27 February 2006

The Harder They Come

Mosioua “Terror” Lekota was once the people’s champion, nominated from the floor of the Mafikeng ANC National Conference and elected over the leadership’s candidate as National Chairman. He was the Zuma of his day. But it was not long before he took on the role of chief enforcer. See the linked article for what this has meant in Khutsong. Yesterday’s interviews with the President in the Sunday papers all came out differently. The Sunday Independent’s report focused on the President’s admission that he was responsible for a letter that was used in court to convict Schabir Shaik; which conviction was then used to charge Jacob Zuma (and when Zuma was charged, he was sacked by Mbeki). The Sunday Times’ interview was not worth reading – it was a non-story. City Press made their separate interview a front-page item all right, but from a completely different angle – Aids, and how many deaths there are, or are not, according to the President. See link. Yesterday’s Sunday Times led its front page with another shameless funding bid by Eskom’s grabbing, boondoggle-seeking bureaucrats, which the spineless reporters swallowed and regurgitated for the readers without critical examination. Eskom is the state corporation which supplies enormous amounts of power at give-away prices to foreign aluminium smelting corporates on the coast. The aluminium companies bring in the ore (there is none here), convert it with enough South African electricity to supply several provinces, and ship out the product. They only employ a handful of local people. See link. In our on-going “javelin” series, here is none other than Bulelani Ncuka having his ego stroked by the Sunday Times Business section. So relaxed are Ngcuka and his “Amabubesi” friends that they are happy to give the game away right up front. “Our association with decision-makers at the highest level enables us to influence strategic decisions in our country”, they boast. This seems to suggest pillow talk between Ncuka his wife, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the new Deputy President of South Africa. Ngcuka’s Amabubesi company “has a taste for just about everything, from dairy products to industrial cranes.” Yes, we remember the cranes of Dubai very well. The javelin thrown by Ngcuka from government into the corporate world obviously has (apron) strings attached. Or is it some other “association with decision-makers” that is being referred to, and not Mrs. Ngcuka after all? Who knows? We can only guess. See link. The following is the question before next week's architecture seminar at Wits: “Today’s tenement city? Large scale multi-storey private rental in Nairobi”, to be presented by Marie Huchzermeyer. The word “tenement” suggests a prejudice against apartments as opposed, say, to “RDP houses”. In our discussions about women, we have come to regard the remote, discrete, family home as a trap full of drudgery. Flats, on the other hand, can be located near work and all kinds of common services. They are inherently more socialised. Why do the women of the Wits architecture department cling to the fatal Palladian fantasy of the private villa? Go to the 1st floor of the John Moffat building at Wits University on Tuesday evening, March 7th at 17h30 to find out. See linked notice for details of their programme for March. Links: Lekota concedes defeat in Khutsong, Sunday Times (1536 words) No Aids death crisis- Mbeki, City Press (781 words) Scramble to avert national power collapse, Sunday Times (938 words) Scorpion tracks lucrative business deals - Ngcuka in S Times (1034 words) Tuesday 17h30 Wits architecture seminars, Mar 7, 14 and 28 (notice)

1 comment:

  1. I’m struck by the numbers in Jimmy Seepe’s and Mapula Sibanda’s article No Aids death crisis- Mbeki, City Press (781 words). Their estimate of the number of teachers in SA seems a little low. My understanding is that it’s closer to 460,000 persons. If so, then 12,7% (which we all know is a conservative figure) of that is 58,420 HIV+ teachers with at least 10,000 of them needing immediate ARV treatment.

    Big figures often get us to lose touch with the reality of this pandemic. This many teachers dying over the next few years, if not spread out across the country as they are, could conceivably amount to the complete closure of all schools (several thousand) in say the Eastern Cape and North-West Provinces together, or half the schools in Gauteng. Spread out across SA as it is, what effect will this have on morale, overwork, education standards and further loss of teachers from the profession? The word ‘collapse’ springs to mind.

    If this sounds dramatic, think of 2 comparative catastrophes about which we find it easy to feel powerfully 60 years later:

    “In Hiroshima, of a resident civilian population of 250 000 it was estimated that 45 000 died on the first day and a further 19 000 during the subsequent four months. In Nagasaki, out of a population of 174 000, 22 000 died on the first day and another 17 000 within four months. Unrecorded deaths of military personnel and foreign workers may have added considerably to these figures.” http://www.uic.com.au/nip29.htm.

    posted by Rob 27 Feb.


Post a Comment