Articles – Rational Standard https://rationalstandard.com Africa's Top Liberal Commentary Site Sat, 09 Jun 2018 09:55:47 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 https://i2.wp.com/rationalstandard.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/cropped-RS-Logo.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Articles – Rational Standard https://rationalstandard.com 32 32 94510741 An Open Letter to Men https://rationalstandard.com/an-open-letter-to-men/ https://rationalstandard.com/an-open-letter-to-men/#respond Wed, 06 Jun 2018 14:55:33 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=7521 Dear Men, Today I urge you to, instead of reacting defensively like the alpha male you aspire to be, to just read and contemplate. Listen to what I’m going to tell you, and then take a day or two to think about it. Take some time to ruminate over how patriarchal cultural stereotypes of men […]

The post An Open Letter to Men appeared first on Rational Standard.

]]>
Dear Men,

Today I urge you to, instead of reacting defensively like the alpha male you aspire to be, to just read and contemplate. Listen to what I’m going to tell you, and then take a day or two to think about it. Take some time to ruminate over how patriarchal cultural stereotypes of men are busy killing us. We are busy killing each other without realising it.

I’ve always been a staunch proponent of the view that patriarchal cultural stereotypes of men lead to a deterioration of men’s mental health and can subsequently cause us to take our own lives. From a young age, the vast majority of men are taught that they’re not allowed to show emotion, that it is not okay to not be okay, and that the alpha stereotype should be strengthened through our behaviour at all costs. A recent report by Africa Check stated that, in 2012, 14 men on average killed themselves each day in South Africa. The male death rate for suicide was 21 per 100 000 people. That is a rate five times higher than the female death rate by suicide of 4 per 100 000 people.

research report by Samaritan puts the factors contributing to male suicide into the following categories: psychological and personality factors; masculinities; relationship breakdown; and emotional lives and social (dis)connectedness. Some factors related to cultural patriarchal expectations that increase the risk of male suicide are, in my opinion, the following:

Social perfectionism (psychological factor)

Men must always meet the expectations of others.

This is quite telling.

Men are expected to always be emotionally resilient and unemotional, and that we cannot bulge under pressure. These expectations based on male cultural stereotypes are not only perpetuated by men, but also by women.

Perceived burdensomeness (psychological factor)

The expectation of men to be the perfect alpha males leads to men feeling inadequate because they feel incapable of meeting such expectations, in my opinion.

Hegemonic masculinity (masculinities)

This refers to the current form of masculinity held in highest regard by society. Again, we deal with societal expectations of men.

This form is characterised by traits such as striving for power and dominance, aggressiveness, courage, independence, rationality, competitiveness, not perceiving or admitting anxiety, just to name a few.

Hegemonic masculinity is associated with emotional control and power, and men who fail to gain such control actually allegedly use suicide as a way of expressing or regaining control. Men use more lethal methods of suicide than women, and it is hypothesised that this can be an expression of masculinity.

Providing for the family (masculinities)

Men are still expected, in many societies, to be the breadwinner in their family. Hands-on caring for children is seen as non-masculine, and women generally enjoy higher societal recognition accorded to their role as mother.

This specific factor is not only harmful to men, but also harmful to women, as men are expected to be the head of the household as well, and that wives are supposed to be subservient to them.

Bodily expressions of masculinity (masculinities)

A lot of expectations regarding bodily expressions of masculinity include risky behaviour.

Uneasy about talking about emotions (emotional lives)

We live in an era of a changing emotions culture, which is a good thing. However, a lot of men in their mid-life phase are struggling to adjust to this change. While they know that talking is good, they struggle to adjust their behaviour accordingly.

Men are, in general, much less likely than women to hold a positive view of accessing formal support for emotional difficulties. Many men do not describe relationships based primarily on talking about their feelings. Men seek unconditional acceptance or, put another way, seek a no-questions-asked type of relationship. I think you can see how this can be very problematic

One thing that is as clear as day when considering the above-mentioned factors is that men are expected to act in a certain manner that is almost devoid of engaging with their emotions constructively. Society has created the typical male stereotype, hegemonic masculinity, that holds men to a certain unrealistic and unhealthy standard.

This is what is meant by patriarchy having a detrimental effect not just on women, but on men as well. These standards are ironically being upheld by men themselves, and to a certain degree by a lot of women as well. In the words of Jane Powell, head of the male suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM.):

“The simple, numerical fact of the matter is that men are dying by their own hand far more than women. We need to tackle that immediately.”

Prevention is the only solution to suicide, and the only way we can prevent more men from feeling inadequate and unworthy is to stop expecting stereotypical cavemen attributes from them. Yes, the typical alpha male characteristics evolved as an evolutionary survival mechanism, but these traits have become redundant in the modern age. We also developed critical reasoning abilities, and we should use them to identify characteristics that are now more harmful than beneficial. We also need to stop with the bullshit narrative that men aren’t allowed to not be okay, but more specifically, that men aren’t allowed to show to others that they’re not okay.

The post An Open Letter to Men appeared first on Rational Standard.

]]>
https://rationalstandard.com/an-open-letter-to-men/feed/ 0 7521
For An African Renaissance the State Must Die https://rationalstandard.com/for-an-african-renaissance-the-state-must-die/ https://rationalstandard.com/for-an-african-renaissance-the-state-must-die/#respond Mon, 04 Jun 2018 17:34:41 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=7921 Written by: Simon Venter A common belief amongst the elite of the continent seems to be the creation (present or future) of a period fondly termed the ‘African Renaissance’. The fanciful notion of an African renaissance is arguably a laudable and attainable goal. However, for such a goal to be realised, there ought to first […]

The post For An African Renaissance the State Must Die appeared first on Rational Standard.

]]>
Written by: Simon Venter

A common belief amongst the elite of the continent seems to be the creation (present or future) of a period fondly termed the ‘African Renaissance’. The fanciful notion of an African renaissance is arguably a laudable and attainable goal. However, for such a goal to be realised, there ought to first be an examination of how the Renaissance came about, and what its legacy was. This is to ascertain whether, in fact, this is truly a worthwhile goal and not merely the idealistic ramblings of mere mortals’ intent on leaving some form of legacy worthy of remembering.

Contrary to the provocative nature of the title, this piece shan’t advocate for the death of the state but rather for the death of the myth of the state or central planning – although one might argue that that is a distinction without a difference. The aim of this is to illustrate the notion that for an African renaissance, one does not need a strong state or a massive superstate in the form of the African Union (AU), as seems to be the conventional wisdom, but rather one could do perfectly well with a small, decentralised, and near-pointless state. But first there needs to be a foundation laid as to what a renaissance would be and what the Renaissance was.

Spanning the period of the 14th to 17th centuries in Europe, the Renaissance left an indelible mark on Western civilization, and the world at large.

The Renaissance ushered in an age of innovation and tremendous wealth creation. The city-states of Italy provide a perfect example of the benefits of decentralised power, be it in the banking ‘empire’ of the Medicis or the trade ‘empire’ of the Genoese, Italy was a region of great innovation and progress despite political turmoil. Quite often the ‘Afrocentrist’ who speaks of the glorious African Renaissance fails to see the flaw in his advocacy for a golden age and the policies for which he advocates to attain said golden age; namely the creation of a massive African quasi-superstate (the AU on steroids, one might say) based upon some of the most anti-liberty notions known to man.

If ‘Afrocentrists’ were truly intent on an age of renewal, they would follow the example set by the Ancient Greeks and Renaissance Italians. Although their societies do not mirror ours, at least at face value; at their core, the pursuit of liberty for which they stood (however flawed the result may have been in the respective eras) is a universal principle worth pursuing. The inevitable retort to this proposition may be that liberty, as conceived as the free market, natural rights and decentralised power, are ‘Western’ concepts alien to the African context. From the perspective of the ‘Afrocentrist’, this would be a fair retort; however, it is not only hypocritical but so too is it ignorant.

On the point of hypocrisy: it is common (to the point of nausea) for the ‘Afrocentrist’ to expound notions – regardless of their semantic costume – that are themselves Western in origin, namely, Marxism, communism and socialism. The charge of ignorance rests upon points made by the Ghanaian economist George Ayittey, who argues that it is in fact socialism (in all its guises) that is alien to Africa – and one might say all of humanity – and that it is the free market and individual liberty that could better be described as positions more suited and natural to the African context – if not the world. A second and just as cogent point made by Ayittey in a speech on the failures of African socialism was the unironic replacement of the European monarchical portraits with those of Vladimir Lenin and Karl Marx.

The African Renaissance Monument that overlooks Dakar in Senegal is an unfortunate symbol of the farce that is the ‘Afrocentric’ view of an African renaissance. On the one hand you have a noble ideal illustrated in a majestic statue that promises so much: a strong family reaching for the stars uplifting the youth. On the other hand, you have the reality that the statue was built by the North Korean company, Mansudae Overseas Projects. The contrast of the ideal with the reality, as represented by using a North Korean company and all that that symbolises (in a word, oppression) is almost too unfortunate to be amusing. For an elite intent on doing it the African way, it is a shame that the African way seems to be the same folly of Europe, Asia and South America (to speak in broad terms).

In summation, I think we should take heed of the wise words of Carl Jung from his book The Undiscovered Self on the dangers of the centralised ‘omnipresent’ state.

“The goal and meaning of individual life (which is the only real life) no longer lie in individual development but in the policy of the State, which is thrust upon the individual from outside and consists in the execution of an abstract idea which ultimately tends to attract all life to itself. The individual is increasingly deprived of the moral decision as to how he should live his own life, and instead is ruled, fed, clothed and educated as a social unit”

For there to be an African renaissance, the individual African must thrive; but not as a “social unit”.

Author: Simon Venter is a young artist and student currently studying a BA MCC at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth. Simon’s main intellectual influence is Thomas Sowell.

The post For An African Renaissance the State Must Die appeared first on Rational Standard.

]]>
https://rationalstandard.com/for-an-african-renaissance-the-state-must-die/feed/ 0 7921
Ethical Journalism: Significant Moments in SA Media History https://rationalstandard.com/ethical-journalism-significant-moments-in-sa-media-history/ https://rationalstandard.com/ethical-journalism-significant-moments-in-sa-media-history/#respond Sat, 02 Jun 2018 13:12:41 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=7885 “To publish such a story about a sister company required rare courage, professionalism and principle from News24 editor Adriaan Basson and his team. They had informed their boss, Media24 CEO Esmaré Weideman, that this bombshell was coming and no attempt was made to dissuade them from doing so.” Anton Harber Daily Maverick 24/11/2017 “There has […]

The post Ethical Journalism: Significant Moments in SA Media History appeared first on Rational Standard.

]]>
“To publish such a story about a sister company required rare courage, professionalism and principle from News24 editor Adriaan Basson and his team. They had informed their boss, Media24 CEO Esmaré Weideman, that this bombshell was coming and no attempt was made to dissuade them from doing so.”
Anton Harber Daily Maverick 24/11/2017

“There has been a gradual but systemic assault on journalism at Independent since Survé took over the group. There are good journalists and editors who are left quite helpless as their proprietor rides roughshod over any semblance of editorial independence. And there are good journalists and editors who have aided and abetted Survé. And although some of those editors and journalists have been able to reconstruct themselves outside of Indy, it is the staff of the Independent’s newsrooms right now that emerge worst off.

Because it’s not just about the credibility of Independent titles. It is about the credibility of the news media as an institution. And such wanton disregard for editorial independence severely damages the practice of journalism in South Africa.”
Editorial Mail & Guardian 26/4/2018

In September 1996, Naspers faced a significant ethical and generational crisis.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission had announced its intention to investigate the role of the media in supporting apartheid.

Matters came to a head on Friday 25 July 1997 when Ton Vosloo, the Executive Chairman of Naspers, formally declined an invitation from Denzil Potgieter, Chairman of the TRC’s Media and Communication Committee, to make a submission in this regard.

In his letter to Potgieter, Vosloo said that he saw no reason for Naspers to participate in the TRC media investigation because the company had never been guilty of any contravention of human rights or other abuses and therefore had no reason to confess or apologise.

In his letter he also said that Naspers, as a company, could not respond on behalf of its newspapers and their editors because they were independent and, should they respond, they would need to do so individually.

Enormous tension

This created enormous tension within the company’s publications which culminated in 127 Naspers journalists – in their individual capacity – from both newspapers and magazines, making a submission to the TRC in which they retrospectively apologised for the supportive role that Naspers publications in the past had played in the evolution of apartheid.

Their submission was welcomed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu on behalf of the TRC.

Tim du Plessis was one of the Naspers journalists who signed a submission to the TRC and both he and Vosloo have contributed chapters to the definitive book on modern Naspers history ‘n Konstante Revolusie: Naspers, Media 24 en Oorgange (Tafelberg, 2015) which was collated by Professor Lizette Rabe, head of the Department of Journalism at the University of Stellenbosch.

In his chapter, Du Plessis strongly emphasises that Naspers never retaliated in the slightest way against the signatories and, from then on and as always, their upward progression within the company depended purely and entirely on merit.

This is my translation from Afrikaans of what du Plessis wrote:

“A very important point to be made, is that these ‘rebels’ never suffered any retribution. In fact, no one has any knowledge of signatories who were victimised. Three years later, Kruger and Rossouw became editors of Beeld and Die Burger respectively. Four years later I was appointed as editor of Rapport, and later also became editor of Beeld. Esmaré Weideman, then co-editor of Drum, not only became chief editor of Media24 family magazines, but is the chief executive of Media24 now. Michelle van Breda became editor of Sarie. Many of the rest were promoted to important positions, such as deputy editor, assistant editor and news editor. Landman was later appointed as a director of Media24.”

That commitment to ethical journalism is further emphasised in one of the anchor quotes to this article where Anton Harber points out that this approach encompasses  even those who, as both whistle-blower and journalist, broke a story which caused their employer significant embarrassment. He was referring to the article which revealed, for the first time, details about the alleged collusion between Naspers and the Gupta-owned ANN7.

The fact that they could do this without fear of retribution, tells you everything about the Naspers commitment to ethical journalism.

Without government funding

Naspers was started without government funding in 1915 and in the ensuing 103 years no editor was dismissed.

Tony Heard‘s departure from the Cape Times in 1987 was widely perceived to be because his political views were at odds with those of his employer’s management team.

Sekunjalo Independent Media started in 2013 when, with the help of initially-clandestine and widely-questioned Public Investment Corporation funding, a self-acknowledged Zuma-faction acolyte and confidante of the late Brett Kebble, Iqbal Survé, was given control of the largest group of English newspapers in the country.  In the following five years, two editors, Alide Dasnois (Cape Times) and Wally Mbhele (Sunday Independent) were dismissed. In each case the dismissals were devoid of ethical merit.

Furthermore, in that time another ten senior news executives have terminated their association with Survé: Janet Heard, Martine Barker, Chris Whitfield, Moshoeshoe Monare, Makhudu Sefara, Philani Mgwaba, Karima Brown, Vukani Mde, Steve Motale and Kevin Ritchie.

The exodus continues unabated.

Gasant Abarder, who absconded from his post at Primedia at the invitation of Iqbal Survé to become the replacement editor for the dismissed Alide Dasnois, is working out his notice in his current position as executive editor: new media at ANA Publishing, a magazine division of Independent Media. He will then join the communications department at the University of the Western Cape

The editor of the Sunday edition of Weekend Argus, Yunus Kemp, has already left to join a public relations company in Cape Town.

The editor of the Saturday edition of Weekend Argus, Chiara Carter, has also tendered her resignation and will be joining the Daily Dispatch in East London as deputy editor.

That’s three senior news executives based at Newspaper House in Cape Town’s CBD, severing their ties with Iqbal Survé within a matter of weeks, and two are leaving their primary vocation – journalism.

Nothing remotely like this is happening or has happened a kilometre away at Die Burger.

Seminal moment

A seminal moment in South African journalism was reached when, in strong contrast to the ethical approach towards editor independence adopted by Ton Vosloo during the TRC hearings, Iqbal Survé’s editors were recently forced to publish articles attacking Sam Sole, Tim Cohen and Ann Crotty as ‘Stratcom journalists’. All three are esteemed journalists with impeccable career records stretching over decades yet they were reprehensibly equated with journalists who betrayed their colleagues during the apartheid era by working with the security police.

Inevitably, because the African National Congress plays off a 52-race card deck, the headline on the Cape Times front page lead on 23 April read:

“Sekunjalo, Indy, Survé subjected to racism

STRATCOM-ESQUE DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN CONTINUES

LAST week, Independent Media journalists reported on an apartheid-era-style dirty tricks operation aimed at Independent Media, Sekunjalo Investment Holdings, Sagarmatha Technologies, AYO Technology Solutions (AYO) and Dr Iqbal Survé.

This disinformation campaign, originating from journalists at competitor media houses (Ann Crotty of Tiso Blackstar, publisher of the Sunday Times, Business Day, Financial Mail, etc and Sam Sole, from amaBhungane) has similar patterns to Stratcom.

Stratcom was a media strategy run by apartheid securocrats using journalists in mainstream media to discredit prominent individuals and organisations that fought against apartheid, thereby undermining the legitimate fight for freedom and democracy.”

What is unsurprising with such propaganda attacks is that the article carried no byline – not even the anodyne ‘Staff Reporter’.

Defamatory and disgusting

SANEF, the South African National Editor’s Forum, condemned these attacks on Sole, Cohen and Crotty:

“SANEF believes to equate this unlawful and corrupt institution with the work of critical journalists, playing their watchdog role in investigating private sector irregularities, is not only defamatory, but disgusting. This is a sad day for South African journalism.”

In Surve’s defence, Adri Senekal de Wet risibly called for fake news to be ‘criminalised’.

Nothing remotely like this has happened in the 103-year history of Naspers.

In summary, the supposedly independent editors of the SIM newspapers were side-lined and the company owner took control, abusing his media influence and authority in order to defend and promote himself. Is this not ironic given the statement made by Survé in December 2013 that he guaranteed the independence of his editors.

In a letter to his staff he wrote:

“I want to assure all staff of my sincere commitment to the editorial independence of this group and the right of its journalist to do their work without fear or favour. This means no journalist has to fear when writing a story if one or more of the companies in Sekunjalo Group is involved.”

Do least harm

One of the basic tenets of ethical journalism is ‘do least harm’ and, with the clear approval of Iqbal Survé, the editor of the Cape Times Aneez Salie has used his editorial influence to target white South Africans, particularly the farming community and has weaponised the newspaper in this cause.

I call them ‘Headlines of Hate’, the routine Cape Times front page leads which seek to create the impression that white South Africans are innately racist and I have photographed many examples.

Salie’s former co-workers say this is in reprisal for the way he and his former wife, Shirley Gunn, were treated when they were arrested as MK operatives on the watch of National Party police minister, Adrian Vlok.

Let me give you an example of two white South Africans, entirely innocent of any crime, whose lives were shattered when they were falsely accused of racism by Sekunjalo Independent Media’s answer to the New Age.

I broke the news of Chad de Matos who was incarcerated in one of the world’s most dangerous prisons, Pollsmoor, without ever having spoken to or touched his lying accuser. De Matos was targeted by reporter Carlo Petersen not only because he is white but because he was studying at  the University of Cape Town which became the target of a venomous campaign by Petersen and his editor Aneez Salie – a campaign that carried the imprimatur of Iqbal Survé. That nefarious campaign has been made a matter of record by Jonathan Jansen, Rhoda Kadalie and UCT honours student Ricky Stoch.

More than a dozen fake news articles about the alleged racist assault by De Matos remain on the IOL website and they will be the first thing that any prospective employer will pick up in a due diligence Google search about him.

The second person to suffer as a result of the white-baiting campaign by the Cape Times to ratchet up ethnic hatred was a dentist in the Defence Force, Dr Jan van Tonder. As always the article was by Carlo Petersen and the intro read:

“The case of a vicious assault on a gardener with a sjambok is but one of 10 recent “race related” attacks in Cape Town suburbs, district prosecutor Nathan Johnson told the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court yesterday.”

After these initial articles, nothing further was heard, either from Petersen, the SANDF which would have taken the matter further had Petersen’s articles been true or the Chief Public Prosecutor in the Western Cape.

Weeks and then months went by without any further news of this shock/horror ‘racist attack’ and, when enquiries were made, the truth emerged.  These articles by Petersen about Dr Van Tonder were as devoid of truth as his articles about Chad de Matos.

What is relevant however, in the basic tenet of ethic journalism – Do least harm – is that the falsehoods about Dr van Tonder, like the falsehoods about De Matos, remain a permanent record on the IOL website. Iqbal Survé subsequently promoted Carlo Petersen from reporter to senior editor for his sterling contribution to ethical journalism in this country.

What is ironic is that the people who abused their power and influence to persecute De Matos and Van Tonder and to demonise institutions like UCT also claim to be admirers of Nelson Mandela while undermining one of his goals and ideals – nation building through reconciliation.

Nothing like this has ever happened at Naspers and does the difference not come down to the leadership of the two companies? In the afore-mentioned book compiled by Professor Lizette Rabe, two stalwarts of ethical journalism, Raymond Louw and Tony Heard, praise the role that the Naspers newspapers played in bringing universal franchise democracy to this country. In his chapter, Heard writes:

“Finally, Naspers’s evolving actions and attitudes in that era helped to lead to that rarest of things in history: It nudged an important section of the public, in the spirit of Mandela, to rise above perceived immediate interests, and to go for real long term goals.

‘May we all build on that as Naspers passes its century mark.’”

Survé routinely lashes out at Naspers despite the fact that Sekunjalo is less transformed than the Afrikaans company but I leave you with two telling sentences in the current debate about the attempts to get the PIC to invest civil servant pension money in the Sagarmatha African Intergalactic Unicorn Highway and associated business ventures:

Sam Sole – amaBhungane

“That does not alter the fact that the PIC investment was going to increase Ayo’s net asset value by more than 8000% and its projected earnings by more than 800%”.

Dewald van RensburgCity Press

“Ayo shares this week crashed 40% to R25 each, meaning the PIC has lost R1.8 billion on the deal, unless the share price recovers.”

Iqbal Survé would no doubt categorise both Sole and van Rensburg using the pejorative ‘Stratcom’ but, in the end, it all comes down to how you define ‘ethical journalism’ doesn’t it?

In closing: As I write this article on 3 May – World Press Freedom Day – I am reminded of the nefarious and sordid fake news front page lead in the Sunday Independent with which Sekunjalo Independent Media sought to undermine Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidential campaign by portraying him as a serial adulterer who preyed on financially-vulnerable woman students.

The process I have seen evolving at the Cape Times is the same process I watched evolve at the SABC under the likes of people like Snuki Zikalala, Jeffrey Twala, Hlaudi Motsoeneng and Jimi (the door or the window) Matthews – incumbent staff are persecuted and ethical news gathering and dissemination is abandoned as is investigative reporting. Since Iqbal Survé took control of the Indy newspapers, reporters from this company have not featured in the annual Taco Kuiper awards, a competition now dominated by Naspers reporters.

I am also reminded, on World Press Freedom Day, of how Iqbal Survé articulated his inviolate principles of ethical journalism in a letter to his newly acquired staff who, in December 2013, numbered a lot more than they do now:

“All our stories must adhere to the highest standards required.”

“This means they have to be balanced, fair and accurate. What they can’t be is one sided, inaccurate and prejudicial. I have always valued the principles of transparency, fairness and independence.”

“As executive chair, I will uphold these values and expect all of our journalists and editors to do the same regardless of which story it is they cover.”

And, in an interview with Mandy de Waal for Daily Maverick shortly after the news broke that, with the assistance of civil servant pension money, he had as an overt supporter of the ANC bought the largest group of English newspapers in the country, he memorably said:

“If you know anything about me you know that I operate with incredible integrity.”

The post Ethical Journalism: Significant Moments in SA Media History appeared first on Rational Standard.

]]>
https://rationalstandard.com/ethical-journalism-significant-moments-in-sa-media-history/feed/ 0 7885
Winnie and Post-Truth https://rationalstandard.com/winnie-and-post-truth/ https://rationalstandard.com/winnie-and-post-truth/#respond Wed, 30 May 2018 22:21:05 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=7812 The Cambridge Dictionary defines the phenomenon of post-truth as “relating to a situation in which people are more likely to accept an argument based on their emotions and beliefs, rather than one based on facts”. It is a phenomenon that has taken the world by storm since the advent to power of the current President […]

The post Winnie and Post-Truth appeared first on Rational Standard.

]]>
The Cambridge Dictionary defines the phenomenon of post-truth as “relating to a situation in which people are more likely to accept an argument based on their emotions and beliefs, rather than one based on facts”. It is a phenomenon that has taken the world by storm since the advent to power of the current President of the United States of America, Donald Trump.

Sadly, the phenomenon of post-truth is not confined to the USA or the West. It has also permeated Africa and South Africa in particular. Take the case of the late struggle icon, Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who passed away several weeks ago.

Just like the rest of us, the late Madikizela-Mandela was not a saint and did not pretend to be one. One thing that we need to acknowledge about her is that she had a complex life that none of us would wish even on our worst enemies. To have been married at a tender age of 23 and to have the joy of living with your spouse snatched from you is an unwelcome prospect. Add to that the constant harassment from the security police, arrest, detention and being sent to unfamiliar territory (Brandfort in the Free State) where the people talk a different language from yours.

Quite amazingly, Mama Winnie was able to bear all of this with remarkable equanimity. Not only that, she was able to move around and do her duties as a former deputy minister and a Member of Parliament with hardly a chip on her shoulder.

From the day that she passed on print, broadcast and social media has been inundated with opinions about her as a person and her putative ‘bad character’. Reams of columns and a myriad of posts on Facebook and on Twitter have been written about her role in the Stompie Seipei murder, the activities of the infamous Mandela football club, her infamous incendiary statement of liberating the country with “tyres and boxes of matches” and her marital infidelities. This has been done by people who know full well that our culture frowns upon speaking ill of the dead when they cannot vindicate their words and actions.

The recent revelations by erstwhile police commissioner, George Fivaz, that there was no evidence linking the late Mother of the Nation to the murder of Stompie Seipei, should have not only shocked us but made us to realize the power of propaganda. Also, former police “dirty tricks” operative Paul Erasmus admitted on national television (eNCA) that police conducted a relentless campaign or operation of besmirching the name of Mama Winnie.

In an operation, sanctioned at police security branch headquarters level or higher, a mixture of fact and fiction was leaked to local and international media on her alleged marital infidelity, on criminal activities of her ‘football club’, and on the death of Seipei. These are the ‘facts’ that most of us swallowed hook, line and sinker when they were reported.

Now that they have shown to been nothing but fiction, we are in cognitive dissonance. Our minds have an image of Mama Winnie as the ‘devil incarnate’ and cannot associate her with any good. We have been ‘socialized’ by the propaganda of the Security Branch to see the late Mama Winnie as an epitome of evil. Indeed, as pointed out elsewhere in this article, Mama Winnie was never a saint but we need to cut her some slack. Mama Winnie was fighting against a system that had been declared by the United Nations as a crime against humanity and its proponents were prepared to go to great lengths in order to defend it. Killings, banning, torture, propaganda and even death were par for the course.

The confessions made by Fivas and Erasmus though belated, especially that of Fivas, are underwhelming. One begins to ask several questions, particularly on the Fivas confession: why now? Would it not have been better to have made that ‘confession’ when Mama Winnie was still alive? What about the damage that has been done to her reputation?

Whereas society in general puts much emphasis on reputation, philosophers advise that character is more important. Reputation is conferred on an individual by media and society from achievements whereas character is a result of upbringing and lived experience and is generally inbred. Reputation can be short lived but character sticks with the person until he or she shuffles off this mortal coil. Character is revealed in crisis situations and it is not determined by them but honed by experiences. Mama Winnie revealed a remarkable character in the face of a concerted onslaught against her and her family that not many of us would have been able to do.

Her death has revealed our hypocrisy in smiling back at her while she was alive and opening a Pandora’s Box of her misdemeanours when she is late. We have religiously clung to the belief that she was evil despite not having empirical evidence of that.

She never climbed rooftops to declare her goodness but the poor and downtrodden among whom she lived know of her role in their lives. Whenever there would be fires in shack dwellings she would be the first to arrive and last to leave. She embodied social responsibility as she assisted many a destitute individual as evidenced by clips played on national television. Maybe we would do well to emulate her selflessness and spirit of sacrifice as we move on to construct a better society. As a flawed individual, she did her part and was not much concerned with her reputation. Someone once said: “sometimes people try to expose what’s wrong with you, because they can’t handle what’s right about you”.

The post Winnie and Post-Truth appeared first on Rational Standard.

]]>
https://rationalstandard.com/winnie-and-post-truth/feed/ 0 7812
Apartheid: The Best Friend the ANC and the EFF Ever Had https://rationalstandard.com/apartheid-the-best-friend-the-anc-and-the-eff-ever-had/ https://rationalstandard.com/apartheid-the-best-friend-the-anc-and-the-eff-ever-had/#respond Tue, 29 May 2018 01:04:17 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=7807 Written by: Mark Del Back in the middle of the 20th century, the Reunited National Party (NP) had the misguided idea to implement the policy of Apartheid. This would doom the country to countless deaths, generations of racial tension, and make it a pariah on the world stage. The party’s short-sightedness failed to grasp the […]

The post Apartheid: The Best Friend the ANC and the EFF Ever Had appeared first on Rational Standard.

]]>
Written by: Mark Del

Back in the middle of the 20th century, the Reunited National Party (NP) had the misguided idea to implement the policy of Apartheid. This would doom the country to countless deaths, generations of racial tension, and make it a pariah on the world stage. The party’s short-sightedness failed to grasp the magnitude of such a policy in a post-World War II environment, especially as the proverbial “winds of change” swept across the African continent. But in perhaps the ultimate irony, they especially couldn’t have foreseen that this racist policy meant to benefit a white minority would one day be co-opted by their adversaries.

Apartheid is just as useful today to the African National Congress (ANC) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) as it was to the NP years ago. It’s still designed to benefit a small elite. It may not be official policy, but its memory is invoked on a frequent basis to justify all manner of exploitative behavior.

Take, for example, Zapiro’s cartoon of Shaun Abrahams, or the Zuma Must Fall display in Cape Town and its subsequent nationwide march. What was the immediate reaction? To shout “racist”, of course, despite the fact that none of these incidents at any time mentioned skin colour or ethnicity and were supported by South Africans of all backgrounds.

The EFF is no better. Their blatantly-obvious, ugly struggle for power is frequently justified by a desire to disenfranchise other ethnic groups as penance for Apartheid. The only difference is that they make no pretense of respecting democracy or freedom of the press. Ask yourself this: would Julius Malema have any argument, or any purpose for that matter, if he wasn’t driven by racist rhetoric? Would his party be anything but rudderless in a post-Zuma South Africa?

Racism is a very real social issue in South Africa. It needs to be addressed, and we need to figure out ways to coexist peacefully. Maybe even learn to respect each other’s beliefs and worldviews, without necessarily agreeing with them. But we’ll never accomplish this when the ANC and the EFF are more concerned with punishing racists and robbing the term of all validity by shouting “racist” at every criticism, real or imaginary.

It’s particularly astonishing in a culture that praises martyrdom. Why isn’t there more outrage over what these parties are doing? They are essentially dancing on the graves of all the victims of Apartheid by using their deaths as an excuse for self-enrichment and power grabs. Did children like Hector Pieterson really die just so Jacob Zuma and Julius Malema could one day own luxurious gifts and amass personal fortunes at the taxpayer’s expense? I’ve no doubt that if either party’s apparatchiks were to read this, they wouldn’t address any of its points and merely label me as a “racist” in an ironic sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.

Apartheid isn’t dead. And it won’t die any time soon. Not with the ANC and EFF still benefiting handsomely from it and the power its memory affords them. Once these parties understand it as a catastrophe and not a cheap political tactic, we can move on from it and truly honour the innocent who were murdered in its name.

Author: Mark Del, born in 1981 as Delano Cuzzucoli in the US city of Richmond, Virginia, currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. He works in IT and has written articles for tech and gaming magazines, both local and abroad. Mark has a passion for history, politics, philosophy, sociology, writing, and the arts.

The post Apartheid: The Best Friend the ANC and the EFF Ever Had appeared first on Rational Standard.

]]>
https://rationalstandard.com/apartheid-the-best-friend-the-anc-and-the-eff-ever-had/feed/ 0 7807
Who Benefits From Ashwin Willemse’s R61 Million Windfall? https://rationalstandard.com/who-benefits-from-ashwin-willemses-r61-million-windfall/ https://rationalstandard.com/who-benefits-from-ashwin-willemses-r61-million-windfall/#respond Sun, 27 May 2018 23:33:56 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=7844 Ashwin Willemse ­ (R61.4-million) and Jerome Brauns (R61.4-million) Willemse, a former Springbok rugby player, and Brauns were McKenzie’s business partners and helped Gold Fields to structure its 2010 empowerment deal. Neither Brauns nor Willemse responded to questions. Goldfields: Ex-con McKenzie’s cronies given R330 million amaBhungane 17/1/2014 From the 380,000 people working on SA’s gold mines […]

The post Who Benefits From Ashwin Willemse’s R61 Million Windfall? appeared first on Rational Standard.

]]>
Ashwin Willemse ­ (R61.4-million) and Jerome Brauns (R61.4-million)

Willemse, a former Springbok rugby player, and Brauns were McKenzie’s business partners and helped Gold Fields to structure its 2010 empowerment deal.

Neither Brauns nor Willemse responded to questions.

Goldfields: Ex-con McKenzie’s cronies given R330 million amaBhungane 17/1/2014

From the 380,000 people working on SA’s gold mines in 1995, the figure has dropped below 116,000. From being the world’s largest gold producer for decades, SA has quickly slipped into eighth place, with output of 140 tonnes in 2017.

Employment on platinum mines has dropped to less than 170,000 from a peak of 200,000 a decade ago.

Alan Seccome Business Day 24/5/2018

It was a single sentence in a comment below a Politicsweb article on the verbal disagreement between Ashwin Willemse and his co-presenters Nick Mallett and Naas Botha that alerted one to what most South Africans are unaware of, have forgotten, or don’t want to know about. Ashwin Willemse creamed R61 million because he is a close friend of one of the alleged ‘New Guptas’, Gayton Mckenzie.

What is telling is that Willemse has not denied the amaBhungane claim neither has he sought legal redress for a media report which would undoubtedly be defamatory if it was not true, provable and if its disclosure was not in the public interest.

Tsunami of sleaze

The ANC’s Tsunami of Sleaze is predicated on an indisputable fact.

In the maelstrom of corruption scandals, today’s tale of ANC infamy – which according to Pravin Gordhan has cost the country more than a hundred billion rand – is simply overtaken by a multiplicity of further accounts – too many to keep track of.

R61 million!

What did Ashwin Willemse contribute to the common good in general and to the mining industry in particular to justify such an astonishing perquisite?

I ask the question because 34 miners were killed and 78 critically injured two years later at Marikana while protesting about their living conditions and their struggle to make ends meet.

I ask the question because the front page lead in Business Day on 24 May was

AngloGold job cuts add to mining’s woes

The producer is set to shed 2,000 posts, with fewer than 116,000 people still employed in gold mines

The mining sector has lost about 60 000 jobs since Willemse was made a multi-millionaire overnight, so perhaps he can tell us why and what his gargantuan pay-out did to ameliorate that situation and whether any of that money will be used to succour the 2000 souls shortly to lose their livelihood at Anglogold.

The background to Willemse’s bonanza was the fact that Goldfields invested billions in setting up its South Deep mine but lacked to street smarts to ensure that the requisite mining licence was obtained first.

That’s where the ANC –  which, to fund its election campaigns set up the Arms Deal scam and ensured that Cell C got the third mobile phone licence – had Goldfields over a barrel.

Who to bribe?  That was the essence of the Goldfields dilemma which was later to play itself out in the USA.

According to Helen Zille, the Speaker and aspirant ANC president, Baleka Mbete, was the recipient of a brazen R25 million Goldfields bribe. Writing in her book about the ANC’s Bribe-based Black Elite Empowerment scam, Zille says:

“Today, for example, most people, including ANC supporters, recognise that Gold Fields’ acquisition of a new mining licence, in return for a R25-million stake in the deal for ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete in 2013, was a bribe, not broad- based black economic empowerment. A respected New York law firm confirmed this. That acknowledgement, and the accompanying outcry, was a big step forward towards debating more ethical, and truly broad-based, forms of redress that South Africa urgently needs.”

If Zille is correct how, other than a bribe, do you describe the monetary benefit with which Willemse was blessed and which he seems to have done nothing to earn?

But why did a former rugby player get twice as much as the Speaker in parliament and a leading member of the ANC hierarchy?

I mean Mbete had a proven track record of dodgy deals ranging from the driving licence scam as outlined by the Moldenhauer Commission – which saw a whistle-blower hounded to his death –   to the Travelgate scam,  serious smallanyana skeleton stuff from a cover-up artist of note. Ask Gengezi Mgidlana, he’ll tell you.

Perhaps Nick Mallet and Naas Botha can put the question to Willemse next time they are live in the Supersport TV studio.

In the meantime the looting goes on and on and on.

When it comes to snouting, the ANC is always up for it but when it comes to explaining the snouting to parliament then ‘the Collective’ gets sick en masse and succumbs to mysterious ailments again and again and again and again.

  • The former chief executive of the Social Security Agency, Pearl Bhengu, was too sick to explain to parliament the R16 million paid for just three bunfights that she signed off on – all part of R1.3 billion in irregular expenditure during the 2016/17 financial year.
  • After 24 years of pandering to its deployed cadre civil servants, the ANC belatedly acknowledges that government’s wage bill is no longer viable
  • The dysfunctional Department of Water and Sanitation racks up billions in wasteful and irregular expenditure yet no one faces any sanction and no attempt is made to recover the money. In fact, parliament is told that the responsible illegally-deployed cadres will be given another bite at the cherry – that’s how the ANC rolls
  • Transnet spends R18 million on a forensic audit which reveals that Brian (Sam Browne) Molefe arranged kickbacks for Gupta-linked companies which corruptly raked in  billions of rands – but no action has been taken and no action will be taken
  • The North West Provincial Legislature racks up R167 million in irregular expenditure but no attempt will be made to recover the money or to sanction the deployed parasites responsible
  • Eighty seven municipalities have been looted into dysfunctionality by the African National Congress
  • Wasteful and irregular expenditure by these municipalities has increased by 75% in the past financial year
  • Billions are spent on bailing out SA Airways while school children drown in pit toilets
  • Our public health system has effectively collapsed
  • The Public Investment Corporation and the Industrial Development Corporation have been turned into troughs by the ANC’s deployed cadres but no attempt will be made to recover the money – just as no attempt was made to recover the R2 billion stolen by ANC cadres from the Land Bank and the R2 billion stolen from the Cape Town municipality when it was under ANC control.
  • Always happy to look after its high-living friends the ANC hosts the spendthrift Pan-African Parliament officials in the lap of luxury at your expense and mine. Does anyone know what this parasitical organisation does and does the ANC care?
  • The state broadcaster stumbles and fumbles from crisis to crisis to stuff-up to stuff-up and there is no sign of the hoped-for R3 billion bailout because after two decades of the ANC’s untrammelled theft, the cupboard is bare
  • To avoid a PR disaster the ANC hastily suspended a branch secretary, Thabang Setona, caught on camera assaulting 55-year-old Olivia Mokete outside Luthuli House but then, with typical ubuntu, left it to civil society to solve her problem – living in a hovel two decades after the dawn of democracy as the blue-light convoys careened past
  • Always appreciative of an MP who knows how to keep tjatjarag women in their place, the ANC’s Nasrec delegates voted Mduduzi Manana into place number 27 out of 80 on its National Executive Committee. True to its patriarchal traditions it ducks and dives to avoid accountability on the latest Manana scandal and does not ask why the SAPS has done absolutely nothing to investigate the sexual harassment claims of Louisa Wynand against the unspeakable Marius Fransman
  • We know that our Minister of State Security, Bongani Bongo, is a man of refined habits because he is quite happy to spend R147 000 – your money and mine – for the luxury of unlimited time in the shower but what is one to make of the fact that the ANC still calls him an ‘Honourable member’ six months after he was accused of offering a bribe to the evidence leader of parliament’s state capture inquiry — Advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara?
  • Determined to avoid human rights accountability and firmly siding with its despotic friends, the ANC continues to engineer its breakaway from the ICC – while it continues to deny the Dalai Lama a visa
  • And in the meantime the ANC’s grassroots assault on the poor – so graphically illustrated in the East London Madiba funeral scam – continues in municipalities like Thaba Chweu
  • And what is one to make of the fact that the SA Defence Force allows its animals to starve and that the only comment has come from the Freedom Front Plus? Do we just accept it with a resigned shrug as we did when Numsa members embarked on an orgy of destruction in Booysens in July 2015 and poured petrol over a dog after trussing it up with wire and then set it alight – without the slightest condemnation from the ANC ?

If it hasn’t been lost or broken or stolen you know that titanium bolts have been used to affix it firmly to bedrock as far away from Loot-freely House as possible.

In stentorian tones, Cyril Ramaphosa, announced at Davos that the days of the ANC oozing corruption from every orifice, every follicle and every pore were over – and then, with an exquisite sense of irony, he appointed one of the State Capture architects, Arthur Fraser, as head of our prisons.  Devoid of any sense of ethical probity, the ANC leaves it, once again, to the Democratic Alliance and our courts to counter this travesty.

And, as Barney Mthomboti cogently points out, Ramaphosa does not explain to the nation his complicit and continuing silence about his role in facilitating Zuptoid plunder in one parliamentary vote of no confidence after another.

We are grateful, nevertheless, for whatever respite he can give us but judgement is deferred until one of the ANC’s high-level looters goes to jail. We are also mindful of what Tony Leon trenchantly pointed out – Ramaphosa can only do what the ANC allows him to do. What is clear from the hourly litany of corruption scandals however is that ‘the Collective’ wants to steal from the fiscus for as long as possible to the detriment of the poor.

And waiting in the wings, in serried ranks are the aspirant snouters for whom Ashwin Willemse is a role model. They also want R61 million in return for doing nothing for the common good and they hope that they won’t be murdered in the process.

The post Who Benefits From Ashwin Willemse’s R61 Million Windfall? appeared first on Rational Standard.

]]>
https://rationalstandard.com/who-benefits-from-ashwin-willemses-r61-million-windfall/feed/ 0 7844
Why The EFF Seeks To Make South Africa Ungovernable https://rationalstandard.com/why-eff-make-south-africa-ungovernable/ https://rationalstandard.com/why-eff-make-south-africa-ungovernable/#respond Fri, 25 May 2018 07:44:22 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=7077 Earlier this year, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) called on matric graduates to simply arrive at universities to register at the door. It is important to understand that these calls are not designed to help, but rather aim to create chaos. The method proclaimed is completely at odds with universities’ enrollment methods due to the […]

The post Why The EFF Seeks To Make South Africa Ungovernable appeared first on Rational Standard.

]]>
Earlier this year, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) called on matric graduates to simply arrive at universities to register at the door. It is important to understand that these calls are not designed to help, but rather aim to create chaos.

The method proclaimed is completely at odds with universities’ enrollment methods due to the advent of the internet. The call is obviously ridiculous and would cause utter chaos when students (and I mean actual, accepted students) arrive to register, but this is not by accident. No, in fact, the EFF want chaos.

To explain, consider the position in politics which the EFF occupies. They are a radical far-left (self-proclaimed ‘Marxist-Leninist-Fanonian’) party that originally splintered off from the dominant African National Congress (ANC). The aim of the party was to attract disillusioned ANC voters by propagating left-wing populist policies such as Zimbabwe-style land reform, nationalisation of industry, and various other socialist policies. In doing so, they embody what a populist party is and, so do their tactics: appealing to the working class and the poor, preaching extreme policy changes and campaigning to make a big, visual presence.

With that being said, the EFF only got just over 6% of the vote in the last general election and just over 8% in the last local government election. They don’t govern a single municipality and the most power they have is begrudgingly being part of coalition governments in a few municipalities as well as having a sizable presence in the National Assembly. This is frustration to the party as, without power, little can be done to actually implement the party’s radical agenda. This is why, when populist parties can’t win at the ballot, they take to the streets.

At this point, it is interesting to cast our gaze to Europe.

Most European countries have in the past 10 years seen a gradual rise in right-wing populism. This comes in various forms. Traditionally, the moderate populist parties have gained greater electoral success. Examples include UKIP in Great Britain, The Finns Party in Finland, Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV) in the Netherlands and Alternitive für Deutschland (AfD) in Germany. All of these parties are Eurosceptic and campaign prominently on issues of immigration and the preservation of national heritage. The PVV came close to being the largest party in the Netherlands in their last election, The Finns Party was recently part of a coalition government in Finland and UKIP still holds a plurality of British seats in the European Parliament. As can be seen in these cases, the populist parties have all gained fairly significant degrees of political success, but notably, they all generally represent a more conservative and nationalist bent on their countries’ politics. All of these parties are moderate enough to have gained large support at the ballot box, but what of the more extreme, far-right parties that exist in Europe? How do they compare to the EFF?

To answer this, one should take the Greek far-right party Golden Dawn as an example. Even by European standards, Golden Dawn is extreme: they are essentially a neo-Nazi party. Their flag resembles a Swastika and their leader, Nikaolos Michaloliakos, is a Holocaust denier. Their members have been accused of crimes against migrant communities in Greece and they often use rhetoric advocating the idea of reclaiming lands previously held under Alexander the Great.

Golden Dawn, like the EFF, has only achieved very minor political fortunes receiving 6-7% in Greek elections, but despite this, they have injected themselves into the Greek political scene through their actions outside the ballot. Golden Dawn are known from their street demonstrations and even violence. Golden Dawn members have often been implicated attacks on migrant communities in Greece and one was even tried for attempted murder. Perhaps one of the most telling moments was when its spokesperson, Ilias Kasidiaris, assaulted an MP of the Communist Party during a live television debate.

This is obviously a very extreme example, and it should be noted that UKIP, AfD, and more mainstream populist parties are lightyears apart from Golden Dawn ideologically. But the general trend in Europe among extreme nationalist parties has been to make a name for themselves on the streets first. Only after that can they compete at the ballot box. That’s why a party with views as extreme as Golden Dawn can get as much as 7% of the Greek vote. The same thing has happened with other street-groups-turned-parties such as Britain’s British National Party, National Front and Britain First as well as the English Defence League. In South Africa, we have our very own Golden Dawn: the Economic Freedom Fighters. A extremist political party that does not yet have enough votes to implement its agenda. The EFF wants chaos because it wants to make a name for itself.

Another interesting comparison to make here is the reaction of the mainstream parties to the rise of the populist right. In Britain, UKIP once posed a very serious threat to the Conservative Party, particularly their Eurosceptic voting base. The tactic employed here has been to lambaste the populists with ad hominem attacks while silently adopting their own policy. David Cameron once called UKIP voters ‘A bunch of fruitcakes, looneys and closet racists’ and yet, in 2015, due to enormous pressure from UKIP, Cameron promised a European Union referendum which ultimately led to Brexit. This worked remarkably well for the Conservatives, as UKIP’s vote share was completely decimated once the EU referendum took place. As party leader Paul Nuttal put it, UKIP was ‘A victim of their own success.’

In the Netherlands, Prime Minister Mark Rutte also faced the prospect of losing votes to the PVV and so adopted a stricter attitude on integration of Muslim migrants in the Netherlands while simultaneously lambasting PVV leader Geert Wilders who had been calling for the same thing.

In the ANC’s last national conference, they have completely outdone David Cameron and Mark Rutte in their adoption of expropriation without compensation, as well as the promise of ‘free’ education. Up until now, these two issues were what the EFF used to differentiate itself from the ANC. If the ANC does indeed carry through with these policies, the EFF will find itself increasingly irrelevant. The only way to counter this is to ramp-up their extremist views and cause chaos in the streets, just like Golden Dawn. It’s all part of their plan, and South Africans should be aware of this.

The post Why The EFF Seeks To Make South Africa Ungovernable appeared first on Rational Standard.

]]>
https://rationalstandard.com/why-eff-make-south-africa-ungovernable/feed/ 0 7077
Malema and the Myth of Whiteness: An Eastern Cape Case-Study https://rationalstandard.com/malema-and-the-myth-of-whiteness-an-eastern-cape-case-study/ https://rationalstandard.com/malema-and-the-myth-of-whiteness-an-eastern-cape-case-study/#respond Tue, 22 May 2018 16:24:38 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=7804 The fascist myth of “whiteness” (and other variations) has been used over and over again by Julius Malema to gain media attention. Dabbling in this myth has ensured headlines, but has also exposed a fatal flaw in Malema’s politics. Fundamentally, he and his followers lack the imagination and backbone needed to deal with the real […]

The post Malema and the Myth of Whiteness: An Eastern Cape Case-Study appeared first on Rational Standard.

]]>
The fascist myth of “whiteness” (and other variations) has been used over and over again by Julius Malema to gain media attention. Dabbling in this myth has ensured headlines, but has also exposed a fatal flaw in Malema’s politics. Fundamentally, he and his followers lack the imagination and backbone needed to deal with the real problems facing the Eastern Cape voter. We’re not fooled.

As far as Julius Malema is concerned, “whiteness” is such a terrible, oppressive system in the Eastern Cape, the only way to deal with it is to remove white men from democratically-elected leadership. Or, to put it more, precisely:

“We are cutting the throat of whiteness!”

Malema, March 2018

But does “whiteness” exist in real life? Or is “whiteness” just some made-up, mythical nonsense to score political points and get media attention? My answer: we only have to look at the current state of education in the Eastern Cape to see how “whiteness” is a completely made-up idea that has zero relation to reality.

For years now, the EC has been plagued with overcrowded classes, textbook shortages, poor facilities in the form of mud huts and decaying school buildings. The charity, Equal Education, recently conducted a survey of the province’s schools to test how well they complied with the governments basic standards.

The results were shocking. Most schools didn’t have running water, and in one case nearly 300 students had to share a single toilet. Electricity was erratic, often only supplying the admin blocks, but not classrooms.

Yet, many of these schools weren’t even on a waiting list for upgrades!

It is thus no surprise that the Eastern Cape consistently places last in matric pass rates – but it is the African National Congress (ANC)-affiliated teacher union, the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) that has continually created massive blocks to actions that would remedy these problems.

For instance, according to the education budget, in theory, there should roughly be about one teacher for every 28 students. Yet the province is plagued by ghost teachers and supposed temporary teachers that eat up the staffing budgets of schools – which is why in reality, you will be hard pressed to find schools that even approach classes that small.

Now, of course, pearl-clutching supporters of Malema from the depths of Houghton will simply argue that this is just a legacy of Apartheid, and that Sadtu is a revolutionary movement that only seeks to liberate the masses from the terrible clutches of “whiteness”. Yet, every time (very rarely!) the province plucks up enough courage to carry out an HR audit, it is hit by go-slows and outright violent strikes, courtesy of Sadtu. In fact, the last time the provincial government tried to carry out an audit, administrators had to take along a police escort to protect themselves against Sadtu protestors.

Likewise, when leaders have publicly stood up to Sadtu, things have not gone well. Education department head, Modidima Mannya, for instance, had announced he would tackle the problem of teacher allocation and other HR issues. He didn’t last long, and was quickly forced to resign after Sadtu pressure. According to a Sadtu spokesperson at the time, this was done to “save education in the province”. Naturally, the ANC didn’t even attempt to support Mannya.

Of course, our pearl-clutching apologists would lament that “white supremacy” has ensured that the province is poorly-funded and has created a system loaded against “the black child”. Again this is just a variant of the “whiteness” myth. Financial mismanagement has led to even former model C schools struggling with overcrowded classes due to teacher post funding problems.

The tragedy is that the money does exist to make the necessary improvements to education in the province, yet, routinely, the education budget is under-spent by massive amounts, in some years, by the tune of R530 million. The fact is, the province is resourced enough to make serious and lasting improvements to the standard of education. However, thanks to Sadtu interference, the chances of this happening are slim to none. As Equal Education noted, the ANC/Sadtu-dominated Eastern Cape education system “plans to fail.”

The bottom line is that “whiteness” is just a myth. But it is a dangerous myth, because it allows political opportunists like Malema to dabble in fascism. It means they don’t have to demonstrate real political courage and face down the ANC affiliate, Sadtu. Instead, they take the easy route: they use inflammatory racist conspiracy theories like the “whiteness” myth, to disguise their lack of backbone to deal with the real problem at hand. Expect more fascist nonsense like this as 2019 nears.

This article is dedicated to all the hard working teachers and students of the Eastern Cape.

The post Malema and the Myth of Whiteness: An Eastern Cape Case-Study appeared first on Rational Standard.

]]>
https://rationalstandard.com/malema-and-the-myth-of-whiteness-an-eastern-cape-case-study/feed/ 0 7804
Does the Truth Mean Anything in the Gaza Strip Discourse? https://rationalstandard.com/does-the-truth-mean-anything-in-the-gaza-strip-discourse/ https://rationalstandard.com/does-the-truth-mean-anything-in-the-gaza-strip-discourse/#respond Fri, 18 May 2018 14:31:41 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=7795 Written by: Liam King “The right of self-defense never ceases. It is among the most sacred, and alike necessary to nations and to individuals.” – James Monroe Yet again violence has broken out on the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip and yet again mainstream media outlets have proven themselves to be Hamas’ biggest PR weapon. […]

The post Does the Truth Mean Anything in the Gaza Strip Discourse? appeared first on Rational Standard.

]]>
Written by: Liam King

“The right of self-defense never ceases. It is among the most sacred, and alike necessary to nations and to individuals.” – James Monroe

Yet again violence has broken out on the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip and yet again mainstream media outlets have proven themselves to be Hamas’ biggest PR weapon. Scrolling through social media or turning the page of a local newspaper, one is bound to hear of the recent “slaughter” and “massacre” of innocent Palestinians by the brutal and wicked Israeli Defense Forces. The propaganda campaign to classify Israel as the monster of this story is alive and well. This article seeks to address (and refute) the biggest lies surrounding this most recent conflict on the Israeli border.

Although tensions have been on the rise for weeks now, the first real violence broke out on Monday the 14th of May, resulting in the death of approximately 50 Palestinians. People across the world have since labelled this an example of Israel killing dozens of “peaceful protestors.” This claim can only be true for those who have no understanding of what the word “peaceful” actually means. According to a Washington Post article, one of the so-called protestors, named Mohammed Mansoura, was quoted as saying that he and other “protestors” were excited to breach the Israeli border and, once in the country, to do “whatever is possible, to kill, throw stones.” Does this really sound like something your average peaceful protestor would say? But who is to say this one person is qualified to speak on behalf of such a large group of “protestors” present at the border? Well, he isn’t, so let us turn our attention to someone who is. Mahmoud al-Zahar served as the Foreign Minister of the Palestinian National Authority and is both a co-founder of Hamas and one of its senior leaders in the Gaza Strip. He had the following to say about the “peaceful protests”:

“This is not peaceful resistance. Has the option (of armed struggle) diminished? No. On the contrary, it is growing and developing. That’s clear. So when we talk about “peaceful resistance,” we are deceiving the public. This is peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies, and enjoying tremendous popular support.”

As if this is not sufficient evidence, consider the following message by Yahya Sinwar (the political leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip), made over a month ago:

“Let them [Israel] wait for the big push. We will take down the border and tear out their hearts from their bodies.”

These statements serve as proof that what is happening on the Israeli border is not a peaceful protest, nor was it ever intended to be one, but in fact far more likely to be a precursor to military action such as an invasion of Israel by Palestinian terrorists. Furthermore, prior to the riots even beginning, Hamas operatives were handing out maps to the “protestors” on which were the locations of the nearest Jewish homes on the Israeli side of the border. This seems to be an unusual bit of information to hand to people whose sole intention is to peacefully protest. Contrast this to the information handed out to Palestinians by Israelis: as early as last month, Israeli aircraft flew over the Gaza border and dropped pamphlets to the ground below warning Palestinians to stay away from the border fence. Quite an odd strategy isn’t it? The evil enemy giving their future victims information as to how to stay safe.

Once one has established that these “protests” were by no means peaceful, one can address the other significant bias of the mainstream media in its coverage of this (and indeed almost all) conflicts between Israel and Palestine. I am primarily referring to what can be termed the fallacy of proportionality and it goes as follows: “Over 50 Palestinians have been killed this week. Not a single Israeli soldier has died. Therefore, Israel’s actions are immoral because the death toll is nowhere near proportionate.” This argument was almost verbatim used by the BBC’s Louise Minchin earlier this week. The logic in this argument is flawed for the simple reason that there is no connection between the proportionality of injuries and deaths in a military operation and the morality of said operation. During the Second World War, Axis planes dropped over 30 000 tons of bombs on Allied powers whereas the Allies responded by dropping over 3 million tons of bombs on Axis powers. This is by no means proportionate, but this fact on its own does not bring into question the morality of the Allied cause, nor does it justify the Axis cause.

There is a valid argument to be made (although the writer does not necessarily agree with it) that Israel’s response this week was too drastic. Some might argue that live ammunition, to the extent that it was used, was not necessary. I don’t think any rational person would take issue with those sorts of arguments being put forth for discussion. However, a line is crossed when people have to lie about the nature of the events that we have seen unfolding over the last few days and weeks. Lies and fallacious reasoning have no place in an intellectual political discourse. If one’s argument is good enough, the truth will help it stand, not bring it to its knees.

The post Does the Truth Mean Anything in the Gaza Strip Discourse? appeared first on Rational Standard.

]]>
https://rationalstandard.com/does-the-truth-mean-anything-in-the-gaza-strip-discourse/feed/ 0 7795
Zachie Achmat May Be A Hero, But He Is Quite Clueless About Free Speech https://rationalstandard.com/zachie-achmat-may-be-a-hero-but-he-is-quite-clueless-about-free-speech/ https://rationalstandard.com/zachie-achmat-may-be-a-hero-but-he-is-quite-clueless-about-free-speech/#respond Tue, 15 May 2018 19:00:46 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=7430 Written by: Ryan Rutherford In 2016, the Gauteng Health Department relocated nearly 2000 psychiatric patients from Life Esidimeni facilities to underfunded and poorly equipped NGOs.  As a result of this callously negligent decision, 144 extremely vulnerable people perished.  This was yet another example of heinous dereliction of duty, if not worse, by an uncaring, inefficient, and thoroughly inhumane […]

The post Zachie Achmat May Be A Hero, But He Is Quite Clueless About Free Speech appeared first on Rational Standard.

]]>
Written by: Ryan Rutherford

In 2016, the Gauteng Health Department relocated nearly 2000 psychiatric patients from Life Esidimeni facilities to underfunded and poorly equipped NGOs.  As a result of this callously negligent decision, 144 extremely vulnerable people perished.  This was yet another example of heinous dereliction of duty, if not worse, by an uncaring, inefficient, and thoroughly inhumane government.  What has come to be referred to as the Life Esidimeni Tragedy, and the subsequent inquiry into how such a colossal loss of life could have happened, has understandably dominated headlines in South Africa for the better part of two years. In early February, the state vowed to pay each claimant from the tragedy R200 000, but on 19th March retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke, who headed the inquiry tasked with probing the circumstances around the Health Department’s ill-fated transfer scheme, ordered the state to pay each victim’s family R1.2 million in compensation.

As a response to this development, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille tweeted that while it was “good that the families of the Life Esidimeni victims have received a measure of justice and compensation,” she wanted to know what they did “before these tragic deaths, to raise the alarm about their loved ones starving + living in profound neglect?” The condemnatory responses were swift, with her own party’s spokesperson, Refiloe Nt’sekhe, calling Zille’s remarks “unfortunate”, inappropriate” and “inefficient.” It was also reported that the leader of the Democratic Alliance, Musi Maimane, did not support her views.

Among the strongest reactions to Zille’s comments was from Zackie Achmat, renowned social activist and a member of the UniteBehind Organising Secretariat, who declared his intention to lay a complaint with the Human Rights Commission against the Premier. Zackie Achmat is undoubtedly one of the finest South Africans in existence, a man whose tireless efforts on behalf of those with HIV ensured that millions of people gained access to life-saving drugs initially denied to them for years by the ANC government.  Whatever his admirable personal qualities and tremendous success in fighting for a better country, Achmat’s actions evince a troubling tendency in South Africa for government agencies to be called on to adjudicate matters of expression. If one finds Zille’s opinions troubling, or even completely egregious, then by all means make this known in any public forum of one’s choosing. To instead seek public censure for someone’s opinion sets a dangerous precedent, one that has been in ever-increasing evidence in South Africa over the last few years.

That the Human Rights Commission exists in the first place is highly problematic, serving as it all too often does in the capacity of the language police, but its selective condemnation in the context of contemporary South Africa is particularly worrying. Julius Malema, the firebrand leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), regularly makes the most repulsively racist statements directed at whites. His most recent outrage was at a rally where he declared an intention to “decapitate whiteness,” a statement with clear genocidal implications. The head of the Human Rights Commission has admitted that the organisation received seventeen complaints about Malema’s vile demagogic spewing, but has yet to take any action against him. This is not the first time Malema has made statements that serve only to incite hate and sow racial divisions. On the other hand, and this was particularly the case in 2016, often very innocuous or ambiguous statements by white people, or admittedly racist opinions by figures with barely any public profile, led to them losing their jobs, or receiving hefty fines, as in the case of Penny Sparrow. If the Human Rights Commission is going to justify its existence, at the very least it needs to take action against all public officials who declare openly racist statements, rather than almost exclusively those with a melanin deficiency. Based on its recent track record, the Human Rights Commission, a quite Orwellian name to be sure, should be re-dubbed the Anti-White Censorship Commission, because that appears to be its practical function, whatever high-minded sentiments it purports to be defending.

Setting aside the failures of the Human Rights Commission to serve as a fair arbiter in disputes about what kind of language constitutes hate speech, even were it to function in a more even-handed manner, its very existence should be called into serious question for those who value free speech.

Not only is this an intrinsic human right, recognised as such by the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, among other major international bodies, and a cornerstone of democracies the world over, but, as Sam Harris once pointed out, free speech should be seen as the master value, the one that makes all the others possible. Without allowing everyone to freely express their opinions, society loses the ability to have the necessary and always ongoing conversation among its citizens about the best way to live. To block this discussion is, again according to Harris, akin to placing a brick on the horizon to the future, a vivid metaphor that powerfully captures what is at stake in debates around free speech.

Any government that attempts to regulate what people can say, think, read, watch, or listen to is never a friend of freedom, whatever reasons it might articulate to justify such intrusions.  The remedy for bad speech, however one defines this, is always more speech, and never less. It would also do well to remember that empowering a government to curtail someone else’s free speech today could very easily become the harbinger for your own speech to be criminalised tomorrow. The slope in this area is indeed most slippery. In a legendary, if apocryphal, defence of free speech, the great Enlightenment philosophe, Voltaire is alleged to have stated that, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” In today’s South Africa that sentiment is almost entirely absent among major politicians and media figures, with even iconic champions of human rights joining the censorship bandwagon. If we do not at least try to live up to Voltaire’s injunction, the road to true freedom and a better society for us all could well become definitively closed off.

Author: Ryan Rutherford has an honours degree in english literature, worked for almost six years as a teacher in South Korea, recently completed a master’s degree in international relations at the University of Cape Town, and is an increasingly impassioned defender of individual liberty and Enlightenment values at the expense of irrational identitarianism of all stripes.

The post Zachie Achmat May Be A Hero, But He Is Quite Clueless About Free Speech appeared first on Rational Standard.

]]>
https://rationalstandard.com/zachie-achmat-may-be-a-hero-but-he-is-quite-clueless-about-free-speech/feed/ 0 7430