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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Sent to Robben Island at 15, now a top legal mind: Dikgang Moseneke’s extraordinary memoir My Own Liberator

My Own LiberatorPan Macmillan is proud to present My Own Liberator: A Memoir by Dikgang Moseneke:

My Own Liberator, Dikgang Moseneke pays homage to the many people and places that have helped to define and shape him. In tracing his ancestry, the influence on both his maternal and paternal sides is evident in the values they imbued in their children – the importance of family, the value of hard work and education, an uncompromising moral code, compassion for those less fortunate and unflinching refusal to accept an unjust political regime or acknowledge its oppressive laws.

As a young activist in the Pan-Africanist Congress, at the tender age of 15, Moseneke was arrested, detained and, in 1963, sentenced to 10 years on Robben Island for participating in anti-apartheid activities. Physical incarceration, harsh conditions and inhumane treatment could not imprison the political prisoners’ minds, however, and for many the Island became a school not only in politics but an opportunity for dedicated study, formal and informal. It set the young Moseneke on a path towards a law degree that would provide the bedrock for a long and fruitful legal career and see him serve his country in the highest court.

My Own Liberator charts Moseneke’s rise as one of the country’s top legal minds, who not only helped to draft the interim constitution, but for 15 years acted as a guardian of that constitution for all South Africans, helping to make it a living document for the country and its people.

With a Foreword by Thabo Mbeki

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Dikgang Moseneke was born in Pretoria in December 1947. While imprisoned on Robben Island, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science and a B Juris degree, and would later complete a Bachelor of Laws, from the University of South Africa. Moseneke started his professional career as an attorney’s clerk in 1976. He was admitted as an attorney in 1978 and practised for five years at Maluleke, Seriti and Moseneke. In 1983 he was called to the Pretoria Bar and he was awarded senior counsel status 10 years later. Moseneke worked underground for the PAC during the 1980s and became its deputy president when it was unbanned in 1990. Moseneke also served on the technical committee that drafted the interim constitution of 1993. In 1994 he was appointed deputy chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission, which conducted the first democratic elections in South Africa.

Between 1995 and 2001, Moseneke left the Bar to pursue a full-time corporate career, but in November 2001, he came back to law when he was appointed to the High Court in Pretoria by then-President Thabo Mbeki. A year later Moseneke was made a judge in the Constitutional Court and, in June 2005, he became Deputy Chief Justice, a position from which he retired in May 2016.

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OUTA investigating possibility of class action against Eskom

The E-Tolls SagaBlackoutThe Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) says it is investigating the possibility of bringing a class action against Eskom.

This follows a court decision setting aside the 9.4 per cent Eskom electricity tariff increase.

The North Gauteng High Court ruled on Tuesday that Eskom had not followed the correct methodology when requesting an additional tariff increase for 2016 using the Revenue Clearing Account.

Eskom had failed to submit quarterly reports to the national energy regulator Nersa to lay the basis for the application and also submitted late‚ outside of the permitted time frame. The case was brought by the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chambers and others.

Outa said on Wednesday evening it would be engaging with various experts to assess the viability of launching a class action against Eskom on behalf of the public to recoup the amounts unlawfully charged.

“We applaud the businesses and the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chambers for successfully challenging the irrational manner within which Nersa approved the increase in Eskoms tariffs. Although not all amounts overcharged will be deemed significant in the eyes of some‚ it is an absolute matter of principle that Eskom pay back every cent they have overcharged,” said Ivan Herselman‚ director of legal affairs at Outa.

On 31 March 2016‚ Outa applied to interdict the Eskom tariff increase on the basis of insufficient time and information to analyse the reasons for the electricity tariff increase agreed to by Nersa‚ before it cames into effect.

Outa is currently on appeal against the judgment which ruled against the organisation. It said the judgment of this latest court ruling specifically confirmed Outa’s position that Eskom could revert to the lowest tariff‚ if the interdict was granted.

“We are fully aware that Eskom and/or Nersa are likely to appeal the ruling but will start with our preparations to determine whether a class action is feasible in the circumstances” Herselman added.

Source: TMG Digital

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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

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Challenging the prevailing narrative: The Thabo Mbeki I Know edited by Miranda Strydom and Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu

The Thabo Mbeki I KnowOut now from Pan Macmillan: The Thabo Mbeki I Know, edited by Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu and Miranda Strydom:

Forewords by Judge Barney Afako and Professor Mahmood Mamdani

The Thabo Mbeki I Know is a collection that celebrates one of South Africa’s most exceptional thought leaders. The contributors include those who first got to know Thabo Mbeki as a young man, in South Africa and in exile, and those who encountered him as a statesman and worked alongside him as an African leader.

In The Thabo Mbeki I Know, these friends, comrades, statesmen, politicians and business associates provide insights that challenge the prevailing academic narrative and present fresh perspectives on the former president’s time in office and on his legacy – a vital undertaking as we approach a decade since an embattled Mbeki left office.

Edited by Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu and Miranda Strydom, The Thabo Mbeki I Know provides readers with an opportunity to reassess Thabo Mbeki’s contribution to post-apartheid South Africa, as both deputy president and president; to the African continent and diaspora, as a highly respected state leader; and to the international community as a whole.

About the editors

Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu is an Executive Director at the South African Democracy Education Trust, he has a PhD in History from the University of the Witwatersrand and an MA in History from the University of Natal. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the multi-volume Road to Democracy in South Africa series. He is also the author of The Soweto Uprisings: Counter-memories of June 1976. He is a Professor of History at the University of South Africa and also a member of UNESCO’s Scientific Committee responsible for updating the General History of Africa series.

Miranda Strydom was born and raised in Swaziland. She arrived in South Africa in 1995 where she started working as an economics reporter for SABC Radio. She later joined Business Report until she was recruited to the news team of the newly launched e.tv News in 1998. Miranda was appointed Business Editor for the Sowetan newspaper and after a short stint as communications adviser to then Minister of Public Enterprises, Jeff Radebe, she returned to the SABC as a member of the presidential press corps until she left the media industry in 2011 to join the Thabo Mbeki Foundation.

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‘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

 
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New from Johnny Copelyn – Maverick Insider: A Struggle for Union Independence in a Time of National Liberation

Maverick InsiderPan Macmillan is proud to present the exciting new publication Maverick Insider: A Struggle for Union Independence in a Time of National Liberation by Johnny Copelyn:

In 1973, the trade union movement was both racially and regionally divided. It virtually excluded African workers, and in many cases unions were led by cautious and paternalistic leaders, long schooled in avoiding confrontation with either the state or employers.

Then widespread strikes erupted in Durban where hundreds of thousands of workers downed tools in support of wage demands. It was a militant explosion unprecedented since the apartheid government had crushed and outlawed mass demonstrations against segregation and “whites only” rule. And it provided the impetus for the next decade and a half of trade union organisation, which succeeded in uniting workers on a largely non-racial basis, dominated by the slogan “one union one industry”.

Maverick Insider is an anecdotal, insider’s account of the transformation during this period in the textile, clothing and leather worker sectors. It focuses on the outlooks of leadership groups in different parts of that industry and their efforts to influence the nature of the amalgamation of six unions to form the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU), one of the three largest unions of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

It traces the interaction between union leadership and both political parties and community organisations dedicated to making the country ungovernable, as well as those who were determined to stamp out such calls. It details struggles to unite workers across political divides in the same union organisation and to assert an independent working-class point of view in a period of growing African nationalism.

It details the traumatic events on the road to the so-called peaceful miracle that created a rainbow nation but left 22 000 South Africans dead in the process. And it is the story of a team of people who set out to change the world and formed an unshakeable bond in the process.

About the author

Johnny Copelyn runs a listed investment holding company, Hosken Consolidated Investments Limited (HCI), which is SACTWU’s investment vehicle. He lives with his life partner, Corinne, in Cape Town. Between them they have six children.

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‘The ANC government has been zombified’ – Malema after Nkandla judgment

Still an Inconvenient YouthCommander-in-Chief of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Julius Malema has vowed not to allow President Jacob Zuma to speak in Parliament again, adding that his party will stop him physically.

“Zuma must step down because he is no longer the president of this country‚” Malema said in the wake of the Constitutional Court judgment on the public protector’s report on Nkandla.

“If Zuma is continuing to stay in office‚ he leaves us no choice but to use practical ways to remove him‚” Malema said.

He added the African National Congress (ANC) kicked him and other members out of the party due to their criticism of the ANC and their attempt to “speak truth to power”.

“The ANC government has been zombified,” Malema said.

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Source: TMG Digital

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Sanral is flogging a dead horse, says Outa’s Wayne Duvenage

The E-Tolls SagaThe Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) says Sanral’s announcement that civil summonses will be issued to e-toll defaulters is merely a scare tactic for motorists and a show of force for the benefit of ratings agencies.

Outa says the public “need not panic or become anxious about this latest development‚ as this is precisely what Sanral seeks to achieve”.

Sanral said on Monday that the orders will be handed to individuals and “higher value summonses of mostly companies”.

Owing to the amount owed in the latter cases‚ said the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project’s Alex van Niekerk‚ “the summons has to be managed by the high court”.

Outa‚ however‚ pointed out on Wednesday that a “high court civil claim … entertains debt in excess of R400 000”.

“Civil claims of this nature‚ if properly defended‚ will take many months‚ if not years to bring to fruition‚” Outa said.

“What Sanral would like to have the public believe is that everyone will shortly be receiving a summons to appear in court‚ but this is not the case and is virtually impossible for them or the courts to do.”

Outa’s Wayne Duvenage also took issue with Van Niekerk’s contention that there was “an obligation to act” as “global ratings agencies and the investment community are also looking towards Sanral and expect from us to demonstrate our commitment to financial responsibility and high standards of corporate governance”.

Duvenage said Sanral has “a need to demonstrate to the ratings agencies that they can and will take action‚ following two years of threatening to do so”.

“Eventually‚ there comes a day when they would either have to drop the cause or decide to carry through with their threats‚” Duvenage said.

“Sanral and the government have unwisely demonstrated their decision to press on with their failed scheme‚ which is akin to flogging a dead horse.”

Outa’s statement also claimed that “well-connected debt collection companies stand to make large undisclosed amounts from all historic e-toll fees collected” is another “motivating factor for the renewed drive to create the heightened anxiety levels that will steer some of the public toward settling the e-toll debt”.

It said unpaid e-toll debt incurred before September 2015 totals more than R14-billion.

Source: TMG Digital

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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

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Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance urges public to oppose Eskom rate hike

The E-Tolls SagaOuta has released a statement to the effect that Eskom’s latest application to hike up its rates was based on claiming costs for electricity it had never generated.

The former Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance‚ now rebranded as the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse‚ is challenging the power utility’s bid to have the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) give it permission to up its rates.

The organisation announced on Monday that it had contracted energy analyst Ted Bloom to lead its campaign against electricity price increases‚ especially since Nersa had cancelled public hearings into the issue‚ saying there had been a “lack of interest”.

Outa said in its statement: “Eskom has a claim of R22.8 billion in terms of the Regulatory Clearing Account (RCA) despite making a profit of R7.1 billion in the 2013/2014 financial year. Outa believes this is unjust and that most of the claim should have been averted through more prudent management in numerous areas‚ by Eskom’s leadership.”

Despite the official end of the hearings‚ Outa is urging the public to join it in opposing the rate hikes‚ and has opened a portal (www.OUTA.co.za) through which objections can be registered.

“There are glaring concerns that speak to the inefficiencies within Eskom which we believe must be urgently addressed‚” Outa said.

Outa is also contesting the basis on which Eskom is applying for an increased tariff‚ saying that Eskom was claiming “electricity costs and revenue from the public for electricity production it projected‚ but which it did not in fact generate”.

“This is akin to a service provider charging somebody full price for a service it said it would render‚ but which it in fact never rendered‚ or claiming from insurance for a loss envisioned‚ but that didn’t occur.”

Among a series of other charges‚ Outa also says that “Eskom intends to pass a preventable and unfair over-expenditure (estimated at R10 billion) onto consumers”.

“Eskom questionably employed overly-expensive Diesel Turbines when Coal Fired Infrastructure was not running at full capacity‚ and intends to pass a R8 billion bill related to diesel consumption on to consumers.”

Source: TMG Digital

For more on the development of the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance, see:

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