29 August, 2014

Outrage over letter to the president
By Aviwe Mtila
Thuli Madonselas’ letter to president Jacob Zuma has caused a stir in the National Assembly and the nation at large.
In her letter, Madonsela takes issues with president Zuma’s response and his failure to respond adequately to her report on the Nkandla upgrades.
What is really saddening is how prominent members of the African National Congress (ANC) are outraged by the letter to the president and have attacked Madonsela.
Stone Sizani, ANCs’ chief whip in parliament, noted with “disappointment” Madonselas’ letter, while Gwede Mantashe, ANC secretary general, rambled on about there being a “tight coordination”, instead of dealing with the real issue at hand.
Have our leaders become so ruthless and transparent in their corrupt ways that they don’t even show remorse in the mismanagement of taxpayers’ money? Isn’t attacking a person who defends the improper use of tax in a democratic country, in effect, an attack on democracy itself?
In the letter to the president, Thuli Madonsela stated that the procurement process was improper, in violation of the prescribed Supply Chain Management policy framework and resulted in unduly, excessive amounts of public money being spent unnecessarily.
Instead of acknowledging and rectifying the issue at hand, our leaders, in the form of the ANC, have opted to draw attention on the Economic Freedom Front (EFF), urging for action to be taken against the party for their conduct at the National Assembly.

While greed and self-enrichment seems to be the order of the day in our current leaders, it is clear that something needs to be done to change the situation in our country.

22 August, 2014

Why the ALS Bucket Challenge is awesome.

Simvuyele Mageza
What does Britney Speares, Bill Gates, Justin Bieber and Mark Zuckerberg, among many others, all have in common? They took part in the ALS bucket challenge! In full view of everyone and anyone who has internet access.
The internet has become alight with the ALS bucket challenge, or the ice bucket challenge, with hundreds of thousands of people, celebrities included, dumping buckets of ice water on themselves and others in the name of charity. 
But how? You might  ask.
Well, ALS, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a lethal neurodegenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is characterized by muscle spasticity, rapidly progressive weakness due to muscle atrophy, difficulty in speaking, swallowing and breathing. It is the most common of the 5 major muscle neuron diseases.
The ice bucket challenge suggests that people take videos and/or photos of themselves dumping ice or cold water on their bodies. As they do this, they will then nominate 3 other people to do the same. The original idea was either you donate money to the foundation or you hit the ice. People seem to be opting to do both.
Now, with any internet sensation, there are bound to be naysayers. But here are just a few reasons why the ice bucket is not just a publicity stunt.
1. It actually raises money for ALS research.
Will Oremus at Slate, Oremus argues that the challenge had nothing to do with ALS and that it seems unlikely that the campaign is actually the amount of money being given to ALS. He also said that, along with many others, people are posting videos but not actually donating money.
However, the ALS Association has since said that it raised over $15.6 million as a result of the campaign, nine times more than what it normally raises in the same time frame. Another ALS charity, Project ALS, told media that it’s donations were 50 times normal. 
2. It encourages people to donate to charity in general.
William McAskill, a moral philosopher wrote “…research from my own non-profit, which raises money for most effective global poverty charities, has found that, for every $1 we raise, $0.50 would have been donated anyway…so because of the overall money that ALS research has received, I’d bet that half of it is what other charities lost in the process.”
But this is very wrong. Firstly, there is 50% more money being given to other charities than there would have been among this group of donors. McAskill fears that this money and attention is being taken away from other charities, its an opportunity for them to find their own campaigns to compete. In this way, more money will be raised for good causes.
3. It is raising enough money to matter
Ezekiel Emanuel, chairman of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania reckons that for all the noise that this campaign is generating, it is quiet useless.  According to him, the money that has been made thus far is too little to make any real change, to be transformative. 
However, Rob Goldstein, the chief executive of ALS TDI, another ALS project, has said that the entire amount annually on ALS is around $80 million. So, with that said, a $15 million headstart is fantastic. 
We have seen it many times, especially when it comes to medical research. A little donation can go a long way, if invested properly. 
To find out more on where and how you can donate to ALS research, go to www.projectals.org/suport-us/donate-now/ 

What's in a title?

By Siyamtanda Capa

According to his CV-  Dr Zwelidinga Pallo Jordan studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and attended the London school of Economics, perhaps the intellectual and ANC stalwart believed it himself , however a single Sunday Times article took it all away from him.

Pallo Jordan- the daily dispatch online
The article which revealed that Pallo Jordan did not possess a Doctorate and in fact had no formal qualification came as a shock to many and social media was abuzz. It is no doubt that many lost a great deal of respect for him and called him a liar. A respectable man was brutally exposed and South Africans watched as the reputation of a man who contributed greatly to the struggle disappeared.

Under the title Mr. Jordan served as the minister of environmental affairs and the minister of tourism. In Lady Grey a small town in the Eastern Cape, a school is known as “Dr Pallo Jordan Primary school” the revelation probably shocked the teachers at the school and left them with the question of where to from here?

Lying about your qualifications seems to be a trend among public figures. Other prominent people with fake qualification include:
Thandi Modise, Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces lied about studying towards a masters degree in economics and attending a leadership course at the “University of Jordan”

The late Sicelo Shiceka, former minister of cooperative governance and Traditional affairs lied about having a masters degree in Political economy from the University of Free state. SABC COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng also lied about having a grade 12 certificate.
a cartoon by Zapiro
Pallo Jordan lied about his qualifications and got caught. We are yet to get an explanation as to why he felt the need to lie when in fact in South Africa with no formal education and qualifications one may even become president of the republic.

With everything said, one cannot forget the work that Pallo Jordan has written and his analysis on South African politics. If a man without a doctorate and any formal qualification can write the works that this man has written and be a man of valued opinion, what then is in a title?

10 August, 2014


By Nompumelelo Kubheka
An earthquake with a 5.5 magnitude has been felt throughout the country on Tuesday, 6 August killing one man, injuring 34 mine workers and damaging buildings.
The earthquake was felt in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town and with the epicentre in the Orkney area in the North West. 
One man was killed when a wall collapsed on him in, 34 mine workers were injured while hoisted to safety along with 3 300 workers at AngloGold Ashanti  mines and at least 400 houses have been damaged in Orkney according to news24 report.
Buildings shook in Johannesburg and surrounding area. Clinics and schools had to close in Orkney.
So what caused this tremor?
Dr Herman van Niekerk, a specialist in structural geology at the department of geology at the University of Johannesburg, told Beeld that the African continent is slowly ripping apart, with a giant tear stretching from the Rift Valley to northern Mozambique.
According to Beeld, these movements place stress on the Earth's crust, which needs to release this stress somewhere, and on Tuesday it happened near Orkney.
The eastern section of this tear is moving away from the rest of the continent at about 2.5cm per year, according to The Basement Geographer. The tear will eventually result in a new tectonic plate and a new continent containing most of Africa's east coast, known as the Somali plate.
So it is not the mining activity that caused the quake, pointing out that the epicentre was 10km underground, while the deepest mines in the area were only 4km deep according to Herman.
The Council for GeoScience, Michelle Grobbelaar also told Eyewitness News that the quake was not related to mining or fracking, saying the area had experienced earthquakes in the past. She added that the depth of the quake caused the tremor to spread widely, which is why it was felt over large parts of the country
Michelle Grobbelaar further stated that Durbanites got a taste of the earthquake because the beach sand tends to amplify the ground motion.
What should you do after an earthquake, according to news24:  
·       Establish if you have sustained any injuries. Check around you and try to see if anyone else sustained any injuries. If you can provide first aid, proceed to do so.  
·       Call emergency services for medical assistance if someone sustained an injury.  
·        If the building you are in sustained structural damage, even if you are unsure, evacuated calmly and quickly. (If possible)  
·       Try and listen to your local radio station for emergency or news updates.  
·       Do not enter any damaged buildings or areas. There might be debris lying around. Be very careful around broken glass and other items that can cause you harm. Do not take off your shoes.  
·        Stay away from beaches until the area has been announced as safe.  
·        If the area you are in has an evacuation or emergency plan, try and follow it.
Things to do during earthquakes:
  •  Stay calm.
  •  Try and stay where you are. 
  • Use large and sturdy objects such as a big desk to crawl under. 
  •  If you are in a building, try and stand with your back against the wall near the centre of the building.
  • Stay away from windows and outside doors.
  • Should you be outside at the time of an earthquake, look around you. Ensure you are clear from power cables or anything overhead that might fall on you. Do not stand near or against a building, debris might fall on top of you.
  • Use the stairs to evacuate premises (only when it is safe to do so)

Other things you should know about earthquakes:
  •     At the earth’s surface, earthquakes manifest themselves by shaking and sometimes displacement of the ground.
  •         They are caused mostly by rapture of geological faults. Other events such as volcanic activity, landslides, mine blasts and nuclear tests may trigger them.
  •          Magnitude 3 or lower earthquakes are mostly imperceptible or weak and magnitude 7 and over potentially causes serious damage over larger areas, depending on their depth.

09 August, 2014

Foot In the Mouth Syndrome Maybe?

Blackface  used in performance
Thandi Bombi
Foot in the Mouth Syndrome is an illness that may not actually exist but tends to get the everyday individual cringing from time to time. This is when an individual says or does something that they regret, something considered insulting, stupid or hurtful. The reason why this illness is of great concern is because of the way things are received by the people who hear it. Initially this illness was associated with double meaning blunders and silly mistakes but a binge of ignorance has resulted in an increase of this usually harmless disease taking more away from individuals than anything of the sort should. 

Not sure where this is going?
The latest way people enjoy the concept of Blackface
Two white students photographed in domestic worker outfits and smeared with black paint have been on headlines all week and since been kicked out of their campus residence at the University of Pretoria.

There is a country wide uproar on whether or not this picture that is making its rounds is actually a form of racism or blatant ignorance that has landed two students out of residence and in the public eye.

In post-apartheid South Africa one would assume that it is within the interest of everyone to respect each other’s differences and practice a form of cultural sensitivity. The idea of blackface is particularly offensive to people of colour because it is associated with a form of theatrical make up used by 19th century performers to represent a black person. This make up was used to contribute to the stereotypes of the happy- go- lucky “darky” on the plantation. This form of discrimination was ruled out in the United States by the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s.

That is just one of the many possible reasons why this image could be considered offensive. The main problem about this whole saga is that we do not actually know the context of this picture so we will never know its true intention.

The only thing that is certain is whether or not these girls were portraying an ‘innocent’ joke or projecting their racist beliefs, any person over the age of 18 who is South African and aware of our political past should really know better.

The country is desperately trying to move to a time where all races live among one another equally. The first step was to abolish racial oppression. The effects of that period of oppression however, have left huge gaps between upper, middle and lower income homes. If someone ignores that this is still a sensitive issue they are probably going to end up with a huge foot lodged in the back of their throats.

To the girls with foot in the mouth syndrome…

Get well soon.  

04 August, 2014

Cricket Legend Retires

Jackson Malatji

Jacques Henry Kallis (born 16 October 1975), a South African cricketer has agreed on Wednesday that his dream of playing in next year's Cricket World Cup was "a bridge too far". He retired from international cricket and will not be playing in the ICC Cricket World Cup that will be hosted by Australia and New Zealand over Feb-Mar 2015.
Kallis’ decision follows his announcement on Christmas Day last year that the Boxing Day test against India at Kingsmead would be his last. One of the best all-rounder in the world, Kallis has been a real ambassador for SA cricket and a real legend of the game, " King Kallis" as he’s known by his fans chose the right time to retire, like all great men he had the audacity to accept that he is now past his peak and for that he will always be saluted.
 He holds the brightest records in all of cricket, having played 166 tests in which he scored 13289 runs, among them 45 centuries, at an average of 55.37. He also took 292 wickets. In 328 one-day internationals, he made 11579 runs at 44.36, had 17 hundreds, and claimed 273 wickets. Kallis appeared in 25 T20 internationals, reaching 50 in five of them and taking four wickets once.
“I realised in Sri Lanka that my dream of playing in a World Cup was a bridge too far,” Kallis was quoted as saying in a Cricket SA statement. “I just knew on that tour that I was done.”
“I am not retiring from all cricket as I have a two-year contract with the Sydney Thunder and, if possible, (I would like) to help the Kolkata Knight Riders defend the IPL (Indian Premier League) title we won earlier this year.” He added.
He scored five runs in three innings in the rubber, and did not bowl because of a back problem. As a matter of facts, he made just one 50 in his last 10 ODI innings. Though his form has been questioned recently,he is unquestionably the greatest South African cricketer of all times. It is not just his statistics that make this claim but the facts that he has represented the Proteas at 5 World Cups and was named Man of the Series when the Proteas won their only major ICC title at the 1998 ICC Champions’ Trophy. He was also named South African Cricketer of the Year in 2011, having previously won the inaugural award in 2004 and was also selected for the ICC Test Team of the Year for 2011 and again in 2012.
Hashim Amla who is now the first South African non-white captain said Kallis left a great legacy that many young cricketers could follow. The 31-year-old batsman has some big shoes to fill because he takes over from Graeme Smith, who stood down in March after holding the post for more than a decade. Smith was captain for more Tests than any other player in the history of the game and achieved the best record among all captains with 53 wins – ahead of Australia’s Ricky Ponting with 48.
"Jacques is a legend; sportsmen like him only come around once every five decades," Amla said.
"He is an astute professional who always gave 100 percent for his country and I believe a lot of youngsters coming up can learn a lot from the way he shaped his career.
"He will be sorely missed in the dressing room and in the slips where he was a trademark figure.

"It has been a pleasure to have shared the crease with him on a number of occasions, and I wish him well for the future. He has earned his break."
De Villiers said Kallis' experience and tactical nous would be missed in the Proteas' environment, along with the professionalism and humility with which he went about his game.
"His value and statistics on the field speak volumes, but his presence in the change room and willingness to teach the youngsters was immense," he said.
"He has played a big role personally for me since making my debut for South Africa in 2004, and he is a huge loss for South African cricket.

"It's unfortunate that he won't be making the journey with us to the World Cup, but we will definitely carry his resilience and professionalism with us out on the field."
 “On behalf of CSA and all our stakeholders, I would like to sincerely thank Jacques for his huge contribution to the game of cricket and wish him only the best as he moves on from the international playing arena.” Said Cricket South Africa (CSA) Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat

An amazing journey he had, Kallis will always be a giant of the game in SA and the world, and it is to his credit that he has been big enough to walk away without, as far as is known, being pushed. Building up to next year’s World cup, who is going to fill the BIG shoes of “King Kallis”. SA play their first game of the World Cup against Zimbabwe in Hamilton on March 15. Looks like Faf du Plessis is likely to replace Kallis at No3 in the batting order, but that decision does not have to be made right now, only time will tell.

The effect of strikes in the South African economy

Wandiswa Ntengento

 South Africa is a nation that boasts a rich history of political independence and cultural diversity .This is the same country that faced racial division, political oppression and social injustice during apartheid. However,this social war ended and a rainbow nation was birthed.

Even though South Africa has been emancipated from the apartheid regime, it still faces massive socio-economic ills. These factors have evoked uprisings in several sectors in the labour industry.

In the past months a number of strikes have plagued the country and caused a decline in the rand. In January hundreds of mineworkers downed tools demanding a monthly salary of R12 500 a month from mining giants, Lonmin and Anglo American Platinum. After lengthy negotiations AMCU members closed a deal with the platinum producers and signed an agreement. However, the strike had cost the platinum mining industry a loss of R24 billion in revenue.

According to the City Press, a total of 99 strikes were recorded in 2012 which almost half of them were unprotected or illegal strikes characterized by violence. Labour Director General, Nkosinathi Nhleko says that strikes over the period involved over 240 000 workers and had cost the economy 3.3 million working days.

 Nombuyiselo Njongisa, a government employed street sweeper describes the state of South Africa:

"South Africa is in a stationery mode because there is less progress happening. Government  and business owners are more concerned about themselves and what they can gain from the system rather than listen to the very people who voted them in power. The views of the people are no longer heard hence the uprising."  

This come after more than 200 miners were involved in a bloody shoot out with police in Marikana near Rustenburg in 2012 which left 34 miners dead and 78 wounded.


Economist at the Free Market Foundation, Jasson Urbach  provides a solution for strikes in South Africa in an article  titled The nature, causes and outcomes of strike action in SA:

"Government must start to think once again about ordinary poor South Africans - black and white. It will need to weigh up the risks of taking on vested interests against the risks of increasing unrest and disquiet among poor unemployed South Africans. The government must make up its mind as to whether in tackling unemployment it should look at the big picture that includes the unemployed or cater for the interests of the already employed.  The future of the country depends on this."