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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Max du Preez Asks: Have Journalists Treated President Jacob Zuma Unfairly and Maliciously?

A Rumour of SpringMax du Preez, author of A Rumour of Spring: South Africa after 20 years of Democracy, has written a column for News24 titled “Has Zuma been treated unfairly by the media?”

Du Preez, who ended his association with the Cape Times earlier this year because he perceived that the newspaper was pandering to the demands of the ruling party, wrote the article in response to an opinion piece by Steven Motale. Motale, editor of The Citizen, wrote that he was guilty of perpetuating injustice and malice against President Jacob Zuma in his capacity as a journalist.

Du Preez says this would be an oddity as a standalone piece, but it has been “lauded as profound, honest and meaningful” in a number of print, radio and social media. For this reason, Du Preez says, the significance of what Motale wrote needs to be interrogated.

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It will come as a surprise to South African media users that the big question now confronting journalists was whether they had treated President Jacob Zuma unfairly and maliciously over the last few years.

If it were true that there was/is a grand media conspiracy against Zuma, it would be a serious indictment on the influence of the media: Zuma is as entrenched in his position today as ever before.

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Max du Preez: “The Race for Who is going to Succeed Jacob Zuma as President of South Africa is Now Officially On”

A Rumour of SpringMax du Preez, political journalist and author of A Rumour of Spring: South Africa after 20 years of Democracy, recently wrote an article for News24 about the succession race for President Jacob Zuma’s spot in the ANC and as state president.

In the article, Du Preez speaks about three people who he thinks are in the running for president. Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are well-known and well positioned to contend, but Du Preez suggests that there is “third contender to the throne”: Zweli Mkhize. Mkhize is currently ANC treasurer-general. He has handled important and sensitive affairs and has the benefit of having “kept his nose clean so far”.

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The race for who is going to succeed Jacob Zuma as president of South Africa is now officially on, whether he survives the 2017 ANC elective conference or not and despite the expected denials by Luthuli House that there is in fact such a race.

Zuma’s successor should be a woman, the ANC Woman’s League declared at its national conference. Read: deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa should not be South Africa’s next president.

Zuma’s ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, is clearly the woman the league has in mind.

I would otherwise have found it unacceptable to refer to a female politician as the ex-wife of someone, but in this case it is very relevant.

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Max du Preez: Thanks to the EFF, Disrespect has Become the National Discourse – and it’s a Good Thing

A Rumour of SpringThe Economic Freedom Fighters is a political party that “is feared, hated and admired in equal measure” says Max du Preez.

Du Preez, who is a political commentator and the author of A Rumour of Spring: South Africa after 20 years of Democracy, recently wrote a column for News24 in which he critically evaluates the impact and importance of the EFF in the South African political arena.

While the party is said to have “fundamentally changed the nature of South African politics all on its own”, Du Preez says that the EFF lacks the substance and “concrete achievements” to merit this.

That is not to say, however, that they have not made a positive contribution. Read what Du Preez has to say about the EFF’s parliamentary disruptions:

There was a similar culture of respect and reverence towards leaders in the black community during the era of Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. Julius Malema and Co broke this taboo quickly and slaughtered a whole herd of holy cows.

Zuma is a thief; Cyril Ramaphosa is a mass murder and a capitalist tool; Blade Nzimande is a drunken dwarf, are the kinds of insults we hear from the EFF on a daily basis.

This disrespect and scepticism towards politicians has now become common in the national discourse and can be witnessed daily on talk radio, in newspapers and on social media. And it is a good thing.

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Max du Preez: Dylann Roof se vereenselwiging met apartheid is nie so verregaande nie

A Rumour of SpringMax du Preez het onlangs ‘n rubriek geskryf vir Netwerk24 oor die Amerikaanse massamoordenaar Dylann Roof wat op 17 Junie 2015 losgebrand het op lidmate van die Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Kerk in Charleston en nege swart mense vermoor het. Kort na die aanval het foto’s van Roof op die internet verskyn waarin hy ‘n baadjie met die apartheid-vlag daarop dra.

Du Preez skryf in sy artikel dat “’n monster soos Roof se vereenselwiging met apartheid” ons diep moet laat nadink. Hy vertel dat Roof hom aan die “Boere-vryheidsvegter” Barend Strydom laat dink wat op 15 November 1988 sewe swart mense in Pretoria koelbloedig vermoor het, als ter wille van apartheid.

“Apartheid was gegrond op die oortuiging dat ’n swart lewe minder werd is as ’n wit lewe,” skryf Du Preez. “Roof glo dit ook.”

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Ek herinner jou aan ’n gebeurtenis 27 jaar gelede – iets wat dadelik by my opgekom het toe ek van Roof se moordsending gehoor het en my laat dink het dat sy vereenselwiging met apartheid-Suid-Afrika dalk nie so onsinnig is nie.

Barend Strydom was 23 jaar oud toe hy op 15 November 1988 sewe swart mense soos rondloperhonde op Strijdomplein in Pretoria doodgeskiet het nadat hy die vorige dag tydens ’n “oefenlopie” nog ’n swart man doodgeskiet het. Regter Louis Harms het in sy vonnisoplegging gesê Strydom is onrehabiliteerbaar, sonder berou en sou maklik weer sulke moorde pleeg. Hy het Strydom agt keer ter dood veroordeel.

Strydom was net drie jaar lank in die tronk. In 1992 het die De Klerk-regering Harms se woorde van die tafel gevee, Strydom tot politieke gevangene verklaar en hom vrygelaat.


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Max du Preez: Maybe Dylann Roof Understands the Old South African Flag Better than We do

A Rumour of SpringMax du Preez, respected journalist and author of A Rumour of Spring: South Africa after 20 years of Democracy, has written a column about Dylann Roof for News24.

Roof, who shot and killed nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, in South Carolina, last week, was pictured wearing an old South African flag on his jacket. This, Du Preez says in the column, “has made a lot of white South Africans very uncomfortable”.

In light of this, Du Preez takes a hard look at the apartheid regime, and the places where we have not yet “got rid of the apartheid in our systems.”

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The old South African flag on the jacket of American race murderer/terrorist Dylann Roof has made a lot of white South Africans very uncomfortable.

He’s just a loony, some say. He doesn’t properly understand the meaning of the flag and the regime over which it flew, say others.

Well, perhaps he didn’t misunderstand completely. When a monster such as Roof associates with apartheid, we white South Africans should seriously think long and hard about it.

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Max du Preez: We Need to Unleash the Entrepreneurial Potential of Black South Africans

A Rumour of SpringMax du Preez, columnist and author of A Rumour of Spring: South Africa after 20 years of Democracy, has written an article for Moneyweb in which he argues that South Africa needs an “entrepreneurial revolution”.

In the article, Du Preez opines that unemployment is at the root of inequality, poverty, crime, “the simmering anger among black youth” and a number of other social problems that threaten to block this country’s road to growth and stability.

Du Preez suggests that entrepreneurship is needed to stimulate employment. He discusses how Afrikaners moved from protected government jobs to open market employment around 1994, and what lessons we can all take from this now.

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So where have all the Afrikaners gone? Gone to business – virtually every one, to paraphrase an old song. Tens of thousands of them used their pension payout or savings to start a business. It turns out they weren’t such bad entrepreneurs after all, they just needed a kick in the butt.

I have a feeling most black South Africans also secretly believe they’re not natural entrepreneurs. But today’s reality means the State cannot employ most of them. Instead of a kick in the butt, perhaps what we need is to shift the emphasis from narrow-based black economic empowerment and infrastructure projects to unleashing the entrepreneurial potential of black South Africans.

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Franschhoek Makes Me Uncomfortable Too, But Promoting Reading is More Important than Politics – Max du Preez

A Rumour of SpringMax du Preez has written a response to the current debate around South Africa’s “white literary system”.

Du Preez recently shared a satirical piece on the subject by Mike van Graan on his public Facebook page, and received some criticism, specifically from Mandy de Waal, with Van Graan himself entering the fray.

De Waal’s comment reads as follows:

I don’t think this is at all funny or that it in anyway constitutes good satire. But I am hardly surprised at this turgid, reductive, insensitive and smug little piece given van Graan’s belittling of Pierre De Vos and his degradation of the GLBTIQA movement and its people. Van Graan has shown himself through his inability to offer psychological visibility to movements that are beyond his comprehension. His is a limited, judgemental world view.

This piece in particular mocks the likes of Binyavanga Wainaina and Thando Mgqolozana – our African greats who are challenging and changing what literature is in South Africa. Van Graan tries to make what happened in Franschhoek a joke – but once again, all he displays is his own tired bigotry. Literature is bigger than him. He will be left behind.

But white people will love this. Of that you can be assured.

Du Preez responded in another Facebook post yesterday:

I posted a satirical piece by playwright and cultural activist Mike van Graan on FB last week on the controversies around the “extreme violence” of grey-haired old ladies at the Franschhoek Literary Festival as apparently experienced by two or three young black authors. When Mandy De Waal responded by calling Mike a “tired bigot”, I called her name-calling inappropriate.

Mandy has now responded: “My response to Mike is wholly appropriate. You have misread the situation, and I believe that your position is coloured by your relationship as an author with the white/rather colonialist SA book industry.”

I told Mandy that Franscnhoek made me uncomfortable too and that I only go there when I have a book to promote. Her response: “I find this statement deeply disappointing particularly given your history of fighting injustice and inequality. That you would participate in an obviously fraught market space that has race and class problems purely for … well why? Why do you sacrifice your values? Is it for the vulgar return of money. For personal affirmation? I am very disappointed in you.”

And here’s my response to Mandy:

I have always taken you seriously, Mandy, and would really like to continue to do so. I find it hard, though, when you declare that I had sacrificed my values by selling my books at literary festivals – most, if not all of them are tainted by ‘whiteness’, exclusivity and privilege. What’s next? Will you demand that I put a sticker on my books declaring: “No privileged white, neo-liberal, settler/colonialist or racist is permitted to buy this book”? Will you demand that I stop selling my books through Exclusive Books, CNA or the Book Lounge? That I self-publish, because all publishers are “white/rather colonialist”?

It would be as absurd as it would be for me to take you to task for using Facebook, an American imperalist empire with questionable ethics, or using a laptop computer made in a country with a tarnished human rights record.

I have published 13 non-fiction books the last 16 years – my last received the 2014 Alan Paton Prize. It is extremely hard work and very time consuming. The book buying market in SA is tiny, so the rewards are small. If a book doesn’t sell, it simply means I won’t be able to write another. And who buys books in SA? Those despicable, violent people who go to literary festivals make up the largest chunk of them, I’m afraid.

I would take you seriously, Mandy, if you criticised the contents of my books rather than my attempts to market them to readers.

How does one “fix” the problem of a festival like Franschhoek being attended by mostly white people? By cancelling it or killing it off? A quota system? Or, as some of the young black authors have suggested, by government to stage a “black” event sponsored by the taxpayers? (At least I know that the money the rich whiteys pay to listen to me and other authors go towards libraries & promoting literacy among young black people.)

In 1988 I launched an alternative Afrikaans newspaper called Vrye Weekblad. Not a single SA company would advertise in it (they were afraid of the apartheid government’s retaliation) and we had no big money backers. Then Shell and Anglo American bought full-page ads for a whole year, which helped make it possible for us to continue publishing for six more years. I knew that they only advertised because they were under severe pressure of the global anti-apartheid movement. This was my choice: be politically correct and ethically upstanding and tell them to take their dirty money and fuck off, or accept their money and continue to publish a critical anti-apartheid voice at a crucial stage in our history. I took their money and have no regrets. Their ads never had any influence whatsoever on the content of the newspaper.

I’m publishing a book at the end of the year with the title “Of Renegades, Romantics and Rabble-rousers”. It is the product of three years of deep research. I’d be happy if Malaika wa Azania and Clive Derby-Lewis were among those who bought a copy. And if invited, I’ll go promote it to potential readers in Franschhoek, Gugulethu, Koekenaap, Soweto and Sandton.

It’s all about the book. Promoting books and reading is, in this instance, more important than political posturing.

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The Battle of Savate by Piet Nortje: The Story of 32 Battalion’s Biggest Victory

The Battle of SavateZebra Press is pleased to present a new book by Piet Nortje, The Battle of Savate:

On 21 May 1980, under the codename Operation Tiro-Tiro, 32 Battalion attacked and routed a FAPLA brigade at Savate, a small town 75 kilometres inside Angola. 15 of 32 Battalion were killed in the action and many more wounded. It was the highest South African casualty rate in a single skirmish since the start of the Border War. Overall, however, Savate was a significant victory for 32 Battalion. FAPLA suffered heavy casualties and the invaders captured a great many vehicles, weapons, ammunition and other equipment.

Despite the number of casualties, Operation Tiro-Tiro, or the Battle of Savate as it became known, was 32 Battalion’s biggest victory since its formation in March 1976. To this day a remembrance service and parade is held annually to commemorate the battle and to remember 32 Battalion’s victory and the price they paid.

Drawing from official documents in the Department of Defense Documentation Centre that have only recently been declassified and from testimonies of soldiers on both sides, The Battle of Savate is the definitive account of one of the greatest battles of the Border War, describing in detail the operation, its motivation and planning, its achievements and failures, and vividly recreating the experience of what happened on the ground.

About the author

Piet Nortje joined the SADF Permanent Force in 1978 and rose rapidly through the ranks in 32 Battalion. In 1985 he was appointed as the unit’s Regimental Sergeant Major, the youngest RSM ever in the SADF. Although his involvement with 32 Battalion came to an end in 1988, he continued to serve in the SANDF until his resignation in 2005. He is now a major in the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces. His previous books are 32 Battalion and The Terrible Ones.

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Wat is ’n liberaal en hoe vermy jy die skelnaam “libtard”? – Max du Preez gee raad

A Rumour of SpringMax du Preez het onlangs besin oor die verskeie betekenisse van die woord “liberaal”, wat deesdae uit alle oorde as ‘n belediging beskou word.

Die A Rumour of Spring: South Africa after 20 years of Democracy-outeur skryf in ‘n rubriek vir Netwerk24 dat hy homself nog nooit as ‘n liberaal gesien het nie: “Ek het wel liberale waardes, wat ek sou definieer as verdraagsaamheid, die vryheid en menswaardigheid van die individu en ’n oop, veelpartydemokrasie met soewereiniteit van die reg, aanspreeklikheid en ’n skeiding van magte.”

Du Preez maan Suid-Afrikaners aan om eerder sosiaal-demokrate te word en hulself sodoende meer beweegruimte te gee.

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Dit vermaak my altyd wanneer regse wit mense én swart aktiviste my ’n liberaal noem – en albei groepe bedoel dit as ’n belediging. Uit regse geledere word blykbaar daarmee bedoel dat ek my rug op “my mense” draai; dat ek ’n linksgesinde kwasi-kommunis is; dat ek ’n papperd is wat buig voor die aanslag van die swart meerderheid. “Libtard” is deesdae die gunsteling- regse skelwoord.

Uit swart geledere word, so smaak dit vir my, bedoel dat ek nié my rug op my “eie mense” draai nie en dus aan wit-wees en wit bevoorregting vasklou; dat ek ’n reaksionêre vryemark-fundamentalis is; dat ek elitisties en ongevoelig teenoor die armes en werkers is.

En dan is daar die bloubloed-liberale self wat neusoptrekkerig aan my sê ek is nie ’n liberaal se agterent nie.


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Video: Mac Maharaj Reflects on Jacob Zuma, Nelson Mandela and the Principles of Democracy

Reflections in PrisonWaldimar Pelser recently invited Mac Maharaj to join him in the Insig studio to talk about the principles of democracy and Jacob Zuma’s public image and his trial by media. He also speaks about Nelson Mandela’s illness and the media storm before and after his death and the future of our country.

Pelser kicks off the interview with the question: “Is the president a misunderstood man?”

“Is he misunderstood as a man? I think he came into office with a number of dark clouds over his head,” Maharaj says.

The author of Reflections in Prison talks about the democracy that was achieved in 1994: “Let me be very, very clear that the government of national unity in 1994 was an enforced coalition and if we regard that as a rainbow then we are defying the fundamental principle of democracy.”

Watch the video to find out why “we all short changed our country”:

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