Mhambi has been redeployed.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Party pooper: Andries Nel - Sies!

Mhambi has decided that its time to expose, to hound and to damn. Now and again I will chronicle online those ANC members (and others) that have damaged good governance and democratic values in South Africa.

Quite often important information is revealed in books, information that never makes it to a wider audience. Which suits some people just fine. By writing about this information online I will do my bit with the help of Google. There's no escape from information on the superhighway.

Mhambi reserves the right to profile who he wishes. Those who are mentioned and named are of course, welcome to reply.

The South African Parliament
Originally uploaded by Wildebeast1.

Charity (and putting right wrongs) should start at home.

And to me that home is the institution and people at the University of Pretoria who shaped my early lefty political views. Hell hath no fury like an idealist betrayed.

Hence ANC deputy chief whip Andries Nel is Mhambi's first Party Pooper.
(Andries Nel's response is here)

He was the pinnacle of lefty Afrikaner commitment at the university when I was a student. Other prominent lefties during my time included the likes of Hedwig Barry, Andries Bezuidenhout, Danie Brand, Irma du Plessis, Graham Maitland, Karin van Marle, Nico Bezuidenhout, Jacob van Garderen and Dawie Nel etc.

But after university Hedwig eschewed politics for a career in design, Andries, Danie, Irma and Karin went for academia. Dawie, Nico and Jacob stayed in politics of sort, and while Dawie has been doing sterling work as the director of Out (A gay and lesbian support organisation), Nico is working for IDASA in Angola, while Jacob has just been appointed the head of Lawyers for Human Rights. Graham, as far as I can gather is a big shot in the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Sies Andries

In the meanwhile, Andries Nel, who became an ANC MP in 1994 has been quietly climbing the ANC ranks. His loyalty must have been noted early on, as he was appointed to the Party’s whips office. Andries’s father, it must be noted, was a loyal servant of the Nationalist government.

Since the ANC has been losing whips at a rate of knots, Andries Nel is now a relatively senior deputy chief whip.

According to Andrew Feinstein of “After the Party” fame, Andries Nel has contributed to the demise of the moral fibre and the growth in corruption of the ANC thus:

On 11 October 2000 the then Chief Whip of the ANC Tony Yengeni wanted to see Feinstein and Laloo Chiba. These two gents had been selected by the ANC study group (the ANC component of Scopa, the parliamentary committee charged with investigating public accounts) to lead the questioning during the forthcoming public parliamentary hearing into that corrupt arms deal.

It was to be the most important public oversight meeting in the history of our fully democratic parliament.

Yengeni told them ‘I don’t think a public hearing is a good idea, this matter should be dealt with internally, like the Maduna matter.’

The Maduna matter refers to unconstitutional remarks made by Penuell Maduna, then minister of Mineral and Energy Affairs, about the then Auditor General, Henry Kluever.

Maduna misunderstood according to Feinstein a fairly standard accounting entry, and accused the AG of hiding a significant loss in oil reserves, for bad apartheid-era reasons. He persisted in these accusations even after the error had been pointed out to him by Barbara Hogan, a fellow ANC MP.

Maduna refused to retract his accusations, and thus caused a minor constitutional crisis.

Rather than allow a full investigation, the ANC decided to exonerate the Minister through the creation of an ANC dominated ad hoc committee of Parliament. This committee was chaired by ‘an ultra-loyal ANC whip, Andries Nel’. (Feinstein, p.161)

Despite hearing damning evidence against the Minister, the Committee found in his favour.

This is the precedent that Tony Yengeni wanted Feinstein to follow now.

To his credit Feinstein pressed ahead with the meeting regardless, and so the snowball that was the revelations into the arms deal (some of which are still being uncovered) was set in motion.

Yengeni, and most senior ANC members (but interestingly at this stage, not Zuma), including Mbeki, was furious that the hearing had taken place.

As time passed direct pressure was put on Feinstein to stop a thorough investigation through Scopa. The ANC had put out public statement contradicting most of Scopa’s findings. On 29 January 2001 Yengeni again called the whole study group (the ANC component of Scopa) to his chambers.

Yengeni said ‘Comrades we have decided to strengthen the Public Accounts Committee. Feinstein will no longer chair the Study Group. Geoff Doidge will be the chair. He will be joined by comrade Andries Nel.’ ‘The ANC, from the President downwards, will exercise political control over Scopa.

The new members of the committee were openly hostile to Feinstein. As far as Scopa was concerned the arms deal would be investigated no further.

Sies Andries! Sies, skaam jou.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

It's time...

Originally uploaded by Elisabetta Dell'Olio.

...its the end of an eventful year. Mhambi will blog only one more post (not the one above on Andries Nel), a summary of the year that was.

Then I drive from the metropolis of Bloemfontein to Cape Town, via lovely weird towns, armed with a Polaroid camera....

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...for fun...

Originally uploaded by tetheredto. here is some more gratuitous gorgeousness, this one of Rose, an old favorite of mine...

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Leah Embracing the Sun in the Mojave Desert near Boron
Originally uploaded by shadowplay.

...and I must admit, I'm missing my own lovely who in Galicia, Spain now....

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Out of our blue heavens - Machine guns

South Africa is wonderfully baffling. Last week Mhambi was listening to the opening of the ANC Polokwane conference on SAFM.

Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma confer at ANC conference in Polokwane, South Africa.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos.

After Thabu Mbeki and Jacob Zuma entered the conference, and Zuma-ite delegates were persuaded to stop singing Awuleth’ Umshini Wami, it was announced that it was time for delegates to sing South Africa’s charming schizo National Anthem.

Now Mhambi is not sure whether it was perhaps SAFM’s microphone set-up’s fault, or perhaps the lingering tension of Umshini Wami that went before it.

But the opening strains of the Nkosi Sikilel part of the anthem, was well, strained. Nobody was in the mood to evoke God to save Africa when delegates had just boisterously called for their machine guns.

Slowly delegates gathered themselves and Nkosi picked up a head of steam, from a death march to near death experience she went.

After this tepid performance what would transpire when they reached Die stem, I thought, half expecting the ANC crowd not to even attempt to go into ‘ve^r verlate vlaktes’ in this state.

But out they belted ‘Uit die blou van onse hemel…’ and nope this was no mirage, out came ‘die diepte van ons see’ as well. Full throttle all the way they powered to ‘South Africa our land’.

What’s going on here I thought? Was it because of the Springboks’ proud nation building Nkosi rendition at the Rugby World Cup, which was now being reciprocated?

Was it because the scheming Thabu had sometime ago maligned Die Stem, as he has done with so many other things and people, and now it was time for some of those people to rub his nose in whatever things they could find to rub his nose in?

Soon it was Thabu’s turn to deliver his ANC President’s speech. A dour two hour regurgitation of the successes of his administration, but without mentioning that were in the middle of a global commodity boom, or Aids and the crime pandemic.

When he mentioned the Springboks, Thabu brought the house down for the first and it transpired later, the second last time. The last time was when he stopped his speech. As he sat down Umshini Wami reverberated again.


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Friday, December 21, 2007

You've got to fight, for your right, to Party!

By the time Jacob Zuma was confirmed as ANC president a few things had already dawned on Mhambi. To many, especially in the SABC, the ANC is equated with the state. Presenters on SAFM on a few occasions casually referred to “we are waiting for the new president to make his speech” with no qualification whatsoever. To them the ANC president was president of the country.

ANC delegates standing at the Polokwane conference.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos.

And from the amount of coverage the ANC conference received, it is clear that no other party can expect any parity coverage of their conferences. There simply wont be any time for that, even if the will was there.

The SABC could well argue that there was a countrywide interest in the goings on of the party, well beyond the world of ANC members. Which brings me to my next point.

Perhaps its time to give up on the pretense of having a multi-party state (for now anyway). It is clear that for some time to come, the ANC’s struggle credentials will triumph all comers, regardless of how corrupt and controlling the ANC has become as a government.

All South Africans should join the party forthwith, and start participating and voting from within it. Yes, as Andrew Feinstein has noted that this is a party that values loyalty above all else. So a mass joining will probably be followed my mass firings, but at least we'd have tried.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

the lovers

the lovers
Originally uploaded by the.beautyseeker.

Mhambi adores the intimacy of this picture. It's great to be naked with someone you like.

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it's fun...

woman and man.
Originally uploaded by the.beautyseeker.

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Originally uploaded by Godiex.

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Lightsaber attack!
Originally uploaded by oj smith.

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Originally uploaded by lizorak.

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Sex - the Church has allot to answer for

Photo and copyright by Frugal Instinct. Fun and Marriage? More pics.

It's not only Polekwane on my mind. Mhambi has been worried about the Afrikaans girls who don't want to have sex.

Now I discussed this with a friends, one of which is a pre-eminent sociologist, another a film maker and another working for a bank. All Afrikaners and two of them female. And this is our considered conclusion.

It's the Church's fault. You see most of these Afrikaans girls 'saved' themselves for marriage. Many still do refrain from sex until they are married.

Aprt from inducing un told anxinty on their nuptial nights, it probably spiked any chances of haveing fullfiling sex lives.

I mean an individual's sex life is such a complex nuanced and specific thing. Some are sexed crazed, some submissive, some dominant, some straight acting gays, some like it orally etc. Not trying before you buy is like playing Russian roulette with your future bliss.

The chance of firing a blank is so much greater than blowing... well getting satisfaction.

And there ain't no denying. The chances of a happy relationship without the possibility of expressing your sexuality with your partner is greatly diminished.

Good sex is like a canary in a mine shaft. If the bird stops singing the end is nigh.

Somebody should stop the church before it ruins more lives.

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We are marching to Polokwane, Polokwane

Mhambi has a "lied is sy hart" this morning. Not entirely sure why I'm so lyrical, but perhaps its because I'm in lovely South Africa and the paradoxical jittery energy induced after a bout of too much red wine last night.

This week after having read After the Party my suspicions that a Zuma presidency could do the country some good was roundly confirmed.

And today Steven Friedman and Sipho Seepe lifted my already good mood with two articles in the Business Day (Weird how South Africa's best social journalism comes form a business newspaper).

In an article tittled The open contest nobody could stop Friedman muses about the good that this open content is doing us, "...unless someone in the ANC leadership pulls a last-minute rabbit out of the hat, next week will see the first contested election for ANC president in 58 years — for the first time since we became a democracy, the leader of the governing party will have been chosen not by other leaders but by those to whom that person is responsible.


This country achieved democracy partly because adversaries who realised that they could not eliminate each other accepted that their best interests lay in negotiating democratic rules. The rules were not anyone’s first choice, but not only have leaders learned to live with them — they now enjoy wide public support.

This is not unique to SA, or even unusual — leaders often settle on democratic rules because they are the best way of adjusting to realities they wish were otherwise. So misgivings about the presidential race inside the ANC may not prevent it becoming a watershed. ANC insiders who lament an open contest may later look back on it fondly as the time when the principle of open elections was established. Even if they do not, they may find that the contest for members’ votes which they failed to avoid this time becomes the only conceivable way of doing things in future."

In another article Chance for SA to recommit itself to democracy Sipho Seepe, lays into the ANC's culture of intolerance and the corruption of the Mbeki regime. Polekwane is to him a chance to reassert our liberty.

"WE ARE led to believe the ongoing bloodletting in the African National Congress (ANC) is somehow alien to the party.

Far from it, this is a consequence of the ANC’s culture of intolerance and its insatiable appetite for power. The culture can be traced as far back as the 1980s when the ANC sought to entrench its political hegemony.


Mandela was labelled an agent of the pharmaceutical companies when he called on the government to roll out antiretroviral medication to pregnant HIV-infected women. Cronin was told that the ANC did not need a white messiah. Similarly, Tutu was branded a liar and a creation of the white media.

The bloodletting we see is a case of chickens coming home to roost. The ferocity of the attacks is fuelled by the scramble for resources and the corrupting patronage that has become a defining feature of the Mbeki regime. We mistakenly overrated the ANC’s democratic credentials by equating the struggle for democracy with a commitment to democracy.

The declaration by ANC parliamentarians that the Zimbabwean elections were fundamentally free and fair despite the state-sponsored terror preceding them should have sent warning signals. The ANC is not beyond resorting to similar undemocratic practices should its political power base be threatened.

The deployment of ministers, state resources and state organs in a last-ditch attempt to preserve the status quo should come as no surprise. The vulgarity of ministers carrying bags of money to buy votes speaks volumes about the investment attached to the Mbeki project. is not uncommon for leaders to be asked to recuse themselves from office once they have suffered defeat. PW Botha was replaced by FW de Klerk when his party lost confidence in him. The same happened to Margaret Thatcher and recently to Tony Blair. Only those who fear democracy can advance such baseless notions that removing Mbeki would be undemocratic.

Democracy involves fundamentally changing the guard. SA should not short-change itself in its embrace of the democratic project. We need to remind ourselves — the price of freedom is eternal vigilance."


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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Of reputations and truth

This week Eugene de Kock took umbrage at a passage in Christi van Westhuizen's book, White power - the rise and fall of the National party.

He briefly succeeded in halting sales of the book, and Zebra press, its publishers have agreed to remove the offending section, and republish.

The problematic passage reads.

"Another example would be Eugene de Kock, braaing and drinking for hours next to a corpse that they had set on fire."

De Kock claims that this is untrue and tarnishes his reputation.

In the book, Christi attributes the allegation to ex Nationalist minister Leon Wessels.

I myself have heard this claim on BBC Radio 2 in 2004. The BBC journalist’s guide to Vlakplaas made the claim.

Christi has remained defiant and is fighting the case in court. Her argument all turns on whether De Kock could indeed have a reputation.

Can a killer have a reputation?

"Media lawyer Dario Milo, acting for Van der Westhuizen, said the case involved fundamental issues of media law.

In particular whether De Kock could have been awarded an order given that his reputation is already tarnished.

Faizel Ismail, acting for Van der Westhuizen, said in sentencing De Kock to two life sentences plus 212 years imprisonment Justice Willie van der Merwe at the time called him a cold-blooded, calculating, multiple murderer who tortured his victims callously and without compassion."

And according to press reports she won her action on Friday, although the judge declined to give reasons for his decision until next year. By that time the book would have been sold many times over during the Christmas season. Mhambi wonders whether he needs time to think of some?

Van der Westhuizen said afterwards that the ruling was a victory for freedom of expression, specifically where people like Eugene de Kock was seeking to silence her on a section of South Africa's history during which human rights abuses occurred.

The ones terrorist is the others liberation soldier

In a fractured society like South Africa reputations are fractured. During the 80's the courts saw their way open to give damages to an individual, who had been 'besmirched' by being called a communist. It would not provide remedies for those who had been accused of being apartheid ideologues. The opposite court verdicts would probably be true today.

Jacob Zuma's behaviour towards women and utterances about homosexuals would render him unelectable in many countries, yet it would seem the vast majority of South Africans want him President.

Our health minister is according to some reports a petty thief. On the one hand that she is not litigating to protect her reputation indicates that the courts might find against her on the grounds that the allegation is true and in the public interest.

On the other hand that she has not been fired indicates that the ANC does not see her reputation as being so damaged as to be an electoral liability.

Crook honor, Soldier honor

In this fractured landscape De Kock has to some a sterling reputation. Names are like brands. And brands are built on reputation. Eugene de Kock's name was used by more than one black Koevoet member as name for their children. That is a pretty strong endorsement.

De Kock was held in extremely high esteem.

It's no secret that Koevoet - created by De Kock - was one of the mainstay's of the previous governments counter insurgency war against SWAPO in Namibia. No unit had a higher kill rate. Neither is it a secret that Vlakplaas, who he came to command had been geared up to fulfill a similar role internally, if more clandestinely.

Eugene no doubt will claim that he was a soldier at war. That his job was to kill, a job he was decorated for. And unlike Tony Montana in the Scarface flick's twisted and bemusing sense of gangster honour, Eugene's reputation was officially backed by a one section of our society, the Police and the Nationalist Government.

But even in our divided society one could argue that Eugene's reputation had been compromised by his actions as head of the Vlakplaas Unit. Particularly those times late in his career where he was not acting within a political ambit and orders. One of these ordinary criminal events for personal gain in the winter of 1992 was indeed the only one he went down for.

What about Truth?

So De Kock's reputation is damaged, even within his own moral universe. But is that the point?

Whether a damaged reputation makes one fair game for further allegations seems odd, if not unjust.

When an allegation is made that damages a person’s reputation there is - if I am not mistaken - two crucial aspects that have to be considered.

One is that the allegation must be of such a nature that indeed it must be damaging to a persons reputation. And I would argue that this is one such case. Not because De Kock is identified again as a killer, he is now a sick and bizarre one.

The second is that the allegation must have been untrue. If an allegation is true, it can be made in the public interest regardless of how damaging it could be. This case is clearly in the public interest.

Mhambi finds it peculiar that Christi – a respected journalist - does not attempt to prove the allegation true. Afterall in such a fractured society, its all the more important we try and stick to truth as closely as possible. The court record of De Kock’s case, as well as his and other Vlakplaas member’s amnesty applications are public records. Does the truth not lie there?

She instead acknowledges that this passage is hearsay.

Is Van der Westhuizen saying that it’s ok to repeat a claim about an incident, as if it is true, if this has not been established? Especially when the claim is made by individuals - like Police minister Leon Wessels - that are trying to dilute their responsibility for apartheid crimes?

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Welcome to our country

Mhambi often wishes he could write better. My writing is wooden.

Originally uploaded by theGentleman™.

Yesterday my inadequacy was reinforced when I met Kleinboer - the boer with the potent libidinous inter-racial libido and disarming words. To him Johannesburg has swapped "kont vir klont, en kondoom vir helmet." (Cunt for gold nuggets, and condoms for hard hats)

Once dubbed the Michel Houllebecq * of Afrikaans, no other than André Brink praised Kleinboer's first book Kontrei.

"Kontrei is a fucking good book. It is one of the most agreeable reads in a long time... A man who can write like this knows his job." said the fellow Lothario.

(* Like Houllebecq's Asian prostitutes, Kleinboer reckons black girls often enjoy their work. Not so the white girls.)

My first neighbourhood - Yeoville
Originally uploaded by ambermbabane.

A very friendly Kleinboer took me round his hood. Yeoville is where I occasionally hung out when I was younger, and where most whitey progressives and artists lived.

Today Kleinboer is one of very very few whites in the area. He bought a house here in the early 90's, from a couple traumatised during a violent break in.

Kleinboer looks at utter ease.

"This is the building where the guy from the band Koos jumped off the balcony", he gestures to a block of flats. It's a bit low I tell him. I mean, theres no certainty in jumping off that building you will die?

"This is where James Phillips lived."

We spot an old white guy. "The only whites left in the area are old ones to poor to immigrate."

Every now and again somebody greets him and asks after his wife.

Kleinboer reckons the area has already hit rock bottom and is now on the way up. Not to long ago his house was worth R100000. Now he thinks its three times that. It's all because of the immigrants he reckons. Especially the Congolese, and the Nigerians. He says that although he thinks about 50% of the blacks in the area are South African, 80% of the businesses are run by immigrants.

He also reckons the variety and kinds of foods to be found in the various new restaurants, trumps the local fare.

He loves the area, but he concedes, he does not have any black friends with whom he can discuss the things that matter to him. For interaction he goes onto the net, Litnet to be exact.

Currently he is upset about all these name changes, he tells me. He has book of the history of place names of South Africa.

Kleinboer took me in to a lively Congolese bar. We were greeted by a gentleman with a heavy French African accent and an old style Pretoria mustache.

"Welcome to our country!" he said, while shaking our hands vociferously.

"You must come back in 2010."

Kleinboer protested, but not too much.

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No sex please - were Afrikaans

Just looking...
Originally uploaded by Star_gazer_32.

Mhambi met an old friend for tea and cake yesterday. The friend, like many Afrikaans white middle-class girls of her generation (32 and older) had an independent career, was wealthy, married and worried.

First a familiar concern I have heard from numerous people during this visit to South Africa. She was worried about the country. Did she leave it too late to immigrate?

But that's not all.

She alleged that she, and her female friends all are bored of sex. It's a drag. Just too much effort for such a small pleasurable return. She only wants it once every two months.

Mhambi knows that on average male libidos are more powerful than your average female's. But this admission struck me as a bit over the top?!

Mhambi's experience (albeit very limited and no scientific sample), with females outside of South Africa has been very different.

Something is very very wrong. Mhambi is worried.

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Don't say Mhambi did not tell you so

Prof Anton Harber confirmed today that he agrees with Mhambi. Zuma's showing in ANC nomination bodes well for the ANC, democracy and the country.

I think this is a moment to celebrate, a time to step back from the question of who is winning and recognise the victory for the processes of democracy. The test we have passed, and countries such as Zimbabwe and Angola have failed, is our capacity to challenge incumbency. We have made it clear in the past few weeks that, however dominant the ANC is as a party, no president can be secure in office if he or she neglects their base. The party leadership failed timeously to challenge Mbeki on such disasters as his AIDS policies, but the party membership rose to the occasion when their time came.

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Great holiday reads: Corruption, racism and death

Mhambi has gone on a Jo'burg shopping spree. I have bought Andrew Feinstein's After the Party (it was sold out at many book shops), Christi van der Westhuizen's White Power, and Mark Gevisser's Thabu Mbeki, A dream deferred and Kobus!'s album Swaarmetaal.

So far I have only done with Kobus!'s raucous offering. Technically magnificent, it has one standout track - Witman (White man) Another song about white anxiety in the new South Africa. But here it's delivered with no subtlety.

A song from Kobus!'s new album

But alas I'm no fan of heavy metal and even though their music may be tongue in cheek, brilliantly executed, the compositions are not as good as their previous albums. AND the song Doodstraf (a call to mobilize support for the reintroduction of the death penalty) does not sit comfortably with Mhambi.

The death penalty is back on the South African political agenda after presidential candidate Jacob Zuma voiced his support for its reintroduction.

The original finding of the death penalty as unconstitutional by the South African Constitutional Court left open an attack. The court found that if it could be proved that the penalty acted as a deterrent on serious crime, it would be sympathetic.

If it could be proven that the death penalty acts indeed as a significant deterrent, then I to would be in favour. A cursory glance at the internet serves to confirm that with current research its not clear at all.

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