Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe

Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe

This piece of writing is dedicated to Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe that shining star of the African liberation struggle of this country and the African continent. That brutally persecuted and severely tested leader who passed the revolutionary test with unparalleled distinction. This is a Pan Africanist that walked the political talk to the finish with astounding patriotism.

He was born on the 5th of December 1924. This 5th of December 2014 is Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe’s 90th Birthday anniversary. Great nations do not forget their heroes nor do they adopt a sectarian attitude towards them. This piece of writing is to remind of Sobukwe’s legacy and to pass it on to this generation and to generations of Africa to come.

Sobukwe’s liberation credentials speak for themselves. They do not need any explanation. This is the only leader in the entire history of the liberation struggle in South Africa who was imprisoned on Robben Island without even a mock trial. He was kept in solitary confinement and then banned and banished to Kimberly to die there.

In Robben Island Prison, the apartheid colonialist regime ordered that he should be guarded by five guards with two fierce Alsatian dogs. Of him, the apartheid Minister of Justice John Vorster said, “If…Robert Sobukwe were released, we would have a fine [penalty] to pay in this country.”

This “ Defier of the Undefiable” exposed the struggle of fighting both “white domination” and “black domination” as a myth. The authors of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade sold black people like animals. They were not black.

European countries through the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 grabbed the African Continent at gunpoint. They sliced it like a wedding cake and partitioned it among themselves, into “British Africa,” “French Africa,” “Portuguese Africa,” “Spanish Africa,” “German Africa;” leaving nothing for Africans until millions of Africans died for their freedom to regain Africa.

Somalia, on the horn of Africa had the misfortune of becoming “Italian Somaliland,” “French Somaliland” and “British Somaliland.” These colonialists were not black. There has been no “black domination” in the world.

It is therefore a grave political delusion for any African leader to claim to have fought an evil that never existed. Apartheid was itself a product of racism that came not from black people. It was not a product of “black domination.” It was a creation of “white domination” stemming from the superstition and unscientific theories of unschooled authors of the idolatry of “white supremacy.”

Sobukwe is a leader who spoke the language of true African liberation. He never called a spade a big teaspoon. The land dispossessors of the African people recognised this fact. To stop him from achieving genuine liberation for his people, the apartheid regime made a special law to govern him. They called it “Sobukwe clause.” Much more is said and revealed in the book titled SOBUKWE LED THE ROAD TO ROBBEN ISLAND.

Freedom is not free. The price of freedom is selfless service, suffering and sacrifice. Sobukwe was prepared to go to Robben Island Prison so that the people of this country that are robbed of their land and its riches may repossess them and control the economy of their country equitably. Indeed, “liberation” of a land dispossessed people without repossessing its wealth is a gigantic colonial fraud.

On leadership Sobukwe declared, “True leadership demands complete subjugation of self, absolute honesty, integrity and uprightness of character, courage and fearlessness, above all a consuming love for one’s people.”

Sobukwe is not a leader who spoke with two tongues. He never compromised truth and justice on the polluted altar of appeasement and personal glory.

“We reject the economic exploitation of the many for the benefit of the few. We accept as the policy the equitable distribution of wealth as the only basis on which the slogan of ‘equal opportunities’ can be founded,” he proclaimed.

He respected and honoured African Kings who were the first Freedom Fighters in this country to resist European colonisation of the African people. Sobukwe linked the African liberation struggle that was led by African Kings to the present land dispossession of the African people whose wealth is still owned and controlled by the minority who accessed it through colonialism.

In July 1959 when speaking on Heroes Day/Lembede Day, the Defier of the Undefiable said: “We are met here Sons and Daughters of the beloved land to drink from the fountain….We are here to draw inspiration from the heroes of Thababosiu, Isandlwana, Sandile’s Kop and numerous other battle fields where our forefathers fell before the bullets of the foreign invader.”

Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe was the pace setter in the politics of South Africa. When he went to prison, even his opponents followed him there. To armed struggle, they followed him.

In very uncompromising terms because it is true, he told colonial powers and their agents: “I wish to make it clear that we are anti-nobody. We are pro-Africa. We breathe Africa. We dream Africa. We live Africa: because Africa and humanity are inseparable….History has taught us that a group in power has never voluntarily relinquished its position. It has always been forced to do so. And we do not expect miracles to happen in Africa. It is necessary for human progress that Africa be fully developed and only the African can do so….”

In the political history of Azania (South Africa), Sobukwe has the revolutionary distinction of orchestrating “a crisis…that nearly brought about the kind of political situation which too often makes the transfer of power overnight,” as that prominent African journalist, Lewis Nkosi put it.

Sobukwe loved his people and country. On his grave in Graaf-Reinet, the place of his birth; are written these words: “THAT GLORY MAY DWELL IN OUR LAND.”

By Dr. Motsoko Pheko
This article is an introduction to the writer’s latest book titled “SOBUKWE LED THE ROAD TO ROBBEN ISLAND”.

Dr. Motsoko Pheko

Dr. Motsoko Pheko

Recently the Institute For Security Studies And The Nelson Mandela Foundation invited me to a colloquium discussing the topic “Where is open democracy in South Africa today?” This colloquium was held in Cape Town on 4th November 2014. Unfortunately I already had a pressing prior engagement. I accordingly sent my apology for being unable to attend. Nonetheless, this being such an important subject I have decided to express my own views on the need to revisit the subject of democracy. It affects the whole world today, especially Africa.

Now, “Where is Open Democracy in South Africa today?”

This question cannot be answered correctly without defining democracy. The Western European interpretation has given it the Eurocentric parochial view that serves only Western interests. These are countries that were responsible for slavery, colonialism and racism. Their colonial rule especially in Africa was the antithesis of democracy, yet today they unashamedly pose as “teachers” of “democracy” to Africa and the world and they are continuing to destroy many countries and create much violence in the world in the name of “democracy.”

Many Western oriented people seem to believe that the mere right, to “vote” is democracy. The indisputable fact however is that people do not eat a vote. A vote that does not translate into the material needs of the people such as food, decent housing, accessible education, good healthcare, economic security and protection of life, cannot be said to have given the citizens of a country the enjoyment of democracy. These were some of the characteristics of democracy in pre-colonial Africa. Mere periodic elections too, are meaningless if they do not result in the lifting of the standard of living of the citizens.

That great martyr of Africa’s freedom and independence, Congo’s first Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba was right when he declared, “Amelioration of conditions of life is the only true meaning independence [democracy] can have.”

Thus far in Africa in general, anything that does not comply with the Eurocentric definition of democracy has invited interventions such as “regime change” or “planned regime.” “Regime change” refers to non-European governments that the West does not like. “Planned regimes” are those which just before independence from colonialism have the preference and approval of NATO countries and the United States of America.

Not far from South Africa, an African country Zimbabwe has been subjected to economic sanctions in order that Zimbabwe may be ruled in a way that keeps Britain its former coloniser, controlling the economy of this African country. These sanctions were intensified even when cholera had broken out in Zimbabwe killing many people.

But Britain resisted United Nations economic sanctions in 1965 when Ian Smith rebelled against the British government and had committed treason in its colony of Rhodesia. It opposed similar United Nations sanctions against apartheid South Africa even after the slaughter of Africans who took part in the Sharpeville Uprising and Soweto Uprising.

Before 2011, Libya under Muammar Al Gathafi (Gaddafi), the citizens of this country enjoyed a “first world economy” standard of living. The country’s economy was booming. But it seems the West did not like this. As far as they were concerned there was no “democracy” in Libya. There was therefore, to be a “regime change.” Al Gathafi was killed and his regime destroyed in order to make Libya the Western kind of “democracy.”

But in 2014, Libya is being described as a “failed state.” Western governments have now run away from the “democracy” they created for Libya. Media reports have revealed that “Western countries have shut up their embassies as the OPEC oil exporter teeters towards a failed state.”

In Iraq Saddam Hussein was falsely accused of possessing weapons of mass destruction and hanged in order to make Iraq a “democracy.” After ten years there is no democracy, but anarchy and deaths of innocent civilians. Iraq is also now described as a “failing state.”

The forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have become the biggest political headache of America’s policy makers and allies. There are reports that the ISIS fighter who ordered the brutal execution of the American journalist James Foley, spoke in a British accent. Some citizens of Britain and America are reported to be fighting on the side of ISIS forces.

Despite numerous Western air strikes on ISIS which cost US $1.2billion in the month of September alone; Syria border towns such as Kobane have been under siege from the ISIS. What is the cause of this rising terrorism and inhuman brutality in the Middle East today? Is it greed for oil wealth and a rising new form of colonialism under cover of “democracy” which seems to cause more terrorism in the world?

These are hard lessons that must be learned hard and fast this 21st century before the world is caught up in an unprecedented catastrophic conflagration that will reduce this planet to ashes. Military and economic power for the domination of other nations is not the answer to world peace and stability. In any case, no nations have ever been militarily invincible forever. This is the reason why no nation should make itself the sole interpreter of democracy and grossly violate the sovereignties of other nations contrary to the Charter of the United Nations.

Because pre-colonial Africa was not “primitive” and had democratic principles before her colonisation through the imperialist European Berlin Act of 26 February 1885; the Pan Africanist Congress leader in South Africa, Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe found nothing wrong with African nations learning what was good for them from other nations to improve the welfare of their people.

In those days of European “cold war” between the West and the East, Sobukwe declared, “Borrowing then the best from the East and the best from the West; we nonetheless retain and maintain our distinctive personality and refuse to be satraps or stooges of either power.”

He proclaimed, “We also reject the economic exploitation of the many for the benefit of the few. We accept as policy the equitable distribution of wealth…as…the only basis on which the slogan of ‘equal opportunities’ can be founded.”

To the forces of foreign domination of Africa, Sobukwe was unequivocal. “I wish to make it clear that we are anti-nobody. We are pro-Africa. We breathe Africa. We dream Africa. We live Africa: because Africa and humanity are inseparable.”

WHERE IS OPEN DEMOCRACY IN SOUTH AFRICA TODAY?

In pre-colonial South Africa as in the rest of most of Africa; democracy was for the welfare, security and advancement of all the citizens. Unfortunately, many “post independence” African rulers under the influence of Western “democracy” have discarded many elements of pre-colonial democracy. They have replaced them with Western concepts of democracy where for instance “freedom of the press” is regarded as more important than the economic and social freedom of the people.

This applies to South Africa today, where it is considered that a mere right to vote is “democracy” and restricting the “freedom of the press” is tyranny, no matter whose hostile interests that press serves. Freedom of expression was fought for in Europe. In pre-colonial Africa, the Sesotho idiom tells it all “Mowa kgotla ha a tsekiswe.” One who expresses any unacceptable view in the interest of the nation is immune.

The Setswana language adds, “Ntwa ke ya molomo.” (the “war” must be a competition of ideas, not of violence and subjugation). Indeed, the concept that “Morena ke morena ka sechaba (rulers/kings are trustees and derive their mandate from the people) signifies the kind of democracy most Africans had before the barbarous Berlin Conference that destroyed Africans.

But even by West European standards, “freedom of the press” later meant a press that serves the interests of the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor and powerless. In South Africa, the press is shirking its responsibility “to tell it as it is;” as long as it is true and advancing justice. Justice is the foundation of democracy.

For instance, much has been said about “reconciliation” in South Africa and the country is supposedly having the “best constitution in the world.” Yet many former freedom fighters of this country such as members of the Azanian Peoples Liberation Army (APLA) have been languishing in the prisons of “New South Africa” for the last twenty years. APLA was the military wing of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) during the liberation struggle. Should there be political prisoners in an “open democracy?”

The shame of it all is that almost all the perpetrators of the crime of apartheid that was declared a crime against humanity by the United Nations were granted amnesty by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In South Africa the media has turned a blind eye to the plight of the imprisoned freedom fighters of this country. Even the subject of equitable redistribution of land and its resources is a “no go area.”

This of course, is not surprising to informed people. From the colonial beginning, South Africa was established on two inhuman undemocratic and grossly unjust British genocide colonial statutes. First it was the Union of South Africa Act 1909 which became law on 20th September of that year. In Section 44, it stated “The qualifications of a member of the House of Assembly must be a British subject of European descent.” On 30th May 1910 this colonial law came into effect excluding Africans, the indigenous owners of the country.

Within three years, there came the Native Land Act 1913. It allocated the then five million Africans 7% of their own land. It gave away 93% of the land to 349837 colonial settlers. It added a mere 6% of land for Africans through the Native Trust Land Act 1936. This is what created such massive poverty among the African people who are today over 41million compared to 8.9% former British subjects “of European descent.” This was British “justice” and “democracy.”

The “new dispensation” arrived with a constitution that entrenched the same Native Land Act 1913 in Section 25 (7). Today it is taboo to mention land dispossession of the African people. Poverty, shortest life expectancy and highest child mortality among Africans are not seen as abnormal in a rich Azania (South Africa), a country four times the size of Britain and Northern Ireland combined. Should the media be so quiet about this in an “open democracy?”

And why did the present rulers allow such situation in their negotiations at CODESA? A “property clause”! In the constitution to protect the people who had already colonially grabbed massive African land at gun point! Did these “negotiators” not know that the primary contradiction of the African national liberation struggle from African wars of national resistance against colonialism that were led by African kings of this country, was for equitable redistribution of land and its resources?

To King George V in London in July 1914; Sol Plaatje, John Dube and three of their colleagues, put it unequivocally in their petition. “…the natives (Africans) be put in possession of land in proportion to their numbers, and on the same conditions as the white race.”

FUNDING OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN SOUTH AFRICA

Democracy demands equal treatment, justice and fairness. In South Africa funding of political parties in parliament consolidates the dominance of the ANC. The ANC derives its “strength and support” from the 1994 election results which were heavily financed by the West, with President Bill Clinton’s image maker Stanley B. Greenberg and pollster Frank Freez sent to South Africa to assist the ANC in elections that were later reported as contrived to produce a Western “planned regime” [against the “radicals.”] (See Despatch From The War Room –In The Trenches With Five Extra-Ordinary Leaders by Stanley B. Greenberg, Cape Argus 23 March 2009,New Yorker 11th April 1994 –Letter From South Africa: The Secret Revolution by Allister Sparks also New Yorker 14th April 1994).

This has ensured that the ANC perpetuates its political dominance, no matter how corrupt many of its leaders are or how disastrous its service delivery record is to the needy and poor African people, especially to those living in filthy unhealthy shacks which often burn or flood, killing many. There continues to be more economic development where whites live and less or nothing where Africans live. Is this not the absence of democracy for the African majority? Many African protesters against these conditions are often chased by police using rubber bullets.

MONEY ALLOCATED TO POLITICAL PARTIES GROSSLY UNDEMOCRATIC

In 2009 elections the Independent Electoral Commission allocated R88 million for parties in parliament. The ANC received R61 million. The DA received R10.5 million. IFP received R5.4. The remaining crumbs went to the rest of other parties.

In 2014 the IEC allocated R114.8 million for elections. ANC received R64.9 million. DA received R17million and Cope got R9.7 million. The remaining crumbs went to other parties with the more radical ones getting lesser and lesser funding.

This cannot be described as “open democracy.” It produces an election result that is still contrived to protect the status quo between the economically powerful and the economically powerless. This kind of funding has now deteriorated into a “democracy” that is a combination of plutocracy and kleptocracy bordering on kakistocracy.

A just system that ensures that the true will of the people is reflected and realised in elections in South Africa must be formulated, particularly considering that a largely ignorant majority is often intimidated and manipulated by many corrupt officials of the ruling party. Many ANC officials often tell vulnerable poor pensioners that if they do not vote for the ruling party they will not get their pension. They are giving the false impression that the pension comes from the ruling party other than from the tax payers, and is therefore, state money which any government in power would always by law give to old citizens, regardless of what political party they vote for.

DOES THE UNFAIR ALLOCATION OF ELECTION FUNDING MAKE THE ANC A MAJORITY PARTY? IF, SO BY WHOSE MEASUREMENT?

It must be noted that even with large sums of money allocated to it, the ANC does not represent the majority of voters or the majority of the country’s population. Sam Ditshego of the Pan Africanist Research Institute had a valid point when he wrote that: “According to the IEC, the number of registered voters as of November last year (2013) was 24.1 million out of 31.4 million eligible voters….But of the number of registered voters the ANC garnered 10 million votes ….If we do simple computing of the figures of IEC and Statistics South Africa, it means 14 million registered voters did not vote for the ANC…including 7 million eligible voters who did not even bother to vote for the ANC. So where do ANC leaders and MP’s get the idea that they received an overwhelming majority of votes? Do they understand what overwhelming means?” (Mayihlome 24 October 2014).

DEMOCRACY DID NOT ORIGINATE FROM EUROPE

Democracy did not originate from Europe. If there had been democracy in Europe there would never have been slavery, colonialism and racism in the world. In fact, no European colonial country ruled Africa democratically for all the years they were in Africa after their colonial partitioning of Africa among themselves.

There is no person who is well informed about pre-colonial African history who can dispute that pre-colonial Africa practised democracy. Traditional monarchies existed in many African civilisations of Africa until they were destroyed through European slave trade selling “human cargo” and through colonialism without a twinge of conscience, and with unprecedented brutality on humans.

Chief Moshodi Abiola, the late President-elect of Nigeria was aware of this inflicted tragedy on Africa by the European slave traders and colonialists when he asked: “Who knows what path Africa’s social development would have taken if great centres of African civilisation had not been destroyed in search of human cargo by Europeans?”

HISTORIANS WHO SPOKE ON DEMOCRACY IN PRE-COLONIAL AFRICA

Many informed European historians about life in Africa before the Continent was visited with the European darkness of slavery, colonialism and racism have recorded their findings. Here are a few examples to illustrate that democracy existed in Africa before Western Europe.

1. In January 1918 Sir Jeffrey Clifford writing in the Blackwoods Magazine about the “Gold Coast” (Ghana), then colonised by Britain said, “The most notable achievements that can be placed to his credit [the Blackman] is his invention, without assistance of extraneous influence of the democratic system of government and state socialism, which are the basic principles upon which his tribal policy is founded.”

2. In February 1952, Thomas Hodgkin who was Secretary of the Oxford University Delegacy for Extra-Mural Studies and Fellow of Ballial College Oxford declared. “It is no doubt flattering to our vanity to imagine that the people of Africa were ‘primitive’ and ‘barbarous’ before the penetration of Europeans, and that it was we [Europeans] ‘who civilised’ them. But it is a theory that lacks historical foundation.

3. The Empire of Ghana flourished…during the dark ages of Western Europe. By the fifteenth century there was a university at Timbuktu in Mali. The Ashanti of the Gold Coast and the Yorubas of Nigeria possessed highly complex civilisations long before their countries were brought under British colonial control. The thesis that Africa is what Western Europeans…made it, is comforting [to Western Europeans], but it is invalid.”

4. For his part the prominent African American Egyptologist Dr. Yosef A.A. ben-Jochannan has written, “The African Continent is no recent ‘discovery’. It is no ‘new world’ like America and Australia….While yet Europe was home of wandering barbarians, one of the most wonderful civilisations on record had begun to work its destiny on the banks of the Nile River” (Black Man Of The Nile And His Family page 146).

5. As if he did not want to be left behind in the race to record the important historical facts about Africa; in 1787 the learned French Egyptologist C.F. Volney, wrote, “…a race of black men who are today our slaves and object of our contempt is the same one to whom we owe our arts, sciences and even the speech” (Ruins Of Empire C.F. Volney page XVII). Volney wrote these facts during the darkest days in Africa brought to this Continent through European slave trade in human beings who were black.

AFRICA PLACE OF BIRTH OF HIGH CULTURE RELIGIONS AND PHILOSOPHY

Africa is the place of birth of high cultures, religions and philosophy. In fact, Greece, the civiliser of Western Europe got its knowledge from its Greek scholars educated in Africa. What is today wrongly called “Greek Philosophy” was foreign to the Greeks.

Ancient Greek rulers considered African epistemology from Mizraim in Africa a threat to the security of the Athenian state (Greece). They accused their people educated in Africa of harbouring dangerous ideas to Athens.

The Greek government imprisoned and exiled Anaxagoras. It executed Socrates. It exiled Plato. It indicted Aristotle. Pythagoras, the earliest of the educated Greeks who studied Mathematics for 21 years in Mizraim (Ancient Egypt) in Africa was exiled by the Greek government and also expelled from Italy. (See The Stolen Legacy by Dr. George G.M. James, especially pages 1 – 3. Also pages 437 to 443 of Black Man Of The Nile And His Family by Dr. Yosef A.A. Jochannan published by Alkebu-Lan Books, New York 1981)

CONCLUSION

Africa practised democracy long before Europe and had a civilising effect on Western Europe. The West later turned against Africa after it had acquired the knowledge of gun powder from the Chinese. They used the military superiority of the gun over the African spears in war. This is when they began to molest and terrorise Africans through slavery, colonialism and racism. Europe is not qualified to “teach” the world democracy.

That profoundly learned African Egyptologist, Cheikh Anta Diop was correct when he stated: “Ancient Egyptians were black. The moral fruit of their civilisation is to be counted among the assets of the Black World. Instead, of [Africa] presenting itself as an insolvent debtor, that Black World is the very initiator of the ‘Western civilisation’ that is flaunted before us today.”

By Dr. Motsoko Pheko
The writer is author of books such as Towards Africa’s Authentic Liberation, The Hidden Side Of South African Politics, The True History Of Robben Island Must Be Preserved, A “White” Jesus Is False History And Heresy. His coming book is SOBUKWE LED THE ROAD TO ROBBEN ISLAND.

ANC MP, Dr. Mathole Motshekga

ANC MP, Dr. Mathole Motshekga
source: http://www.citypress.co.za

Are ANC Members of Parliament justified to say they have been elected by the majority of the people of this country and, therefore, they must always have their way in parliament and its committees? The answer is ‘no’ for obvious reasons which may not be so obvious to some people, especially those who understand democracy as the right of majorities to rule. That is a simplistic approach. There is a more complex and adequate one which I will touch on in subsequent paragraphs.

To begin with, did the ANC get the majority of votes? They got more votes from some of the registered voters. According to the IEC, the number of registered voters as of November last year was 24.1 million out of 31.4 million eligible voters, according to Statistics South Africa census. Out of the number of registered voters the ANC garnered 10 million votes including stolen ones, if the chicanery during the last elections in Gauteng is anything to go by.

If we do simple computing of the figures from the IEC and Stats SA, it means 14 million registered voters did not vote for the ANC, ceteris paribus, including 7 million eligible voters who did not even bother to register to vote. This means that objectively 21 million people did not vote for the ANC. The ANC, therefore, is not representing the majority of voters in South Africa. So where do ANC leaders and MP’s get the idea that they received an overwhelming majority of votes. Do they understand what overwhelming means?

Even if the ANC had received 21 million votes and the rest of the other parties got the difference, it would not be in the best interests of democracy for the ANC to disregard the voice of the parties in parliament with fewer votes than itself. It would be tantamount to confusing democracy with majority rule. Democracy is rule by populations. The concept of democracy has its equivalent in indigenous languages such as Setswana. I use Setswana as an example because I speak Setswana. The phrase that best captures the concept of democracy in Setswana is the one that says Kgosi ke Kgosi ka batho which means “a King is there because of the people”. It means the King takes or is supposed to take the cue from the people. And the phrase that demonstrates freedom of expression is the one that says, Mmua lebe o bua la gagwe which means every person has the right to speak even when there are those who differ with him/her or don’t like what he/she has to say.

When an issue is deliberated at The Kgotla or King’s Court or people’s assembly, everybody who wants to speak is given an opportunity to speak. A consensus is not reached because the majority holds a particular view. It is reached on the wisdom of deliberations of even a single person. Why are debates and deliberations in our parliament and their committees not following this principle? Why should all the decisions be based on majority rule? Stephen Macedo argued that “majority rule is not a fundamental principle of either democracy or fairness, nor is it required by any basic principle of democracy or fairness. Rather, it is one among a variety of decision rules that may, but need not, advance the project of collective legitimate self-rule based on political equality. Majority rule is a decision rule that has some nice properties, for example it is decisive when there are only two options, but its virtues, both practical and moral, are easily and frequently exaggerated” (‘Against Majoritarianism: Democratic Values and Institutional Design’ Boston University Law Review, Vol 90).

It can be argued that single party governments make decisive policy making and clarity of responsibility much easier, while coalitions are more likely to produce more representative policies and more inclusive decision making. By the same token, major shifts in government policy are easier to achieve under single-party governments, while coalitions are more likely to see issues discussed and debated before any changes are made.

It should be clear by now that this submission addresses itself to what is happening in the national assembly and its committees. An ad hoc committee on Nkandla in which the ANC wants to use its majority to dictate how the ad hoc committee should conduct its probe into South African President Jacob Zuma’s inappropriate spending of tax payers’ money to build his private residence. The Public Protector has ordered Zuma to pay back part of the money spent on his private residence. Zuma appeared on 21 August 2014 to answer questions in parliament which he didn’t and was protected by the Speaker of Parliament in a partisan way. That session ended up in chaos.

The sloppiness and ineptitude of the Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete in conducting the business of parliament led to disruptions in one of the sittings on the 21 August. The disruption in turn led to disciplinary hearing against the EFF. The ANC again used its majoritarian arrogance and the EFF presented an indictment of the whole procedure and left. ANC MP’s tried to prevent opposition MP’s from calling witnesses but failed.

During the ad hoc committee hearings on Nkandla, ANC MP’s in that ad hoc committee wanted to use their majority to circumvent the hearing in a bid to protect Zuma. They even refused to entertain a suggestion by opposition parties to call legal experts to help with interpretation of the constitution which they (ANC MP’s) deliberately misinterpreted. The shenanigans of ANC MP’s led to a walkout by opposition MP’s. ANC MP’s are now deliberating by and amongst themselves. This is called shadow boxing for those who understand the sport of boxing.

The ANC invokes the 10 million voters who voted for it and say because they won more votes, they can do anything and everything to protect their errand and wayward President. I am not sure that the 10 million votes they got was a blank cheque or license to protect perfidy. Many voters openly say they did not vote for Zuma but for the ANC. It is about time that this country incorporates presidential elections in its electoral system and substitutes the closed list proportional representation system with an open list proportional representation system so that voters should not vote for the party but for individuals in political parties. The party list system leads to abuse of the system.

When opposition MP’s resort to legal recourse and win, ANC MP’s invariably criticize the judiciary saying it does not respect the principle of separation of powers. There are institutional designs that the ANC with its majoritarianism flout which scream for judicial intervention. There is nothing wrong with judicial review in a democracy. As Macedo correctly observed, “judicial review of legislation offends no basic principle of democratic political morality. Giving power to judges and other political officials insulated from some partisan political pressures may help political communities better achieve their democratic aspirations. Deliberation on hard questions of institutional design is not advanced by wrongly identifying democracy with majority rule.” The concept of a ‘majority’ should not be used as justification to flout democratic principles.

By Sam Ditshego
The writer is a member of the Pan Africanist Research Institute (PARI).

The mainstream media and African governments are failing the people on their coverage and reporting on the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. What irritates me more is the attitude of some radio talk-show hosts who think they know a lot when they know bugger all. Moreover, they always want to have the last word on all the topics in order to stifle debate.

For example, on Saturday morning (11 October) I sent an sms to one of the commercial radio shows in South Africa which read, “Africans are gullible. Ebola was manmade and airborne and that the US is using the disease for its soldiers to occupy Africa.” The radio host pooh-poohed the views I put forward and commented that I must be joking. I immediately sent a follow up sms which he ignored. On the 14th October 2014, a popular morning SABC radio show that is aired between 6.00hrs and 9.00hrs hosted the Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, a Professor and an epidemiologist and the topic of discussion was Ebola. I sent an sms which read, “the media’s and government’s focus on Ebola is wrong and misleading. Focus should be on the US’s Bio Weapons laboratory in Sierra Leone where Ebola originated”. That sms was not read. My letters to the editor on the same subject are not published.

How many radio talk-show hosts, journalists and editors on the African continent, especially in South Africa, know about the death of World Health Organisation (WHO) spokesman, Glenn Thomas, who worked for WHO at the US Bio Weapons laboratory in Kenema, Sierra Leone? For the record, WHO is funded by the Rockefellers. Glenn Thomas was killed on board Malaysian plane Flight MH17 which was shot down over Ukraine. Do they know why he was killed? Glenn Thomas worked at the US’s Bio Weapons laboratory in Kenema, Sierra Leone where it is reported that it’s where the new strain of the Ebola virus was created. Thomas was going to present a lecture at an AIDS conference in Melbourne, Australia, and who knows what he was going to reveal over there? It has been reported that Glenn Thomas died with other 108 (a hundred and eight) AIDS researchers on board Malaysian Flight MH17.

The report I read further reveals that six key people in the AIDS research world were also killed in the MH17 crash, including Joep Lange and his wife Jacqueline van Tongeren from the Armsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development. The report continues to state that Lange was called a giant in the AIDS research field which means he knew that the HIV vaccine is a bioweapon causing AIDS and would, therefore, have understood the implications of unleashing Ebola not just on Africa but on the world through experimental vaccines as the Welcome Trust has recently demanded. Welcome Trust is described as a global charitable organisatiion involved in biomedical research and “investigating” health and disease in humans and animals. I suggest ‘investigating’ should be read to mean experimenting.

How many talk-show hosts, editors and journalists in South Africa know that it was because of the Ebola outbreak that the Sierra Leone government ordered that facility to be closed down and ordered Tulane University to stop Ebola testing and the US Bio Weapons laboratory at Kenema in Sierra Leone to be relocated in response to growing anger from locals? Kenema Government Hospital has links to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and George Soros Foundation. The US biodefence scientists have been working on viral fevers such as Ebola for decades at the Sierra Leone government hospital. It is known that this lab has been working on developing various strains of Ebola for more than forty years at that bioweapons lab. This Sierra Leone lab was quickly shut down to avoid police investigation. George Soros who is a friend of Sierra Leone President, Ernest Bai Koroma, is a huge investor in the Ebola triangle of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Why don’t the know-it-all radio talk-show hosts, editors and journalists especially in South Africa, inform their listeners and readers that the Pentagon and Tekmira Pharmaceutical Corporation funded clinical Ebola trials on healthy adults just before the outbreak occurred? Why don’t they report that WHO and Centers for Disease Control documents show that most of the Ebola outbreaks have so far occurred in hospitals?

How many talk-show hosts, journalists and editors have read or know about Dr Leonard Horowitz’s best selling book titled “Emerging Viruses: AIDS and Ebola: Nature, Accident or Intentional?” Or Gordon Thomas’ “Secrets and Lies: A History of CIA Mind Control and Germ Warfare?” The US has been cooking chemical and biological weapons at Fort Detrick since the 1950’s. When these talk-show hosts, editors and journalists are confronted with such information they resort to the narrative that says it belongs in the realm of conspiracy theories. Frankly such an argument is banal and manifests denial and massive brainwashing on the part of those who advance it as their defense.

The media and African governments are covering up for the US government and WHO instead of confronting the issue of the genesis of Ebola head on and telling the US government and WHO not to use Africa as a testing ground for germ warfare experiments and desist from using Africans as guinea pigs. Sierra Leone should be told not to relocate the US Bio Weapons laboratory from Kenema to elsewhere rather it must close it down forthwith.

By Sam Ditshego
The writer is a Senior Researcher at the Pan Africanist Research Institute (PARI) and writes in his personal capacity.

History reveals that Britain (United Kingdom) has never protected indigenous or non-British interests – whether in Africa, Australia, India or New Zealand and so on. The British have always opposed and suppressed the interests of other nations, if their interests were in conflict with those of the “British Empire.” The 18 September 2014 Scotland Referendum was no exception. When the “Yes” campaign vote in Scotland for national independence gathered momentum, all the three main political parties in Britain began their own massive campaign of intimidation against the people of Scotland, especially a few days just before the referendum.

Labour Party leader Ed Miliband told the BBC that the “the pro-independence campaign had an ugly side.” Prime Minister David Cameron painted a bleak picture such as the use of the British pound by Scots people if they voted “Yes”. Queen Elizabeth II though claimed to be “neutral” and said she hoped that “the Scottish voters would think carefully”. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also poked its nose into the affairs of the Scottish people. Its Deputy Spokesman W. Murray said, “A Yes vote would raise a number of important and complicated issues that would have to be negotiated.”

But what is clear is that the “Yes” vote by the Scottish people would have been a double edged sword if the United Kingdom tried to punish Scotland for its independence after their “Yes” vote. This would be due to the following reasons:
(a) The United Kingdom nuclear missiles are based in Scotland;
(b) UK would lose its royal regiment of Scotland;
(c) The U.K. would be a new country with less power and prestige internationally if Scotland voted “Yes” in the
referendum;
(d) Wales and Northern Ireland might re-think their status within the powerless territorially reduced United Kingdom;
(e) The pro-republic sentiment in Australia and Canada to break ties with the English monarch would gain momentum;
(f) The British Commonwealth would sooner than later collapse;
(g) The United Kingdom U.N. Security Council would be insecure; and
(h) The Irish people did not suffer any currency problem when they dropped the British pound.

As expected, the United Kingdom encouraged the “No” vote in the Scotland Referendum to protect its own interests, not those of the people of Scotland. The September 2014 Scotland Referendum brings to mind how the United Kingdom then called “Great Britain” protected its national interests in Africa at the expense of the African people, especially in South Africa.

The United Kingdom protected its colonial interests by military power in Africa, using the most barbaric methods and intrigues. For instance, in Kenya the agents of the British government castrated the anti-colonial Kenyan fighters opposing colonialism. They called them “Mau Mau” and murdered hundreds of them and seized large parts of their fertile land.

They practised colonial brutality in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) sentencing to death the spiritual female leader of the Zimbabweans, Ambuye Nehanda and the Rev. John Chilebwe in Nyasaland (Malawi) for leading the anti colonial struggles in their own countries. They exterminated the indigenous people of Australia, New Zealand and Canada to protect British colonial interests. After many wars of national resistance against British colonialism led by African kings such as Hintsa, Cetshwayo, Moshoeshoe, Sekhukhune and Makhado, Britain through its guns over the spears of the African people seized the African country and handed it over to its colonial settlers.

Through the Union of South Africa Act 1909, a British Statute of the United Kingdom, on 20th September of that year, Britain gave legislative powers to its colonial settlers. Section 44 of that imperial law, among other things reads, “That the qualifications of a Member of the House of Assembly shall… be a British subject of European descent”. Within three years of this racist draconian law the colonial parliament with the connivance of the British government passed the colonial law allocating five million indigenous African people 7% of their own land called “Native Reserves”. This 7% of the African concentration camps became a reservoir of “cheap native labour” for the farms and mineral mines which were now owned by the colonial settlers and their “mother country” – the United Kingdom. The 93% of the African country and land and its riches was handed to the 349837 settlers. This is the peculiar concept of “British justice” that is still boasted of with much British national pride today.

Sooner than later, South Africa became a British colony to go by the title of “Dominion,” because it was not the custom of the English to rule “white people” as a colony. This was argued in imperial circles. It was advocated by people who are today self-appointed teachers of “human rights” and “democracy” in Africa.

In 1931, British colonial lawyers Gilbert Dold and C.P. Joubert argued that the Westminster Statute of 1931 had conferred “independence” and “sovereignty” on South Africa. These lawyers wrote, “The Statute of Westminster 1931 under the skilled statesmanship of General Hertzog, Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa…made rapid progress from its subordinate position to that of a free, independent and sovereign state within the British Commonwealth” (I .I. Lukashuk, HRC Vol.135 1972 page 237).

Section 2 and 3 of The Colonial Laws Validity Act 1865 by the British Parliament contained a “repugnance clause.” Is it not puzzling that despite this clause, both the Union of South Africa Act 1909 and the Native Land Act 1913 and the whole concept of “Dominion” were racist? This was long before Daniel F. Malan coined the word apartheid in South Africa in 1948.

In October 1930, Piet Grobler, a settler colonial Minister of Lands had already stated, “The supremacy of the white man’s rule in South Africa was essential if he was to retain his birthright or his civilisation.” How could a colonial settler utter such words without being rebuked by the United Kingdom Government?

Things were getting worse for Africans under the United Kingdom colonial government in South Africa. A.S. Harris in his article “A Plea For Even-Handed Justice”, wrote: “In none of the [British] colonies are there laws punishing white men for sexual intercourse with coloured women while the Statute Book is full of enactments punishing black men for intercourse with white women even with their consent.” Harris continued stating that “A case recorded recently of a Boer farmer being acquitted in the face of the strongest evidence of guilt of outraging a native girl, while a native boy…for mere solicitation of a white girl is shot dead and the act is applauded by the white community” (MHUDI: Sol T. Plaatje page 6, Heinemann Educational Books Ltd London 1982.

The British Government spoke with two tongues when it came to protecting African human rights in its South African Colony. Were its representatives displaying mere duplicity and hypocrisy stemming from racism?

On 29th February 1906, Winston Churchill speaking in the British Parliament said, “We are provided with a most sure foothold for intervention on behalf of natives. A self-governing colony is not entitled to say one day ‘Hands Off’, no dictation in our internal affairs.”

Colonel Seely, Under Secretary of State for Colonies declared, “No scheme of unity in South Africa to be satisfactory which does not provide some safeguard for the great native population. It would be immoral and wrong for this country to wash her hands of the whole native problem….she has a responsibility to the natives; they are under our direct control: they are under that shadowy vision of the ultimate imperial authority, the kingship, and more real vision of his Majesty the King to protect them in their ancient rights and privileges, and we must not fail them. I am happy to say that those who are meeting together in South Africa realise our obligation….the number of South Africans taking a reactionary view in the native question is rapidly diminishing, and they realise that we cannot stand by with our folded arms while a scheme is devised which may militate against the rights of and privileges and safety of the native races that dwell under the king’s sway” (Anti-Slavery Reporter February 1906).

Yet after the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) had led the Sharpeville Uprisings which resulted in the massacre of 84 Africans and 365 wounded throughout South Africa; the British government resisted the United Nations comprehensive economic sanctions on the South African apartheid colonial regime.

In the 1976 Soweto Uprising of 16 June, 176 people were killed and an estimated 700 wounded. They were mainly young people. The United Kingdom stood by its protection of its economic interests with its colonial settlers and opposed economic sanctions against apartheid South Africa. Yet as we speak, the United Kingdom has been crushing a developing country like Zimbabwe with economic sanctions and not long time ago invaded Saddam Hussein’s Iraq on false pretence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

As a consequence of British colonialism in Azania (South Africa), even in so-called “New South Africa” or “rainbow nation,” the 2012 population census has revealed that an average African – headed household earns R60313 per year or R5051 a month. A white headed household earns 365,340 a year or R30, 427 per month. Educationally only 2% of the 41 million African population had university degrees.

Africans were colonised by Britain centuries ago. They are still allocated 13% of their own country. The African population is 79.2%. Their land dispossession is entrenched in Section 25 (7) of the “new rainbow nation” Constitution. This law is the new name for the Native Land Act 1913.

In today’s Lesotho in Southern Africa, Britain signed a treaty to protect the Basotho people against rampaging Boer colonial settlers called “Afrikaners.” They came largely from Holland and France. This British treaty is known as Sir George Napier Treaty of 1843. It was meant to protect the Basotho from rapacious colonial land grabbers. When however, the economic interests of the British coincided with those of the Boers, the British colonial government supplied guns to the Boers while making sure the Basotho got no arms or very little. Consequently, over 50% of the Basotho land is today part of economically white controlled South Africa.

“The outstanding theme of Lesotho’s economic history in the last hundred years is the transition from granary to labour reserve,” wrote Dr. Colin Murray. “In the middle period of the 19th century, the Basotho vigorously exported grain to other Africans and to white settlers on the highveld, and from 1870, to the burgeoning diamond camps.”

Dr. Murray concluded by stating that “In the 1970’s Lesotho is a net importer of grain and most rural households are primarily dependent for their livelihood on the earnings of migrant labourers employed in the mining and manufacturing industries of South Africa” (Time Is Longer Than The Rope by Edward Roux 16).

Writing about Lesotho in 1939, Edwin E. Smith observed that “A very large part of fertile area of Basutoland (Lesotho) as recognised by Sir George Napier in the [British] treaty of 1843 was now in the hands of white settlers [in the Orange Free State, parts of Eastern Cape and Gauteng]” (The Mabilles of Basutoland by Edwin W. Smith, Hodder and Sloughton 1939, pages 96-97).

In broad daylight and under the flag of the British Empire, colonial settlers grabbed “the whole of the agricultural part of Lesotho proper, leaving the mountains to the Basotho.” This is how I. Schapera puts it in The Bantu-Speaking Tribes Of South Africa, page 346 Maskew Miller Ltd 1966, edited by himself.

Of course, King Moshoeshoe of the Basotho Nation was not amused by this kind of “British protection. Writing to Sir George Grey, a British colonial governor in the Cape colony in South Africa, King Moshoeshoe declared, “I gave whites permission of living in my country… but they have never obtained any right to property to the soil from me, had I granted that, such a right should have been contrary to the law of the Basotho nation which allows no such alienation.” Deeply disappointed with the way the United Kingdom administered its “British justice” especially towards Black people, King Moshoeshoe proclaimed that “The white men seem to be bent on proving that in politics Christianity has no part….It may be you, Europeans do not steal cattle, but you still whole countries; and if you had your wish, you would send us to pasture our cattle in the clouds….Europeans are larger thieves…they are stealing black man’s land in the Cape [colony] to here [Orange Free state, land of the Basotho] and call it theirs” (Moshoeshoe Profile I by Ntsu Mokhehle, page 26 Khatiso Ea Lesotho 1976).

Britain has never protected non-British interests. It is no wonder that after 307 years, a sizeable number of the people of Scotland demanded their national independence. It is not surprising that the United Kingdom politicians intimidated the Scottish voters for a “No” vote. The “Yes” vote would have hurt the United Kingdom more than SCOTLAND if Britain decided to punish the Scots for winning the referendum for their national independence.

By Dr. Motsoko Pheko
The writer is author of several books including: APARTHEID: THE STORY OF A DISPOSSESSED PEOPLE and SOUTH AFRICA: BETRAYAL OF A COLONISED PEOPLE. During the liberation struggle in South Africa he represented the victims of apartheid and colonialism at the United Nations in New York and at the UN Commission On Human Rights in Geneva. He is a former Member of the South African Parliament.

Minister of Arts and Culture: Nathi Mthethwa

Minister of Arts and Culture: Nathi Mthethwa
Source: http://www.iol.co.za

Last week there was a debate in the National Assembly about Heritage Day. All the heroes and heroines were mentioned except those of the PAC and to some extent BCM. There was no mention of Robert Sobukwe, Zeph Mothopeng, Urbania Mothopeng, Jeff Masemola and Onkgopotse Tiro. However, an Agang MP did mention Steve Biko.

Minister of Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, didn’t mention Anton Lembede and the 1949 Programme of Action. He mentioned African Claims and skipped the1994 Programme of Action and jumped straight to the Freedom Charter. Mthethwa mentioned the South African Native National Congress founding member, Pixley ka Isaka Seme, at whose law firm, Lembede articled as a lawyer in the mid 1940’s before his sudden death in 1947. Not only that, Lembede was the founding President of the ANCYL in 1943 and a revolutionary and intellectual par excellence. He was the brains behind the formation of the ANCYL and its leading spokesman. The mere mention of Seme and African Claims should have reminded Mthethwa of Lembede. I wonder if these MP’s know how ridiculous their speeches sound when they claim to be speaking about our heritage and deliberately omit some important aspects of that heritage.

Mthethwa mentioned Frantz Fanon and Aime Cesaire, but what has he read about and from these intellectuals? His speech was probably written for him because if it wasn’t then he should have known that in The Wretched of the Earth, Fanon mentions the Sharpeville massacre which was organized and led by Sobukwe and the PAC. The parliament from where Mthethwa was speaking was the same one which passed The Sobukwe Clause. The first death sentences of PAC and POQO members were confirmed by that parliament despite international outcry. Surely this can’t escape the memory of Mthethwa and Speaker Baleka Mbete.

What I found interesting was when EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi rose on a point of order and asked if it was acceptable or even democratic for one DA MP to talk about Greek when there was a discussion on Heritage Day or something to that effect. Then IFP MP and leader Prince Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi also rose to remind Ndlozi that the word democracy itself came from Greek.

I wonder if Ndlozi and Buthelezi were aware that there were Greek words of African origin. Most people think that all the languages borrowed words and concepts from Greek and that it can’t be the other way round. This reminds me of an article I wrote for the Sowetan published on March 24, 1997 titled “Origin of word Africa not Greek”.

For example, habeas corpus existed in ancient Egypt long before Greece came into existence, (CA Diop: African Origin of Civilisation: Myth or Reality). When Pythagoras went to Egypt, he carried a letter of introduction from Polycrates of Samos to King Amasis, who in turn gave him letters of introduction to the Priests of Heliopolis, Memphis, and Thebes, (George GM James: Stolen Legacy).

When MP Ndlozi was reminded by Buthelezi that the word democracy originated from Greek he was lost for words instead of having retorted that there were also Greek words of African origin as my article mentioned above clearly demonstrates. Ancient Egyptian heritage is our heritage.

We can’t celebrate our heritage selectively by extolling the virtues of ANC heroes and heroines only. Recounting our past selectively is not history but his-story.

By Sam Ditshego
The writer is a Senior Researcher at the Pan Africanist Research Institute (PARI).

Off the hook on a charge of Murder - Oscar Pistorius

Off the hook on a charge of Murder – Oscar Pistorius
Source: http://a.abcnews.com

There is a Setswana idiom which says Motho o tshwarwa ka mafoko, kgomo e tshwarwa ka dinaka. This means a person reveals or speaks his/her deep or inner secrets through talking (through his mouth) and when one wants to slaughter a cow/bull, one would handle it by its horns – grabbing the bull by its horns so to speak (For non-Setswana speakers, Motho is a person and kgomo is a cow or bull, mafoko are words and dinaka are horns. Go tshwarwa as in the first phrase means to get caught and in the second phrase it means to be grabbed or handled). It is through speaking that a person can reveal whether or not they are honest and truthful. In a court of law this is done through evidence in chief and cross examination.

This writer raises this issue because in her judgment in the State vs Oscar Pistorius, Judge Thokozile Masipa said the mendacity of the accused does not necessary mean he was guilty. The question is: what is the purpose of a cross examination? State Prosecutor Advocate Gerrie Nel repeatedly and correctly said he was testing Pistorius’ and other witnesses’ evidence through cross examination. Cross examination is the best known and oldest technique of obtaining the truth from witnesses and accused persons.

In the State vs Oscar Pistorius, the state was faced with a case in which there were two people who knew what had happened – Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius. The latter killed the former in cold blood “believing there was an intruder or intruders” and he should have been able to tell the court a plausible account of how the events unfolded that fateful day. However, his evidence was incredible but credible nonetheless to Judge Masipa and probably her assessors.

Judge Masipa agreed with Advocate Nel that Pistorius was a poor witness, argumentative, evasive, mendacious and always thinking about the implications of the questions put to him. The Judge didn’t think Pistorius was play-acting but Advocate Nel thought he was and asked Pistorius more than once why he became emotional when he couldn’t answer tough questions or when he realized that he was contradicting himself. A person becomes evasive usually in order to conceal the truth. A witness who claims to have mistakenly taken the life of an innocent person and acted the way Pistorius did in the witness stand should have raised the concern of any presiding judge but Judge Masipa was nonchalant. Judge Masipa’s indifference emboldened Pistorius to be arrogant and petulant. Why, in the interests of justice and fairness, did Judge Masipa not request the cantankerous Pistorius to respect the court? Or did she?

Judge Masipa strangely seems to think that Pistorius was the only distraught person about the death of Reeva Steenkamp but not her parents, family and friends. She based her findings on the impressions of Dr Stipp who she described as an independent witness but whose adverse evidence against Pistorius she didn’t accept. She ruled out the possibility and the fact that Pistorius could have been devastated by the guilt of having caused the death of Reeva. She seems to think that Pistorius couldn’t lie and is deserving of justice more than Reeva and her parents. She believes the mendacious story that Pistorius wanted to protect Reeva and himself. How could he protect a person whose whereabouts he didn’t know? If he knew Reeva’s whereabouts he couldn’t have shot and killed her with a hail of bullets in the toilet cubicle.

Judge Masipa agreed with Advocate Nel that Pistorius had other options such as going out through the patio door thereby avoiding to confront what he perceived to be a danger. Advocate Nel went further and said if Pistorius opted to avoid a confrontational approach, Reeva could be alive today. She conceded that Pistorius acted in haste, recklessly and negligently. She also said that there were issues which would remain in the realm of conjecture such as why Reeva never responded when Pistorius shouted that she should call the police and why Pistorius shot four instead of one bullet. Pistorius was cross examined for days and Judge Masipa had ample opportunity to ask him why he shot four bullets instead of one and why he discharged his firearm even when he couldn’t hear Reeva’s response.

A judge or magistrate is allowed to seek clarification through asking questions. There is a probability that Reeva did scream as some witnesses testified but their testimony was not accepted because of the timeline. There is no person, especially a woman, who can remain tjoep stil in the face of imminent danger and possible death knowing quite well how trigger happy and irascible Pistorius is. Pistorius gave evidence that, “the discharging of my firearm was precipitated by a noise (in the bathroom) believed to be the intruder or intruders coming out of the toilet to attack Reeva and me”. Judge Masipa, at this stage Reeva was still alive and Pistorius was about four to three metres away according to ballistic evidence. Do you believe Reeva didn’t utter a word? Anybody who believes such bunkum can believe anything. It is preposterous that a person, especially a female, facing imminent danger and possible death can remain dead still.

Before he heard the noise in the bathroom, Pistorius had his firearm pointed at the bathroom door and he had walked a few metres from his bedroom. He told the court that he shouted to the supposed intruder or intruders “to get the f*** out of my house” before he discharged his firearm which clearly indicates that he had time to reflect. Discharging of his firearm wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment action as Judge Masipa would have us believe. It is debatable that he didn’t know that Reeva was in the toilet. It is the state’s contention that he knew that Reeva was in the toilet while Judge Masipa thinks he didn’t know. In this matter it’s Pistorius’ word against Reeva’s and as we all know “a dead (wo)man tells no tales”. Judge Masipa should have made sure that Pistorius’ evidence sheds light on the issues she said in her judgment will remain a matter of conjecture by answering the state Advocate’s questions without equivocation and being quarrelsome.

Whether or not Pistorius knew Reeva was in the toilet, the fact remains that he knew there was somebody in the toilet and therefore should have been convicted with Dolus Eventualis as a compendium of legal opinion have suggested. If he didn’t know there was someone in the toilet why would he shout, “get the f*** out of my house”?

Judge Masipa either couldn’t bring herself to convicting Pistorius for reasons best known to her or she interpreted the law erroneously, therefore the state should seek leave to appeal so that this matter can be decided by the Supreme Court of Appeal. An appeal would do justice to the Steenkamp family. Moreover, listening to various radio talk-shows there is a groundswell of support for this case to be adjudicated by a higher court.

By Sam Ditshego
The writer is a Senior Researcher at the Pan Africanist Research Institute (PARI).

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