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schubert park

mayhem By PHILLIP DE WET

sa's daily tablet newspaper for people with brains and money • THURsday, 22 september 2011


Index

index schubert park mayhem It happened overnight South Africa Africa WorlD Business LIFE, ETC Sport

wednesday – 22 september 2011


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Schubert park mayhem

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


south africa

Schubert Park mayhem

Schubert Park erupts over service delivery, of a sort The rocks and bottles and tear gas and rubber bullets came out again on Wednesday, again because of a complaint involving electricity. Except this time it happened not in some distant township or squatter camp, but right in the heart of South Africa's capital city. By PHILLIP DE WET. South Africa has few failed inner-city housing projects, but Schubert Park makes up for that in quality. It is a cesspit, a high-rise slum unfit for human habitation, a collection of buildings with conditions worse than those in most squatter camps. So, as peculiar as it is to have a servicedelivery protest in the heart of a modern, bustling city, nobody was particularly surprised when things went bad during a protest on Wednesday. It may have been the worst so far, but was neither the first nor, probably, the last time Schubert Park will see a mild riot. Just as in townships elsewhere in the province over the last two weeks, residents of the more than 600 flats in three towers

(the fourth is an abandoned, burnt-out husk) are angry because of electricity. Not because they aren't connected to the grid, like in Themb'elihle, or because they can't afford the tariffs, like in Chiawelo and Tembisa, but because their infrastructure is not maintained. By Wednesday the lights had been out for eight days, which also means no water because the few surviving pumps don't run. So, just like in many townships before, residents lost all their frozen food to spoilage and had to let their children study by the light of candles or paraffin lights. In a high-rise building, though, Photo: Phillip de Wet for iMaverick.

thursDAY - 22 september 2011


south africa

a lack of lighting is even more inconvenient than usual; navigating 21 floors of pitch-black stairwells that are often filled with rubbish is not for the faint of heart. "They want us out of here and they think if we don't have power we'll move," one resident confidently declared. Conspiracy theories, which are de rigueur at such protests, include that the Tshwane municipality wants to redevelop the land and that the army has already been called in to prepare a plan for cleaning out the buildings. As usual, the truth is somewhat more complex. Schubert Park suffers from occasional flooding in its basement levels, where some heavy-duty and water-averse transformers are located. That is arguably the root cause for the lack of electricity – that and simple incompetence from the various authorities responsible for the upkeep of those transformers. Whatever the reason, by 14:30 a large group of residents had had enough, 14:30 being the deadline by which they had been promised at least a response and at best working lights. Community leaders tried valiantly to keep the protest civil, but the tyres had already been prepared, the projectiles stockpiled and positions selected. By mid-afternoon the battle was on, with groups of men hurling rocks and bottles onto three different street corners and police responding with rubber bullets and the occasional canister of tear gas. Though a lone petrol bomb was used, live ammunition was not. As much as it resembled the siege of a fortress, it resembled every other servicedelivery protest SA has ever seen more. And

Schubert Park mayhem

that includes its history and, possibly, future. "Next time there won't just be one petrol bomb," a resident told us. Schubert Park has erupted into protest every so often over the last eight years, but Wednesday's incident was the worst yet, and everyone expects a significant escalation the next time. Like in the townships, people who live in Schubert Park have lost just about all faith in the various levels of government and their competence, but have nowhere else to turn. Like in the townships, the anger is directed at the government, but the only available targets are passing motorists and innocent tyres. The only difference is that in Schubert Park the half-bricks tend to travel further horizontally than they do vertically. In another similarity, the majority of residents we spoke to said they'd be happy to move to equivalent or better housing – as long as it was nearby. "We can walk to the shops from here, and to our jobs," one man told us. "We're settled here. If you move us out of the city we'll starve." Depending on whether the residents of an erstwhile squatter camp win a case currently before the Constitutional Court, that would make authorities responsible for finding decent accommodation within the Pretoria CBD for several thousand people before being allowed to evict. At the same time, the city (which also owns the complex) is responsible for the health and safety of the residents, and Schubert Park is far beyond repair. Like in the townships, there is no easy solution for Schubert Park, and every reason to believe that there will be more protests, more violent protests, and longer protests to come.

thursDAY - 22 september 2011


a day in pictures

Schubert Park mayhem

The trick, we learnt, is to light the tyres on fire inside the complex, away from prying eyes, and make sure they are ablaze before rolling them out onto the street. iMaverick/Phillip de Wet

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


a day in pictures

Schubert Park mayhem

By early afternoon the protesters were an hour overdue on a promised explanation of why they had no electricity yet and the police few. That provided the conditions for things to spill out into the streets. iMaverick/Phillip de Wet

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


a day in pictures

Schubert Park mayhem

The layout of Schubert Park provides many convenient parapets from behind which rocks and bottles can be hurled onto the street. Significant supplies of both had been put aside at key points well before the protest turned ugly. iMaverick/Phillip de Wet

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


a day in pictures

Schubert Park mayhem

Shortly before rush hour started, two major roads were already blocked with burning tyres and the barricades were growing. iMaverick/Phillip de Wet

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


a day in pictures

Schubert Park mayhem

The car in the background was a casualty of a previous incident. The burnt-out wreck, loaded with some new combustible material and man-handled into the middle of the road, made for both a good obstacle and a powerful statement. iMaverick/Phillip de Wet

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


a day in pictures

Schubert Park mayhem

Only one petrol bomb ever came into play, but it was aimed with such precision that it drove off the targeted police armour. iMaverick/Phillip de Wet

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


a day in pictures

Schubert Park mayhem

By 5PM, you could confuse parts of the capital of South Africa with an active war zone. iMaverick/Phillip de Wet

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


a day in pictures

Schubert Park mayhem

Police tried a number of tactics. A water cannon made for better cover than crowd control. Rubber bullets acted as deterrent, but did little damage. Tear gas was somewhat more effective. iMaverick/Phillip de Wet

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


a day in pictures

Schubert Park mayhem

With smoke billowing from a fourth-floor apartment, police cleared part oft the affected building, then escorted firemen to the flat, lugging extra ammunition all the way. None turned out to be necessary during that foray. iMaverick/Phillip de Wet

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


a day in pictures

Schubert Park mayhem

With smoke billowing from a fourth-floor apartment, police cleared part oft the affected building, then escorted firemen to the flat, lugging extra ammunition all the way. None turned out to be necessary during that foray. iMaverick/Phillip de Wet

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


a day in pictures

Schubert Park mayhem

Firemen found a burning mattress, set alight by a tear gas canister, the residents claimed, thought that seemed unlikely. iMaverick/Phillip de Wet

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


a day in pictures

Schubert Park mayhem

Firemen found a burning mattress, set alight by a tear gas canister, the residents claimed, thought that seemed unlikely. iMaverick/Phillip de Wet

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


a day in pictures

Schubert Park mayhem

Firemen found a burning mattress, set alight by a tear gas canister, the residents claimed, thought that seemed unlikely. iMaverick/Phillip de Wet

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


a day in pictures

Schubert Park mayhem

Much of Schubert Park is piled high with garbage, which smoulders fitfully and also provides a wide range of handy projectiles. iMaverick/Phillip de Wet

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


a day in pictures

Schubert Park mayhem

Much of Schubert Park is piled high with garbage, which smoulders fitfully and also provides a wide range of handy projectiles. iMaverick/Phillip de Wet

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


a day in pictures

Schubert Park mayhem

Detained suspects await transport to a nearby police station. More than 50 people were arrested; most will probably be facing charges of public violence. iMaverick/Phillip de Wet

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


a day in pictures

Schubert Park mayhem

With very little light to work with, police fired nearly random salvos of rubber bullets at the apartment blocks. Those throwing rocks and bottles simply moved higher up the buildings, out of reach of the bullets and with a better reach of their own. iMaverick/Phillip de Wet

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


a day in pictures

Schubert Park mayhem

During the course of the evening and early night, small teams of police entered the buildings to extract families. Their final dash to safety was exactly that: a run, dodging flying projectiles and with cover fire provided by police from two locations. iMaverick/Phillip de Wet

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


a day in pictures

Schubert Park mayhem

During the course of the evening and early night, small teams of police entered the buildings to extract families. Their final dash to safety was exactly that: a run, dodging flying projectiles and with cover fire provided by police from two locations. iMaverick/Phillip de Wet

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


a day in pictures

Schubert Park mayhem

During the course of the evening and early night, small teams of police entered the buildings to extract families. Their final dash to safety was exactly that: a run, dodging flying projectiles and with cover fire provided by police from two locations. iMaverick/Phillip de Wet

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


a day in pictures

Schubert Park mayhem

By late night, things had calmed down sufficiently for city workers to clear the surrounding streets of debris. iMaverick/Phillip de Wet

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


IT HAPPENED OVERNIGHT

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


it happened overnight

briefs

Will Dalai Lama be allowed to attend Arch's 80? (Reuters)

Politics South Africa Deputy foreign minister Marius Fransman denied there is pressure from China to refuse entry to the Dalai Lama for Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s birthday. We’ll know the real story soon as deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe will visit China next week where he will probably have a clearer idea from Chinese authorities. The ANC could wind up in the Supreme Court of Appeal if it continues its bid to rename the Mangosuthu highway in Umlazi – the ruling party wants to name it after Griffiths Mxenge. The DA

said the entire road-naming process was flawed and took it to court in 2008, but lost. It has appealed and a verdict is expected in November. The DA in the province may add the Mangosuthu highway to its list of road-naming grievances. China The government of China has publicly condemned the USA’s F-16 fighter plan deal with Taiwan, a territory it sees as its own. Chinese deputy foreign minister Zhang Zhijun called it a, “gravely mistaken signal to pro-Taiwan independence separatist forces” and said, “It must be pointed out that this wrongful course by the US side will unavoidably damage Sino-American relations and co-operation and exchanges

in the military, security and other fields.” Although the Chinese are upset, the US is legally bound to assist Taiwan in defending itself. USA Partisan squabbles, which seem to dominate American politics at the moment, resurfaced when a bill to keep the government temporarily funded, expected to breeze through the house of representatives, failed by a vote count of 230-195. Some Republicans have objected to principles and figures which were passed in the debt ceiling agreement last month, and their cause was aided by Democrats who voted against the bill because it removed subsidies for fuel-efficient

thursdAY - 22 september 2011


it happened overnight

briefs

cars. If this bill does not pass congress the government could be looking at a shutdown from 1 October. Yip - 9 days. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has continued to pressure his main rival for the candidacy, Rick Perry, on his Social Security views before going into the next Republican candidate debate this evening. Romney played his cards right as he was speaking in Florida, a state popular with retirees, where one in five people is on the programme. Romney also flayed Perry for wearing Christianity on his sleeve; a risky tactic bringing religion into the debate, as Romney is a Mormon, not a mainstream religion in the USA, a factor that didn’t help him out when his previous bid failed before the last election. Brazil President Dilma Rousseff, opening the United Nations General Assembly, said that the world’s current economic crisis was too deep to be dealt with by a few countries on their own, and that developing nations, who stand to lose the most if top economies crash, should have a say in solutions as they are the countries currently providing international growth. Her

Mitt Romney (Reuters)

suggestions would include eradicating exchange rate manipulation by the USA and China. She also repeated Brazil’s stance of support for the Palestine sovereignty vote. Congress in Brazil defeated a bill which would have brought a tax on financial transactions to pay for state healthcare. In fact it wasn’t just defeated, it was stomped on, urinated on and then thrown out the door: the vote tally was 355-76. Zambia The electoral commission in Zambia has declared that after a fifth of the votes were counted, Michael Sata led incumbent Rupiah Banda 265,843 votes to 192,966. There is a good chance this number could change, though.

Business USA The US Federal Reserve, the country’s central bank, announced free heart attacks for Republicans when it released plans, in spite of three board members voting against, for a fresh stimulus package, replacing $400 million short term treasury bonds it owns with long-term bonds and reinvesting payouts from its mortgage-backed securities; the idea is to keep interest rates low. Analysts don’t expect these measures to achieve much although yields on 10-year bonds fell nearly 2%; the markets barely responded.

thursdAY - 22 september 2011


it happened overnight

briefs

Ratings agency Moody’s has cut the credit rating of the USA’s largest lender, Bank of America from A2 to Baaa1 citing the reduced chance of a government bailout. The bank’s share price dropped 7.5% at the news to close at $6.38. Bill Gates remained at the top of the US’ rich list for the 18th year with a personal fortune estimated at $59 billion, a $5 billion increase from last year. He is followed by Warren Buffet ($39 billion), Oracle CEO Larry Ellison ($33 billion), Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries, Christy Walton of the “Walmart” family, George Soros (who made his first appearance on the list), casino king Sheldon Adelsonm, and Jim Walton and Alice Walton (also Walmart). Zimbabwe Old Mutual has reached an agreement with the Zimbabwean government on compliance with laws regarding majority stakes in foreign companies being sold to local black people, according to indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere. The first phase of this will result in 25% of its local subsidiary being passed on to pensioners, staff and a youth development fund. Other foreign firms trading in the

Bill Gates (Reuters)

country must submit plans to comply by Sunday. Greece Greece has accelerated austerity cuts, cutting swathes of civil jobs (30,000 workers have been put on “labour watch” and 10,000 are on partial pay), slashed 20% off pensions for people who earn more than €1,200 a month, lowered the income tax threshold to €5,000 a year. I’d wear a helmet to work if I was the prime minister. Italy Standard and Poor’s downgraded the credit ratings of seven Italian banks, assigning negative outlooks. This was expected as it is unusual for banks to have a better credit rating than their government. S&P downgraded Italy’s credit rating on Monday

Sport UK Football: League Cup fixtures last night went mostly according to plan for the favourites: Liverpool beat Brighton 2-1 with Craig Ballamy and Dirk Kuyt netting. Chelsea were forced into a penalty shootout against Fulham at Stamford Bridge, but held on to win it 4-3. Owen Hargreaves made an injury-free debut for Manchester City and scored a cracker of a goal in the 2-0 win against Birmingham City while Everton beat West Brom 2-1. Spain Football: Real Madrid and Barcelona both stumbled to draws in La Liga fixtures last night. Real couldn’t score at Racing Satander who picked

thursdAY - 22 september 2011


it happened overnight

briefs

Lance Armstrong (Reuters)

up six bookings. Barcelona scored twice against Valancia, but also conceded an own goal, and were in trouble until Fabregas scored his team’s second in the 77th minute to level at 2-2. Italy Football: AC Milan are still winless this season after being forced to come back from a goal down to split the points during their home fixture with Udinese. Fiorentina beat Parma 3-0 with Jovetic scoring twice, but Juventus were held by Bologna. This means the two major teams from Milan currently occupy positions 14 and 17 in the table. Thank god for fashion week, eh?

USA An Italian newspaper has alleged Lance Armstrong, through a front company, made payments to a doctor who was banned for doping. It’s been a while since new accusations against the Tour de France legend so it’s nice to know the spirit of the witch hunt is still alive and well. South Africa Bafana Bafana have dropped four places in the Fifa rankings and now sit in the 51st position, and ninth on the continent – the team’s lowest position this year. This is a fall from the May-high of 34th. Coach Pitso Mosimane admitted the recent loss against Niger didn’t help matters.

Life USA Troy Davis, who was scheduled to be executed at 01:00 SAST last night was given a small reprieve when a very late decision by the Supreme Court delayed the lethal injection proceedings. It is important to clarify that this is NOT a stay of execution, merely a small period where the judges will discuss and weigh up the case. Since Davis’ conviction for shooting a policeman in 1991, five of seven witnesses have recanted their statements while procedural failures have been unearthed. The court was due to make a statement at 03.30 SAST, but did not.

thursdAY - 22 september 2011


it happened overnight

briefs

REM call it a day (Reuters)

It’s the end of the world as REM fans know it as the rock band, who gave so many monotone singers the ability to stay in tune, “called it a day” on Wednesday after 31 years and 15 albums. They released a low-key message thanking fans for their loyalty, but used an analogy about knowing when to leave a party to announce their departure from the world stage. Japan Seven people were killed and five went missing when Typhoon Roke reached Japan

on Wednesday. Authorities expect this toll to rise as damage is assessed post-storm. UK In one of the great ironic statements of all time, Julian Assange has shat someone out because they have released an unauthorised piece of documentation: an autobiography on the WikiLeaks founder. Canongate, his publisher, said they would release the first draft of his book since he had not returned the advance given to him. Assange said,

“Canongate are not about freedom of information — they are about old-fashioned opportunism and duplicity.” Hi pot, I’m the kettle… Mexico Two Mexicans were freed on Wednesday after being held under terrorism charges for spreading news of an attack on a school in Veracruz, which spread mass panic as parents went to save their children. The pair could have faced up to 30 years in chooky.

thursdAY - 22 september 2011


SOUTH AFRICA

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


south africa

briefs

Reports: Lolly Jackson’s lawyer killed According to an Eyewitness News report, murdered Teasers owner Lolly Jackson’s lawyer, Ian Jordaan, has been kidnapped and killed. Jordaan did not return home from work after a Tuesday night meeting with clients and his body was reportedly found in a burnt-out car in Krugersdorp on Wednesday, the report said. The report said Jordaan was made to transfer R1.8 million of Jackson’s money into an account before he was killed. Police say however that they have nothing on their records and are unable to confirm the reports.

Civil society protests against human trafficking Civil society organisations held a protest on Tuesday outside Parliament against human trafficking. They called for the finalisation and implementation of the bill on the trafficking of people, which has stalled in Parliament. One protestor, wearing makeup of bruises and cuts, and holding a sign saying, “This could be your daughter”, said that many women are trafficked across borders

Patricia de Lille (Reuters)

and forced into prostitution by strip-club owners.

Driver accused of dragging woman under taxi will have to wait on bail application The bail application of Matome Thamage, the taxi driver charged with attempted murder for allegedly dragging a woman for about 500 metres under his taxi in Lonehill, has been postponed to 30 September. Magistrate Vincent Pienaar postponed the case as he wanted a statement from the complainant, Kim McCusker, or her doctor. Thamage’s lawyer argued that he hit McCusker because he was focused on fleeing her fiancé, who is alleged to

have been assaulting him at the time. McCusker’s fiancé, Lourens Grobelar, is out on R5,000 bail in the assault case Thamage brought against him.

Schubert Park residents clash with police Protests broke out in the Schubert Park flats in Pretoria on Tuesday with residents throwing bricks and bottles at passers-by, as well as parked and stationary cars in the street. Police fired rubber bullets to restore order. The 100 or so residents were protesting the lack of water and electricity in the flats, and threatened to set fire to the infamous block of high-rise apartments. This is not the first time resi-

thursdAY - 22 september 2011


south africa

briefs

dents – who have in the past been threatened with eviction – mounted violent protests against the on-going utilities supply problem in the flats.

carrying 13 passengers, crashed into the Mamotswiri peak mountain on their return flight to the Rand Airport after an airshow in Tzaneen.

Draft IDP for Cape Town unveiled

Dalai Lama visa still in processing

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille on Wednesday revealed the city’s draft integrated development plan for the next five years. The plan, like the previous one, will focus on housing and the provision of basic services, however de Lille said that innovating building methods were needed to speed up the delivery of housing. The plan will focus on creating jobs through the expanded public works programme.

Deputy minister of international relations and cooperation Marius Fransman told a media briefing on Wednesday that the Dalai Lama’s visa application to South Africa is still being processed. He added that no pressure is being put on South Africa in the matter and His Holiness will be advised in due course on the application. The Dalai Lama put in his visa application in August after he was invited to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s birthday.

Satawu: Reducing speed limit will not make roads safer The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union said in a statement on Tuesday that transport minister Sibusiso Ndebele’s idea to reduce the speed limit would not make roads safer. Other bodies such as the Automobile Association also backed Satawu’s call, adding that a longer-term South Africaspecific solution was needed. Western Cape transport minister Rob Carlisle said that the real problem in South Africa is that no one sticks to the speed limit, whether it is 100 or 120kph.

Speed limits to 100km/h? (Reuters)

Over R500,000 raised for Rheedendal bus accident victims The Rheedendal Bus Tragedy Fund, set up for the survivors and families of victims of the bus accident outside Knysna, has received more than R554,000 in donations. The fund was established by the local Herald newspaper, which has set up a committee to decide how to use the money for the benefit of the affected families.

Preliminary CAA report into Tzaneen airplane crash A preliminary report by the Civil Aviation Authority into the twin airplane crash in Tzaneen has not shed further light into the cause of the crash. According to the report, one of the planes hit the trees before crashing into the mountain. The two Albatross planes,

Report: Poor teacher performance to blame for dismal school results The Centre for Development and Enterprise released a report on Wednesday that blamed the poor performance of South Africa’s schooling system on the quality of teachers available. The report said that teachers were badly trained and managed, and that possibly most were underperforming. The country needs more 15,000 more teachers to keep up with the annual demand, according to the report.

thursdAY - 22 september 2011


south africa

ANCYL

As Mantashe warns of implosions, Youth League plans revolt in October

thursday - 22 september 2011


south africa

ANCYL

From the same young people who grandly claim to have influenced the revolts that overturned the Egyptian government and others, come plans of mass action on financial institutions as well as the country’s Presidency. CARIEN DU PLESSIS reports on the ANC Youth League’s plans for 27 and 28 October The ANC Youth League must have known that ANC secretarygeneral Gwede Mantashe expressed concerns about their “confrontational and aggressive posture against the ANC” during the ruling party’s national executive committee meeting last Friday and Saturday. On Sunday the League’s own national working committee, which met for the first time since the hearings against its leader Julius Malema began, decided they would have this big march on Thursday 27 and Friday 28 October (now did you seriously think the youth would sacrifice their weekend? Plus weekdays will cause maximum disruption to those with unhealthy employed tendencies). This will be well after the end of the hearings of Malema and fellow leaders (scheduled for 6 to 8 October) and by then, the League is sure to know whether they still have leaders to lead the protest march or not. Either way, they’ll almost certainly be angry – either about the expulsion of their leaders, or the trials and tribulations they’ve had to endure for seemingly no apparent reason. Whether the ANC’s leaders are scared, we’ll not know right now, as neither of the spokesmen Jackson Mthembu or Keith Khoza answered their phones on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: REUTERS

thursday - 22 september 2011


south africa

... the League “will lead mass action to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in Sandton to demand equal share in the country’s wealth, faster transformation of the economy and most importantly, jobs for the unemployed youth”. The action will start with “mass action and protests” at the Chamber of Mines in Marshalltown, in the Johannesburg CBD, to demand “Nationalisation of Mines and equal share in the country’s mineral resources” (sic). After that, the League “will lead mass action to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in Sandton to demand equal share in the country’s wealth, faster transformation of the economy and most importantly, jobs for the unemployed youth”. It’s unclear whether the youngsters would walk the 10-odd km to Sandton, or drive there, and whether they would raid any fridges for cheese first. After that, we’ll move to the Union Buildings for a night vigil (which might or might not be sponsored by Heineken, as this was the drink of choice for some party youngsters during their overnight rally for Malema before his hearing started), “which will culminate in the handing over of a memorandum to the Executive (that is President Jacob Zuma, whose face was on some of the T-shirts that

ANCYL

went up in flames after the Luthuli House night vigil) demanding free education, immediate abolishment of labour brokers, jobs for youth, better housing and sanitation for informal settlement dwellers and access to water”. In their statement the League said “it is high time that we mobilise all South Africa’s youth and progressive forces to demand jobs and equal share of South Africa’s wealth” as well as the less glamorous basics, like “free quality education, proper houses and sanitation, electricity and water”. Between now and then, the League’s people will spend the time they’re not in ANC hearings to meet “fraternal organisations” to persuade them to join this mass action. These will include unemployed youth, underprivileged students, “under-employed youth” (no, we’re not talking politicians, but waiters, petrol attendants, farm workers, receptionists), squatter camp dwellers, communities affected by service delivery protests, landless people and people without water and electricity. All in all, this could be a very explosive mix and the action would be concentrated in Johannesburg (none in provinces), and presumably after that in Pretoria; the Union Buildings would be a bit like on Cairo’s Tahrir Square, we imagine. In February the League’s then-deputy president Andile Lungisa (he is now a mere member of the organisation’s national executive committee) said the National Youth Development Agency’s (of which he is chairman and which employs an awful lot of Youth League people) youth festival in December “helped to free Egypt” and played a role in the Tunisian revolts and the separation of South Sudan.

thursday - 22 september 2011


south africa

He said many of the delegates which attended the youth festival were “at the forefront of the Egyptian revolt”. “I’m not saying we started the protests, but before the festival there were no protests in Egypt,” he said at the time. Mantashe, in his organisational report presented to the ANC’s national executive committee over the weekend, warned of an imminent implosion in the ANC and said internal divisions were greater now than before the party’s 2007 Polokwane conference (and at the time we all thought that the removal of former ANC president Thabo Mbeki was all the party needed to heal). “Kingmakers and bookmakers can only survive when the NEC is divided. Politics of blackmail get stronger when factions are growing stronger than the organisational structures,” he said. (Of course this includes Malema and his Photo: Phillip de Wet for iMaverick

ANCYL

buddies, who have been demanding that sports minister Fikile Mbalula replace Mantashe). Mantashe also warned about the ANC Youth League’s “confrontational and aggressive posture against the ANC”. “(This posture) can only systematically dent the image of the ANC in the eyes of the society.” He said the League’s personal attacks showed “narrow short-sightedness”. Recently, the League has also called for a “generational mix” in the ANC, but this has a down side. Mantashe, no longer a spring chicken himself, warned against ageism. “The membership is visibly growing younger and is perceived to be intolerant of the older members,” he warned.

Read more: 1. Zumanomics: Politics by number in Daily Maverick 2. Youth League to party even as its world is ending in Daily Maverick 3. Violence Inc: Luthuli House scenes a bitter taste of Polokwane fruits

thursday - 22 september 2011


planet grootes

black business council

Reporter's notebook: Black Business Council's back to fight another day When you hear the phrase “This is the BBC”, one mostly thinks of London – of empire fallen and influence that still reigns. But we’re also going to have to think of something else from now on as the BBC also means the Black Business Council. Revived as part of the falling out between Business Unity South Africa and some of the black organisations, the BBC sets sail in turbulent times. By STEPHEN GROOTES. To chair the BBC, its members recycled Patrice Motsepe, one of the main movers behind the Busa inception in the first place. On Wednesday, the BBC had its first pukka press conference. And everyone knows a press conference is an attempt at getting influence. To make your own empire. Right, let’s start with what we don’t know. In this case, we don’t know how the “black” in “Black Business Council” is defined either. But we’ll move on because classifying people hasn’t ended well in South Africa in the past.

I have not spent much time with Motsepe, but he gives the impression of someone who knows his way around the media. You know, like your average football club owner. It’s always nice to be in the hands of someone who knows what he’s doing. Which is presumably why he’s been asked to chair the BBC at this point. He himself gives every impression of being the reluctant leader, the general who led the revolution, brought peace, and went off into the Photo: Patrice Motsepe (REUTERS)

thursDAY - 22 september 2011


planet grootes

sunset back to his share portfolio. And then was called back. According to him “we shouldn’t give the impression of recycling past presidents” because “it sends a message that we don’t have confidence in people”. There is a political comment in there somewhere. But anyway, that reluctance does seem genuine. When it comes to the formation of the BBC, it’s an organisation of organisations. In other words, the groups that belong to it, like Nafcoc and Santaco, represent various companies that are owned, we presume, by people defined as “black”. And yes, the Black Management Forum is one of them. That’s the one that is not an organisation of organisations, but is an organisation of black managers, many of whom – or so we believe – are actually not business people at all, but rather managers in the public sector and that source of things not very efficient, parastatals. So their membership of a “business” organisation is, well, interesting. Their managing director, Nomhle NkumbiNdopu took great offence at a direct question on this issue. She claims that fact about the number of BMF members who work in the public sector is wrong, and that many of its members are actually in private business. But she didn’t give us an actual figure. And besides, she says, it has a “broad network of branches” in universities for “aspiring black managers”. Right then. It’s for the students. Okay, we get it. Talks are still planned between the BBC and Busa. So there is a chance that the two may reconcile, but we wouldn’t put too much money on it. It seems that things have gone too far, and the recriminations have started to really hurt. And it’s also a little early to really assess the

black business council

For a start, Motsepe is clearly a capitalist first, and a politician second – the opposite of Tokyo Sexwale if you like. power and influence of the BBC. It’s still brand just-out-of-the-box new, finding its feet and other similar metaphors. As it grows and gets more sure-footed, it may have very real power, so too would its reluctant founding leader. For a start, Motsepe is clearly a capitalist first, and a politician second – the opposite of Tokyo Sexwale if you like. We know this because he kept referring to how it would take investment to grow the economy and to create jobs. And crucial to that was that “the investor in London and New York must know that their money is safe here”. You wouldn’t catch anyone who has to face young Julius saying that in public. I asked him directly whether the BBC’s views on inflation targeting and the jobs versus decent work debate differed much from Busa’s. It sounds simple, but it’s a loaded question. One of the main reasons for the BMF walkout of BUSA was the argument around labour broking. Busa believes there’s a place for it, as you would expect business owners to do. The BMF sounded more like a former director-general of the labour ministry when it said that “labour broking goes against the soul of black business”. Motsepe’s answer was long, and takes a while to decipher. The mains points are that

thursDAY - 22 september 2011


planet grootes

Motsepe also comes across as one of those who believe that growth is more important than redistribution... “we should be like in the US” where they target “both inflation and jobs”. In other words, the Reserve Bank should have a dual mandate, rather than the single inflation-targeting mandate that it does now. Fair enough, he’s not the only person to say that. Then on the hugely complex and difficult political issue around jobs, well, it’s hard to know what he meant. But “we live in a global world and we must be competitive”. That sounds an awful lot like he’s on the “jobs” side of this debate. Motsepe also comes across as one of those who believe that growth is more important than redistribution; he gives the impression that he would vote for making the pie bigger for everyone. He says the economy is “going to change dramatically in the next 30 years”, that black people must take a leaf out of the Afrikaner’s book. In other words, we need more businesses created and owned by black people. As it would have been useless for Afrikaans people to complain that the economy was controlled by the English speakers in the 1950s, so it’s useless for black people to complain that business is controlled by white people now. And he doesn’t want those black-owned businesses to be any kind of threat to white business, he wants them to “work together and to compete”.

black business council

See, more capitalist than politician. Time and time again Motsepe came back, obliquely, to the issue of race. It was typified by this, “We need every white father and every black father, and every black woman and every white woman, when they go to bed, to feel I have a future in this country, my children will have a future here, they will not be discriminated against because they are the wrong colour”. It’s rather simple, but hugely powerful stuff. Especially if, like me, your son’s hair looks awfully blonde in the sun. It seems unlikely at the moment that peace is going to break out violently in the business arena. But things can change. It’s going to take a while for the BBC to find a common policy position on the big issues of the day. Hopefully, they will discover that on economic and business issues, they don’t differ with Busa at all. If that happens, we could find it’s almost more powerful as a pressure group than Busa was previously, because it will have a sort of political legitimacy. When it calls President Jacob Zuma, it would be Patrice Motsepe on the line, with a message from ANC voters who just happen to be richer than the common man. This opposed to an organisation that has really struggled to get its own internal racial politics right, and still looks uncomfortably white. Of course it could go the other way. Already the BMF has had an unsettling influence on events, far bigger than its actual membership should allow for. That is partly because of its leader, Jimmy Manyi. Motsepe comes across as a very different type of person. It should be fun watching them fight for the soul of the black business lobby. Grootes is an EWN reporter.

thursDAY - 22 september 2011


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south africa

jobs debate

Blood on the employment dance floor, and no one to clean it up The quarterly employment statistics released by Statistics South Africa suggest we’re in some serious trouble. Before blame gets heaped onto the government (although the five million jobs thing was a reach) it is worth considering that hardly any country in the world is hiring new people in huge numbers these days. By SIPHO HLONGWANE and PAUL BERKOWITZ According to the quarterly employment statistics document released by Statistics South Africa, for the period between April and June 2011, the increase in the number of jobs was a whopping 0,1%. “The June 2011 Quarterly Employment Statistics (QES) survey shows that the number of people employed in the formal non-agricultural sector of the South African economy increased by about 7,000 persons (+0,1%) from March 2011 (an estimated 8,289,000 employees) to June 2011 (an estimated 8,296,000 employees),” Stats SA said in its Key Findings Report. The year-on-year increase in employment in the non-agricultural sector was 2% between June 2010 and June 2011. In real terms, the number of people employed in this sector went up from 8,132,000 last year to 8,296,000 this year. However, this increase merely measures the

partial jobs recovery that’s been underway since early 2010. We’re still some way from the peak job figures measured by the QES (8,512,000 jobs, as recorded in late-2008, just before the global recession started to bite). The biggest contributors were the mining and the quarrying industry, which took on 18,000 more people in the 12-month period. Stats SA’s survey consisted of “approximately 20,208 private and public enterprises in the formal non-agricultural sector of the SA economy”. The Quarterly Employments Statistics Survey is the smaller of the two employment studies published by Stats SA. The heftier Labour Force Survey is the one that is followed more closely, as it includes the agricultural sector, informal Photo: REUTERS

thursDAY - 22 september 2011


south africa

employment and the self-employed. This follows on the reveal by the Adcorp Employment Index in August that there had been an annual job loss rate of 49,306 workers. “The public sector now accounts for all the job creation in the economy for 2011 as a whole,” said Loane Sharp, an Adcorp labour market analyst. In the month of August, while overall employment declined, the government expanded its workforce by 6.2%. All these statistics continue to make a mockery of the New Growth Path and its ambitious plan to generate five million jobs by 2020. Economic development minister Ebrahim Patel came out very strongly for the New Growth Path earlier in the year (well, it’s really his baby), a strong return to biggovernment economics after years of Mbeki laissez faire economics. The “five million jobs by 2020” sound bite was silly. It was based on a best-case scenario where not only all stakeholders in South Africa pulled together, but the world economy started taking on a much better shape. We appear to be much closer to a worst-case scenario, with the US and European economies barely treading water. US President Barack Obama’s biggest headache at the moment is the rising unemployment and lack of jobs. The quantitative easing measures taken by the US Federal Reserve helped keep the economy afloat, but didn’t lead to more jobs. The PIIGS countries in Europe are laying people off faster than you can say “necesito un trabajo”. Everybody is screwed. It’s worrying that the workforce in the public sector is expanding while the private

jobs debate

is shrinking. Don’t forget that the former is subsidised by the latter. It also doesn’t help that there seems to be poor inter-ministerial cooperation on the economic front. Patel is pulling in one direction, his partners in trade and industry, transport and labour don’t seem to be keen to jump onto that particular train. And somewhere in this mess, national planning minister Trevor Manuel is sitting quietly. That doesn’t mean that we’re headed to hell by way of Greece, though. South Africa did things right macro-economically under Manuel’s tenure as finance minister. After the explosion of the public debt in the 90s, Manuel managed to bring it down to manageable levels by the time he vacated the finance seat. The deficit as a percentage of GDP went down from 5.1% of GDP in 1993/94 to 0.5% in 2005/06. In that period, we also managed to service a lot of our foreign debt. This freed up a lot of money for other things for the country. We’re back to running budget deficits, but a growing public sector is still largely sustainable over the medium term. It’s hardly a desirable path to go down; further growth in public sector employment will mean less money to be spent on new schools and hospitals. And if the hoped-for recovery in the private sector doesn’t take place, we could be hurtling towards the toxic economies of the PIIGS a lot faster than we think.

Read more: 1. Key findings: P0277 - Quarterly Employment Statistics, June 2011 in Politicsweb 2. Employment grows sluggishly by 0,1% in SA in Financial Mail 3. Quarterly employment statistics: SA still far off 2008 peak in Daily Maverick

thursDAY - 22 september 2011


AFRICA

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


africa

briefs

Fighting in Libya continues as NTC to announce Cabinet within ten days Libya’s National Transitional Council claimed on Wednesday that it had captured most of Sabha, one of few towns in the country still under the control of ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi. The antiGaddafi fighters had earlier made a hasty retreat from Bani Walid after capturing parts of the town. In Gaddafi’s hometown, Sirte, fighters loyal to the ousted leader continue to keep NTC forces at bay. Meanwhile, the NTC has said it will make its much-delayed announcement of a Cabinet in seven to ten days.

Malawi civil society organisations opt for week-long stay-away The Malawi Stock Exchange and businesses were closed on Wednesday ahead of planned anti-government protests in the country. The government of President Bingu wa Mutharika had applied for an injunction earlier this month to stop the protects, however, that was lifted on Tuesday by the high court. Civil rights groups on Wednesday opted for a stayaway for the rest of the week instead of street protests as police threatened to crackdown on demonstrators. In July, 20 protestors were killed in anti-

Fighting in Libya continues (Reuters)

government protests and last month at an agricultural fair, Mutharika threatened “war” on protestors.

Tensions flare between locals and African migrants on Italian island Lamperdusa, an Italian island midway between Sicily and North Africa, has been the entry point into Europe for boatloads of mostly male Tunisian and Libyan migrants. Since the uprisings in Tunisia and Libya earlier this year, migrants have been coming in larger numbers to the island. Tensions erupted on Tuesday when around 1,200 migrants, who were scheduled to be deported, set fire to a holding centre on the island in protest. The migrants were then moved to a sports field where clashes with island residents broke out after residents threw stones.

Largest internal deployment of military in Nigeria since civil war According to Nigeria’s Daily Trust newspaper, the country’s military has been deployed in large numbers to maintain internal security in at least ten states around the country. The newspaper’s source said that this is the largest internal deployment since the country’s civil war in 1967. Nigeria’s southeast faces a spate of kidnapping; the oil-rich Niger Delta has been the source of fighting for decades and the north of the country faces sectarian violence. Islamist sect Boko Haram – responsible for the recent bombing on the UN buildings in Abuja – has also necessitated additional deployments.

thursdAY - 22 september 2011


africa

briefs in jail before being released on 31 March.

Thirty killed as rival groups in Central African Republic clash over diamonds

President of the Central African Republic Francois Bozize (Reuters)

Pirates on Africa’s west coast adapt after crackdown Following a crackdown by the navy and coast guard, Nigerian pirates have been pushed further out to sea, according to a Reuters report. The fall in piracy off the Nigerian coast has seen an increase in piracy off the coast of Benin in the Gulf of Guinea, the report said citing the International Maritime Bureau. The pirates’ move into deeper waters mirrors those of Somali pirates, and threatens shipping routes off the African west coast. Benin has in recent months requested international assistance to boost its patrols against piracy.

Kenyan aid-company driver kidnapped A driver for aid group Care Kenya has been hijacked and

kidnapped at the Kenya-Somali border, according to a BBC report. The Kenyan man was ordered by gunpoint to the back of the car he was driving. Three men then climbed in and drove off with him, according to the report. The kidnapping happened near Dadaab, a refugee camp where more than 1,000 people turn up daily according to a UN report.

Zimbabwe Facebook sedition case dismissed The case against Vikas Mavhudzi, a Zimbabwean man on trial for subversion for posting a message on Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangarai’s Facebook wall, has been dismissed after prosecutors failed to retrieve the message from the service. The message is alleged to have called for Zimbabwe to emulate the Egypt-style uprising against dictators. Mavhudzi had spent a month

The UN office in the Central African Republic has called for an immediate ceasefire between groups fighting for control of diamond mines in the town of Bria. According to Africa Report, 30 people have died over the past week due to the fighting between the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity and Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace, both dominated by rival ethnic groups.

Guinea sets parliamentary poll date despite controversy Guinea’s electoral commission as set 29 December as the date for the country’s parliamentary elections after failing to reach an agreement with the main opposition group. Opposition leader, Cellou Diallo, narrowly lost last year’s presidential election to President Alpha Condé. Diallo had vowed to stop the parliamentary vote from taking place saying Condé would rig it. The election commissioner, Lonsény Camara, was found guilty of ballot tampering in the 2010 presidential election but, much to Diallo’s consternation, has not been replaced.

thursdAY - 22 september 2011


africa

The West set to shaft African economies, again Africa’s economies have put up with a lot from the West: colonialism, neocolonialism, trade barriers, resource extraction, structural adjustment… the list goes on. And just as we’re overcoming all these obstacles, showing solid macroeconomic growth and a healthy response to the international financial crisis, it looks like the West might screw us over again, this time by mismanaging its own economies. By SIMON ALLISON.

economy

Reports released this week by the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank were encouraging about the state of Africa’s economies. The IMF predicted continued GDP growth for sub-Saharan Africa of 5.2% this year, and 5.8% in 2012, with low-income countries growing even faster. The AfDB commented on the resilience of African economies, which have weathered the international economic crisis remarkably well, although this is probably less about their inherent strength and more about their lack of involvement in the international economy to begin with. But Africa’s not immune from what’s happening in the rest of the world, and the continent’s finance ministers will be watching what happens in Greece very nervously indeed. “A faltering US or European recovery could undermine prospects for exports, remittances, official aid and private capital flows,” said IMF boss Robert Zoellick. The chief economist of the AfDB, Mthuli Ncube, was similarly concerned, warning that if the Greek crisis develops into another recession, Africa will be hit with a downturn in trade, falling commodity prices and difficulties acquiring credit and foreign aid. But Ncube maintained that Africa was still the place for smart investors who want high returns. “There’s enough cushion to do well even under the current circumstances... 25% [returns], that's really the minimum you're getting in Africa. Just look at the returns for mobile telephone companies,” he said.

Read more: Photo: REUTERS

1. Africa can weather crisis, but risks loom: AfDB, on Reuters Africa 2. Europe, US woes may pinch Sub-Saharan Africa growth, on Reuters Africa

thursday - 22 september 2011


africa

sadc

Consistency in South Africa’s foreignpolicy application may be its undoing South Africa’s foreign policy has been remarkably consistent in calling for negotiated settlements, despite the continued accusations that it is all over the place. The recent SADC diplomatic victory in Madagascar may be a vindication of this position, but focusing on ideology rather than the reality on the ground can bring problems when it (maybe) comes to implementation. By OSIAME MOLEFE. Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Marius Fransman urged members of the media to get the word out of the South Africa-led SADC-brokered Madagascar diplomatic victory, which looks set to end the crisis in the country following the coup in March 2009. His plea is understandable as such diplomatic victories for South Africa and African regional bodies have been few and far between.

“We are asking you to get into the public domain issues around the position on Madagascar in particular because we do believe it is a serious concern on stability or instability, and it’s not as if the process is over. It is now time for the implementation,” Fransman said on Tuesday at a Department of International Relations media briefing. Photo: Madagascar's Rajoelina (REUTERS)

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africa

Various permutations of this negotiatedsettlement model have formed the basis for South African foreign policy wherever there has been a leadership squabble on the continent.

The Madagascar roadmap – like the failed African Union roadmaps for Libya and Ivory Coast (and Zimbabwe) – is a peaceful negotiated settlement modelled in the style of South Africa’s landmark transition from apartheid to democracy. It calls for an all-inclusive process of transition to free and fair elections and the unconditional return of all political exiles. It may yet flop should the implementation falter, but for now SADC is taking a victory lap. Various permutations of this negotiatedsettlement model have formed the basis for South African foreign policy wherever there has been a leadership squabble on the continent. This unwavering position, says David Zounmenou, senior researcher at the Institute of Security Studies, may be what thwarts in South Africa’s approach to foreign policy on the continent. It is driven by an ideological position and not the reality on the ground. The other significant player in the Madagascar situation – France – has, on the other hand, varied its position according to

sadc

circumstances. In the Ivory Coast leadership battle between Alassane Ouattara and Laurent Gbagbo, for example, France recognised Ouattara as the winner of the presidential run-off and did not support the AU’s proposed negotiated settlement. In Madagascar, however, France congratulated “all stakeholders for their determination and sense of compromise”. The EU has echoed France’s sentiments in deferring to the authority of SADC and said in a statement: “The European Union remains available to give political and financial support for the transition process (in Madagascar) should the SADC and the African Union so request.” In both situations, a legitimate leader – Ouattara in Ivory Coast and Marc Ravalomanana in Madagascar – was denied their place as head of state, thus subverting the will of the people. So, taking a broad view, the situation on the ground that affects the variability of France’s foreign policy position, arguably, could have more to do with the scale French interests rather than peace, stability and the rule of law. France had a horse in the Ivory Coast race and not so much in Madagascar. Fransman said on Tuesday that the South Africa-led AU solution in Libya – and by extrapolation, solutions elsewhere on the continent – was not an easy process. “South Africa moves from the premise of our own reconciliation process when we had to look the oppressor in the eye and engage the oppressor. Many found it very difficult to do, but it is only when it is difficult to do it that true leadership will come forward,” he said. And given South Africa’s abundance of Nobel peace prize laureates, Fransman could just have a point.

thursDAY - 22 september 2011


africa

Darfur rebels force Khartoum to fight on two fronts iMaverick reported last week on the return of rebel leader Khalil Ibrahim to Darfur and his promise to escalate hostilities with Khartoum. Reports of new clashes indicate he’s making good on his threat already. By SIMON ALLISON.

Details are sketchy, as details always are when they come out of Darfur, and they took a little while to emerge. But reports indicate clashes erupted on Tuesday between the Sudanese government and one of the major Darfur rebel groups, the Justice and Equality Movement. JEM has in the last couple of Photo: REUTERS

darfur

weeks been bolstered by the return of its leader Khalil Ibrahim from exile in Libya, who brought with him caseloads of Gaddafi’s gold and weapons and promised to renew the fight against the Khartoum government, which has been accused of committing genocide against Darfuris of African extraction. The Sudanese army claims to have come off better in the recent clashes near the borders with Chad and Libya and says it has seized a truck loaded with fuel, weapons and ammunition looted from Libya. The new unrest in Darfur comes as the Sudanese government is ramping up its rhetoric on the contested oil-rich Blue Nile state of South Kordofan, which is supposed to have its own referendum to choose if it wants to join South Sudan or remain part of the north. Sudan’s vice president Ali Osman Taha was in the province this weekend: “We will cut off every hand that wants to extract it from the entity of larger Sudan and it will remain part of Sudan’s Islamic affiliation with all its strength, vigorous discourse and history,” he said, leaving little room for argument. Khartoum has been accused by international organisations and human rights groups of launching a brutal aerial campaign in parts of South Kordofan to intimidate potential opposition. Some analysts are concerned this is the prelude to the kind of violence perpetrated in Darfur.

Read more: 1. Darfur rebel leader returns home from Libya, spoiling for a fight on the Daily Maverick 2. Sudan forces clash with Darfur rebels: Army on Reuters Africa 3. Sudan vows to continue military campaign in Blue Nile in the Sudan Tribune

thursday - 22 september 2011


africa

us drones

america’s drones descend on Africa: be afraid, be very afraid According to the Washington Post, the USA is about to set up a “constellation” of secret air bases around the Horn of Africa, designed to ensure that American unmanned drone bombers can hit anywhere in the region, at any time. The move is aimed at the growing threat posed by al-Shabaab in Somalia, but if past drone offensives are anything to go by, there’ll be plenty of collateral damage. By SIMON ALLISON. “The Obama administration is assembling a constellation of secret drone bases for counterterrorism operations in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula as part of a newly aggressive campaign to attack al-Qaeda affiliates in Somalia and Yemen, US officials said,” reports the Washington Post. The paper goes on to outline how the US is establishing drone bases in Ethiopia and the Arabian Peninsula and reactivating a base in the Seychelles to complement existing facilities in Djibouti, creating a ring of drone bases around the region. This new initiative to put unmanned, heavily-armed drones in the sky is aimed

squarely at al-Shabaab in Somalia and alQaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. It’s a troubling development for a region that’s endured more than its fair share of violence and instability, but a strong indication that the United States – perhaps slightly bored after disengaging from Iraq and preparing for withdrawal from Afghanistan – is focusing its attention on the threats posed by the militant Islamist groups, otherwise known as terrorist organisations. The United States has used drones with increasing frequency over the last few years, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, Photo: REUTERS

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africa

Drones make good sense from a military perspective, allowing the US to launch bombing raids on targets in absolute safety; the most severe possible injury their personnel can sustain is a stubbed toe in the control room

but most prevalently in Pakistan. They’re a usual sight in the badlands of the Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier province; the automated predators go after al-Qaeda or Taliban suspects, dropping their precision-guided munitions from a vast height at the touch of a button from some uniformed controller sitting comfortable in a military base somewhere in Nevada. They don’t always hit the intended target. According to Pakistani newspaper The News, 270 such attacks have been carried out on Pakistan soil since 2005, a massive aerial bombardment campaign condoned by no UN resolution. It’s hard to measure their exact impact because of the frequency of the attacks and their clandestine nature, with estimates of the bodycount ranging from hundreds to thousands. But most analysts are agreed that a significant percentage of these deaths are civilians. The Pakistani Ministry of Human Rights is in the process of reporting the issue to the UN, and describes the drone attacks as increasingly resembling extra-judicial killings. The UN itself has been critical of

us drones

their deployment, saying they undermine international human rights, and cause hundreds of civilian casualties. But drones make good sense from a military perspective, allowing the US to launch bombing raids on targets in absolute safety; the most severe possible injury their personnel can sustain is a stubbed toe in the control room. Interestingly, the unmanned bombers don’t fall under the auspices of the US Air Force but rather are controlled by the Central Intelligence Agency. This makes sense given that drones are completely useless without good intelligence of where exactly potential targets are, but also means the drone program is shrouded in secrecy and almost completely unaccountable. While US bases in the Seychelles and Djibouti are nothing knew, a base in Ethiopia has the potential to severely disrupt the politics of the Horn of Africa. An Ethiopian base would allow the US to attack not only Somalia but also surrounding countries such as Sudan and Chad, while at the same time legitimising the oppressive government of Meles Zenawi. It’s early days yet, of course; the bases haven’t been built yet, and the drones aren’t flying. But when they do, they’ll change the way that war is waged in Africa, and be a potent extension of US military power into the heart of the continent. And they’ll kill, the guilty and the innocent alike. Humans find it hard enough to discriminate between the two; for machines, it’s impossible.

Read more: 1. US assembling secret drone bases in Africa, Arabian peninsula, officials say in the Washington Post 2. As drone war ramps up, so does criticism of it on Global Post

thursday - 22 september 2011


WORLD

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


world

GERMANY Angela Merkel has the weight of the eurozone on her shoulders at the moment. The German Chancellor was scrambling to perform damage control after Germany's economy minister said this weekend that Greece would likely default on its debts. Merkel said that she had no reason to believe that Greece was not getting its public finances on track. There has been concern over the possibility that Greece might have to leave the euro, which would be a bit of an economic melodrachma. AFGHANISTAN The Taliban is at it again, attacking the US embassy and NATO HQ in Kabul on Tuesday. The insurgents took over a nearby building and fired rockets into the compounds in Kabul's diplomatic quarter. It is understood that the militants were wearing suicide-bomb vests. As of Wednesday morning the death tally was up to 12, including 2 civilians, four policemen and six insurgents as troops fought back; the attackers were holed up in a multi-storey building from where gunshots could be heard late on. Hillary Clinton said that the US would do everything they could to combat those responsible for the "cowardly attack".

briefs

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal (Reuters)

IRAN The two American hikers arrested in Iran two years ago for straying across the border without permission have been granted bail. Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, both of whom were convicted on suspicion of spying for the US, will pay $500,000 each in order to be released, possibly in the next few days. Iranian President Ahmadinejad said the bail offer was a "humanitarian gesture", which is very kind after having kept them rotting in prison for two years for no reason. USA President Obama continues his roadshow to sell his jobs bill to the American people, on Tuesday visiting Ohio. He is on a mission to convince Congress to pass his $447 billion American Jobs Act. In Ohio he's expected to especially stress his proposals for modernis-

ing public schools, on which he's prepared to spend $25 billion. After Ohio he will trundle on to North Carolina on Wednesday. EGYPT Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan met with Egyptian leaders on Tuesday to strengthen strategic ties and, let's not kid, have a good bitch about Israel. Until recently, relations between Turkey and Egypt were quite cool, while relations between Israel and the two countries were reasonably warm. The Arab Spring and Palestine's upcoming UN bid for statehood have served to change the landscape though, in addition to the Egyptian public's anger with Israel over recent attacks on security forces. It's suggested that Erdogan's anti-Israel rhetoric may serve to whip up antiIsrael sentiment in Egypt even further.

thursday - 22 september 2011


world

briefs

Pope Benedict XVI (Reuters)

USA Two US senators have asked President Obama to sell 66 fighter jets to Taiwan, despite the fact that this sale would anger China. The senators, John Cornyn and Robert Menendez, say that under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, Washington is obliged to sell them the planes in order to ensure that Taiwan can defend itself. The precedent here is that the US sold Taiwan $6.4 billion worth of arms in 2010, which similarly displeased China. China's major beef with it all is that they see Taiwan as part of its territory. Taiwan, unfortunately, doesn’t agree. AUSTRALIA Obama's going Down Under. The White House has confirmed that the US President will visit Australia for the first

time in November. He was meant to visit twice before, but both times a Washington crisis had scuppered his travel plans. His visit is set to mark the 60th anniversary of the ANZUS defence alliance between the two countries. The White House described Australia as "one of the United States' closest allies", which seems like an obvious attempt to make them feel special. YEMEN It looks like Yemeni President Ali Saleh may finally be on his way out. The Yemeni state news agency has reported that he has authorised his vice president to sign a power transition pact with the opposition. The opposition warned against counting any chickens, but the decree "irrevocably" empowers

Vice President Hadi to sign on Saleh's behalf. Saleh can't sign it himself because he is recuperating in Saudi Arabia after being wounded in a bomb attack, one of many expressions of frustration with his 33-year rule. HOLLAND A group of victims of abuse by Catholic priests has asked the International Criminal Court to charge the Pope and top Vatican officials with crimes against humanity. The group, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), has filed over 20,000 pages of documents with the court in The Hague. Neither Benedict XVI nor the Vatican spokesman has commented yet, and the International Criminal Court has not yet answered the question of whether they have jurisdiction to prosecute the Pope.

thursday - 22 september 2011


world

Obama: Palestinians deserve a state – but not now In his address to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, US President Barack Obama emphasised America’s unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security, pouring cold water on the Palestinian bid to be recognised as a state. By KHADIJA PATEL

Obama told the United Nations that there was no substitute for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. He deemed the Palestinian bid for statehood a “short cut” and stressed, "Peace is hard." Obama admitted that Palestinians do indeed deserve their own statehood – but added that statehood could not be earned through the vote scheduled later this

palestine statehood

week. Obama urged the Palestinians to commit instead to direct negotiations with Israel. In order to avoid an American veto of the Palestinian statehood bid in the Security Council, the Americans are reportedly pursuing a plan to delay the vote by placing it under review. The review could take months, or even years, thus rescuing the Americans from the pitfalls of a veto in the Security Council. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was photographed with his head in his hands and his shoulders slumped in disappointment as he listened to Obama speak, perhaps realising that his efforts had indeed met an impermeable wall. After Obama’s speech, a senior Palestinian official, Nabil Shaath, told reporters that the Palestinians would not back down from their bid, despite Obama’s entreaties. "We will cordially and respectfully tell him ‘no’," he said. The Palestinians, however, will now give the Security Council "some time" to mull the statehood claim before they take it to the UN General Assembly. "Any delay will be part of the procedure," Shaath said, warning however that if there was an "undue delay," the Palestinians would turn to the General Assembly and abandon the procedures of the Security Council. By turning to the General Assembly, the Palestinians will seek status as a non-member observer state in the United Nations, allowing them to join the International Criminal Court and sign other international treaties. When he took the podium, French President Nicholas Sarkozy called on Palestinians to refrain from pursuing unilateral action. He called instead for the General Assembly to grant the Palestinians “observer status” regardless, and then proceed to negotiations to iron out the more contentious issues of borders and security.

Read more: 1. Obama, at U.N., Explains Rationale for Opposing Palestinian Statehood Bid in The New York Times 2. Obama to U.N.: Stay out of Palestinian state talks in USA Today 3. Europe's diluted solution to Palestinian aspirations in BBC News

thursday - 22 september 2011


world

Scientists face jail for not predicting earthquake Tuesday saw the first day of the court case in which six Italian scientists will stand trial for failing to predict the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake with sufficient accuracy. Their prosecution has attracted outrage from the scientific community for its potential to set a legal precedent. By REBECCA DAVIS.

seismology

They’re calling it “science on trial”, but the effects of the court case will extend beyond symbolism if the six scientists are found guilty. The charge they face is one of manslaughter, and they’re looking at up to 15 years in jail. And then they’ll still have to deal with the civil case being brought against them by plaintiffs including the L’Aquila council, which is asking for damages of €50 million. Make no mistake: the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake was a devastating tragedy for the Italian city. It caused structural damage amounting to €4 billion, killed 309 people, and left 40,000 homeless. Now those parties hardest hit are casting around for a target for their anger, and have settled on the six scientists and one government official who made up the Serious Risks Commission, tasked with assessing the potential risks of an earthquake. The panel is accused by the prosecution of “having provided an approximate, generic and ineffective assessment of seismic activity risks”. The scientists’ defence is that there is simply no way to accurately predict earthquakes, even in an area known for seismic activity. The scientific community has rallied to support them, with the American Association for the Advancement of Science writing an open letter to Italy’s president last year, warning that if the precedent was set, it would likely have a hugely inhibiting effect on scientific research and publication. The trial has been adjourned, so we’ll have to wait until October to see whether science will triumph over retribution.

Read more: Photo: REUTERS

1. Scientists in the dock, in the Economist 2. Scientists who failed to predict deadly Italian earthquake that killed 300 go on trial, in the Daily Mail

thursday - 22 september 2011


world

syria

The end is nigh for Syria’s Assad – and the Middle East as we know it Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted by the state-run Anatolia news agency on Wednesday saying he was no longer in contact with Syria's leadership. Following Erdogan’s tête-àtête with US President Barack Obama, Turkey is now also considering slapping sanctions against its neighbour and one-time friend. By KHADIJA PATEL “We never wanted things to arrive at this point, but unfortunately, the Syrian administration has forced us to take such a decision,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is reported to have said. Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has been left with just one friend in the region – Iran. The US knows better than to goad Iran into a fight, but in Syria the beginnings of a war loaded with Iranian interests is ready to erupt.

Turkey is Syria’s neighbour and an important trade partner, and Erdogan has enjoyed a close friendship with Assad. When Syrian security forces turned their guns against antigovernment protesters, it was left to Turkey to work hard to search for a diplomatic solution to the crisis. The Turkish foreign minister visited Photo: Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Syria's President Bashar al-Assad share a laugh during al-Assad's arrival at Bodrum Airport in the southwestern Turkish resort of Bodrum August 5, 2008. REUTERS

Thursday - 22 september 2011


world

syria

Assad insists he is battling an armed insurrection, and while Turkey has conceded that security forces are indeed coming under fire, Assad has continued the brutal crackdown against antigovernment demonstrations. Dmascus, imploring Assad to lay down his weapons, engage in open and honest dialogue with the opposition and speed up democratic reforms. Despite numerous assurances from Assad that he would indeed end the violence and begin to reform the Syrian government, reports of violence have continued unabated. Assad insists he is battling an armed insurrection, and while Turkey has conceded that security forces are indeed coming under fire, Assad has continued the brutal crackdown against anti-government demonstrations. On Wednesday the UN announced that the death toll now exceeds 2,700. This figure translates to an addition of 100 in just one week. For its part, the Syrian government refutes these figures. According to the Syrian government, it is the security forces that have sustained the greatest casualties. Turkish government officials, playing mediator between Assad and horrified Western governments, have been forced to abandon Assad. In the Turkish view, Assad has lost any claim to credibility. US President Barack Obama has called repeatedly for Assad to step down in the last two months. So far, Assad has defied Obama, clinging onto power and according to reports, shooting his way through Syria to keep him there. For now, Assad appears to have won the

diplomatic tussle through sheer tenacity, but the US is now certain that Assad is on his way out of power. Assad now has very few friends to call on for help. In addition to Turkey, Saudi Arabia has also parted ways with Assad. The European Union has also imposed sanctions against Syria, leaving Assad in the onerous position of having to look for a new customer for 90% of his oil exports. Syria has been backed into a dark, lonely diplomatic corner. With few friends to count on, Assad’s woes are compounded by his own army. Syrian armed forces are said to be exhausted by the ongoing crackdown. It also remains to be seen whether the entire army will indeed remain loyal to Assad. The army’s middle and lower ranks are drawn from the country’s Sunni majority which make up 75% of the population. Should these forces begin to defect and turn their guns instead on their superiors in the army that are drawn from the Alawite minority from which Assad hails, Syria will be embroiled in a civil war. With it, the entire region may dramatically implode. Western governments have been cautious in calling for Assad’s resignation, knowing well that a disruption to the status quo in Syria could have ramifications for Israel,

Thursday - 22 september 2011


world

The draft Security Council resolution against Syria has been circulated for some time now but Russia has so far stood in the way of its implementation. Lebanon, Iraq and Iran. Assad however has proved tough to back. He is now faced with a very real threat of UN sanctions. The draft Security Council resolution against Syria has been circulated for some time now but Russia has so far stood in the way of its implementation. Syrian activists in exile report that in the restive regions of Syria, anger has now turned towards Russia which is seen as an impediment towards international intervention in the country’s crisis. Like China, Russia abstained from voting on Resolution 1976 that opened up Libyan skies to foreign intervention. But is Russia really a friend of Syria? Russia and Syria are reported to boast trade ties that are worth approximately $20 billion. This is certainly no small change. Russia has financial interests tied into the survival of Assad. Russia will seek first to secure its interests, much like China does, but Russia is also a staunch critic of Western meddling in the domestic affairs of others.

syria

On the same footing with Russia and China is South Africa – any Syrian related action in the UN Security Council may face a three-pronged opposition. South Africa, however, has most recently demonstrated a curious fickleness in its policies, and may well be persuaded to take a firmer stance against Assad. China and Russia may choose to abstain from voting as they did on Libya, but if sanctions against Assad are approved by the UN, it may still be some time before its effects are felt in the streets of Damascus. As long as Assad can still count on Iran, he will feel emboldened. Iran is widely believed to be providing financial and material support in recent months but even Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has increased his calls on Syria to end the violence and implement political reforms. Early last month, Ahmedinejad is reported to have said, “Regional nations can assist the Syrian people and government in the implementation of essential reforms and the resolution of their problems. A military solution is never the right solution”. Iran seems to understand well the implications of a war in Syria – implications it may not have the appetite for right now.

Read more: 1. Why Russia is blocking international action against Syria in The Christian Science Monitor 2. U.S. Is Quietly Getting Ready for Syria Without Assad in The New York Times 3. Syrian unrest: The exiles keeping the uprising online in BBC News Magazine

Thursday - 22 september 2011


world

The camps where North Korean dissidents go to die For years rumours have circulated about the existence of concentration camps in North Korea – camps that Kim Jong Il's regime deny exist. But new Google Image satellite pictures reveal beyond doubt that the death camps are horrifyingly real. By REBECCA DAVIS.

Photo: Kim Jong Il

norht korea

Stories about the camps have been emerging for some time. In February 2004, The Observer ran a chilling account of Camp 22, North Korea's largest concentration camp, home to an estimated 50,000 of the 200,000 or more prisoners spread over at least 12 camps. Among the terrible scenes at Camp 22, revealed by the former chief of management at the camp, was the existence of glass gas chambers where whole families were enclosed and then gassed to death while scientists took notes of the effects. Other chemical experiments the whistleblower reported included feeding poisoned cabbages to female prisoners, who vomited blood until they died. The same former manager claimed that prison guards also stamped on the necks of babies born in prison to kill them immediately. The camps are said to hold political dissidents and Christians, despised and feared by Kim Jong Il. The dictator reportedly believes that when a dissident is arrested, three generations of their family must be detained too, in order to prevent the contagion spreading. North Korea has consistently denied the existence of these camps. But the new satellite images have been identified by the South Korean Unification Ministry as unmistakably confirming that the camps are a reality. Similar pictures emerged a decade ago but were too blurry for concrete identification. Amnesty International has said that, comparing the two sets of images, it is clear the camps are growing. A South Korean delegation arrived in North Korea yesterday to discuss peace and human-rights issues. It's assumed that the camps will be high on the agenda.

Read more: 1. Hell on earth', in the Daily Mail

thursday - 22 september 2011


BUSINESS

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


business

briefs

South Africa The JSE All Share Index ended flat at 31,341. Goldfields, the continent’s second-largest producer of bullion, gained 1.7% after announcing it had made the second payment on its option to buy 60% of an undeveloped Philippino mine. Imperial Holdings fell 5.4% together with Woolworths Holdings which fell 5%, making up the biggest losers in the day’s trading. SABMiller has agreed to pay AUD $5.10 per Fosters’ share, in a takeover deal valuing the Australian brewer at AUD $9.9 billion, and making the London-based South African brewer the major player in the Australian beer market. After rejecting initial advances, the bid by SABMiller went hostile when they bypassed the board of directors and pursued shareholders directly. The initial offer was AUD $4.90 per share. UK Several hundred South African former miners have launched court proceedings against Anglo American in London, the latest in a wave of lawsuits and compensation claims over lung disease. Law firm Leigh Day & Co, which has filed similar claims in South Africa, said on Wednesday it had begun proceedings in the High Court on behalf of more than 450 miners

UBS CEO Oswald Gruebel (Reuters)

who say they are suffering from silicosis and silico-tuberculosis – lung diseases associated with dust inhalation – after working in the company's gold mines, which could now cost the industry billions in lawsuits. Consumer confidence fell to a four-month low in August as British outlook for the economy grew more pessimistic. An index compiled by the Nationwide Building Society saw the rating fall to 48, its lowest level since April this year. The CEO of UBS Oswald Gruebel, ex-home to a Nigerian rogue trader, is expected to face pressure from the board of directors and shareholders to reduce risk and total exposure

in the investment bank. A nottoo-surprising reaction following the discovery of $2.3 billion unauthorised trading losses last week. US Even as the US continues to offer the lowest mortgage rates in 40 years, average Americans are still unable to purchase their own homes without family assistance. Credit records for individuals have been tarnished since the economic downturn and despite the low interest rates, conditions for bank-approved loans remain stringent. Annual sales in the US are only expected to reach five million this year, way off the seven million peak of 2005.

thursdAY - 22 september 2011


business

briefs

HP CEO Leo Apotheker (Reuters)

HP’s board are set to meet and discuss the future of CEO Leo Apotheker, after just 11 months in the hot seat. Since joining the PC manufacturer, sales targets have been cut three times and the share price has fallen 47%. Shares in Oracle rose the most in a year after the software maker reported earnings that beat analysts’ estimates. Profits surged on increased spending on business database programs and applications. CEO Larry Ellison has spent $40 billion on acquisitions since 2005 that have since helped lift the company’s combined earnings. PepsiCo, the maker of the cola soft drink and snack foods, is set to separate the two divisions, and looks set to unlock 49% of value to shareholders.

PepsiCo is the world’s largest manufacturer of snack foods, and second largest cola drink producer. Europe Greek bonds fell for a third day as the EU said officials would have to return to Athens next week after telephone negotiations failed to produce a solution to the country’s debt crisis. Conversely, yields on German bonds dropped to record lows as the prices surged on demand for secure assets. Asia The continued rally in bullion has seen gold vaults struggling to keep up demand for custodian space as investors continue to horde the metal. Demand for the physical commodity has risen to

such an extent that one-year-old vault services are already running out of space. Major banks in the region, like Barclays and Deutsche, are already planning the erection of further facilities to keep up with demand. Anti-tobacco lobbyists are struggling to make inroads in a market that houses a third of the world’s smokers. China, with 320 million smokers, has a culture of promoting tobacco usage and even sponsoring schools where children are exposed to the concept of tobacco as an aspirational product. A ban on smoking in public spaces, introduced in May, has seen little enforcement and light penalties handed out to those few that are actually prosecuted. Each year around one million Chinese people die from smoking related illnesses.

thursdAY - 22 september 2011


business

SABMiller finally gets foothold in Asia-Pacific with Foster’s purchase After some last-minute drama and posturing from the Foster’s bigwigs, SABMiller has finally got its hands on the Australian brewery, and with it a big footprint not only on the continent, but the Pacific as well. It’ll also serve as a nice addition to SABMiller’s expanding Asia presence. By SIPHO HLONGWANE

beer, inc.

On 21 September 2011, SABMiller finally convinced shareholders of the Foster’s Group brewing company to part with their shares at A$5,40 (R43,57) a pop. In total, SABMiller will shell out R79,9 billion once the deal gains a 50% shareholder majority by number, translating into a 75% control of stock. The deal gives SABMiller at least half of Australia’s beer market, according to Bloomberg. “The deal makes strategic and financial sense for SAB,” said Simon Hales, an analyst at Barclays Capital in London said to Bloomberg. “It’ll be taken well even though the headline offer price is slightly more than we would have hoped.” Foster’s and SABMiller have had months of bickering over what the Australian company was worth exactly. SABMiller first tried to negotiate with the Foster’s management, who did whatever the Australian equivalent of laughing one out of the building is, and told the bidders to get lost. SABMiller then went to Defcon 3, and took the matter to the shareholders with a A$4,90 per share offer. That too was rebuffed, before a deal was struck which gave shareholders A$5,10 per share, plus 30 cents a share as part of a previously announced capital return and a 13.25-cent final dividend. The previous offer made no mention of dividends.

Read more: Photo: REUTERS

1. SABMiller to buy Foster’s after raising bid in Bloomberg 2. Foster’s agrees to takeover bid from SABMiller in The Australian

thursday - 22 september 2011


business

gambling

Online gambling company Full Tilt ‘a full Ponzi scheme’ Online gambling site Fult Tilt Poker took $440 million (R3.38 billion) of its customers’ money to pay big fees to its board members, according to a US state attorney. “Full Tilt defrauded players by misrepresenting that their funds on deposit in online gambling accounts were safe, secure, and available for withdrawal at any time,” said the US Attorney for Southern Manhattan, Preet Bharara. “In reality, Full Tilt Poker did not maintain funds sufficient to repay all players, and in addition, the company used player funds to pay board members and other owners more than $440 million since April 2007.” Board members include famous poker players (a bit of a misnomer, that) Howard Lederer and Christopher “Jesus” Ferguson. In April, Bharara filed a forfeiture and civil-money-laundering complaint against Full Tilt. It has now been amended to include a fraud charge against board members Lederer, Ferguson, Rafael Furst and Full Tilt CEO Ray Bitar. who did not maintain enough cash in the company reserves to pay back clients. Online gambling has been illegal in the US since 2006, though it continues under different guises.

Online gambling has been illegal in the US since 2006, but it has continued under various guises. Now the feds have found a way to come down on popular website Full Tilt Poker, from a hundred miles away. The site’s owners have been running it as a Ponzi scheme and will face the wrath of a US federal investigation. By SIPHO HLONGWANE.

Read more: 1. Feds call Full Tilt Poker a massive Ponzi scheme, in Forbes 2. Full Tilt Poker busted, in iAfrica

thursday - 22 september 2011


business

Miners injured in West Rand accident A small earth tremor deep underground near Carletonville injured five miners in the Blyvoor mine. This is the same mine that owners are trying to offload onto a Chinese investor. By SIPHO HLONGWANE.

Read more: 1. Several miners hurt at DRD Gold’s Blyvoor mine, in Reuters Africa 2. DRDGold confirms five injured at Blyvoor, in BusinessLive

mining

On Tuesday at around midday, a small seismic activity occurred some 2.7 kilometres underground near Carletonville, west of Johannesburg. The 3.4-magnitude earth tremor resulted in the injury of five miners, who were rushed to hospital via helicopter. The incident occurred in No. 5 Shaft of the Blyvoor mine. That is about all we know about it so far. DRDGold, the company with a majority stake in Blyvoor, didn’t say how the miners concerned got injured. The National Union of Mineworkers confirmed that five miners had been rushed to hospital following the incident. In June, DRDGold announced that it would suspend financial assistance to Blyvoor in lieu of business-rescue proceedings in order to sell the mine. Blyvoor had been suffering from falling production and escalating cost. The CEO of DRDGold, Neil Pretorius, told Reuters that he had unsuccessfully approached several Chinese investors in hopes of unloading the company's 74% stake in Blyvoor. “Out of the 12 companies I saw in China, most said 'no' because of the high perceived political risk and secondly also the high costs of mining gold in South Africa,” Pretorius said. “China's resource-focused investment push into Africa has not tapped gold producers very much but a Chinese consortium has taken steps to take a majority stake in Australia and South Africa-listed Gold One International,” Moneyweb said.

Thursday - 22 september 2011


business

South African monetary policy

To cut or not to cut, that is the Reserve Bank’s question The Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is meeting this week to decide whether to keep interest rates steady or cut them in the face of a worsening economic outlook. PAUL BERKOWITZ looks at the arguments for and against a rate cut and decides that, ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what the MPC does if the country as a whole isn’t prepared to face up to much bigger problems. The Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee is holding its bimonthly meeting this week. These meetings usually stretch over two days and culminate in a press statement from the Reserve Bank governor. The governor will typically hold court for about an hour, summarising the macroeconomic outlook for the country, the forecast risks to growth, inflation and the exchange rate, and then deliver the money shot (pardon the pun) to the throng of financial journalists in attendance: what decision the MPC has taken on the repurchase (repo) rate.

The Bank’s repo rate is the rate at which the Bank lends money to the commercial banks, and it affects the cost of credit for the entire economy. The commercial banks will fix their prime rates at 350 basis points (3.5 percentage points) above the repo rate, which in turn will influence the bond rate on property, the overdraft rate on credit cards, the interest paid on deposits and so on. Everyone with debt to pay off (i.e. most South African adults) or some form of interest income (too few South Photo: REUTERS

thursday - 22 september 2011


business

South African monetary policy

In the past few weeks the global economy has gone into meltdown faster than Nonhle Thema’s Twitter feed, prompting speculation that another rate cut could be in the offing. Africans) has a vested interest in the MPC’s decision. The repo rate is currently at its lowest level in decades. Most of the talking heads in finance, until recently, had predicted that the repo rate would be left unchanged for a few more months before rising in response to higher consumer inflation. However, in the past few weeks the global economy has gone into meltdown faster than Nonhle Thema’s Twitter feed, prompting speculation that another rate cut could be in the offing. World-renowned economist Dr Nouriel Roubini is claiming that a second global recession is already here and the evidence of this is pretty irrefutable. The economies of the US and much of Europe are struggling under decades-high unemployment, poor growth and few prospects on the horizon. The South African economy has barely recouped the output losses sustained during the 2008 recession and it has definitely not created enough new jobs to compensate for those lost during 2008 and 2009. What should the Reserve Bank do? In my opinion, that’s the wrong question to ask. The right question is: what *can* the Reserve Bank do? The answer to that question is “precious little”.

What would a rate cut achieve at this point? It wouldn’t create new jobs and investment, because investment decisions are made over a longer time horizon than a few months, or even a couple of years. The past few months have seen jobs and businesses destroyed, particularly in the manufacturing sector. This destruction is due to a number of factors which include: a microeconomic framework that is hostile to small businesses; weak local and global demand for manufactured goods, and a gentlemen’s agreement between big business and organised labour to enforce wage increases that smaller firms cannot afford to absorb. Lower interest rates also won’t do much to spur consumer demand and domestic consumption, which was the engine of growth during the consumption-led boom of 20042007. The rules have fundamentally changed since then. The property market is in the toilet. Households are busy paying off the debt they accumulated during those years of plenty. The commercial banks appear to be shell-shocked by the bad debt cycle and don’t want to lend – a prominent estate agent was lamenting this fact on radio just this week, claiming that potential borrowers aren’t being granted bonds even in cases where they’re willing and able to secure a 30% deposit.

thursday - 22 september 2011


business

The MPC meetings have become a very sophisticated bread-andcircuses exercise for the economically literate. Ironically, just as there is little upside to cutting rates, there’s also little to lose. Fears of inflation are a bit overdone: CPI has ticked higher in recent months but most of the inflationary pressures are supply-side related. Higher administered prices, petrol prices and food prices are the chief threats to the inflation target, and these aren’t affected by lower interest rates. There’s also little evidence – at this stage – of any second or third-round pressures from higher fuel prices or wage settlements. Could lower interest rates lead to a weaker rand and subsequent imported inflation? In theory, yes, but the rand has already lost some 15% of its value in the past month as foreign investors have sold off South African assets and fled back to their home countries. How much worse can it get at this point and how conclusively could you link any further weakness to a rate cut? Since South Africa adopted the orthodox

South African monetary policy

monetary policy model of inflation targeting via a fixed, centralised interest rate, we’ve fallen into the same trap of other countries. We have expected too much from monetary policy and we’ve downplayed the role of sensible fiscal and microeconomic reforms. We’ve become confused about the role of inflation targeting in achieving economic growth; we’ve pretended that it’s a sufficient condition to achieve growth when we should have known that it’s a necessary, but not sufficient, condition. So we repeat this media circus every two months, reading the tea leaves of the forward rate agreement curve and scouring the media for scraps of economic data that might divine in which direction interest rates are likely to move. We place little office bets on the outcome of the MPC meeting and we calculate how much money we can save on the house and car repayments every month if Ms Marcus delivers an early Christmas present. The MPC meetings have become a very sophisticated bread-and-circuses exercise for the economically literate. Unfortunately, just like their lowbrow World Cup/Big Concerts counterparts, we wake up the following morning to the same economic and societal problems we’ve been ignoring for so long.

Read more: 1. A Comparison of Jibar Futures & Forward Rate Agreements (FRAs), JSE publication

Sources: 1. The repo rate over the last four years, Reserve Bank website 2. The rand-dollar exchange rate (30 days), x-rates.com

thursday - 22 september 2011


business

google

Google+ opens up to an uncaring public If you went onto Google’s front page yesterday, you would have seen what was undoubtedly the least attractive “doodle” ever. The arrow pointing “forlornly” into the corner is the perfect metaphor for everything that is wrong with Google+. By SIPHO HLONGWANE Google is famous for, among so many other things, bringing a little whimsy into our otherwise dreary existences with their logo doodles. Some of them are quite good. The one celebrating the 112th birthday of Argentine novelist Jorge Luis Borges on 24 August was arguably their best still one, and the video doodle for Freddie Mercury’s 65th birthday was nothing short of spectacular. Google does fun and interesting and likeable. What they don’t do is pointless, dowdy or just plain annoying. All the pejorative adjectives could be easily appendaged to the front of the word “Google+”. On 20 September, Google finally opened up the social network that it had only slowly rolled out since its birth in June. The soft launch had been so it could iron out any potential issues before allowing the great unwashed in. Not that there is anything wrong about that – they took their jolly time with opening up Gmail. However, this is Google+, a wholly different creature to the web-based email service.

When Google announced that it would be launching another social network – after Google Wave and Google Buzz proved to be busts – the news was met mostly with cynicism. For a company that revolutionised the web through search, web email, maps, and other things we now take for granted, it has proven to be astonishingly rubbish at social networks. MySpace, Facebook and Twitter were all significant milestones in the evolution of social networking. Nobody is sure what the “next thing” is and the online world tends to hop onto bandwagons only when it is ready. What Google has consistently failed to do is to lead the field in social networking. Admittedly, Google does not lack bravery. It tried to combine instant messaging, email and group chat in Google Wave, an idea that proved to be ahead of even the company that designed it. Google Wave was a big mess. There was nothing really original about Google Wave, and Google+ falls into the same trap. Google simply took what worked for other

thursDAY - 22 september 2011


business

Which isn’t to say that nobody will find anything useful to do with Google+. It has very clever collaboration tools like Hangouts, which could be used for conference calls and the like. products, and combined them into one social network. The results haven’t been flattering so far. After the initial spike in the number of users, the graph has flatlined. “Google's new social network had been seeing a jump in weekly visits, rising from 200,000 the week ending July 2 to 484,000 the following week and then hitting a peak of 1.8 million the week ending July 16,” CNet saidon 1 September. “Since then, however, the weekly visits have been slowly but steadily declining, according to the data. The week ending August 20 saw a slight bump to 1.23 million from 1.19 million the prior week. But then the numbers fell again last week, dropping to 1.16 million.” Also, the amount of time each user was spending per session on Google+ began tumbling again. That is death for a social network. The net result of this was a dramatic drop in Google+ interest. Even Larry Page, the CEO of Google, appeared to lose interest in his company’s newest creation.

google

Hence the silly arrow, pointing at the Google+ tab in the corner of the Google toolbar on Tuesday and Wednesday. This wasn’t some cool doodle – they were trying to attract everyone’s attention back to the social network. The numbers will now rise. It will take a couple of months to see if the Google+ johnnycome-lately types will follow the trend set by early adopters, and abandon the service only a few weeks after signing up. Which isn’t to say that nobody will find anything useful to do with Google+. It has very clever collaboration tools like Hangouts, which could be used for conference calls and the like. Washington Post said of the improved Hangouts service, “Hangouts have also gotten a few other extra useful features such as screensharing, a sketchpad for doodling, Google Docs support, and the ability to name Hangouts”. Perhaps in response to Google+, Facebook rolled out minor tweaks to its front page on Wednesday, allowing users to create lists of people, so that the only items popping up from on a news feed are from selected people. Which is something similar to what Google+ does with Circles. In the meantime, we live in hope for the next thing on Web 2.0 that will completely change our worldview once again.

Read more: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Google+ social network opened to public in Wall Street Journal Google+ launches new features in Washington Post Google+: 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99... 100 in Google Blog Google+ suddenly looks pretty busy for a ghost town in Wired Google has another stab at Facebook on Daily Maverick

thursDAY - 22 september 2011


business

facebook

Facebook owns you now The news that Facebook is to make a major announcement is usually greeted by its 500 million users as if Moses was set to return to tell us about the 11th commandment he left off by mistake. Excitement has consequently reached fever-pitch this week, with Facebook set to unveil something that will change everything, forever, on Thursday. By REBECCA DAVIS. Facebook has not yet given any indication what Thursday’s big reveal will consist of, but TechCrunch has already blown the lid on it

thanks to secrets whispered by a reliable source at Zuckerberg’s company. Hold on to your seats, Photo: REUTERS

thursDAY - 22 september 2011


business

The masterplan for Zuckerberg’s Reich is clearly for Facebook to become the motherlode for all our entertainment and communication needs. because you may not be quite ready for this: Facebook is apparently going to introduce a set of buttons to supplement the current “Like”. Yes, that lonely little thumbs-up is to get a group of buddies: “Read”, “Listened”, “Watched”, and “Want”. This is what will happen: the same old activities will come up in your newsfeed. Say your friend Andile Mngxitama posts a link to the new Westlife music video on YouTube, for instance. You take a listen, because you share Andile’s love for fresh-faced, Irish boy bands. But where previously you were restricted in your non-verbal response to the inadequate “Like”, now you can prove your commitment by showing the world proudly that you went the extra mile: “Listened”. (Presumably there’s nothing to stop you lying about it, either, which is handy if you’re trying to get into Andile’s good books but can’t bear giving 3”30 of your dwindling minutes on this planet to Westlife.) The same principle applies to Watched and Read. “Want” will come at a later stage, and will permit you to openly salivate over various

facebook

consumer goods in the hope that someone will step in and buy them for you, or congratulate you on your marvellous taste – “I ALSO covet a Breitling watch!! Drink sometime?” Unfortunately it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to apply “Want” to any of your Facebook friends, which would be its most evidently useful application. Then again, that function is already covered by the “Poke” button. The obvious first response to this all is: why can’t they introduce a “Hate” button ahead of the four newbies? The usefulness of a button allowing users to express some emotional mode other than the relentless positivity Facebook forces upon us via the ubiquitous “Like” would seem to far outstrip any other functionality. The second thing on your mind may be: is this all ultimately in aid of Facebook selling shit to us? The answer to that is “yes”. The masterplan for Zuckerberg’s Reich is clearly for Facebook to become the motherlode for all our entertainment and communication needs. So you’ll stream your movies through Facebook, buy books and music through Facebook, email through Facebook, order takeaways through Facebook, and it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be able to use some Skype-like technology to phone through Facebook too. In other words, Facebook is about to own every single aspect of your lived experience other than having sex and going to the toilet. If that freaks you out, you may want to think about deleting your account – except, oh wait, you can’t. Not properly. You can send it into dormancy, but it will still exist, biding its time just below the surface, like Azapo. Enjoy these last few days of relative autonomy, humanoids.

thursDAY - 22 september 2011


The reason golfers love to drive. The New C-Class Coupé. It’s easy to be modest about the New C-Class Coupe’s looks when it’s clearly irresistible. Equally as irresistible is the driving experience it offers, thanks to its leading on-board technology COMAND Online*, and its handling package tailored for supreme agility. Plus, the ample boot space is yet a another reason you’ll be the envy of your four-ball. www.mercedes-benz.co.za/c-coupe

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LIFE, ETC

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


life, etc

briefs

Life USA Part-time linguist and full-time contrarian Noam Chomsky has never been one to hold back on his opinions. And he's come out fighting in his latest interview with left-wing website Democracy Now. Chomsky told them: "I’m not a great enthusiast for Obama, as you know, from way back, but at least he’s somewhere in the real world". As opposed to the Republican candidates – Chomsky accuses Rick Perry of being "often in outer space", and describes the GOP candidates' views on climate change as "utterly outlandish". But tell us how you really feel, Noam. USA Let's hear it for grunge rockers the Foo Fighters, who stuck it to the homophobic bigots of the Westboro Baptist Church this weekend. The Westboro Baptists are best known for picketing the funerals of (straight) American soldiers with signs reading: "God hates fags", since they believe that US war casualties are a punishment for a society that tolerates homosexuality. They decided to picket the Foo Fighters' concert in Kansas on the grounds that their music promotes fornication. When the band got wind of this, they gave the protestors a special performance

Madiba the Best, again (Reuters)

on the back of a flat-bed truck, performing their song "Keep it Clean (Hot Buns)", which includes the lyrics "Think I'm in the mood for some hot man-muffins, mmmm". The Westboro crazies reportedly "seethed". SA Good news for Mandela, less good news for Zuma. Madiba was voted number one in an assessment of perceptions of the world's most visible leaders. The Reputation Institute asked 51,000 people in 25 different countries to rank public figures according to how much they were liked, admired, respected and trusted. Zuma came 35th, trailing that wellknown thought-leader Angelina Jolie by a full 13 places. He shouldn't feel too bad, though: a sign of what a load of unmitigated bollocks the poll was is revealed by the fact that tennis player Roger Federer came second, well ahead of the Dalai Lama (13th) and the Pope (26th).

USA The world's shortest woman has been crowned by the Guinness Book of World Records. She is Bridgette Jordan, 22, of Chicago, who measures just 69cm. Jordan was born with the rare condition of primordial dwarfism. She has scooped another record: because her younger brother Brad is only 98cm tall, the two have also been named the "shortest living siblings". Jordan better enjoy the limelight while she can – in the cut-throat world of size-based records, she may not have long. Jyoti Amge of India turns 18 in December, whereupon she would take the record, measuring 58cm. POLAND Former Polish PM Leszek Miller may wake up to find a horse's head at the bottom of his bed, courtesy of Polish feminists. In a TV interview, Miller said that political parties should avoid fielding ugly female candidates as "this is something anachronistic and

thursdAY - 22 September 2011


life, etc will repel voters". Miller was previously head of the leftwing Democratic Left Alliance, which officially has a prowomen policy. It's the latest piece of evidence that sexism is alive and well in Polish politics. In February a politician from the governing Civic Platform party was asked whether he approved of gay marriage and replied: "You can forget about gay men but I would gladly watch lesbians". Classy. USA Sarah Palin simply will not end the speculation over whether or not she will consider running for US president. She doesn't have to officially declare either way until the end of the October, so in the meantime she is busy stringing along hopeful supporters and the terrified rest of us. Asked in an interview whether she might still run, she said "I'm still considering the time factor". There probably isn't much point: a survey this week found that 72% of Republicans didn't want her to stand for nomination. However, the same survey also found that if Obama and Palin went head-to-head over the presidency, it swung for Obama by only 49% compared to 44%, which is either highly concerning or reveals some deeply flawed polling methods. And speaking of women who might or might not run for the presidency of the USA, some-

briefs one writing this down? During his visit Liaw has even received the ultimate national honour. No, not the Order of Mapungubwe, you idiot: a profile on Top Billing.

Sarah Palin (Reuters)

one else they keep speculating about is Hillary Clinton for the 2016 presidential nomination. Hillary herself has firmly denied rumours that she has any intention whatsoever of running, but it seems that Bill might not have received the same memo. When asked by conservative website Newsmax if Hillary would run, he refused to deny it, merely saying "You'll have to ask her" and "If she wants to serve, I'll be happy". Perhaps the Clintons no longer talk over the dinner table post-Lewinsky. South Africa It is perhaps a reassuring sign of the paucity of SA's celebrity culture that people seem awfully excited about the fact that the winner of Masterchef Australia is in town. Adam Liaw is here for the Good Food and Wine Show, and has been kind enough to share his views about our national cuisine. Liaw thinks we eat a lot of meat and he loves bobotie. Is some-

USA America's Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been left red-faced (not literally, that's just something journalists say to describe a disgraceful situation). An African-American woman who had already passed through airport security in Atlanta was called back by TSA officers who insisted on checking her Afro for explosives. A guard then insisted on patting down her hair in a public area. TSA was unrepentant after the fact saying "additional screening may be required for clothing, headwear or hair where prohibited items could be hidden". USA The world's smallest digital camera has been released by American company Hammacher Schlemmer. The tiny device is no larger than a fingertip, measuring just over an inch. It works perfectly fine, they reassure the public, claiming its picture quality is every bit as good as a normal camera. It comes with a wrist strap, which we suppose is quite handy, but why on earth would you want a mini-camera unless you are working for MI5 or trying to take pervy pictures of women undetected?

thursdAY - 22 September 2011


life, etc

Sperm bank to redheads: ‘No thanks’ Cryos International, the world’s largest sperm bank, has announced that it will no longer be accepting donations from redheads. The company claims it’s because it’s looking for more diversity among donors, but the subtext is clear: nobody wants ginger sperm. By REBECCA DAVIS.

Read more: 1. Why is a sperm bank banning redheads? on Salon

genetics

Here’s the euphemistic phrasing that the bank’s director used to explain the move to a Danish newspaper: “I do not think you choose a redhead, unless the partner – for example, the sterile male – has red hair, or because the lone woman has a preference for redheads. And that’s perhaps not so many, especially in the latter case.” “Gingerism” doesn’t seem to be particularly prevalent in South Africa or North America, but in Europe attitudes towards redheaded people – or “gingers”, as the English often call them, with two hard ‘g’s – can amount to genuine discrimination. The Guardian posed the question two years ago: “Does gingerism remain the last acceptable prejudice?” As the article pointed out, gingerism has a long history. In Germany in the 1400s, an estimated 45,000 redheads were put to death on suspicion of being witches. The Ancient Egyptians also had no love for them, burning them alive, and a belief of the Ancient Greeks was that ginger-haired people turned into vampires after death. Why do people hate gingers? Type that question into Google UK and you’ll find more than 30 million stabs at a response. The short answer is that nobody knows, although in England specifically some say it is linked to anti-Irish sentiment (10% of the world’s redheads are Irish). Others suggest it is simply because red is the least common hair colour, and it's human nature to mistrust the unknown. And redheads are becoming something of an endangered species: as it stands, only 2% of the world’s population are red-haired currently. The sperm bank’s policy won’t help that.

thursDAY - 22 september 2011


life, etc

north pole trekking

The African woman who went up the North Pole and came back a hero Earlier this year, Lee Swan became the first African woman to take part in the Polar Race, a mad dash across islands and frozen sea to the Magnetic North Pole. She recounted the hardships and Hollywood blockbuster-style finish to SIPHO HLONGWANE. Lee Swan experienced cold conditions so harsh that it made the distance seem easy. Photo: Deloitte.

thursday- 22 september 2011


life, etc

north pole trekking

Lee Swan and team mate Rob Platt erect their tent on Arctic sea ice above a 4.5 km deep ocean. Photo: Deloitte.

“We saw hundreds of polar bear tracks,” Lee Swan told me. Sitting in the warmth of an air-conditioned office in Woodmead, it was hard to imagine what encountering one of nature’s most fearsome predators in the frozen wastelands of Arctic Canada must have been like. The route to the Magnetic North Pole crossed a polar bear migration route at one point, where the chances of coming across the largest terrestrial carnivore on earth was high. “At one point, they cross a gully through an island,” Swan said. “So you have all these polar bears funnelling into this one point, and we cross the mouth of the gully.” They eventually did come across a bear. “We spotted it before it spotted us,” she said. “The worst thing you can do is surprise the polar bear. We spotted it about 400 metres away, our paths about to cross. We stopped. We’d been trained on polar bear behaviour. You can then tell from a distance away whether the bear is hungry, aggressive, male or female. That’s quite important. “At that time of year the female usually have cubs. That means they’re naturally more aggressive. The idea is to shoot the bear when it is attacking you. The bear was inquisitive. It came closer, stood up on the back of its legs and began circling us in an arc at about 150 metres away from us.

“It was trying to figure out what we were. You’ll appreciate that it had probably never seen people before. After about an hour, it sort of figured out that we weren’t a threat and then playfully went on its way,” Swan says. “We had a pump action shotgun,” she assured me. “We’d been trained to use it. The idea is to only shoot the bear as a last resort, when it is attacking you.” A 30-year-old manager for Sustainability and Climate Change Consulting at Deloitte, Swan trained for more than two years to participate in the Polar Race, a sprint from Resolute Bay in Canada, over the Queen Elizabeth Islands, to the Magnetic North Pole, some 800 kilometres in a north of north-west direction. Originally planned as being part of her business strategy and a way to be able to talk to clients about climate change, Swan’s participation in the Polar Race also raised funds for the Leap Science and Maths School, an education body for underprivileged children. Training for the race had not been easy. There was the five and a half hours of gym daily in South Africa, a five-day stay in the forests and mud of Wales, and just before all the contestants flew to Canada in April, a few days spent learning the ropes of cross-country skiing in Italy. “From the first qualifying session you have,

thursday- 22 september 2011


life, etc

they’re pushing your buttons,” she said. “They want that if you crack, you do that before you get out onto the ice. The race is for novices, so there is no chance that any of us had done this before. Quitting once you’ve started the race is really not an option. They make sure that if you’re going to quit, you do it before you set off.” After all the training had happened (including a week of acclimatising and even more training in Resolute Bay before they set off), there were only two teams left of three each left. A member of Swan’s team, a former US Marine, dropped out during training in Wales. Of the two teams that were left, they were the ones considered to be the weaker team. Suddenly Swan’s team “The Internationals”, was not in it to finish, but had a real shot at winning the race. Still, the training wasn’t preparation enough for the below 40 degrees Celsius cold of the Arctic. “There is no way psychologically or physically or emotionally that you can prepare for the cold,” Swan said. “It was a very lonely experience. Because of the cold, you had the hoodie on, the masks and the balaclavas, so you couldn’t really see people’s faces. It’s very difficult to talk to each other. “Also, you’re doing huge distances every day. I think we averaged at the end about 48 kilometres per day. More than a marathon. We were trying to cover the distance as quickly as possible. We realised that the more we dillydallied, the longer we’d be on the ice,” Swan said. The cold is pretty much the hardship of the race, beside pulling an 80 kilogram sled for 820 kilometres. It made the simplest of tasks almost impossible to do. “I once took off my gloves to unzip my jacket and almost paid for

north pole trekking

"One step at a time" - Lee pushes on through the harsh Arctic wilderness. Photo: Deloitte

thursday- 22 september 2011


life, etc

north pole trekking

"With the hood up, the mask on and your balaclava pulled up your haunted by the sound of your own breathing. The Arctic is a lonely lonely place" says Lee. Photo: Deloitte.

thursday- 22 september 2011


life, etc

north pole trekking

The Internationals arrived at the Magnetic North Pole at 05.02 am having covered 820km in brutally harsh conditions, and Lee Swan becomes the first Africanborn woman to reach the Magnetic North Pole. Photo: Deloitte

it,” Swan said. “Within 15 seconds, your hand can completely freeze. We learned what bits of sea ice to camp on and how to identify soft ice so that we could plan our route around it in advance. You’ll be surprised, but there are many different shades of white in the Arctic. The soft ice has a slightly greyer colour.” The Polar Race is broken up into four stages: the start in Resolute Bay, three check points on the way and the finish at the Magnetic North. Each team plotted their own route between check points. Often, it was a choice of either going over an island, or taking a longer route around it on the frozen ice. The race is structured such that the times between each check point are added up to decide who the winner of the race is. The teams

wait for each other at the check points and the race organisers fly in with extra supplies and a doctor. After a rest, the teams set off again – after the doctor has okayed the contestants. Often on the ice, the teams would cross each other’s tracks. Although “The Internationals” won the first stage, they were beaten in the next stage. In the third stage, Swan’s team came across ski tracks, and realised that they were behind. They decided to abandon the time-consuming task of navigation, and began following the other team’s tracks in hopes of catching up to them. They soon realised that the other team’s ski tracks were steadily pointing away from the direction of the Check Point Three GPS coordinates. Clearly something was wrong. One

thursday- 22 september 2011


life, etc

north pole trekking

Life at Checkpoint 1 - lonely tents containing weary bodies as racers wait for the race to re-start for leg 2. Photo: Deloitte

of the two teams had punched in faulty coordinates into their GPS devices. Eventually Swan’s team decided to trust themselves, and stopped following the other team’s tracks. When they got to the check point, they radioed to Resolute Bay to discover that the other team had completely screwed up. They had somehow got two digits on their GPS coordinates mixed up, meaning that they were some ten kilometres away from the place they should have been at. “What it meant was that we had a twelve hour lead at checkpoint three with one hundred

kilometres to go,” Swan said. “We knew we were in the lead. When we set off, we would have been happy to just finish, but now we were racing to win.” On the last day of the race, “The Internationals” had 63 kilometres to go. On any other day, they would have broken that leg of the race into two, but decided to sprint to the end, right through the night. That proved to be the right call. As they neared the Magnetic North Pole, they noticed a black spot where they were headed. As they neared, they realised it was the other team. Incredibly, the other team had

thursday- 22 september 2011


life, etc

north pole trekking

Proudly South African: Lee flies the South African flag at the Magnetic North Pole alongside her furry teddy bear companion Felix, whom she carried to raise funds for the LEAP Science and Maths School. Photo: Deloitte.

managed to recover nine and a half hours of time after the co-ordinate mishap, and had arrived at the pole first. Their endurance proved futile. After 820 kilometres, 22 days of 16-hour racing, Swan’s team – barely – won. Quite romantically, Swan arrived at the end of the race on 27 April, South Africa’s Freedom Day. The other team “were devastated,” Swan said. “They had had the same strategy as we had – to push through the night on the last day. They had done 65 kilometres on that last day, we did 63 kilometres. They thought that we’d camped that night. When we arrived at the pole, we couldn’t hear a peep from their tent. They had obviously

seen us from a distance and realised that we’d won the race, and just gone straight to bed.” As if that wasn’t bad enough, the pilot tasked with fetching them refused to land at the makeshift airstrip the teams constructed, and instead instructed them to ski 25 kilometres to another airstrip that some scientists had constructed earlier, which the pilot thought was safer. Utterly fed up, three of the fastest skiers were sent on a three-hour dash to hold the plane up while the rest of the racers came up behind with the sleds. The plan worked – except that when the slow team was less than a kilometre away, the plane took off with the two other skiers. They later

thursday- 22 september 2011


life, etc

claimed that they hadn’t seen the other team, an event which soured the race. Swan and the others had two wait a further two days on the ice for a plane to fetch them. “The priority for plane time in the Arctic is cargo first, then scientists, then only adventurers,” she said. “It took two days for the plane to land. Eventually we got off the ice.” The time spent 25 kilometres away from the Magnetic North Pole was the best time for Swan. “The pressures of racing had made us not appreciate the place where we were,” she said.

north pole trekking

Back to the normal life: Lee Swan returns from the Arctic to resume her role as Manager on the Sustainability and Climate Change Consulting team at Deloitte. She returns in the same year as South Africa plays host country to the UN Climate Change Negotiations (COP17) in Durban (December 2011). Photo: Deloitte.

“It was a chance to appreciate that we were in a special place and would probably never come back.”

Read more: 1. Lee Swan, first African to feel pull of Magnetic North in Daily Maverick 2. .The route of the Polar Race

Video: 1. Polar Race 2011 Arrival at Resolute Bay 2. Polar Race 2011 Mini Expedition First Day

thursday- 22 september 2011


Done

done well, for

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you.


life, etc

volvo C30 polestar

Volvo C30 Polestar: A hot hatch with designer appeal thursDAY - 22 september 2011


life, etc

volvo C30 polestar

Hot hatchbacks are like the trump cards of the motor industry. All the major brands have a contender in that segment, and while it’s not nearly the biggest in volume terms, it’s all about trumping the competition – be it with the most power, the quickest acceleration, the most advanced tech, or the highest top speed. Volvo’s contender in the hot hatch card game is the C30 T5 R-Design. By DEON SCHOEMAN On paper, this swift little Swede should be among the frontrunners in the performance hatchback segment. With 169kW of power and 320Nm of torque, it’s got more urge than benchmark mini missiles like the Golf GTI, while the power-to-weight ratio of 119kW/ton trumps the GTI, too. But it’s by no means the most powerful player in this hotly contested category. That honour belongs to the Renault Mégane RS, which has 184kW on tap, and boasts a power to weight ratio of137kW/ton. Yes, it’s R18k more expensive, but it’s still well below super hatches like the all-wheel drive Golf R and Audi S3, or the Scirocco R, for that matter. But the Swedes have an ace up their sleeve, and it’s called Polestar. Polestar is a Swedish company that tunes and races Volvos, and enjoys the blessing of the Volvo factory – a bit like the relationship between AMG and Mercedes, or Alpina and BMW. So, while this C30 T5 R-Design looks exactly like any normal C30 T5 R-Design, it’s actually significantly more powerful,

thursDAY - 22 september 2011


life, etc

thanks to some clever tweaking of the car’s engine management system by the Polestar boff ins. Not that you’d know by looking at the car: the Polestar action all happens, discreetly, under the bonnet. The 2,5-litre five-cylinder turbo engine remains as is – the same block, the same cylinder head, the same turbo. The Polestar kit entails nothing more invasive than remapping the engine management system to optimise power and torque. As a result, power increases by 8,9% to 184kW, while torque is up 15,8% to 350Nm. The extra urge really ups the Polestartweaked Volvo’s stakes in the trump card game, propelling it well ahead of the GTI, and equalling the Mégane RS in power output terms. It’s also right up there with the Golf R and Audi S3, albeit without the benefit of allwheel drive. Interestingly, Polestar claims that the extra muscle is achieved without affecting the C30

volvo C30 polestar

T5’s factory-rated fuel consumption or CO2 emissions levels. We’re not sure how they manage that, but Volvo’s claimed 8,7 litres/100 km on the combined cycle, was quite a bit less than the 11,8 litres/100 km we saw during testing. Externally, there is nothing to alert one to this Volvo’s special status. There’s not a badge, a stripe or a logo to distinguish it from a standard T5, adding an element of stealth appeal. Not that the T5 R-Design is all that subtle to start out with. The standard body kit includes a deeper front air dam, large air intakes, sill extensions, a racy rear apron and a rather large rear wing. These elements embellish a shape that is controversial at best, and certainly polarises opinion. The front is angular and quite aggressive, with big headlights framing a chunky grille. In profile, the strong shoulder line dominates proceedings, accentuating the Volvo’s muscular

thursDAY - 22 september 2011


life, etc

volvo C30 polestar

thursDAY - 22 september 2011


life, etc

haunches, and emphasising the unusual, slanted rear hatch. In a world of generic design, nothing else looks quite like this – and if anything, it endows the C30 T5 with a distinctive and instantly recognisable personality. But its design cues can be just too unconventional for some. That theme continues into the cabin, which is very Volvo, and initially striking, thanks to the two-tone treatment of the upholstery, and the unusual rear seating arrangement: it comprises two, individual seats, instead the more usual split bench seat. But in reality, there’s more to disappoint than to please here. The front bucket seats are comfortable and supportive enough, but despite being height adjustable, the seating position still feels too high. The ergonomics are efficient enough, and the controls and instruments are intuitive to operate, but aside from Volvo’s much-vaunted floating centre console, there’s not much to save it from blandness.

volvo C30 polestar

The boot remains the cabin’s Achilles’ heel. Access is awkward, restricted by a complex boot cover that does a good job as a security cover, but gets in the way when loading larger objects. In fact, the cover needs to be unclipped to make the most of the space on offer. It’s not exactly user friendly, and the surrounding plastic trim is easily scratched when trying to replace it. But let’s face it, practicality won’t be too high on the list of your typical C30 T5 Polestar buyer. What matters here is performance. The standard C30 T5 is no slouch, and the Polestar builds on that reputation. It feels strong from the word go, and sustains that urge all the way through the rev range. The biggest problem here is getting the power down – despite standard traction control, spinning the wheels off the mark is easy unless you’re really careful with the loud pedal. Without Polestar’s assistance, the normal C30 T5 gets from zero to 100 in 6,7 sec, and

thursDAY - 22 september 2011


life, etc

is credited with a 240km/h top speed. The Polestar kit clips about 0,2 sec off the sprint time, while top speed improves by 5km/h or so. Perhaps most importantly, the midrange urge is even more incisive, benefiting in-gear acceleration and sharpening overall response. Talking of which, the T5’s sport suspension is 10mm lower and 30% stiffer than that of a normal C30, while the steering is 10% quicker. That contributes considerably to the Volvo’s sporty driving experience. It gets a bit jittery on bumpy roads, and there’s too much power-induced understeer, compared to new-generation hot hatches like the Renault Mégane. But the Volvo generally feels swift, competent and entertaining. The Volvo C30 T5 Polestar is not your conventional hot hatch. You’ll either love or hate those designer looks, and the same goes

volvo C30 polestar

for the two-tone cabin. The Polestar kit turns it into one of the most powerful performance hatchbacks on the market, but the chassis can’t quite make the most of the extra urge on offer. Still, for less than R350,000, all in, the C30 T5 Polestar also adds strong value to its list of attributes – and that might be its ultimate trump card. VITAL STATS Volvo C30 T5 Polestar Engine Gearbox Power Torque 0-100 km/h Top speed Fuel consumption CO2 emissions Retail price

In-line five-cylinder, 2 521 cc, DOHC Six-speed manual 184kW @ 5,000rpm 350Nm @ 1,500rpm 6,4sec 245km/h (governed) 11,8/100km (tested) 203g/km Approx. R348,000

thursDAY - 22 september 2011


SPORT

thursDAY – 22 september 2011


sport

briefs

Rugby South Africa has squashed suggestions that they would ever purposefully lose matches to manipulate results at the World Cup. Following Australia's shock loss to Ireland last weekend, the draw has thrown up the possibility of a north versus south final. And there have been suggestions some teams may try to avoid harder paths to the final by losing games. But that has gone down like a lead balloon with teams, particularly two-time World Cup winners South Africa and tournament favourites New Zealand. Tonga registered their first win at Rugby World Cup 2011 after seeing off Japan 31-18 in Whangerai on Wednesday. Having lost to New Zealand and Canada, crowd favourites Tonga finally gave their fans something to cheer about following a well-earned win over an error-strewn Japanese outfit. The Brave Blossoms had targeted this Pool A match as one of two games they wanted to win, but they were their own worst enemies with ball in hand.

Springboks (Reuters)

Scotland hooker Ross Ford is confident his side will be at their best when they face Argentina in a key Pool B clash on Sunday. With England favourites to take top spot in the pool, Scotland and Argentina appear to be fighting it out for the second qualifying berth. The Scots have been underwhelming in their opening two encounters, in their victories over Romania and Georgia. Samoa are still sweating over the availability of three injured players for their Pool D World Cup match against Fiji this weekend. Goal-kicking pivot Tusi Pisi (hamstring) and flanker Taiasina Tuifu'a (ribs) were hurt in the tournament opener against Namibia

a week ago, and were named in Samoa's matchday 22 to play Wales on Sunday but withdrawn hours before the game. Wing Sailosi Tagicakibau also left the Wales match with a tight hamstring.

Football French striker Nicolas Anelka says he would like nothing more than to stay at Chelsea despite rumours he will be moving on next summer. New Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas told reporters the striker had indicated he wished to leave the club when his contract expires, but Anelka has denied the claims, saying he is happy at Stamford Bridge.

thursdAY - 22 september 2011


sport

briefs

Sunderland's Steve Bruce (Reuters)

Fulham manager Martin Jol is hoping a new deal can be reached with Andy Johnson, but admits he may be forced to sell the striker in January. The 30-year-old, who has scored 19 goals in 91 appearances for the club but has yet to get off the mark this season, is in the final year of his contract at Craven Cottage. Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is delighted with his squad, saying they are the best he's worked with and are fighting for places. The Black Cats manager has made many changes to the team since taking the helm in June 2008, and although the current squad has been inconsistent with their performances, he believes the players at his disposal will soon be making waves in the Premier League.

Gian Piero Gasperini has paid the price for a disappointing start to the season after the coach was sacked by Inter Milan on Wednesday. The 53-year-old took charge of the Nerazzurri in June, but he oversaw a bad run of results during his three-month tenure, starting with a 2-1 defeat to bitter city rivals AC Milan in the Super Cup. Golf David Toms won the Payne Stewart award on Tuesday, presented to a golfer who has shown commitment to charitable activities. "For years, David Toms has epitomised everything that the Payne Stewart Award represents," PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said. "He's raised and given

away millions of dollars to kids who are abandoned, underprivileged and abused. He and his foundation got involved in the aftermath of Katrina. International captain Greg Norman will be looking at recent form to help him decide who will be his two Presidents Cup wildcards come November. After ten of the 12 places on his team to take on the USA at Royal Melbourne from 17-20 November were finalised after the last round of the BMW Championship on Sunday, Norman was quick to point out that he would not be focusing on nationality when deciding who his remaining two selections would be. However, he said he would not hesitate to pick more Aussies if he felt that the home crowd edge could prove decisive.

thursdAY - 22 september 2011


sport

briefs

Simon Dyson (Reuters)

Simon Dyson's recent surge up the World Golf Rankings list has caught the attention of Tiger Woods, the game's most prolific winner of modern times. The 14-time Major champion has invited the 33-year-old York-born Dyson to take part in his limited field Chevron World Challenge in California in early December. The 18-man field comprises the four Major winners, the top 11 available from the World Rankings, the defending champion and two wild cards which the Tiger Woods Foundation gets to select. The European Tour is seeking

a new sponsor for the Scottish Open after Barclays ended their ten-year association with the tournament. Barclays took on the sponsorship of the tournament in 2002 until this year, when world number one Luke Donald claimed the title thanks to a closing 63 at the competition's new home at Castle Stuart, near Inverness. The tournament will celebrate its 30th anniversary in July next year with the organisers hoping to have a new sponsor on board by then. Cricket England have been drawn in the same group as India for

the 2012 ICC World Twenty20, which will take place between 18 September and 7 October at three venues in Sri Lanka. The draw for the tournament took place in Colombo on Wednesday, with 12 teams being placed into four groups of three. Shaun Marsh has thrown his weight behind Western Australia coach Mickey Arthur as Australia look for a new head coach in the wake of Tim Nielsen's departure. Nielsen confirmed on Tuesday that he would not be reapplying for the position, which has been revised and expanded as part of the recommendations made by the Argus Report.

thursdAY - 22 september 2011


sport

rwc

Springboks vs Namibia: Preview The Springboks will be out to bank maximum points against Namibia when the two teams go head to head at North Harbour Stadium on Thursday. By PlanetRugby.com The defending champions will look to back up their 49-3 dispatching of Fiji last Saturday – arguably one of the most clinical performances of Rugby World Cup 2011 – with another flawless victory. What worked against Fiji last week, when South Africa played a more fluent passing game, should also work against Namibia – a team that have conceded 12 tries in their two matches thus far in the tournament. South Africa have won their last nine RWC

matches and are expected to equal their record of 10, a run that started in 1995 and was ended by Australia in 1999. The Boks have only lost one of their RWC pool matches – against England 25-6 in 2003 – and walloped the Welwitschias 105-13 in Cape Town four years ago in their only encounter with their African neighbours . The comparison is stark. The Springboks are two-time World Cup champions, while Namibia Photo: REUTERS

thursday - 22 september 2011


sport

rwc

Be that as it may, Namibia skipper Jacques Burger has fired a warning to the Boks, saying his team won't roll over so easily. South Africa may have hit triple-figures the only time they played, but the humble Namibians will have a point to prove. have yet to win a single RWC match and have been hammered 49-25 by Fiji and 49-12 by Samoa at this tournament. Be that as it may, Namibia skipper Jacques Burger has fired a warning to the Boks, saying his team won't roll over so easily. South Africa may have hit triple-figures the only time they played, but the humble Namibians will have a point to prove. Many of them play in the Republic – be it club rugby or provincial rugby – and plenty of pride will be at stake. They are yet to log points in the tournament and will view an honourable defeat to the defending champions as a moral victory. "I really believe in my team and we can give South Africa a good show," said Burger. "You've got to believe you can compete against them and you've got to believe you can beat them even though the odds are against you a lot of the time. You've got to be up for it every time. "We've got to keep the ball as much as possible. A team like South Africa, if you give them a lot of ball, they're going to score a lot of points against you. That's just the way they play." The Springboks show five changes with Gio Aplon and Bryan Habana on the wings, Francois Hougaard at scrum-half with Fourie du Preez

on the bench, while flanker Willem Alberts replaces Heinrich Brussow and prop CJ van der Linde gets his first start of the tournament at tighthead. Locks Victor Matfield and Johann Muller, centre Jean de Villiers and fly-half Butch James were not considered for the match. In making six changes to the team that lost to Samoa, coach Johan Diergaardt named the most experienced side Namibia have fielded in Test rugby, boasting a total of 264 caps. Jacques Nieuwenhuis, who scored a memorable try against Ireland at Rugby World Cup 2007, has been recalled to number eight and will be joined by Marius Visser, Bertus O'Callaghan, Nico Esterhuyse and Tinus du Plessis in the forwards, while Heine Bock comes in on the left wing. While the Springboks respect their Namibian opponents, they also see Thursday's Pool D World Cup match as a last opportunity to fine-tune their game for more brutal battles. "From our point of view, we realise that (Namibia views this match as their final) and we respect that in them," said South Africa assistant coach Gary Gold. "We know their coaches as well and we know their coaching structures are very good at the moment."

thursday - 22 september 2011


sport

The Springbok forwards were on top of their game against Fiji and should they lay the same platform; it could become a long day for the Namibians.

Ones to watch: For South Africa: If, as expected, the Springboks cash in with the points, former IRB Player of the Year Bryan Habana could become the all-time Springbok record try-scorer, a mark he currently shares with Joost van der Westhuizen on 38 tries. For Namibia: The centre pairing of Danie van Wyk and Piet van Zyl have surprised and impressed many who have seen them in action at the World Cup. If they’re not scoring tries, they’re creating them, and much of the same will be required against the Boks. Head to head: The Springbok forwards were on top of their game against Fiji and should they lay the same platform; it could become a long day for the Namibians. But the Namibians will look to give as good as they get and while they may not carry the same experience of technical expertise of their opponents, they will certainly go down fighting.

rwc

Previous result: 2007: South Africa won 105-13 at Newlands Prediction: No one is giving the 19th-ranked Namibians a hope in stemming the surging green and gold tide. Anything less than 50 points will be considered an average showing by the Boks. South Africa to win big! The teams: South Africa: 15 Pat Lambie, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn , 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Willem Alberts, 5 Danie Rossouw, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 CJ van der Linde, 2 John Smit (c), 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp. Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Francois Louw, 19 Heinrich Brüssow, 20 Fourie du Preez, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Juan de Jongh. Namibia: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Danie Dames, 13 Danie van Wyk, 12 Piet van Zyl, 11 Heine Bock, 10 Theuns Kotze, 9 Eugene Jantjies, 8 Jacques Nieuwenhuis, 7 Jacques Burger (c), 6 Tinus du Plessis, 5 Nico Esterhuyse, 4 Heinz Koll, 3 Marius Visser, 2 Bertus O'Callaghan, 1 Johnnie Redelinghuys. Replacements: 16 Hugo Horn, 17 Jane du Toit, 18 PJ van Lill, 19 Rohan Kitshoff, 20 Ryan de la Harpe, 21 Darryl de la Harpe, 22 Conrad Marais. Date: Thursday, 22 September Kick-off: 20:00 (08:00 GMT) Venue: North Harbour Stadium, Albany Weather forecast: Cloudy with a 20% chance of rain, a high of 16°C, dropping to 11°C. Referee: George Clancy (Ireland) Assistant referees: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand), Tim Hayes (Wales) TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

thursday - 22 september 2011


sport

More Button-Ferrari rumours Speculation linking Jenson Button with a move to Ferrari is refusing to go away. Both Ferrari and Button issued strong denials in June that the Briton would replace Felipe Massa at Maranello next season. By PLANETF1.COM.

Photo: REUTERS

formula 1

The McLaren driver laughed off the claims saying: “It's hilarious because it's not true. I don't know who put that out there, but it wasn't us and it wasn't Ferrari. I think it's just some column inches.” Ferrari, meanwhile, described the reports as “just a load of twaddle”. The rumours, though, have resurfaced and the 31-year-old Button is now being linked with a move to the Italian marque for the 2013 season. Button's current two-year deal with McLaren runs out at the end of this season but the team have an option on him for next year. Although both parties have indicated that the 12-month extension will be taken up, there is a sticking point over the length of a new contract as McLaren want to tie Button down beyond 2012 while the former World Champion doesn't want to sign a long-term deal. If Button gets his way then it would leave the door open for him to join Ferrari in 2013 as Massa's deal expires at the end of next year. According to Jornal da Tarde journalist Livio Oricchio, “Button is interested in Ferrari. And Ferrari is interested in Button” for the 2013 season. He adds that “Button has the right profile of a Ferrari driver” and has the “backing of (Fernando) Alonso”.

thursday - 22 september 2011


sport

Hugo has mountain to climb Jean Hugo will hope to end another prolific season on the Vodacom Origins of Golf series with a victory in the final at the Legends Golf & Safari Resort this week. He faces a course that is a beast in every respect, but that is to his liking. By PLANETGOLF.COM.

golf

Hugo has already won twice in the series this year, in Pretoria and Knysna. And in the other three events to date, he's finished third, fifth and 14th. His love of the Origins of Golf series and the courses that host it is reflected in the six titles he's won since it teed off on the Sunshine Tour in 2004. A win on this magnificent course in the shadow of the Hangklip Mountain in the northern bush veld region of Limpopo would earn him what some would consider a rightful place in the history of the series as one of only three players to have won three tournaments in one season. Thomas Aiken and Brandon Pieters are the only other three-time winners. As the final event of the six-tournament series, this week's field features all but one of this year's champions. The field at The Legends this week will face a stern challenge on this par-72 layout, where each of the 18 holes was designed by an individual golfer, including Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman, Sergio Garcia, and Justin Rose. It's billed as the longest par-72 golf course in the world and will play to roughly 6,744 metres, but is able to be stretched well beyond this with variable tee options. The opening five holes are all a massive challenge. The first is a par-five that plays around 526 metres for the professionals, followed by the roughly 418-metre, par-four second and third holes, an 182-metre, par-three fourth and a 448-metre, par-four fifth hole. “We call that 'The Stretch'. It's the toughest opening five holes of any course in the world,� says golf director David Riddle.

thursday - 22 september 2011


OGILVY CAPE TOWN 42511

 


iMaverick 22 September 2011