Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Pan Macmillan

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

Julius Malema: ‘I’m not suffering from an uncontrollable ambition for power’

Still an Inconvenient YouthEconomic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema says growing the party‚ not winning municipalities or positions‚ is what the party is focusing on.

He was speaking at the EFF’s gala dinner on Saturday‚ at Meropa Leisure and Entertainment in Polokwane‚ ahead of its Tshela Thupa rally on Sunday in Limpopo.

The rally will mark the party’s final day of campaigning ahead of the local government elections on Wednesday.

“I don’t care whether we win a municipality or not‚ but we are going to increase our numbers. I’m not suffering from an uncontrollable ambition for power‚” said Malema.

He said those who wanted to win municipalities at all costs were “shortsighted” and “myopic”.

Malema reminded the audience that the EFF was only three years old and people should not put pressure on it to win municipalities.

The EFF leader also said it was important to grow local economies and put land in the hands of its rightful owners.

“When we speak they think we want to be like Zimbabwe. We don’t want you to be like Zimbabwe‚ we want you to benefit from the land‚ there’s too much money to be made from this land‚” said Malema.

He added that the state should be funding and supporting black farm owners instead of giving them land that soon lay vacant and unused.

“That is setting black people up for failure … you must sit with them‚ you must babysit them for 10 years and then pull out after 10 years because you mentored those people‚” Malema said.

He said South Africa had the responsibility to ensure that patterns of property ownership changed.

Malema also spoke about nationalisation saying that he was not calling for a complete ban of the private sector but the economy should be led and owned by the state.

“We are not the enemy of business‚ we want to partner with business‚” he said.

Malema said sanitation services should not be outsourced but should rather be the responsibility of the municipality.

“You can’t privatise water‚ you can’t privatise a reading of meters … because the reality is that those are basic things that the municipality is doing. So once you privatise them‚ you’re going to pay more‚ because a job which can be done with R100m we end up doing it with R150m because R50m goes to this middleman called a tenderman‚” said Malema.

He said tenderpreneurs depended too much on government tenders and lacked the innovation needed to be true entrepreneurs.

The party has vowed that under its leadership general tenders would come to an end‚ and that it would only outsource scarce services.

TMG Digital/BDlive

Book details

» read article

‘Obscene’: Rebecca Davis comments on the R140,000 raised after the ‘#RhodesMustFall waitress furore’

Best White and Other Anxious DelusionsRebecca Davis has written a piece for the Mail & Guardian on the “#RhodesMustFall waitress furore”.

After two black members of the #RhodesMustFall movement wrote on their bill that their white waitress “would receive a tip when she returned their land”, R140,000 was subsequently raised for the waitress by concerned citizens in a crowdfunding effort boosted by social media.

Journalist and columnist Davis, whose book Best White and Other Anxious Delusions was released last year, recalls her own days as a waiter, at a five-star hotel in Cape Town, and says the experience of serving many “unpleasant individuals” left her with “waitering post-traumatic stress disorder”.

Davis says not tipping a waiter is a “dick move”, no matter how you look at it, and she says she did feel sorry for the waitress.

However, she adds that “the fact that R100,000 could be collected in a few days to make up for a white waitress being spurned by a black patron is obscene”:

Despite what organisers may claim, this can no longer be ­celebrated as an outpouring of kindness. This is a message from white people to black people: we still have the financial muscle to show you who’s boss.

There were no crowdfunding drives to raise money for Cynthia Joni, the middle-aged domestic worker beaten up by a white man in Kenilworth because he believed she was a prostitute.

I didn’t see any for Muhammed Makungwa, the Malawian gardener sjambokked on his way to work in Rondebosch. I must have missed one for taxi driver Michelle Nomgcana, urinated on from the balcony of Tiger Tiger nightclub.

Complete article: Mail & Guardian

Related stories:

Book details

» read article

Oscar Pistorius due in court today for first time since Constitutional Court rejection

Behind the DoorOscar Pistorius is due in the Pretoria High Court today for the first time since he lost his final application for leave to appeal his murder conviction.

The case is expected to be formally postponed to June for sentencing proceedings.

The double-amputee athlete must be sentenced afresh after the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) last year overturned his culpable homicide conviction for shooting and killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and replaced it with a murder conviction.

Pistorius‚ 29‚ shot Steenkamp‚ 29‚ through a locked toilet door at his Pretoria home on February 14, 2013.

He said that he had fired the four shots believing that an intruder was hiding behind the door and his and Steenkamp’s lives were in danger.

The Constitutional Court last month dismissed Pistorius’s application for leave to appeal to that court against the SCA ruling.

Pistorius has not been seen in public since that decision.

He is out on bail of R10,000 and has been living at his uncle Arnold’s luxury home in Waterkloof‚ Pretoria‚ ever since his release from prison in October last year.

He had served about a year of the five-year jail term imposed on him before being released under correctional supervision.

The state or the defence may ask for alterations to Pistorius’ bail conditions now that his attempt to appeal his murder conviction has failed.

Pistorius’s current bail conditions allow him to leave his uncle’s house between 7 AM and noon. He is not allowed to travel beyond 10km from his uncle’s house.

The Office of the Chief Justice announced last month that Pistorius’s sentencing proceedings have been set down for June 13 to 17 after agreement between the state and defence lawyers and Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba.

Source: TMG Digital

Book details

» read article

Outa says the fuel levy hike ‘will push up the cost of living’ for everyone

The E-Tolls SagaThe Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa, previously the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance) said it found it “strange” that government “has no problem increasing the general fuel levy by 60 cents over the past two years”.

Yet‚ the civil watchdog said‚ government baulked at “an additional nine cents on the fuel levy to cover e-tolls” as it “would affect the poor”.

Outa’s Wayne Duvenage said the 30 cents-a-litre levy hike – announced by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan during Wednesday’s Budget Speech – “was predictable during this time of low fuel prices”.

But‚ he added: “We are concerned these high fuel levies (now at 36 percent of the fuel price)‚ will give rise to over R110-billion in the general fuel levies (general fuel levy and Road Accident Fund)‚ which is over 200 percent up on this revenue stream of a decade ago.

“The taxes applied to motorists and the transport industry will unfortunately be passed on to all citizens and will push up the cost of living.”

Duvenage held out hope that Gordhan will call the South African National Roads Agency Ltd and the Department of Transport to see reason and apply rational thinking in halting the failed e-toll decision”.

He also called for more transparency at government entities and said Gordhan should instruct them “to fully grant access to people who are rightfully inquiring about information pertaining to expenditure and tender allocation and if that information is not all there‚ the CEO’s job should be on the line”.

He also said that Wednesday’s speech did not give the sense that corruption was “being handled with conviction”.

“We need the removal of those officials who have been responsible for the waste‚ and criminal charges laid where necessary‚ so that a clear message is sent to those who waste and steal our taxes.

“They must fear the potential consequences and thereby change behaviour. In addition‚ we would like to see government claw back on the known lost revenues from people and organisations who have been fraudulently enriched with taxpayers’ money.”

Source: TMG Digital

Book details

» read article

‘Tears and celebrations’ – Alex Eliseev on the guilty verdict for Betty Ketani’s murderers

nullThree men were today convicted of killing Thandiwe Betty Ketani‚ a chef at a popular Johannesburg restaurant‚ nearly 17 years after she disappeared.

Alex Eliseev, whose book on the case, Cold Case Confession, is expected out from Pan Macmillan in May, tweeted live from the Johannesburg High Court:

Carrington Laughton was found guilty of kidnapping and murdering Ketani‚ while brothers and former policemen David and Carel Ranger were found guilty of culpable homicide and kidnapping.

Laughton was also convicted of the attempted kidnapping of another woman who worked with Ketani‚ Ruth Mncube.

Ketani worked as a chef at Rosebank Thai restaurant Cranks when she disappeared in May 1999. There was no trace of the Queenstown-born woman’s whereabouts until 13 years later‚ when a letter penned by Laughton and confessing to Ketani’s murder was discovered hidden in a Johannesburg house.

A few small bones were discovered in the garden of the house and these were later identified as Ketani’s. Her body lay buried in the garden under flower beds for five years before it was dug up and thrown in a river.

The motive for her murder may have been trouble with her employers at the restaurant.

Three other men had earlier pleaded guilty to being involved in her death and testified in exchange for lighter sentences. Laughton and the Ranger brothers had pleaded not guilty.

TMG Digital/TMG Courts and Law

For more on Cold Case Confession by Alex Eliseev, see:

The local non-fiction to look forward to in 2016 (Jan – June)

» read article

Getting to grips with why race is still a divisive issue in South Africa

Lyn Snodgrass, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?

The title of South African newspaper editor Ferial Haffajee’s book, What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?, is provocative on many levels. The title alone is likely to evoke an emotional and visceral reaction from people across the colour divide.

Responses could range from: “good, that will solve all our problems”, to: “yes, then we will see how things deteriorate”.

The timing of the book, and the topic, speak to deepening, divisive race consciousness in South Africa, 21 years after the dismantling of apartheid.

The author describes 2015 as a tumultuous year in the country’s history, punctuated by protests and racist incidents and attacks.

In grappling with controversial sociopolitical issues around antagonistic race relations in South Africa the author draws from her personal, sometimes intense experiences and insights.

She shares her story as a black women, and successful journalist, forging a space in an emerging democracy. For Haffajee, the political is intensely personal. It is the weaving together of these two strands that gives the author’s perspectives and insights great impact.

White privilege holds centre stage

The central thrust of the book is compelling. It argues that black South Africans, especially the new generation of young, black “born frees”, are obsessed with whiteness and white privilege.

What emerges from the author’s reflections, discussions and research, is that angry – often polarising debates – about the ideology of whiteness now dominate national conversations and social media platforms. They also featured prominently in the enraged voices of the recent wave of student protests.

The author taps into the psyche of the new generation of influencers through roundtable discussions and conversations with key young thinkers, pacesetters and elites.

Debunking the myths

The #Rhodes Must Fall and #Fees Must Fall student movements started out as causes relating to specific student issues. But they have escalated into a multiplicity of concerns.

The narratives that dominate the public space have morphed into intractable deeper questions about social justice and inequality. These are underpinned by the grand narrative of entrenched white supremacy in South Africa.

She goes on to say that this grand narrative, shared intergenerationally across race groups and manipulated for political expediency, is gaining traction.

Haffajee argues that this angry fixation on whiteness is limiting, backward looking, constrains agency, and is disempowering on many levels.

She debunks the many myths and distorted perceptions in the public domain concerning white dominance and power. The main storyline of this “false consciousness” is that whites and blacks perceive their numbers as roughly equal. Therefore, transferring the power of whiteness to black people would provide the panacea for the country’s woes.

These distorted narratives belie the statistical evidence that whites are a declining small minority, down from 10.95% of the population in 1996 to 8.4% in 2014.

And there would be little impact on distribution if the wealth of white people was nationalised and their resources distributed to black South Africans.

What still needs to be done

Haffajee recognises that South Africa is not truly transformed. She emphasises that white privilege and arrogance, informed by apartheid, colonialism and patriarchy, are still deeply entrenched, sharing her personal encounters with these.

She asserts that acknowledgement by whites of their privilege and an apology for the past is both necessary and desired by black South Africans.


What she cannot understand is how “freedom’s children” – the new generation of bright, articulate, motivated and educated young black people – define themselves. They see themselves as a disempowered minority seemingly confronted with the distorted perception of an overwhelming and oppressive white majority.

She argues that this means they have lost sight of the many gains that have been made since the advent of democracy; the rapid mobility of a growing black middle class, a substantial welfare net and a better life for many.

The disempowering narrative is played out against what the author describes as a powerful “black political kingdom” where the governing ANC controls extensive swathes of the economy and polity. It rules with a massive support, has huge financial muscle with spending capacity of R500 billion a year.

The author harbours deep conflict about the self-limiting discourse. The white dominance narrative is clearly at odds with her hard-won, middle-class freedoms and the black world that she perceives she inhabits. But she resists becoming part of the “self-satisfied elite” and finds comfort in the angst that prompts her to question her thinking.

She provides perspectives on possible causes of the whiteness obsession, observing that it is much easier to slip into victimhood – the default language of powerlessness – than claim the space, use the influence and authority to shape society.

The author quotes from the writer and scholar, RW (Bill) Johnson, who charges that the massive failures of governance in South Africa are a humiliating blow to black self-esteem. The worse this sense of failure:

… the more passionately the “liberated” ego needs to vent itself.

Desperately threatened egos can result in anti-white racism, anti-Semitism, a hatred of “outgroups” and increasing discrimination.

Haffajee vacillates between optimism. Among promising factors are the positive outcomes of the student protests. And pessimism – the rampant corruption, mismanagement and abuses by the government.

It is this tension and self-doubt that permeate the book. The worthy, noble struggle for deep social justice by millenials in South Africa is juxtaposed against the disempowering narrative of “whiteness”, presented by the next generation as responsible for the burden they face.

These competing narratives make the book a challenging read. The reader is left feeling deeply ambivalent, still seeking answers to the provocative question posed by the title.

This is perhaps the purpose of the book. It provokes the hard, uncomfortable conversations about the “unfinished business of colonialism and apartheid” that South Africans must have if they are to move forward together as a nation.

What If There Were No Whites In South Africa? is published by Pan Macmillan.

The Conversation

Lyn Snodgrass, Associate Professor and Head of Department of Political and Conflict Studies, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Book details

» read article

Why was the Fees Must Fall Movement Ferial Haffajee’s Newsmaker of the Year? (Video)

What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?City Press editor-in-chief Ferial Haffajee spoke to Polity about her thought-provoking and rather controversial new book What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?

Haffajee held a number of round table discussions to inform this analysis of current affairs in South Africa. She says in writing this she essentially attempted to rethink the way we look at non-racialism and the politics of reconciliation.

During the interview Haffajee discusses hot topics like land redistribution, power structures and white dominance in the corporate environment, affirmative action laws, #FeesMustFall, the difference between the South African situation and the American civil rights movement and the younger generation’s vociferous dissatisfaction with the status quo – all addressed in What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?

“Fees Must Fall was perhaps for me, the hashtag #FeesMustFall that is, definitely my newsmaker of the year because I think those students took us into what we are going to be. They showed us that, mobilised around a single issue for a common good, young people can shift our country and shift our politics,” Haffajee says. She acknowledges that there were problematic elements, but says that she is excited to see where this movement will go.

Watch the video:


Also read:

Keep an eye on Books LIVE for our report on the launch of What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?

Book details

» read article

“Non-racialism is Dead”: Read an Excerpt from What If There Were No Whites In South Africa? by Ferial Haffajee

What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?The Star has shared an extract from Ferial Haffajee’s latest book, What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?, which provides thought-provoking analysis of our country.

In the excerpt, Haffajee unpacks the #RhodesMustFall movement and the removal of the Cecil John Rhodes statue at the University of Cape Town, which marks the “generational shift in how transformation is understood”.

The reflection also turns inwards, as the respected political commentator and editor-in-chief of City Press writes about her relationship with her freedom and shares her own doubts and fears about writing this book.

Haffajee writes: “For me the political is intensely personal – freedom has been good for me and to me. I know it’s not the same for many, many South Africans, but there are enough of us who have benefited from freedom to build on it.”

Read the extract:

This is a generational shift, and a seismic one at that, in how South Africa’s transition is understood. It’s interesting to me that while Frank Chikane – liberation theologian, politician and democratic South Africa’s second director general of the Presidency – is a father of democracy, it is his son, Kgotsi Chikane, who is leading the #RhodesMustFall movement, a second transition.

In former EFF MP Andile Mngxitama’s words: “It was always about preserving white civilisation, ultimately. Because if this liberation movement was devoid of white anxiety (or anxiety about whites), it would have spoken in a different language.”

So, as I pursue my quest of understanding why I feel almost completely out of step with a generation I venerate, I realise that what we are living through is a generational shift. Those of us who admire South Africa’s transition and have studied the masterclass in pragmatism that underlined the painstaking negotiations for freedom are regarded as outmoded by a young, new establishment. We are regarded as compradors for striving for diversity and non-racialism. Non-racialism is, to all intents and purposes, dead.

Related links:


Book details

» read article

Songezi Zibi and Carol Paton Discuss SAA’s Interdict Against Business Day, and Why They’re Fighting it (Podcast)

Raising the BarYesterday, Business Day’s headline story made headlines when it was interdicted by SAA. The airline’s technical insolvency was the subject of the article against which the interim High Court Order was issued.

Business Day editor Songezo Zibi, who is also the author of Raising the Bar: Hope and Renewal in South Africa, has written an article in which he outlines the series of events that led up to and followed the interdict.

Zibi says that his newspaper was instructed not to publish the story, which was “premised on an internal memo from the head of legal, risk and compliance at SAA, Ursula Fikelepi, to the board of the airline”. The article revealed details of SAA’s financial insolvency. However, the order came more than three hours after the newspaper had gone to print.

Read Zibi’s article:

The order includes the print edition but since we print our first edition at 9.30pm and the second edition at 10.30pm it was not possible to comply with the order, so the print edition is on the retail shelves. Neither SAA nor its attorneys, considering the lateness of the hour, attempted to notify the Business Day telephonically of their intentions.

Zibi was featured on Redi Thlabi’s CapeTalk radio show to explain the interdict, and why Business Day intends to argue in court that it is “flawed”:

Carol Paton, who with Nicky Smith wrote the article in question, was featured on Xolani Gwala’s Talk Radio 702 show to discuss the matter. She speaks about what her story dealt with, and possible reasons for SAA’s extreme reaction:

Paton and Smith have written another article about SAA’s precarious financial situation, published in this morning’s edition of Business Day:

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said on Tuesday the Treasury was still considering the application by the board of South African Airways (SAA) for a restructuring of a lease transaction with Airbus, and had not reached a decision yet.

The board’s intention to restructure the transaction has led to the collapse of a previous agreement with Airbus, which in turn triggered contractual financial obligations for SAA.

Related stories

Book details

» read article

A Bad Black’s Manifesto Author Zama Ndlovu: The Time Has Come to Reimagine South Africa

“We were foolish to think we could build a society without first determining which beliefs we had in common. We put what we thought was the best version of our collective beliefs into the Constitution and took the next steps for granted.”

A Bad Black's ManifestoSo writes Zama Ndlovu, a social activist, columnist, working professional, founder of Youth Lab and vanguard for the #badblacks. In her book A Bad Black’s Manifesto she talks about failed education and revolutions, dating on the interwebs, white people and their braais, women’s empowerment and Black Consciousness and identity.

Ndlovu, who currently works at the National Planning Commission secretariat, makes a call for a collective ideology in South Africa in her most recent column for Business Day, reflecting on the results of a lack thereof in our modern context. She writes that old debates about the country “have grown stale” and that “the time has come for new participants, a younger crop of exceptional leaders, to reimagine SA”.

Read the article:

We can continue these unproductive debates or we can decide to build a country that has a place for all of us. Our survival depends on the bravery to suspend our preferred blueprints to genuinely interrogate alternatives.

However, too many are invested in this destructive political economy, negotiating in bad faith to detonate an already volatile situation. SA is structurally and morally unsustainable; we should all be willing to agree on that at the very least. Nothing fruitful can come from a discussion between people who will not acknowledge this, nor let go of their tinted glasses. Arguments over old ideas have grown stale, and are impotent against the challenges we face.

Clearly, the time has come for new participants, a younger crop of exceptional leaders, to reimagine SA. These leaders are already here.

Book details

» read article