “Some might say it’s because he makes about R10,000 a second and they’re hoping some of that cash will rub off on them, but he prefers to think it’s because South Africans are just intrinsically decent.”
Kitchen maid, Elsie Kleintjoppies, said she had never seen Harris, but had seen pictures of him. “He’s a beautiful bearded man in a long white robe, with light shining out from his head and a lamb curled up at his feet,” she said. “He’s just so incredibly compassionate.”
Meanwhile, psychologists have asked South Africans to “be gentle” with Harris if they encounter him.
Remember, Mr Harris is a superb businessman, with a vast knowledge of finance,” said Dr Naas C. Cyst. “But that money has caused a delusion we call ‘Thinking You Know About How Other People Live’. Unfortunately when you’re super-rich, the scientific term for what you know about ordinary folks is ‘fokkol’.” “Fokkol” is Afrikaans for “f-ckall”
He said that the public should not try to wake Mr Harris up from his “sleepwalking money-bubble”, but instead gently guide him to the nearest polo club where he could be reintroduced to his own species in a calm and nurturing environment.