Monthly Archives: May 2010

Nothing like Australia

I thought I’d post a little something about my new country, Australia. This is the new tourism advert and it’s pretty good. Enjoy.

South Africa: The ANC’s real ‘night terrors’ – the DA-run Western Province

One of the 9 provinces in South Africa – the Western Cape – is run by the main opposition to the ANC government – the DA (Democratic Alliance). This party took the Western Cape back  from ANC control in the last election and went about cleaning up the province and ridding the local municipalities of the corruption they inherited from the ANC. Needless to say they’ve done a very good job of this and the province’s success now highlights the failings of the remaining 8 bankrupt ANC -run provinces. Recently, the ANC Youth League in the Western Cape decided to stoke up the racist hatred and found some toilet walls to pull down in revolt against the “racist” DA. I just have to wonder where these people now do their ablutions since they don’t have any community toilets thanks to their own people. This just reminds us how the masses burnt down their own schools and libraries during the Apartheid years in protest. As a result, we now we sit with semi-literate masses voting these clowns in election after election…It seems a leopard cannot change it’s spots. Oh, and the DA won Gugulethu and Grabouw in the recent by-elections; both previous ANC strongholds – ha ha. So much for the DA being racist.

Sometimes when writing about politics, the only person you can turn to is that well-known observer of The Force, Yoda. And if he saw what’s happening in Western Cape, he would no doubt repeat his famous quote, “Fear leads to hate, hate leads to anger, anger leads to…suffering”. Much fear he would sense in the ANC in that province at the moment. Mmmm.

What else could be driving it to resort to public violence and vandalism. On the face of it, people forced to live in the area of Makhaza in Kayelitsha have every right to be angry. No one likes to have to do their private business in a public bog. And for the City of Cape Town to build toilets without any kind of protection from the elements was probably a political mistake. Yes, there was an agreement with the community that the city would build the lavatories and the people would build the walls, that all makes perfect sense. But the City should have known it was never going to work out like that.

It was the chance the ANC had been waiting for. At last, after all this time, a chance to jump down the DA’s throat about something. They’d had to wait for quite a long time after all, which perhaps says more about the pothole-infested “World-Class African City” than it does about the DA.

In the end the city went in and installed some corrugated iron shelters. Not great, no windows or anything like that, and the smell must have been horrific, but there we are. The mayor Dan Plato went himself to make sure it was done good and proper. He’d taken the precaution of making sure the residents were as happy as they could be over the affair.

But members of the ANC Youth League, people who also say they’re from a group living in the area, went in and destroyed the enclosures. Interestingly, as far as we know, none of them was arrested, but there is footage and pictures aplenty of the ANC’s new form of “direct action”. Now that same group of pacifists is urging the youth to “vandalise the city”. They want to make it ungovernable. That’s how they’re going to take out the Death Star.

Now, before we get on our high horse and point out that this is not the best way to win friends and influence people in a democratic state, there is a dispute over a few facts. Most media reports quote residents that weren’t happy with corrugated iron, but said it was better than the windy dumps it replaced. The ANCYL’s people dispute that. Their argument, as cogently as we can put it, seems to say that because the majority of these residents were opposed to the structures, they must be destroyed because majority rules. These are the people who miss the “constitutional” part of the constitutional democracy in which we live. So if all the right-handed people in the country wanted to kill all the left-handed people, that, according to this logic, would be perfectly fine.

The national office of the League says this isn’t true. Well, we think that’s what it’s saying, because its “spokesman” Floyd Shivambu had a brief conversation with the unfortunate Sapa reporter who was asked to call him. Being his usual eloquent self, he asked “how can you call yourself a journalist?” before saying “how can you tell such lies?”. So he’s on the ball then.

We must just mention at this point that to speak of one ANC in the Western Cape is a bit of a misnomer. It’s a party that’s balkanised. There are massive problems within the ANC there. It’s hugely divided and that means we cannot presume this action has the backing of most, or even many, of the party’s members in the province.

In this case it seems the law, allied to the strong force that is Helen Zille, will probably prevail. With a bit of luck, the residents themselves will find a way to deal with the youth.

But this is just one incident. You have to ask how it is that so much is going so right in Cape Town that the ANC has to resort to trashing toilets. Is there really nothing else it can pick on? And to accuse the DA of racism just doesn’t wash any more. We get the feeling that middle-class black people actually just ignore that claim. Slowly, more and more people in this country are beginning to see race as not the prime determinant of their opinion.

Now, think about this. In Gauteng, Premier (for now) Nomvula Mokonyane has just finished her “Quality of Life Report” on Gauteng’s municipalities. No, Joburg didn’t win. Midvaal did. And, guess who controls Midvaal? The party’s name means “yes” in Russian. So one presumes Midvaal will be run by the DA again after next year’s elections.

We think the Western Province will too. To pick on an issue of toilets is not going to win you an election. It’s 50 toilets in one place. What it will do is demonstrate how scared you are. How, in the Western Cape, the ANC needs to accept more of Yoda’s wisdom, that losing, like “death, is a part of life”. We’re not sure it will.

The better run Cape Town is, the more apparent will be the disarray in Johannesburg and Pretoria. The opposition-run Western Cape could be the shape of things to come. Eventually, the silent majority will wake up one day and realise that they care more about who provides good infrastructure, safe streets and well-run schools and hospitals than about politics of race and conflict.

That is the day our ruling political elite fears the most.


Australia: Another fine mess for Kevin Rudd, all of his own making

After waiting more than 6 months for the Henry Tax review to be released by the government, Mr Rudd eventually did so a few weeks back. Of the many suggestions made in the review which was suppose to streamline the Australian Tax system, the government clamped down on one. What was that one you ask? The brilliant idea to tax the “super profits” of the mining industry! Mr Rudd and Co have emptied the tax-payer surplus cupboard from the Liberal era and now are panicking to re-stock it before the next election –  so being desperate they decided to hit the soft-target mining sector with a super tax. The result? Shares in the industry have dropped; mining investment and projects have been put on hold and the rest of the mining countries are thanking Mr Rudd for all the new business coming their way. If this isn’t Socialism then I don’t know what is. What Mr Rudd underestimated in his “fair go” wisdom was the reaction from the public, the majority of whom have lambasted the government for their greed and spendthrift ways. Pity I can’t vote yet!

THE charge that the Prime Minister of the country has misled the parliament is serious and not made lightly. Today Kevin Rudd stands so charged.

He’ll argue his way out of it, of course and in the process trash the Westminster system just as badly as he did during the home insulation fiasco. And, as usual it’s the Prime Minister’s intellectual arrogance, and proclivity for hyperbole based on utter self-confidence that has put him in a position where he has misled the House of Representatives.

It’s another fine mess, and as is increasingly common these days, one completely of Rudd’s own making. The issue at the centre of the charge of misleading is the government’s disgraceful decision to spend $38 million of taxpayers’ money belatedly trying to explain its botched attempt to pillage $9 billion from the nation’s miners.

To get to the misleading of the parliament we need to work backwards. Not so far backwards as Chapter 11 of Labor’s 2007 pre-election manifesto, Reforming Government, in which Rudd stated, hand on heart, that “Labor will not support the use of government advertising for political purposes”.

No, we only need to go as far back as Thursday when Tony Abbott asked the Prime Minister if he would now abandon the mining tax. Abbott cited four reasons; “the collapsing dollar, the falling stockmarket, the suspension of projects and the evaporation of jobs”.

It’s the falling stockmarket that concerns us here. In a lengthy answer, Rudd comprehensively rejected Abbott’s assertion that the government’s tax had had any impact on capital markets.

Let’s go the PM’s own words: “This goes to the other point he [Abbott] has made. I quote him from an earlier remark when he said, ‘Our sharemarket is under pressure because the government has totally mismanaged its proposal of a big new tax on mining’.

“Let us go to the facts of this matter. Share prices around the world have fallen because of the crisis in Greece and the honourable Leader of the Opposition would know that. Secondly, within mining itself he is yet to adduce any data to support the proposition. So on proposition No 1 about the dollar, on proposition No 2 about the share price, on proposition No 3 about employment: wrong, wrong, wrong, against all the factual data.”

Unfortunately the following day another piece of “factual data” surfaced in the form of Special Minister of State Joe Ludwig’s statement that he was exempting the government from its own lily white guidelines on taxpayers’ advertising to allow a $38m assault on the mining industry.

Among the reasons specifically cited by Ludwig for the exemption was the following: “I have also accepted the Treasurer’s advice that, as the tax reforms involve changes to the value of some capital assets, they impact on financial markets.”

So, the day after Rudd tells parliament Abbott’s claims the mining tax is affecting financial markets are garbage, his government uses the same rationale to justify rorting its own advertising standards.

But it gets worse. We now know that Swan first canvassed the idea of an advertising exemption based on market impacts at the time of the budget. So Rudd would have known about that justification since May 11. Then he told the parliament the opposite on Thursday.

Moreover, we now also know it was Rudd who approved the precise wording of the Ludwig statement. This column specifically asked the Prime Minister’s office on Saturday if Rudd or anyone in his office cleared Ludwig’s release on government advertising in relation to the mining tax before it was released.

Answer: ” Yes as a courtesy a copy of the release was provided.”

There was also a second question: “Was the issue discussed at any time by the full cabinet or the Strategic and Priorities Review Committee of Cabinet (aka the Gang of Four). If so, was Rudd present for those discussions?

Answer: “As per longstanding practice for both sides of politics we do not discuss cabinet committee deliberations.”

I’m going to take an educated guess here and say that it was the Gang of Four, or part thereof, who signed off on this tax campaign. As my colleague Peter van Onselen reported in the The Weekend Australian, this was a policy conceived in haste and secrecy. This was Rudd and Swan’s doing. Though Swan has been a lot smarter (for that read cautious) in his public pronouncements on the issue.

As for the opposition, they smell Rudd blood. Opposition finance spokesman Andrew Robb said: “On Thursday Rudd got up in the parliament swearing black and blue that his great big new tax on mining was not affecting share prices and this assertion was against all the factual data. To say otherwise he thundered was ‘wrong, wrong, wrong’.

“We now know that on Monday Joe Ludwig approved Wayne Swan’s request for an exemption to Labor’s own rules so the government could launch a $38m advertising blitz against the miners. The clinker is in Ludwig’s Friday press release where he says ‘I have accepted the Treasurer’s advice that as the tax reforms involve changes to the value of some capital assets, they impact on financial markets’.

“There it is in black and white. The Treasurer obviously has long had data which supports the Coalition’s stating of the obvious: that this tax is adversely impacting on the sharemarket and on the superannuation investments of millions of Australians.

“Rudd knew this and therefore it would appear he has clearly and quite deliberately misled the parliament and he must provide a full explanation such is the seriousness of this issue. His government has approved a panicked advertising blitz on the very basis that he said on Thursday did not exist.”

The speed of disintegration in the quality of decision-making in this government is truly astounding. The Labor backbench must be grinding their teeth. Especially when they read reports, as they did in The Australian last week, that Rudd would surround himself with his ministers during the coming campaign to emphasise the depth of Labor talent. Those who remember the 1980 election shudder. A desperate ALP tried to bookend the unpopular Bill Hayden with then extremely popular NSW premier Neville Wran and ACTU president Bob Hawke.

It was a disaster. The Sydney Morning Herald described it as pathetic. “Pathetic because they [campaign ads] amount to a vote of no confidence in Mr Hayden. Their message to the electorate surely is; you may not think our elected Labor leader is up to running the country, but just look who he has got with him.” The answer in 2010: Julia Gillard.


Islam and Sharia Law are coming to America

Here is a quick snapshot of what Sharia is all about. Sounds just wonderful! Can’t wait for it to invade our communities and to see all woman covered up and/or  beaten because they’re “half a man”. Such a peaceful religion….but why do their men cover up their faces if they are allowed to commit jihad? You’d think they’d be proud to uphold their beliefs.

Sharia, or Islamic law, influences the legal code in most Muslim countries. A movement to allow sharia to set regulations that pertain to marriage, divorce, inheritance, and custody, is now expanding into the United States. All Sharia is derived from two primary sources, the divine revelations set forth in the Qur’an, and the sayings and example set by the Prophet Muhammad in the Sura.

What is Sharia Law?

Also meaning “path” in Arabic, sharia guides all aspects of Muslim life including daily routines, familial and religious obligations, and financial dealings. It is derived primarily from the Qur’an and the Sunna, the sayings, practices, and teachings of the Prophet Mohammed.

Marriage and divorce are the most significant aspects of sharia, but criminal law is the most controversial. In sharia, there are categories of offenses.

The chief elements of Sharia Law are first: a belief that women are deficient in their natural and “innate” potentials and abilities, including their psychological-makeup and intellectual capacity. The Islamic Penal Codes are based on violence in its most primitive forms. These not only authorize organized state violence, but also encourage male violence against women within the family and in society. While precise statistics are scarce, the UN estimates thousands of women are killed annually in the family honor.

While the Islamic Penal Codes have born down a tremendous injustice on the women they are not just second-class citizens, half a man, but at times their very existence is disregarded. It has been pointed out that our women have managed to achieve equality in one field only: equal right to imprisonment, exile, torture, being killed, and now being slaughtered.

Second, a belief in a social and family order where men must be guardians over women, and women must submit.

Third, a belief in an unequal system of rights and consequently, wherever the question of the reproduction of such an order is concerned, of a system of punishment that is also unequal.

1. Islam commands that drinkers and gamblers should be whipped. Sura 5:90-91.
2. Islam allows husbands to beat their wives. Qur’an, 4:34
3. Islam allows an injured plaintiff to exact legal revenge, physical eye for physical eye. Qur’an, 5:45
4. Islam commands that a male and female thief must have a hand cut off. Qur’an, 5:38
5. Islam commands that highway robbers should be crucified or mutilated. Qur’an, 5:33. As an alternative, the convicted may have a hand and the opposite foot cut off while being banished from the land instead of crucifixion.
6. Islam commands that Homosexuals be executed. Abdu Dawud no. 447. Burning to death, stoned while against a wall, or stoned and thrown over a cliff.
7. Islam orders unmarried fornicators to be whipped and adulterers to be stoned to death. Qur’an, 24-6
8. Islam orders death for Muslim and possible death for non—Muslim critics of Muhammad and the Quran and even sharia itself.
9. Islam orders apostates to be killed. Sura 9:11-12
10. Islam commands offensive and aggressive and unjust jihad

Islam commands offensive and aggressive and unjust jihad. This does not allow for the freedom of religion or conscience. People of the Book (Jews and Christians) had three options (Sura 9:29): fight and die; convert and pay a forced ‘charity’ or zakat tax; or keep their Biblical faith and pay a jizya or poll tax. The last two options mean that money flows into the Islamic treasury.


South Africa: Obama sends feds to protect USA team.

There are some websites out there that continue to highlight the goings on in South Africa. Here is another post from the CoCC website.

Obama administration takes unprecedented action to protect an American sports team.

The Columbian soccer team had $2,500 looted from their hotel rooms by hotel staff in South Africa. The same thing happened to the Egyptian team during preliminaries.

Now the Obama administration has ordered federal agents to South Africa to protect the American team. A large force will protect American soccer players whenever they leave their hotel rooms.

Bill Clinton and Joe Biden are attending games and will be surrounded by armies of federal security forces. (So much for loving diversity!)


I fervently pray that the World Cup will bring real hope to this benighted country. So why the heavy heart?

Sadly, too late for common sense. South Africa should never have been awarded the Soccer World Cup. If anything, Fifa held all the cards and could have asked South Africa to show that crime and corruption was under control prior to awarding the country the cup. If SA took 20 years to show this, then so be it. Instead, the country has gone downhill faster since being awarded the tournament with crime and murder out of control. None of the liberal media seems willing to tell the truth as it stands today but they found a lot of energy to jump up and down when Apartheid was still in place. South Africa was NEVER this bad under Apartheid. We had law and order and the Blacks enjoyed the best education and life expectancy standards on the whole of the African Continent. What price have their people paid to have bragging rights? The highest HIV/AIDS; rape and murder stats; woeful education and crumbling hospitals; shoddy justice and police departments; lower life expectancy; and so the list goes on. You can’t make a silk purse out of sows ears…

 Hat tip: REXTRUT

Keeping guard: Police watch the every movements of football teams after the Colombian national team had money stolen from their hotel

Arriving at Cape Town airport — renovated at enormous expense for the World Cup, which kicks off here in less than a fortnight — my eye was caught by a newspaper story.

Headlined ‘Be good — just for four weeks, pleads Zuma’, it was a rather desperate-sounding appeal from South Africa’s President, urging the many villains in his crime-ravaged country to suspend the murder, rape and plunder, if only for the duration of the tournament.

It didn’t sound much to ask. After all, this is the first time an African nation has been trusted to stage the planet’s biggest sporting spectacle, and more than 400,000 visiting fans plus a global TV audience of 26 billion will be watching to see whether it measures up to the task.

However, within two days I discovered, first-hand, how effective Zuma’s entreaty is likely to be.

Having been robbed here several years ago (my passport and wallet were taken from my hotel room), I decided not to bring much cash or even traveller’s cheques.

But I had been in South Africa for only a few days when I was alerted by text that my credit card was being used at cash-points all over town and I’d been fleeced of £1,300.

I still have the card, but it seems someone had cloned it and copied the pin number.

As a journalist, I have travelled to more than 100 countries and no one has stolen so much as a brass washer from me. Yet I have been to South Africa half a dozen times now, and it has happened twice.

Of course, it could just be bad luck. This sort of thing goes on all over the world, after all, and in the end all it cost me was a few hours of hassle.

Then, this week, a World Cup hotel where the Colombia squad are staying (they’ve not qualified for the tournament but are in South Africa to play a friendly) was targeted and £1,800 was stolen from the players’ suitcases.

But, it was the reaction of people here — or rather the lack of it — that told me all I needed to know about the nature of this so-called Rainbow Nation.

One police official seemed surprised I was even bothering to report the theft. My friend, Fanie, who has risen admirably from a poor township to become a top photographer, just shrugged.

‘Welcome to South Africa,’ he said. ‘Now you know what life’s like here.’

His words were still echoing a few hours later as I gazed from my 16th-floor hotel room in Cape Town’s swish new Waterfront development. The breathtaking view is dominated by two landmarks which together symbolise the historic significance of the country chosen to stage next month’s World Cup.

In the near distance, rising from the Atlantic shoreline like a gigantic upturned seashell, stands the magnificent new 4.5 billion Rand Green Point Stadium, which will stage eight of the games, including England’s second match, against Algeria.

On the far horizon lies the mist-wreathed outline of Robben Island, the forbidding rock where Nelson Mandela was held in a tiny cell and put to work in a lime quarry for 18 of his 27 years in prison.

Stadium and island are separated by just a few miles of choppy grey water, but there is no denying how far the country has journeyed in the 16 years since the fall of apartheid.

If we believe President Zuma, hosting the World Cup will represent another giant stride.

Sepp Blatter, head of world football’s all-powerful governing body, FIFA, trots out the same message — that it will transform the lives of millions of people, rich and poor alike — justifying the £3 billion it has cost to stage.

They point to the five futuristic new stadiums, the new roads and transport links, the thousands of jobs (forgetting that many have been allocated to lowly-paid immigrants, sparking a frightening xenophobic backlash) and the billions that will flood back into the economy.

This is without the unquantifiable benefits South Africa will reap from showcasing its beautiful scenery and cultural heritage; and above all from proving to the world that it is able to stage an event as efficiently as Germany or Japan.

Yet . . . much as you want to believe all this World-Cup hype — and I fervently wish the tournament is the glorious occasion that it deserves to be — there are contradictions wherever you turn.

If the tournament was really designed to benefit Africans, for example, why is it that only 13,000 of the 2.9 million match tickets — less than 0.5 per cent — have been sold to people in other African countries?

The answer is simple. At FIFA’s insistence, the vast majority were available only via the internet, and to buy them you needed to possess a credit card, commodities very few Africans possess.

Why have street vendors been booted off their market stalls near the World Cup stadiums? Is it for fear that fans might buy their cheap replica team shirts and flags instead of the exorbitantly-priced official FIFA merchandise (all made in the Far East) and eat local food instead of buying a pricey burger at McDonald’s, the tournament’s official caterer?

And why were South African musicians initially denied the privilege of performing at the opening ceremony alongside American stars such as R Kelly, only being included on the bill after threatening to steal the show by putting on an alternative concert?

So much for all the triumphal pronouncements that staging the world’s greatest sporting event here is a ‘victory for football and a victory for Africa’.

The harsh realities will hit England’s expected 50,000 travelling fans as soon as they leave Cape Town’s swish new airport. They will be confronted by a shameful scene that has been known to reduce first-time visitors to tears.

It is difficult to summon the words to describe the squalor of the vast shanty town that unfolds beside the motorway leading to the city. More than a million people are corralled into tiny shacks built from rusting, corrugated iron, sheets of polythene, cardboard and plywood: anything that they can muster.

There is no running water or electricity (though resourceful residents sometimes rig generators to the traffic lights), and the foul-stinking streams and ponds are open sewers.

Football here means a barefooted kick-about on some disease-ridden rubbish dump.

Hardly surprisingly, it is in these anarchic cauldrons that South Africa’s huge problems are rooted: seething hatred for the wealthy white minority and the burgeoning black middle classes; mass unemployment; rampant HIV, drug abuse and alcoholism; and, of course, crime.

The country’s 49 million population is 12 million smaller than Britain’s, but each year 18,000 people are murdered (a rate 27 times higher than ours); there are 200,000 serious assaults; 18,400 house robberies and a shocking 380,000 rapes.

Back in 2004, when South Africa was awarded the World Cup, the millions trapped in God-forsaken shanty towns rejoiced with the rest of the nation, for it seemed to promise them so much.

One of the fundamental principles was that the stadiums and accompanying infrastructure should benefit the most impoverished communities.

In Cape Town, for example, it was broadly agreed that a new stadium should be built in Athlone, a vast township of grim, concrete tenement blocks where people classified as ‘coloured’ were confined under the iniquitous apartheid regime.

Not only would it bring new jobs and a sense of pride, but the improved transport system would allow people to seek work elsewhere in the city.

But it was clear that a ghetto like Athlone clearly wasn’t what FIFA envisaged when they offered football’s glittering prize to Africa. After all, the new showpiece stadium, which has been built in an affluent white suburb and has Table Mountain as its scenic backdrop, would look so much nicer on the TV.

But this, in essence, is how it came to be built in an area where no one has the slightest interest in football and which is utterly inaccessible to the vast majority of fans.

As a result, there are worries it will become a white elephant after the final whistle sounds.

Meanwhile, the old Athlone stadium has been given a facelift. But in their determination to prettify the area for the world’s gaze, the local authority has embarked on a ruthless ‘sanitisation’ programme.

Far cry: Blikkiesdorp, or ‘Tin Town’, houses more than 350 people who were forcibly evicted from their ‘eyesore’ hostel in Athlone and dumped here as part of the World Cup ‘sanitization programme’

It evicted 365 men, women and children from a particularly unsightly hostel beside the main road and shoved them many miles away, in a hellhole where few tourists will venture.
They have been dumped with thousands of other homeless people in a place known as Blikkiesdorp, or Tin Town, a fly-blown camp of aluminium huts which makes the shanty towns look comfortable by comparison.

‘Why didn’t they use all those billions they spent on building the stadiums to build houses for us to live in?’ asked Margaret Bennett, a mother-of-five whose family were rounded up and moved.

‘There are no shops near here and my children have to walk for four hours just to fetch a loaf of bread. The huts flood when it rains, and this place is full of diseases.

‘This is what the World Cup has done for us.’

It is a story one hears repeated across the country. But there are other reasons why many ordinary South Africans feel betrayed by empty World-Cup promises.

The country’s public health service is falling apart. Only this week it was revealed that 181 babies have died in one East Rand neonatal unit since January.

Hundreds of people are also having their operations postponed — in order to keep beds empty in case of a terror attack, a stadium disaster or some other emergency during the tournament.

There is mounting resentment, too, among the staff at Cape Town’s crumbling Somerset Hospital, where the BBC has built its rooftop £1 million studio, with magnificent views of Table Mountain.

Gary Lineker and his pundits will perch safely atop the relatively modern maternity wing, but last weekend part of the ceiling in the 150-year-old forensic unit collapsed.

‘Thankfully, the nurse had just left the room. If not, she might easily have been killed,’ specialist Dr Paul Theron told me, suggesting the billions used on the adjacent football stadium might have been better spent building new hospitals.

Then there is the danger of crime, the great unspoken fear that is never far from one’s mind here.

Determined to prove it is exaggerated, the government has recruited 41,000 extra police officers and spent millions on a high-tech arsenal including weapons, helicopters and battlewagons.

They have also set up 54 special ‘World Cup courts’ at a cost of £4 million to process the expected glut of tournament-related crimes.

Barricaded behind a high wall in his smart, white Cape Town suburb, however, Smiley van Zyl, a 55-year-old skincare company owner, has one question: ‘How does jacking up World Cup security for a few weeks help people like me?’

More than 18 months ago, his wife of 33 years was shot dead by a car hijacking gang as she waited for the electronic gate at their home to open.

It tells us much about South Africa’s justice system that the first time her 25-year-old alleged killer was supposed to appear in court, officials forgot to collect him from prison.

And, incredibly, it has since been revealed that he was on bail at the time of the shooting — even though he faced 156 charges, including a string of armed robberies and attempted murder.

I’m told that most accused are able to obtain bail for a few rand no matter how serious the offence. Many then abscond, or bribe police officers to ‘lose’ their files so the case has to be dropped.

The townships are run by ruthless gangs such as the one thought to have killed Mrs van Zyl.

The suburb of Athlone is dominated by two of the most notorious: the Americans, an old established mob, and their upstart young rivals the Playboys.

They are battling to control the trade in two drugs that are endemic here, a form of crack cocaine called ‘unga’, and ‘tik’ the local name for crystal meth.

And as their respective patches are adjacent to the revamped World Cup practice stadium, running gun battles frequently erupt in the streets — alongside the pitch where England are expected to train.

Having met the Playboys’ leader, a sinister 21-year-old named Kiyaam Jovies, I can’t say I share the police’s confidence on safety.

The young gang boss removed his outsized shades to show me how his eye had been shot out.

‘The bullet is still in my head — they can’t move it because I’d lose my sight in the other eye.’

He then offered to take England fans on ‘a guided tour’ of his patch — something I certainly wouldn’t advise, having already found to my cost that crime is impossible to avoid in this country, no matter what precautions you take.

I have made friends in the Rainbow Nation and enjoyed good times here, so this is not a story I relish telling. Yet, amid all the giddy hoopla, it needs to be said.

But I’ll be delighted if my scepticism proves unfounded.

So let’s cross our fingers and hope the first African World Cup turns out to be a magnificent, trouble-free celebration of sport and culture, and marks a new beginning for this benighted country.


Former asylum seeker is elected mayor of Cheshire village… then slams immigrants who refuse to integrate into British society

You see, it works like this. When someone is a genuine refugee, they appreciate what their new country has done for them.They do this by integrating and giving back. Giving back means you don’t do crime; you pay your taxes and you try to be the best person you can be. It does not mean sponging off your new host ; committing crimes and generally making your fellow citizens hate you. Well done Mr Bartos.

HE arrived in Britain as a penniless asylum seeker with only a small bag of possessions to his name.

But more than 30 years after fleeing Communist-run Hungary, Gabor Bartos has been given the honour of being named mayor of his adopted home village.

And yesterday the 59-year-old said his story was a lesson to more recent immigrants on how to integrate themselves into British society.

‘It’s only right that outsiders should respect the cultures of the countries they want to live in,’ he said.

‘When I came to England, I had to learn to speak English and had to drive on the other side of the road from the rest of Europe, and I had to adopt traditions and I’m proud of that because that is what made me a British citizen.

‘That gave me a loyalty to this country. I just wish all other asylum seekers would follow the same trait. Some of the people coming to this great country won’t integrate, and it really makes me angry.

‘It’s very sad that the old saying “When in Rome do as the Romans” is much maligned and ignored these days.’

Mr Bartos grew up in Erd, south of Budapest, the son of a flower seller, but his burgeoning interest in Western pop culture after first hearing The Beatles saw him rebel against the repressive Communist regime.

Branded a dissident, he joined football fans travelling to London to watch Hungary play England in 1978, and after giving their secret police minders the slip he defected, claiming political asylum at the Home Office.

That was granted six years later, and despite the fall of Communism in 1989 Mr Bartos has made his life here, marrying a British woman, working as a piano tuner and being elected a local Conservative councillor.

Last week he was chosen as Mayor of his village, Poynton in Cheshire, which is now twinned with the town of his birth.

Yesterday he told of his gratitude for how his adopted country had given him shelter from persecution.

‘We wanted to play music and we couldn’t,’ he said.

‘We couldn’t do the things that other teenagers were naturally doing on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

‘We just wanted to have our long hair – I was beaten up many times by the police for having long hair, we were seen to be an enemy of the system.’

He told no-one of his plan to defect, packing only a small bag to avoid raising suspicion.

He was later sentenced to jail in his absence and was unable to visit relatives until the regime collapsed.

‘I didn’t tell anybody what I was planning – I couldn’t even tell my mum. It was a hard decision at the time,’ he said.

‘I was frightened of the secret service, that they might follow me.’

Learning English and building a career tuning pianos for the BBC and a Manchester theatre he was determined to make the most of his new opportunity, however, earning enough to buy a small flat.

‘When I got British citizenship in 1984 I felt like the proudest man in the world, really – because at last a great country like the UK was giving me the opportunity to be a citizen.

‘Although when I went to the Home Office, the lady joked that now I was British, I had to support England at football. I told her I would!’

When it was eventually safe to return to Hungary he paid an emotional visit to relatives, discovering that an old schoolfriend was now mayor of Erd, and they arranged for it to be twinned with Poynton.

But the father-of-two – whose wife Jennifer works as a financial director – was now settled in England, and yesterday he spoke of his pride at being chosen as mayor.

‘I’m absolutely humbled to get this position. I came to this country as an outsider and this job is the very least I can do after the UK made me a citizen.’


South Africa: New names for Eastern Cape towns!

Port Elizabeth could soon be known as Nelson Mandela! That’s right folks – the Black masses of the Eastern Cape are starting to re-write our White history and are going to rename all the cities and towns in the region with their unpronounceable gibberish names. If they had designed, built and founded this area then maybe this wouldn’t be so hard to swallow – but they did nothing but be parasites on the white tax money, sucking the teat dry and now they get to run this area into the ground and, to add insult to injury, rename the whole area to boot. No money to keep their people out of poverty and to stop the crime, but they can find the millions that it will cost to rename a whole region!

Most Eastern Cape towns, including East London and many of its suburbs, could have new names by the end of the year.

Members of the provincial Geographical Names Committee ’s (PGNC) are soon to criss-cross the entire Eastern Cape, holding meetings with different communities and other stakeholders to gather views on the proposed names for the province’s towns, suburbs and other places with colonial names.

Towns that could have their names changed include East London, Grahamstown, Uitenhage, King William’s Town and Port Elizabeth.

The committee has, over the past few months, received submissions on what these towns and their suburbs should now be called. The committee has now drawn up a short-list and is to present it at the public hearings.

Among its proposals is that East London be renamed Gompo; that King William’s Town become Qonce; Grahamstown, Nxele; and Uitenhage, Qhagqiwa. If the committee has its way, it would also change Port Elizabeth to Nelson Mandela.

Other proposed names are:
West Bank to Nongqongqo;
Wilsonia to Nqaza;
Peelton to Ncemerha;
Mount Coke to Mkhangiso;
Abbotsford to Vakwini;
Newlands to Nxarhuni;
Nahoon River to Nxarhuni River;
Nahoon to Nxarhuni;
Buffalo River to Qonce River;
Frankfort to Donqaba; and
Gonubie to Qunube.

Committee chairperson advocate Loyiso Mpumlwana said the committee had delayed the process in order to allow for enough time for communities and other stakeholders to make submissions. “We have been busy formulating district committees, as well as familiarising people and municipalities about the Geographical Names Committee and what it is all about,” he said.

The new process starts all over again on Monday, June 7, when the committee spends the week holding four public hearings in around Buffalo City Municipality. From there it will move to other parts of the province. “The process is aimed at giving residents who live in these areas a say, and we want to reach as many people as possible,” Mpumlwana said.

During the public hearings, residents will be given a chance to either submit new names or vote when more than one option for a particular place is given.


USA: Counterterror Adviser Defends Jihad as ‘Legitimate Tenet of Islam’

Well, I must say that Mr Brennan looks like one of those terrorist he’s so passionately defending. If I saw him in a dark alley I’d run the other way…But, Mr Brennan is doing as any good Socialist should and changing the unpleasant term to a more palatable one. I’m not sure how he thinks he can b*llsh!t people into believing that terrorism is not a holy cause. Just what does he call it when the perpetrators shout “Praise to God” before blowing people and buildings up?

The president’s top counterterrorism adviser on Wednesday called jihad a “legitimate tenet of Islam,” arguing that the term “jihadists” should not be used to describe America’s enemies.

During a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, John Brennan described violent extremists as victims of “political, economic and social forces,” but said that those plotting attacks on the United States should not be described in “religious terms.”

He repeated the administration argument that the enemy is not “terrorism,” because terrorism is a “tactic,” and not terror, because terror is a “state of mind” — though Brennan’s title, deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism and homeland security, includes the word “terrorism” in it. But then Brennan said that the word “jihad” should not be applied either.

“Nor do we describe our enemy as ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamists’ because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children,” Brennan said.

The technical, broadest definition of jihad is a “struggle” in the name of Islam and the term does not connote “holy war” for all Muslims. However, jihad frequently connotes images of military combat or warfare, and some of the world’s most wanted terrorists including Usama bin Laden commonly use the word to call for war against the West.

Brennan defined the enemy as members of bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network and “its terrorist affiliates.”

But Brennan argued that it would be “counterproductive” for the United States to use the term, as it would “play into the false perception” that the “murderers” leading war against the West are doing so in the name of a “holy cause.”

“Moreover, describing our enemy in religious terms would lend credence to the lie propagated by Al Qaeda and its affiliates to justify terrorism — that the United States is somehow at war against Islam,” he said.

The comment comes after Brennan, in a February speech in which he described his respect for the tolerance and devotion of Middle Eastern nations, referred to Jerusalem on first reference by its Arabic name, Al-Quds.

“In all my travels the city I have come to love most is al-Quds, Jerusalem, where three great faiths come together,” Brennan said at an event co-sponsored by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the Islamic Center at New York University and the Islamic Law Students Association at NYU.


South Africa: Cleaners in court for robbing soccer team

And so it begins….

Johannesburg – Two cleaning ladies at the Southern Sun hotel in Hyde Park have appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court for allegedly stealing money from the Colombian soccer team, police said on Friday.

The Colombian team, who are staying at the five-star hotel, noticed that they had been robbed when they arrived back to their rooms after training on Tuesday, Colonel Eugene Opperman said.

“There was theft out of their rooms. They went out for about an hour to practise and the rooms were cleaned while they were out,” he said.

“When they came back they discovered there was some money missing.”

The Times newspaper reported on Friday that the women allegedly stole $21 000, however Opperman would not comment on the amount that was taken for security reasons.

Three women were arrested on Thursday but the charges against one of the women were dropped due to lack of evidence.

The Times reported that the remaining two suspects, Jeanet Mashimbyi, 29 and Lucky Mahlatsi, 25, appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

They were due to appear in court again next week.