Archive for the ‘Apartheid’ Category

Eastern Europeans bite back over ‘food apartheid’ – EURACTIV

It looks like Nutella, smells like Nutella and yet doesnt quite taste like the famous Italian chocolate spread. Eastern European leaders are fuming after tests suggested that big Western brands use cheaper ingredients in food products sold in former communist countries.

While Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov has slammed the practice as food apartheid, Czech Agriculture Minister Marian Jureka declared in late February that the east was tired of being Europes garbage can.

Recent government-backed studies in Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic indicated that many items sold with identical packaging were of superior quality in richer neighbouring European Union countries.

The findings prompted Bulgaria last month to carry out its own tests.

A team of chemists in Sofia spent the last few weeks diligently measuring, filtering and analysing samples of popular items like butter, cheese, sausages, chocolate, baby puree and soft drinks.

On 28 June, the national food watchdog confirmed there were discrepancies with at least seven out of 31 products bought from the same food chain stores in Bulgaria, Germany and Austria.

A chocolate dessert had less milk and cocoa than its German counterpart, for instance, although this did not have a major impact on taste, according to the national food safety agency.

Soft drinks purchased in Bulgarian supermarkets contained sweeteners, while those in Austria were prepared with sugar.

Many of these deviations are considered minor from the viewpoint of (European Union) regulations, the agencys chief Damyan Iliev told Bulgarian media on Wednesday.

But Bulgarian consumers are being misled in that they believe they are buying the same product when in fact they are not.

The experts also noted that 16 of the tested products were sold at higher prices in the EUs poorest member state than in Germany and Austria, with baby purees twice as expensive.

Eastern anxiety

The controversy has struck a raw nerve in the region where Western foods used to be a luxury that could only be bought with foreign currency in special shops.

The issue perfectly encapsulates the Eastern European anxiety about becoming second-class citizens in the bloc, Bulgarian political expert Ivan Krastev wrote in the New York Times earlier this month.

It feeds into fears over an emerging two-tiered Europe, in which big nations like Germany push for greater EU integration while ex-eastern bloc members demand more sovereignty, Krastev wrote.

The firms, however, argue that recipes are merely tweaked to suit local palates and point out that the practice doesnt break any rules.

Under EU directives, companies are free to change a products ingredients from one member state to another as long as they are clearly listed on the packaging.

But that has done little to cool boiling tempers.

I dont see how substituting good chocolate for the cheapest local one will adapt better to my taste? fumed Bulgarian mother-of-two Yana Mihailova.

The 46-year-old said she always stuffs her luggage with jars of chocolate spread whenever she travels abroad.

The price is higher but its totally worth it theres definitely much more cocoa in there, she added.

While the Bulgarian tests did not mention any actual brands, Hungarys food authority in February named food giants Ferrero and Coca-Cola among the culprits.

The agency said the version of Nutella sold in Budapest appeared to be less creamy than the Austrian version.

The aroma of Coca-Cola was seemingly less rich, less complex in Hungary while the flavour of Nestles Nesquik cocoa powder was more harmonious and intense in Austria.

The government of populist Prime Minister Viktor Orbn, a fervent critic of Brussels, accused the EU of double standards over the findings.

The battle is a war horse for populist governments wanting to prove that the European Union is incapable of guaranteeing the equal treatment of its citizens, according to analyst Antony Galabov of the New Bulgarian University.

Bulgarian MEP Peter Kouroumbashev (S&D) has compared ideas for a two- or multi- speed EU, advocated by the European Commission, to apartheid, arguing that such projects would ultimately destroy the Union.

Some consumers see the tests as an important step in the easts emancipation.

Its good that Bulgarians finally try to shake off their mentality of second-class people who put up with being fed with lower quality food, Lyudmila Pavlova, 40, told AFP while queueing in the supermarket.

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Eastern Europeans bite back over ‘food apartheid’ – EURACTIV

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July 3, 2017   Posted in: Apartheid  Comments Closed

‘Zuma wants recreation of apartheid state’ – Mail & Guardian

President Jacob Zuma during his opening address of the fifth annual ANC national policy conference. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

In his opening address at the fifth ANC national policy conference on Friday, President Jacob Zuma used the opportunity to voice a different understanding of democracy to that of his political foes. If opposition parties can use the courts as a means to limit the governing party, is this the democracy South Africa fought for, he asked. The Mail & Guardian spoke to top political analysts about what Zumas words mean for the ANC and the country as a whole.

Susan Booysen

The president was not charmed at all with this idea that opposition parties take the governing party to court. Something he totally left out of his equation was the fact that opposition parties do that, and civil society organisations do that when things in government actually go wrong.

When those rules and principles of constitutional democracy, even multiparty democracy, had not been followed, had not been upheld, and taking things to court when the ANC as the majority party in Parliament had not been holding the executive to account.

It was all of these aspects that the president was objecting to, and that is especially interesting in the context that we have heard Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng recently pronounce very clearly the fact that South Africas Constitution states that the people really come before the interests of a party.

He interpreted that in the context of the responsibilities of the members of Parliament, but it certainly has relevance here as well. And here the president, specifically then stated, not in as many words, but there can be no doubt in his intended meaning there, that the ANC is actually the party whose wishes should be respected. That deviates to quite an extent from what the chief justice was arguing.

Sthembile Mbete

The presidents comments, particularly around this issue of opposition parties taking the governing party to court, saying the ANC won the majority and implying really that they can do whatever they want, saying its anti-democratic to use the court, in order to challenge the government … those comments are deeply problematic.

Theyre problematic on several fronts. The problem is that our system, the system the ANC negotiated for, is about mitigating the worst effects of majoritarian democracy and really trying to avoid the tyranny of themajority, which is a problem and possible risk in a democratic system. A democracy allows for a majority to make their voice heard, but what is important is that we need to be aware of the tyranny of the majority which is why we enter into constitutional systems.

The ANC, unlike the National Party during the constitutional negotiations, was very aware of the need to have the protection of individual rights in a Constitution, which is why our Constitution is based on the protection of individual rights, not the protection of group rights. So the ANC was aware not to use their vast support in the country to become like the National Party government it replaced and fought against.

These are philosophies and positions taken by the ANC itself in constructing our system. So what we have, even though you have a strong governing party, is systems that allow the minority to have their voices heard. Those systems are what you have in Parliament. You also have a strong legal system and the rule of law that is there to protect the rights and interests of individuals and citizens of the country, but is also there to challenge some of the ways the governing party is using power. The irony of this all is some of the greatest users of the court system to settle governance and political problems is the ANC government itself.

Mpumelelo Mkhabela

Its unfortunate that the president shows a lack of understanding of the constitutional democratic system. He seems to be advocating for the supremacy of Parliament rather than the supremacy of the Constitution.

In terms of the former, the majority is always right. But according to the current constitutional design that puts the Constitution above everything else, the majority or minority can be wrong. That is the most basic guideline that our courts follow. Government loses cases in court because Zuma refuses to accept the supremacy of rationality in the context of a constitutional democracy.

This is strange because by accepting to become president, he accepted the supremacy of the Constitution in terms of which he got elected. He seems to enjoy the trappings of the office but dislikes the constraints attached to it and the checks and balances that include judicial review.

This being the year of OR Tambo, it is strange that he would rubbish Tambos constitutional design on judicial review the idea that courts can strike down legislation or executive conduct that is inconsistent with the Constitution. By inviting delegates to discuss whether judicial review is desirable, he is inviting them to spit on Tambos grave.

Mcebisi Ndletyana

Zumas comments are consistent with his neopatrimonial character. His private interests take precedence over the public good. Thats why he has fiddled with public institutions to pursue and protect his personal interests. Courts do not volunteer to adjudicate, but are approached by aggrieved parties. And these cases are occasioned by breach of the law and Constitution. As the Economic Freedom Fighterss Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has remarked, Zuma is a constitutional delinquent. Moreover, courts deciding over constitutional questions brought by politicians is a quintessentially democratic act. The Constitution is sovereign, not the executive. It appears that Zuma wishes for a recreation of the apartheid state that was defined by executive sovereignty, where the judiciary was largely subject to executive whims.

To insist on majoritarian hegemony betrays his self-conception as a political activist, not a national leader. A president must attend to the interests of everyone, not just his supporters. Thats how one builds a nation. Zuma is simply a party apparatchik who simply uses the party for self-interest to the point of betraying the nationalist cause by surrendering executive authority to expatriates.

Lukhona Mnguni

President Zuma definitely does understand constitutional democracy, but he rejects its mechanisms, thats whats going on.

What theyre talking about, and the [ANC] secretary general raises this in his organisational diagnostic report as lawfare, is people are using the courts to fight their political battles. What is interesting about that is they dont tell us why it is that the courts are intervening. At some point, they must try to be honest and say why has it become necessary for the courts to tell our government to do the right thing? Clearly, we have a capacity issue, but on political issues, we have to ask the question, why do the courts intervene? Because the political structures have broken down, and theyve broken down because the ANC has failed to separate the party from the state.

If you look at the example of the National Assembly, where the Speaker has to be taken to the courts to do the right thing, whether its on the Public Protector report or the interpretation of rules of the House, insofar as she said she doesnt have the discretion to allow for a secret ballot. That was clearly stated in the rules and any legal officer could have been in a position to interpret for her, that she actually has the powers and discretion to do that.

The element of checks and balances that have to exist between the legislature and the executive are no longer functioning properly which then forces opposition parties, as a place of last resort, to go to the courts. The courts dont go around looking for cases to be brought before them. They wait for people to bring matters to the court.

What the ANC must ask is why is it that the opposition is taking matters to the courts? What the ANC must ask is why is it that they have become so morally bankrupt? In a way, they also talk about creeping political bankruptcy within their own structures. This sense of moral bankruptcy, political bankruptcy, ideological and consciousness bankruptcy that is finding the ANC, is probably spelling an ANC that is ailing, an ANC that is on its knees. And if it doesnt do anything to come back, the opposition wont use the courts to fight battles. It will actually use the electoral process to fight. That is why 2019 is suddenly a big talking point and whether its up for grabs by the opposition or not.

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‘Zuma wants recreation of apartheid state’ – Mail & Guardian

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Speaking up in times of apartheid, in Berlin – Mondoweiss

Civil courage, we maintain, is the answer to the ongoing attempt to narrow down Germanys discursive sphere in which critically thinking individuals fear of being blacklisted and tagged as antisemites, thereby preempting the chance of any meaningful protest against abuse of state power, settler colonialism, and violation of international law. The lack of analytical capability of distinguishing racism against Jews from critique of Israeli policies is persistently being used to fend off any criticism of Israels illegal and immoral practices.

These smearing attempts are all the more futile considering that two of the activists are Israeli citizens and descendants of Jews who survived the holocaust, the death-trains, the death-marches and the concentration camps. While Yesh Atid political party abuses the memory of the holocaust for political gain, the slander against us and false accusations of antisemitism are all the more reprehensible considering the century-long Jewish opposition to Zionism, including the legacy of holocaust survivors who oppose the crimes of Zionism.

We write here in the name of Marek Edelman, a staunch anti-Zionist who was deputy commander of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, a Polish hero (awarded the Order of the White Eagle) and a world-renowned cardiologist. Yet, the State of Israel actively works to erase his existence from Israeli history books and has gone to great lengths to deny his legacy of anti-Nazi and anti-Zionist resistance. When the Polish government held the 50-year commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising it was the Israeli government which demanded that Edelman, the Polish icon who commanded the uprising and was one of its sole survivors, would be dis-invited from the ceremony.

We write here in the name of Hajo Meyer, the survivor of Auschwitz concentration camp, director of A Different Jewish Voice (EAJG) and member of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN). Meyer died in August 2014 on the very day that an open letter signed by 44 holocaust survivors and over 300 descendants of survivors had been published on the NY Times. The letter with Meyer being the first on its list of signatories, accuses Israel of committing no less than genocide in Gaza and calls on the world to endorse the BDS campaign in order to hold Israel accountable for its actions. We also write here in the name of Hannah Arendt, Hedy Epstein, Victor Klemperer, and many others.

While one of the Israeli activists reminded MK Lavie of her complicity in the 2014 Gaza massacre, it was the Palestinian Majed Abusalama, first-hand witness and survivor of at least three Israeli onslaughts on Gaza in 2008, 2009 and 2012, who sat quietly throughout the meeting. During the Q&A session Abusalama raised his grievances concerning the talk as well as the physical violence that some of the organizers engaged in against the demonstrators, after which he was removed from the hall.

Following Yesh Atids false claims, the ensuing media reports audaciously accused the demonstrators of violence and of antisemitism, toeing the Israeli propaganda line of accusing the victim, as follows:

It is unfortunately not at all surprising that violating our bodily autonomy by the use of unauthorized violent means to oppress political dissidence did not receive equal coverage, nor was it addressed by Humboldt University and the Berlin Senate. Moreover, we denounce the shameful position taken by Humboldt University regarding the event. As a public academic institution of higher education that places human values at its core, it is a dark moment when the perpetrators of a crime against humanity are embraced within its premises.

We see value in dialogue even with those who hold diametrically opposed views to ours and therefore would not have interrupted the other speakers at the event. At the same time, backed by the tenets of international law, we maintain that an official representative of a state that systematically violates the law and does so as a matter of policy, a state whose modus operandi is the practice of crimes against humanity, must not be given legitimacy for its illegitimate practices. Certainly, it should not be embraced within the halls of academia that claims to draw its raison detre from our shared human and humanistic values. This also holds true to the legal obligations of any state and the German state in particular.

Given the attempts to silence freedom of expression in Germany concerning these issues, we find this disposition to be dangerous for the future of Germanys civil sphere as a whole. We urge all those of you who hold dear the values of a free civil society to take a stand against state oppression and demand the end of German complicity in the violations of international law also with regard to the Israeli case. We call upon you to voice your position, to stand on the right side of history, and to join us in the struggle for freedom, equality, and justice in Israel-Palestine.

Onwards,

Stavit Sinai, Majed Abusalama, Ronnie Barkan

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Speaking up in times of apartheid, in Berlin – Mondoweiss

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Apartheid oil stash remains untouched as retrieval project stalls – Business Day (registration)

While a company borrowed crude from the Strategic Fuel Funds Saldanha storage facility on the west coast, the rotation of the oil stocks was “irregular” because proper procedures were not followed, the Central Energy Fund said in its 2016 annual report, which outlined details of the deal but did not identify the contractor. It disclosed that the oil was valued at R198.9m on the agreed replenishment date and the contractual deadline to replace it was missed. The person who said the project had not started asked not to be named because the information was not public.

Enviroshore confirmed that it had been contracted to do work by the Strategic Fuel Fund, but denied there was anything amiss.

“Enviroshores contract for the recovery of sludge and the pumping of water from the Ogies storage facility, as well as a subsequent related contract for the recovery of 300,000 barrels of sludge from the Saldanha storage facility, were entered into pursuant to the issuing and awarding of a fully compliant public tender,” Vuyo Mkhize, a public affairs consultant to the company, said in an e-mailed response to questions. “Performance on these contracts is continuing to the satisfaction of both parties.”

Founded in 2006 and based in Durban, Enviroshore trades in petroleum products and offers sludge recovery and storage-tank cleaning services, according to its website. The company declined to respond to questions about how much oil had been retrieved or its loan from the Strategic Fuel Fund.

The Strategic Fuel Fund came under fire in 2016 after it emerged that it had sold 10-million barrels of crude stocks for $280m in 2015, when prices were at an eight-year low. While Tina Joemat-Pettersson, the former energy minister, said the sale was a stock rotation, her successor Mmamoloko Kubayi identified “glaring governance problems” with the deal and said it would be investigated.

“The issue of Enviroshore is a subject of a broader investigation undertaken at SFF,” the Central Energy Fund said in an e-mailed response to questions. “We will not be making announcements on this matter until internal process are finalised.”

Enviroshore was unaware of any investigation, and the need for one “simply does not arise”, Mkhize said. “Enviroshore is awaiting the SFFs official response to its request for an explanation for the statements you are attributing to the Central Energy Fund,” he said.

Bloomberg

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Apartheid oil stash remains untouched as retrieval project stalls – Business Day (registration)

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UN Palestinian Forum Promotes BDS, Claims Israel ‘Worse Than Apartheid South Africa’ – Algemeiner

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Anti-Zionist speakers at a UN Forum marking 50 years of occupation. Photo: Screenshot

A UN forum on the Palestinian issue on Friday provided a platform for anti-Zionist activists to promote the BDS campaign, claim that Israel practices apartheid worse than South Africa,and even in the case of one Israeli Jewish speaker proffer a formal apology for having taken up Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return.

The second day of the two-day forum marking Fifty Years of Occupation was designed to showcase the perspectives of Palestinian NGOs and their international supporters. Hosted by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), the forum was earlier this week strongly condemned by Israeli diplomats at the UN, who stated that some of the speakers were connected to terrorist groups including Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who declared in April that the denial of Israels right to exist is a modern form of antisemitism earlier distanced himself from the meeting. Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for Guterres, told reporters on Thursday that the forum is not something that is being sponsored by the Secretariat. I think any questions as to the invitees and the way the meeting is organized should be directed to the members of the committee.

June 30, 2017 4:47 pm

Fridays speakers did not hold back from recycling the favored themes of anti-Zionist activists, such as the analogy between Israel and the white supremacist regime in South Africa, and the familiar accusation that expressing concern about antisemitism is designed to mute criticism of Israeli policy. Allusions as well as explicit references to the supposedly overwhelming power of pro-Israel groups in the US were frequently made, with the moderator of the final panel Helena Cobban, a veteran pro-Palestinian activist telling the audience that the name of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People needs to be restated again and again. And that needs restating in this city (New York) and this country.

Serviced by the member states-fundedDivision for Palestinian Rights, the committees history goes back to November 1975, when it was created as part of a series of Soviet-inspired UN General Assembly resolutions condemning Israel including the notorious resolution 3379, which declared Zionism to be a form of racism and racial discrimination.

Cobbans panel featured the Palestinian parliamentarian Mustafa Barghouthi, who began by claimingthat Israel had assembleda much worse form of apartheid than what prevailed in South Africa. Emphasizing the legitimacy of all forms of popular resistance, and without explicitly condemning Palestinian violence against Israelis, Barghouthi stated that the final goal was the end of occupation and apartheid.

Whether its two states or one state, that doesnt matter, Barghouti said.

Barghouti then asserted, The Zionist plan has failed. There are more Palestinians than Jewish Israelis. They could not get us out of Palestine. He then accused Israel of waging psychological terror against international supporters of the Palestinian cause.

Jessica Nevo, a representative of Zochrot, an Israeli anti-Zionist NGO, praised Cobban for mentioning the word Naqba Arabic for catastrophe, and the term used by many Palestinians to describe the circumstances through which Israel was created in 1948 in her introductory remarks. Criticizing the forums focus on 50 years of occupation, Nevo described herself as one of the 1948 people a term for those who believe that the solution to the conflict is the return of the descendants of the Arab refugees, and the replacement of Israel with a single Palestinian state.

Nevo then informed the audience that she had arrived in Israel in 1976, when she and her family had fled the military dictatorship in their native Argentina. Arguing that this was achieved at the expense of native Palestinians, she declared, I want to apologize for making use of the Law of Return.

Other speakers includedRebecca Vilkomerson, head of Jewish Voice for Peace a pro-BDS group that receives the bulk of its financing from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Vilkomerson enthusiastically promoted BDS, describing it as a set of tactics that aim to tip the balance of power.

At a previous panel, several speakers reinforced the claim that expressions of concern about antisemitism in the context of the Palestinian conflict with Israel are in reality a device to shut down criticism of Israel. Wesam Ahmed of Al Haq a Palestinian legal NGO with alleged ties to the PFLP asserted, We must not be silenced by those who say criticism of Israeli policy is antisemitic.

Arguing that the term antisemitism was only applicable in the case of animosity towards the Jewish faith, Ahmed called for a distinction to be made between Judaism and the Zionist ideology that led to the creation of Israel.

Hagai El Ad of the Israeli NGO BTselem accused the Israeli government of equating antisemitism with opposing the occupation, going on to assert that the Israeli leaders weresufficiently cynical to undermine the struggle against genuine antisemitism in order to sustain the occupation.

This weeks forum is part of a much larger infrastructure at the United Nations that promotes Palestinian propaganda against Israel. In testimony to Congress on Wednesday, the US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, again highlighted the institutionalized bias at the UN Human Rights Council which devotes a separate permanent agenda item to alleged Israeli violations.

You dont have it on North Korea, you dont have it on Syria, you dont have it on Venezuela, Haley said. It really is nothing more than abusive to have it on Israel.

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UN Palestinian Forum Promotes BDS, Claims Israel ‘Worse Than Apartheid South Africa’ – Algemeiner

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Project to retrieve SA’s apartheid oil stash stalls – Moneyweb.co.za

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Contractor misses deadline to replace 300,000 barrels of crude.

Paul Burkhardt, Bloomberg / 30 June 2017&nbsp01:09

A South African company that borrowed $15.4 million worth of oil sludge from the government to help fund the recovery of crude stored in a mine during apartheid has yet to implement the project more than three years after the contract was signed, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The project emanated from a request for proposals issuedin 2013 by the Strategic Fuel Fund to recover and reprocess sludge, a lower-value product that accumulates when oil is stored. One of the respondents was Enviroshore Trade and Logistics (Pty) Ltd., which said it believed there could be as many as 5 million barrels of crude in theOgies coal mine in the eastern Mpumalanga province. It offered to retrieve it on condition it be loaned 300,000 barrels of oil from the nations strategic reserves. Under the agreement it would keep 70 percent of any fuel recovered.

International sanctions hindered South Africa from buying oil during white-minority rule, which ended in 1994, and the SFF was tasked with ensuring South Africa had sufficient fuel supplies. The entity continued to manage South Africas strategic fuel stocks and storage facilities after apartheid ended. The government aims to have 60 days of reserves, according to the Central Energy Fund, which oversees the SFF.

While a company borrowed crude from the SFFs Saldanha storage facility on the west coast, the rotation of the oil stockswas irregular because proper procedures werent followed, the CEF said in its2016 annual report, which outlined details of the deal but didnt identify the contractor. It disclosed that the oil was valued at R198.9 million ($15.4 million) on the agreed replenishment dateand the contractual deadline to replace it was missed. The person who said the project hasnt started asked not to be named because the information isnt public.

Picture source: Bloomberg

Enviroshore confirmed that it had been contracted to do work by the SFF, but denied there was anything amiss.

Enviroshores contract for the recovery of sludge and the pumping of water from the Ogies storage facility, as well as a subsequent related contract for the recovery of 300,000 barrels of sludge from the Saldanha storage facility, were entered into pursuant to the issuing and awarding of a fully-compliant public tender, Vuyo Mkhize, a public affairs consultant to the company, said in an emailed response to questions. Performance on these contracts is continuing to the satisfaction of both parties.

Founded in 2006 and based in the eastern port city of Durban, Enviroshore trades in petroleum products and offers sludge recovery and storage-tank cleaning services, according to its website.The company declined to respond to questions about how much oil had been retrieved or its loan from the SFF.

The SFF came under fire last year after it emerged that it had sold 10 million barrels of crude stocks for $280 million in 2015, when prices were at an eight-year low.While Tina Joemat-Pettersson, the former energy minister, said the sale was a stock rotation, her successor Mmamoloko Kubayi identified glaring governance problems with the deal and said it will be probed.

The issue of Enviroshore is a subject of a broader investigation undertaken at SFF, the CEF said in an emailed response to questions. We will not be making announcements on this matter until internal process are finalized.

Enviroshore is unaware of any probe, and the need for one simply does not arise, Mkhize said. Enviroshore is awaiting the SFFs official response to its request for an explanation for the statements you are attributing to the Central Energy Fund, he said.

2017 Bloomberg

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Here Come the Habibs creators on Australian comedy’s ‘apartheid’ system – The Sydney Morning Herald

Rob Shehadie and Tahir Bilgic should be laughing. They have thriving careers on the stand-up comedy circuit, make a very healthy living doing corporate gigs and MC-ing work, and are co-creators of a hit television show, Here Come the Habibs, in which they also have on-screen roles.

But something grates. Specifically, it’s the way their comedy is still thought of as a sub-category, “ethnic comedy”, rather than part of the mainstream.

“We go around the country performing, we know what Australians are laughing at,” says Shehadie, who plays Jahesh, best mate of serial “wogpreneur” Toufic Habib (Sam Alhaje) in Nine’s sitcom.

“That’s what we tell the networks,” says Bilgic, who appears as the taxi-driving Mustafa. “Every capital city, a lot of country towns, doing shows, talking to the punters we know.”

When they play in the bush, they change their material to suit the crowd. Weddings, they tweak it. Twenty-firsts well, those they don’t do any more because every idiot with a belly full of beer thinks he’s funnier than the talent, and frankly who needs the grief?

But not much fazes them.

“We’ve done the mines,” says Shehadie. “A 7am show for the night-shift guys.”

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“They aren’t after knock-knock jokes, I can tell you,” notes Bilgic.

“It was 48 degrees that day,” Shehadie remembers. “We were outdoors, flies everywhere. They enjoyed it, but it was a challenge.”

We’re lunching at Abla’s, that stalwart of Lebanese dining in Melbourne. Shehadie has suggested the place because his mother and Abla Amad are friends. “She’s like an aunty,” he says.

The food is what you’d expect, only better. A starter round of dips and pita is so good that I’m almost full long before the real food arrives. When it does I have no choice but to make room for the moist grilled chicken skewers and garlic dip (white gold, Shehadie calls it) and the “pie” of rice and chicken topped with almond slivers. When it’s over, I have trouble convincing the waitress to take my money; when the bill finally comes, it’s for $137, which is soon crossed out. “Make it $100,” she says.

Bilgic, a former teacher, tells me he has studied comedy extensively, and has even written a course that he intends to offer online. “Performing live is my passion,” he says. But TV takes you to a bigger, broader audience.

It’s the same with those comedy festival galas, where they get to do a short sampler set for a crowd that doesn’t necessarily know their work. “That different audience, an ABC-style crowd, they love it,” says Bilgic. “It’s so exotic, maybe a bit controversial. But they still won’t come to our shows. We kill it for five minutes, they say ‘brilliant, brilliant’. And then they go and see Danny Bhoy.”

Do you think maybe there’s some kind of unofficial apartheid system in Australian comedy?

“Sure, sure,” he says. “We get painted into a corner, ‘these guys are just doing ethnic comedy’. We think we’re doing Australian comedy. We’re doing exactly what other comedians are doing they’re talking about their lives, their experiences, their perspectives on the world. We’re doing the same thing, but through our own eyes, our own experiences. But we get, ‘Oh, they’re just doing wog comedy’ and we never get the awards, we never get the recognition.”

Take the Logies. As the first home-grown sitcom on a commercial network for 15 years, and with a host of photogenic new talent in its cast, Here Come the Habibs might have been expected to figure somewhere among the 2016 contenders. The show was popular, too, its first season averaging 1.8 million viewers an episode (including regional, consolidated and online views). And despite the knee-jerk reaction to its first promo (“trying to take casual racism to a new low” etc) it even got some decent reviews.

“I was confident we were going to get at least nominated,” says Shehadie. But when the nominees were announced, Habibs was not among them.

Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell won most outstanding comedy (an industry-voted award), beating out two more ABC comedies (Please Like Me and Utopia) as well as Stan’s No Activity and the Comedy Channel’s sketch show Open Slather.

It felt, and still feels, like a snub, but success is the best revenge. “We’re happy we’re getting the crowds coming to our live shows, people watching the Habibs,” Shehadie says. “We know we’re doing something right.”

“We’re going to keep pushing,” adds Bilgic, “trying to change the landscape”.

Bilgic, 47, is Turkish-Australian and a Muslim. Shehadie, 40, is Lebanese-Australian and a Christian. They met 18 years ago, on the set of Paul Fenech’s SBS comedy Pizza, a show that also gave the world Rebel Wilson, as well as some dubious humour and memorable catchphrases (“fully sick” perhaps being the most durable).

Shehadie was a state-level rugby player when a mate who was working on the show convinced him to try out. He turned up and was immediately thrown in front of a camera for a scene with Bilgic.

“They said, ‘The camera’s rolling, go for it’,” he recalls. “We were ad-libbing and it just gelled.”

“I had another partner for one episode, a Greek guy,” Bilgic chips in. “I don’t know what happened to him. He disappeared, and then he [Shehadie] turned up.”

“He’s like the fifth Beatle, that guy,” Shehadie says. “‘That Rob Shehadie that was my role’.”

Both see comedy as a means of uniting people. “To see Muslims and Christians all laughing together, that’s what comedy does, that’s what we need,” says Shehadie.

But that doesn’t mean skating over differences. One of the defining traits of the comedy they and their cohort perform is that the quirks and peculiarities of ethnic identities are front and centre think of Joe Avati and George Kapiniaris, with whom they appeared in Straight Outta Compo at this year’s Melbourne and Sydney comedy festivals, or Wogs Out of Work creators Simon Palomares and Nick Giannopoulos, whom they acknowledge as pioneers.

That willingness to mine the migrant experience and especially the second-generation experience has long been their strength with the fans. But for those on the outside which, ironically, tends to be the white middle-class that might otherwise constitute the “mainstream” it gives rise to accusations of racism and stereotyping.

Bilgic illustrates the way “white” Australia responds by reference to a show he performed last year called Bogans, Wogs, Asians and Other Aussie Citizens. He toured it around the country, but when it came to playing at Crown in Melbourne, venue management demanded he change the name because it was too offensive. “They were worried about racism,” he says, incredulous. “I should have just pulled out.”

They maynot put it quite this way themselves, but it doesn’t seem too great a stretch to argue that their humour is all about accepting and celebrating the differences that somehow coalesce into the idea of a melting-pot multicultural Australia.

“Assimilate, it’s great here,” Bilgic urges. “You don’t have to lose the old ways altogether, but one of my bugbears is people caring more about something happening thousands of miles away than what is happening here where they’re living.”

Or as someone put it in a recent episode of the second season of Here Come the Habibs, the funny thing about minorities is that when you put them all together they kind of make a majority.

Although Shehadie and Bilgic get credit for the idea of the show, Habibs owes much to the creative input of Phil Lloyd and Ben Davies, of the production company Jungle (The Moodys, No Activity). They gave dramatic shape to what Bilgic and Shehadie had imagined being a more gag-oriented offering.

So, how much does it feel like it’s your show up there?

“Good question,” says Bilgic. “We still want to do a straight comedy, but we’ve learnt a lot about drama. Let’s say 50-50.”

“It’s a stepping stone,” says Shehadie. “We’re finding people are taking us seriously now.”

“If we get a few more goes, we can put more of our flavour in,” says Bilgic. “We’ve got some other stuff in the pipeline.”

Among them, he says, is a tonight show he wants to do, but he fears he’ll be met with a familiar refrain. ” ‘What do you mean you want to host it? We want one of the Daddos to host it.’ Why do we have to keep following the same formula? Why can’t you take a punt?”

Almost 30 years after Acropolis Now, commissioning Here Come the Habibs was seen by many as an act of bravery (and by its detractors, conversely and perversely, as a huge step backwards). For Bilgic, that’s indicative of the lack of nerve in Televisionland.

“We’ve broken ground, again,” he says. “We’ve opened the door. But for me the question is why isn’t there more?”

Here Come the Habibs is on Nine on Mondays at 8pm.

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Here Come the Habibs creators on Australian comedy’s ‘apartheid’ system – The Sydney Morning Herald

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Apartheid police to be subpoenaed to Timol inquest – News24

Johannesburg – Judge Billy Mothle has ordered that all the surviving policemen who were involved in the arrest and detention of the struggle veteran Salim Essop and anti-apartheid activist, Ahmed Timol, be subpoenaed to testify in court.

Mothle on Thursday said the National Prosecuting Authority must issue subpoenas urgently to the policemen so that they can assist with information as to what really led to Timol’s death.

Mothle wants the police officers to appear in the next sitting of the inquest, expected to take place between July 24 and August 4.

“I will authorise the issue of subpoenas to all the police who were involved in the arrest and interrogation and detention of Mr Essop and Mr Timol. If they are still alive, I am authorising, through the NPA, to issue subpoenas.”

The court heard on Monday that of about 23 security police that were allegedly involved in the matter, only three were still alive. Mothle on Thursday said the police commissioner should assist the court.

READ: ‘They will answer to God’ – Ahmed Timol’s brother

In detention

Timol’s death was ruled a suicide in 1972. However, a private investigation launched by Timol’s family into his death uncovered new evidence which it presented to the NPA, asking for the inquest to be reopened.

On the fourth day of the first sitting of the inquest at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, the court called Professor Kantilal Naik who said he knew Timol from Roodepoort, where they both grew up.

Naik taught at the Roodepoort Indian High School with Timol.

He was arrested on Saturday, October 23, 1971, because of his association with Timol.

The police went to his house and told him that because he was Timol’s friend, he must have been involved in political activity.

Speaking about his time in detention, he said: “The security police were really terrible, they said: ‘Jou bliksem se coolie, ons sal jou wys [You bloody coolie, we will show you]. You are lying.'”

This is what the police said to him after he wrote a statement, with which they were not happy.

“I told them that I am a follower of Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy and I was not violent. They were not happy.”

READ: Ahmed Timol inquest to inspect scene of his death

Torture

The police were dissatisfied with his statement and then they allegedly began to torture him.

“Using a helicopter method, I was swung like a see-saw on a broomstick. They did this until my hands were immobilised. I could not do basic things.”

Naik could not clean and wash himself, the court heard.

He said one police officer who went by the surname, Van Tonder, apologised to him saying: “Ek is baaie jammer dat hulle het dit gedoen het. [I’m very sorry that they did that.” Subsequent to the torture, he had to undergo physiotherapy treatment for months. He said the torture ended after he was visited by a magistrate, whose name he could not remember.

Timol’s younger brother, Mohammad, who was in police detention and not allowed to attend his brother’s funeral, is expected to testify on Thursday afternoon.

The first sitting of the inquest is expected to end on Friday, June 30, and then resume between July 24 and August 4, and August 10 and 11.

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

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Apartheid police to be subpoenaed to Timol inquest – News24

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‘State-sponsored housing reinforces apartheid spatial pattern’ – Eyewitness News

State-sponsored housing reinforces apartheid spatial pattern

Professor Ivan Turok says state-sponsored housing projects reinforce the old apartheid pattern where poor & working class people live far from city centres where most jobs are.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma officially opening the N2 Gateway Integrated Human Settlements Development at the Joe Slovo housing project in Cape Town. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG – Government policies are entrenching unequal access to land in and around cities rather than easing the problem, a panel chaired by former President Kgalema Motlanthe has been told.

The high-level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and Acceleration of Fundamental Change is holding a round-table discussion on spatial inequality in Parliament, focusing on peoples access to urban land.

The panel was set up by National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete last year to look at whether laws passed since 1994 are helping or hindering efforts to address poverty, unemployment, job creation, land reform and nation building.

Professor Ivan Turok of the Human Sciences Research Council says state-sponsored housing projects planned for the next two decades will reinforce rather than change the old apartheid pattern where poor and working class people live far from city centres where most jobs can be found.

We need to stop this. We need jobs in these places, not more housing. Shipping people out. Politics is driving this. Governments desperation to do something for the people, we build them houses, but were not thinking about where people are going to work.

Turok is cautioning against a rigid, one-size fits all approach. He says land redistribution on its own is not a solution, and that a much more integrated approach, that includes planning for transport, health, education and other services is the way forward.

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)

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‘State-sponsored housing reinforces apartheid spatial pattern’ – Eyewitness News

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Eastern Europeans bite back over ‘food apartheid’ – EURACTIV

It looks like Nutella, smells like Nutella and yet doesnt quite taste like the famous Italian chocolate spread. Eastern European leaders are fuming after tests suggested that big Western brands use cheaper ingredients in food products sold in former communist countries. While Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov has slammed the practice as food apartheid, Czech Agriculture Minister Marian Jureka declared in late February that the east was tired of being Europes garbage can. Recent government-backed studies in Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic indicated that many items sold with identical packaging were of superior quality in richer neighbouring European Union countries. The findings prompted Bulgaria last month to carry out its own tests. A team of chemists in Sofia spent the last few weeks diligently measuring, filtering and analysing samples of popular items like butter, cheese, sausages, chocolate, baby puree and soft drinks. On 28 June, the national food watchdog confirmed there were discrepancies with at least seven out of 31 products bought from the same food chain stores in Bulgaria, Germany and Austria. A chocolate dessert had less milk and cocoa than its German counterpart, for instance, although this did not have a major impact on taste, according to the national food safety agency. Soft drinks purchased in Bulgarian supermarkets contained sweeteners, while those in Austria were prepared with sugar. Many of these deviations are considered minor from the viewpoint of (European Union) regulations, the agencys chief Damyan Iliev told Bulgarian media on Wednesday. But Bulgarian consumers are being misled in that they believe they are buying the same product when in fact they are not. The experts also noted that 16 of the tested products were sold at higher prices in the EUs poorest member state than in Germany and Austria, with baby purees twice as expensive. Eastern anxiety The controversy has struck a raw nerve in the region where Western foods used to be a luxury that could only be bought with foreign currency in special shops. The issue perfectly encapsulates the Eastern European anxiety about becoming second-class citizens in the bloc, Bulgarian political expert Ivan Krastev wrote in the New York Times earlier this month. It feeds into fears over an emerging two-tiered Europe, in which big nations like Germany push for greater EU integration while ex-eastern bloc members demand more sovereignty, Krastev wrote. The firms, however, argue that recipes are merely tweaked to suit local palates and point out that the practice doesnt break any rules. Under EU directives, companies are free to change a products ingredients from one member state to another as long as they are clearly listed on the packaging. But that has done little to cool boiling tempers. I dont see how substituting good chocolate for the cheapest local one will adapt better to my taste? fumed Bulgarian mother-of-two Yana Mihailova. The 46-year-old said she always stuffs her luggage with jars of chocolate spread whenever she travels abroad. The price is higher but its totally worth it theres definitely much more cocoa in there, she added. While the Bulgarian tests did not mention any actual brands, Hungarys food authority in February named food giants Ferrero and Coca-Cola among the culprits. The agency said the version of Nutella sold in Budapest appeared to be less creamy than the Austrian version. The aroma of Coca-Cola was seemingly less rich, less complex in Hungary while the flavour of Nestles Nesquik cocoa powder was more harmonious and intense in Austria. The government of populist Prime Minister Viktor Orbn, a fervent critic of Brussels, accused the EU of double standards over the findings. The battle is a war horse for populist governments wanting to prove that the European Union is incapable of guaranteeing the equal treatment of its citizens, according to analyst Antony Galabov of the New Bulgarian University. Bulgarian MEP Peter Kouroumbashev (S&D) has compared ideas for a two- or multi- speed EU, advocated by the European Commission, to apartheid, arguing that such projects would ultimately destroy the Union. Some consumers see the tests as an important step in the easts emancipation. Its good that Bulgarians finally try to shake off their mentality of second-class people who put up with being fed with lower quality food, Lyudmila Pavlova, 40, told AFP while queueing in the supermarket.

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‘Zuma wants recreation of apartheid state’ – Mail & Guardian

President Jacob Zuma during his opening address of the fifth annual ANC national policy conference. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G) In his opening address at the fifth ANC national policy conference on Friday, President Jacob Zuma used the opportunity to voice a different understanding of democracy to that of his political foes. If opposition parties can use the courts as a means to limit the governing party, is this the democracy South Africa fought for, he asked. The Mail & Guardian spoke to top political analysts about what Zumas words mean for the ANC and the country as a whole. Susan Booysen The president was not charmed at all with this idea that opposition parties take the governing party to court. Something he totally left out of his equation was the fact that opposition parties do that, and civil society organisations do that when things in government actually go wrong. When those rules and principles of constitutional democracy, even multiparty democracy, had not been followed, had not been upheld, and taking things to court when the ANC as the majority party in Parliament had not been holding the executive to account. It was all of these aspects that the president was objecting to, and that is especially interesting in the context that we have heard Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng recently pronounce very clearly the fact that South Africas Constitution states that the people really come before the interests of a party. He interpreted that in the context of the responsibilities of the members of Parliament, but it certainly has relevance here as well. And here the president, specifically then stated, not in as many words, but there can be no doubt in his intended meaning there, that the ANC is actually the party whose wishes should be respected. That deviates to quite an extent from what the chief justice was arguing. Sthembile Mbete The presidents comments, particularly around this issue of opposition parties taking the governing party to court, saying the ANC won the majority and implying really that they can do whatever they want, saying its anti-democratic to use the court, in order to challenge the government … those comments are deeply problematic. Theyre problematic on several fronts. The problem is that our system, the system the ANC negotiated for, is about mitigating the worst effects of majoritarian democracy and really trying to avoid the tyranny of themajority, which is a problem and possible risk in a democratic system. A democracy allows for a majority to make their voice heard, but what is important is that we need to be aware of the tyranny of the majority which is why we enter into constitutional systems. The ANC, unlike the National Party during the constitutional negotiations, was very aware of the need to have the protection of individual rights in a Constitution, which is why our Constitution is based on the protection of individual rights, not the protection of group rights. So the ANC was aware not to use their vast support in the country to become like the National Party government it replaced and fought against. These are philosophies and positions taken by the ANC itself in constructing our system. So what we have, even though you have a strong governing party, is systems that allow the minority to have their voices heard. Those systems are what you have in Parliament. You also have a strong legal system and the rule of law that is there to protect the rights and interests of individuals and citizens of the country, but is also there to challenge some of the ways the governing party is using power. The irony of this all is some of the greatest users of the court system to settle governance and political problems is the ANC government itself. Mpumelelo Mkhabela Its unfortunate that the president shows a lack of understanding of the constitutional democratic system. He seems to be advocating for the supremacy of Parliament rather than the supremacy of the Constitution. In terms of the former, the majority is always right. But according to the current constitutional design that puts the Constitution above everything else, the majority or minority can be wrong. That is the most basic guideline that our courts follow. Government loses cases in court because Zuma refuses to accept the supremacy of rationality in the context of a constitutional democracy. This is strange because by accepting to become president, he accepted the supremacy of the Constitution in terms of which he got elected. He seems to enjoy the trappings of the office but dislikes the constraints attached to it and the checks and balances that include judicial review. This being the year of OR Tambo, it is strange that he would rubbish Tambos constitutional design on judicial review the idea that courts can strike down legislation or executive conduct that is inconsistent with the Constitution. By inviting delegates to discuss whether judicial review is desirable, he is inviting them to spit on Tambos grave. Mcebisi Ndletyana Zumas comments are consistent with his neopatrimonial character. His private interests take precedence over the public good. Thats why he has fiddled with public institutions to pursue and protect his personal interests. Courts do not volunteer to adjudicate, but are approached by aggrieved parties. And these cases are occasioned by breach of the law and Constitution. As the Economic Freedom Fighterss Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has remarked, Zuma is a constitutional delinquent. Moreover, courts deciding over constitutional questions brought by politicians is a quintessentially democratic act. The Constitution is sovereign, not the executive. It appears that Zuma wishes for a recreation of the apartheid state that was defined by executive sovereignty, where the judiciary was largely subject to executive whims. To insist on majoritarian hegemony betrays his self-conception as a political activist, not a national leader. A president must attend to the interests of everyone, not just his supporters. Thats how one builds a nation. Zuma is simply a party apparatchik who simply uses the party for self-interest to the point of betraying the nationalist cause by surrendering executive authority to expatriates. Lukhona Mnguni President Zuma definitely does understand constitutional democracy, but he rejects its mechanisms, thats whats going on. What theyre talking about, and the [ANC] secretary general raises this in his organisational diagnostic report as lawfare, is people are using the courts to fight their political battles. What is interesting about that is they dont tell us why it is that the courts are intervening. At some point, they must try to be honest and say why has it become necessary for the courts to tell our government to do the right thing? Clearly, we have a capacity issue, but on political issues, we have to ask the question, why do the courts intervene? Because the political structures have broken down, and theyve broken down because the ANC has failed to separate the party from the state. If you look at the example of the National Assembly, where the Speaker has to be taken to the courts to do the right thing, whether its on the Public Protector report or the interpretation of rules of the House, insofar as she said she doesnt have the discretion to allow for a secret ballot. That was clearly stated in the rules and any legal officer could have been in a position to interpret for her, that she actually has the powers and discretion to do that. The element of checks and balances that have to exist between the legislature and the executive are no longer functioning properly which then forces opposition parties, as a place of last resort, to go to the courts. The courts dont go around looking for cases to be brought before them. They wait for people to bring matters to the court. What the ANC must ask is why is it that the opposition is taking matters to the courts? What the ANC must ask is why is it that they have become so morally bankrupt? In a way, they also talk about creeping political bankruptcy within their own structures. This sense of moral bankruptcy, political bankruptcy, ideological and consciousness bankruptcy that is finding the ANC, is probably spelling an ANC that is ailing, an ANC that is on its knees. And if it doesnt do anything to come back, the opposition wont use the courts to fight battles. It will actually use the electoral process to fight. That is why 2019 is suddenly a big talking point and whether its up for grabs by the opposition or not.

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Speaking up in times of apartheid, in Berlin – Mondoweiss

Civil courage, we maintain, is the answer to the ongoing attempt to narrow down Germanys discursive sphere in which critically thinking individuals fear of being blacklisted and tagged as antisemites, thereby preempting the chance of any meaningful protest against abuse of state power, settler colonialism, and violation of international law. The lack of analytical capability of distinguishing racism against Jews from critique of Israeli policies is persistently being used to fend off any criticism of Israels illegal and immoral practices. These smearing attempts are all the more futile considering that two of the activists are Israeli citizens and descendants of Jews who survived the holocaust, the death-trains, the death-marches and the concentration camps. While Yesh Atid political party abuses the memory of the holocaust for political gain, the slander against us and false accusations of antisemitism are all the more reprehensible considering the century-long Jewish opposition to Zionism, including the legacy of holocaust survivors who oppose the crimes of Zionism. We write here in the name of Marek Edelman, a staunch anti-Zionist who was deputy commander of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, a Polish hero (awarded the Order of the White Eagle) and a world-renowned cardiologist. Yet, the State of Israel actively works to erase his existence from Israeli history books and has gone to great lengths to deny his legacy of anti-Nazi and anti-Zionist resistance. When the Polish government held the 50-year commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising it was the Israeli government which demanded that Edelman, the Polish icon who commanded the uprising and was one of its sole survivors, would be dis-invited from the ceremony. We write here in the name of Hajo Meyer, the survivor of Auschwitz concentration camp, director of A Different Jewish Voice (EAJG) and member of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN). Meyer died in August 2014 on the very day that an open letter signed by 44 holocaust survivors and over 300 descendants of survivors had been published on the NY Times. The letter with Meyer being the first on its list of signatories, accuses Israel of committing no less than genocide in Gaza and calls on the world to endorse the BDS campaign in order to hold Israel accountable for its actions. We also write here in the name of Hannah Arendt, Hedy Epstein, Victor Klemperer, and many others. While one of the Israeli activists reminded MK Lavie of her complicity in the 2014 Gaza massacre, it was the Palestinian Majed Abusalama, first-hand witness and survivor of at least three Israeli onslaughts on Gaza in 2008, 2009 and 2012, who sat quietly throughout the meeting. During the Q&A session Abusalama raised his grievances concerning the talk as well as the physical violence that some of the organizers engaged in against the demonstrators, after which he was removed from the hall. Following Yesh Atids false claims, the ensuing media reports audaciously accused the demonstrators of violence and of antisemitism, toeing the Israeli propaganda line of accusing the victim, as follows: It is unfortunately not at all surprising that violating our bodily autonomy by the use of unauthorized violent means to oppress political dissidence did not receive equal coverage, nor was it addressed by Humboldt University and the Berlin Senate. Moreover, we denounce the shameful position taken by Humboldt University regarding the event. As a public academic institution of higher education that places human values at its core, it is a dark moment when the perpetrators of a crime against humanity are embraced within its premises. We see value in dialogue even with those who hold diametrically opposed views to ours and therefore would not have interrupted the other speakers at the event. At the same time, backed by the tenets of international law, we maintain that an official representative of a state that systematically violates the law and does so as a matter of policy, a state whose modus operandi is the practice of crimes against humanity, must not be given legitimacy for its illegitimate practices. Certainly, it should not be embraced within the halls of academia that claims to draw its raison detre from our shared human and humanistic values. This also holds true to the legal obligations of any state and the German state in particular. Given the attempts to silence freedom of expression in Germany concerning these issues, we find this disposition to be dangerous for the future of Germanys civil sphere as a whole. We urge all those of you who hold dear the values of a free civil society to take a stand against state oppression and demand the end of German complicity in the violations of international law also with regard to the Israeli case. We call upon you to voice your position, to stand on the right side of history, and to join us in the struggle for freedom, equality, and justice in Israel-Palestine. Onwards, Stavit Sinai, Majed Abusalama, Ronnie Barkan

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Apartheid oil stash remains untouched as retrieval project stalls – Business Day (registration)

While a company borrowed crude from the Strategic Fuel Funds Saldanha storage facility on the west coast, the rotation of the oil stocks was “irregular” because proper procedures were not followed, the Central Energy Fund said in its 2016 annual report, which outlined details of the deal but did not identify the contractor. It disclosed that the oil was valued at R198.9m on the agreed replenishment date and the contractual deadline to replace it was missed. The person who said the project had not started asked not to be named because the information was not public. Enviroshore confirmed that it had been contracted to do work by the Strategic Fuel Fund, but denied there was anything amiss. “Enviroshores contract for the recovery of sludge and the pumping of water from the Ogies storage facility, as well as a subsequent related contract for the recovery of 300,000 barrels of sludge from the Saldanha storage facility, were entered into pursuant to the issuing and awarding of a fully compliant public tender,” Vuyo Mkhize, a public affairs consultant to the company, said in an e-mailed response to questions. “Performance on these contracts is continuing to the satisfaction of both parties.” Founded in 2006 and based in Durban, Enviroshore trades in petroleum products and offers sludge recovery and storage-tank cleaning services, according to its website. The company declined to respond to questions about how much oil had been retrieved or its loan from the Strategic Fuel Fund. The Strategic Fuel Fund came under fire in 2016 after it emerged that it had sold 10-million barrels of crude stocks for $280m in 2015, when prices were at an eight-year low. While Tina Joemat-Pettersson, the former energy minister, said the sale was a stock rotation, her successor Mmamoloko Kubayi identified “glaring governance problems” with the deal and said it would be investigated. “The issue of Enviroshore is a subject of a broader investigation undertaken at SFF,” the Central Energy Fund said in an e-mailed response to questions. “We will not be making announcements on this matter until internal process are finalised.” Enviroshore was unaware of any investigation, and the need for one “simply does not arise”, Mkhize said. “Enviroshore is awaiting the SFFs official response to its request for an explanation for the statements you are attributing to the Central Energy Fund,” he said. Bloomberg

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UN Palestinian Forum Promotes BDS, Claims Israel ‘Worse Than Apartheid South Africa’ – Algemeiner

Email a copy of “UN Palestinian Forum Promotes BDS, Claims Israel Worse Than Apartheid South Africa” to a friend Anti-Zionist speakers at a UN Forum marking 50 years of occupation. Photo: Screenshot A UN forum on the Palestinian issue on Friday provided a platform for anti-Zionist activists to promote the BDS campaign, claim that Israel practices apartheid worse than South Africa,and even in the case of one Israeli Jewish speaker proffer a formal apology for having taken up Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return. The second day of the two-day forum marking Fifty Years of Occupation was designed to showcase the perspectives of Palestinian NGOs and their international supporters. Hosted by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), the forum was earlier this week strongly condemned by Israeli diplomats at the UN, who stated that some of the speakers were connected to terrorist groups including Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who declared in April that the denial of Israels right to exist is a modern form of antisemitism earlier distanced himself from the meeting. Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for Guterres, told reporters on Thursday that the forum is not something that is being sponsored by the Secretariat. I think any questions as to the invitees and the way the meeting is organized should be directed to the members of the committee. June 30, 2017 4:47 pm Fridays speakers did not hold back from recycling the favored themes of anti-Zionist activists, such as the analogy between Israel and the white supremacist regime in South Africa, and the familiar accusation that expressing concern about antisemitism is designed to mute criticism of Israeli policy. Allusions as well as explicit references to the supposedly overwhelming power of pro-Israel groups in the US were frequently made, with the moderator of the final panel Helena Cobban, a veteran pro-Palestinian activist telling the audience that the name of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People needs to be restated again and again. And that needs restating in this city (New York) and this country. Serviced by the member states-fundedDivision for Palestinian Rights, the committees history goes back to November 1975, when it was created as part of a series of Soviet-inspired UN General Assembly resolutions condemning Israel including the notorious resolution 3379, which declared Zionism to be a form of racism and racial discrimination. Cobbans panel featured the Palestinian parliamentarian Mustafa Barghouthi, who began by claimingthat Israel had assembleda much worse form of apartheid than what prevailed in South Africa. Emphasizing the legitimacy of all forms of popular resistance, and without explicitly condemning Palestinian violence against Israelis, Barghouthi stated that the final goal was the end of occupation and apartheid. Whether its two states or one state, that doesnt matter, Barghouti said. Barghouti then asserted, The Zionist plan has failed. There are more Palestinians than Jewish Israelis. They could not get us out of Palestine. He then accused Israel of waging psychological terror against international supporters of the Palestinian cause. Jessica Nevo, a representative of Zochrot, an Israeli anti-Zionist NGO, praised Cobban for mentioning the word Naqba Arabic for catastrophe, and the term used by many Palestinians to describe the circumstances through which Israel was created in 1948 in her introductory remarks. Criticizing the forums focus on 50 years of occupation, Nevo described herself as one of the 1948 people a term for those who believe that the solution to the conflict is the return of the descendants of the Arab refugees, and the replacement of Israel with a single Palestinian state. Nevo then informed the audience that she had arrived in Israel in 1976, when she and her family had fled the military dictatorship in their native Argentina. Arguing that this was achieved at the expense of native Palestinians, she declared, I want to apologize for making use of the Law of Return. Other speakers includedRebecca Vilkomerson, head of Jewish Voice for Peace a pro-BDS group that receives the bulk of its financing from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Vilkomerson enthusiastically promoted BDS, describing it as a set of tactics that aim to tip the balance of power. At a previous panel, several speakers reinforced the claim that expressions of concern about antisemitism in the context of the Palestinian conflict with Israel are in reality a device to shut down criticism of Israel. Wesam Ahmed of Al Haq a Palestinian legal NGO with alleged ties to the PFLP asserted, We must not be silenced by those who say criticism of Israeli policy is antisemitic. Arguing that the term antisemitism was only applicable in the case of animosity towards the Jewish faith, Ahmed called for a distinction to be made between Judaism and the Zionist ideology that led to the creation of Israel. Hagai El Ad of the Israeli NGO BTselem accused the Israeli government of equating antisemitism with opposing the occupation, going on to assert that the Israeli leaders weresufficiently cynical to undermine the struggle against genuine antisemitism in order to sustain the occupation. This weeks forum is part of a much larger infrastructure at the United Nations that promotes Palestinian propaganda against Israel. In testimony to Congress on Wednesday, the US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, again highlighted the institutionalized bias at the UN Human Rights Council which devotes a separate permanent agenda item to alleged Israeli violations. You dont have it on North Korea, you dont have it on Syria, you dont have it on Venezuela, Haley said. It really is nothing more than abusive to have it on Israel.

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July 1, 2017   Posted in: Apartheid  Comments Closed

Project to retrieve SA’s apartheid oil stash stalls – Moneyweb.co.za

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google Plus Email WhatsApp Contractor misses deadline to replace 300,000 barrels of crude. Paul Burkhardt, Bloomberg / 30 June 2017&nbsp01:09 A South African company that borrowed $15.4 million worth of oil sludge from the government to help fund the recovery of crude stored in a mine during apartheid has yet to implement the project more than three years after the contract was signed, according to a person familiar with the situation. The project emanated from a request for proposals issuedin 2013 by the Strategic Fuel Fund to recover and reprocess sludge, a lower-value product that accumulates when oil is stored. One of the respondents was Enviroshore Trade and Logistics (Pty) Ltd., which said it believed there could be as many as 5 million barrels of crude in theOgies coal mine in the eastern Mpumalanga province. It offered to retrieve it on condition it be loaned 300,000 barrels of oil from the nations strategic reserves. Under the agreement it would keep 70 percent of any fuel recovered. International sanctions hindered South Africa from buying oil during white-minority rule, which ended in 1994, and the SFF was tasked with ensuring South Africa had sufficient fuel supplies. The entity continued to manage South Africas strategic fuel stocks and storage facilities after apartheid ended. The government aims to have 60 days of reserves, according to the Central Energy Fund, which oversees the SFF. While a company borrowed crude from the SFFs Saldanha storage facility on the west coast, the rotation of the oil stockswas irregular because proper procedures werent followed, the CEF said in its2016 annual report, which outlined details of the deal but didnt identify the contractor. It disclosed that the oil was valued at R198.9 million ($15.4 million) on the agreed replenishment dateand the contractual deadline to replace it was missed. The person who said the project hasnt started asked not to be named because the information isnt public. Picture source: Bloomberg Enviroshore confirmed that it had been contracted to do work by the SFF, but denied there was anything amiss. Enviroshores contract for the recovery of sludge and the pumping of water from the Ogies storage facility, as well as a subsequent related contract for the recovery of 300,000 barrels of sludge from the Saldanha storage facility, were entered into pursuant to the issuing and awarding of a fully-compliant public tender, Vuyo Mkhize, a public affairs consultant to the company, said in an emailed response to questions. Performance on these contracts is continuing to the satisfaction of both parties. Founded in 2006 and based in the eastern port city of Durban, Enviroshore trades in petroleum products and offers sludge recovery and storage-tank cleaning services, according to its website.The company declined to respond to questions about how much oil had been retrieved or its loan from the SFF. The SFF came under fire last year after it emerged that it had sold 10 million barrels of crude stocks for $280 million in 2015, when prices were at an eight-year low.While Tina Joemat-Pettersson, the former energy minister, said the sale was a stock rotation, her successor Mmamoloko Kubayi identified glaring governance problems with the deal and said it will be probed. The issue of Enviroshore is a subject of a broader investigation undertaken at SFF, the CEF said in an emailed response to questions. We will not be making announcements on this matter until internal process are finalized. Enviroshore is unaware of any probe, and the need for one simply does not arise, Mkhize said. Enviroshore is awaiting the SFFs official response to its request for an explanation for the statements you are attributing to the Central Energy Fund, he said. 2017 Bloomberg

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June 29, 2017   Posted in: Apartheid  Comments Closed

Here Come the Habibs creators on Australian comedy’s ‘apartheid’ system – The Sydney Morning Herald

Rob Shehadie and Tahir Bilgic should be laughing. They have thriving careers on the stand-up comedy circuit, make a very healthy living doing corporate gigs and MC-ing work, and are co-creators of a hit television show, Here Come the Habibs, in which they also have on-screen roles. But something grates. Specifically, it’s the way their comedy is still thought of as a sub-category, “ethnic comedy”, rather than part of the mainstream. “We go around the country performing, we know what Australians are laughing at,” says Shehadie, who plays Jahesh, best mate of serial “wogpreneur” Toufic Habib (Sam Alhaje) in Nine’s sitcom. “That’s what we tell the networks,” says Bilgic, who appears as the taxi-driving Mustafa. “Every capital city, a lot of country towns, doing shows, talking to the punters we know.” When they play in the bush, they change their material to suit the crowd. Weddings, they tweak it. Twenty-firsts well, those they don’t do any more because every idiot with a belly full of beer thinks he’s funnier than the talent, and frankly who needs the grief? But not much fazes them. “We’ve done the mines,” says Shehadie. “A 7am show for the night-shift guys.” Get the latest news and updates emailed straight to your inbox. “They aren’t after knock-knock jokes, I can tell you,” notes Bilgic. “It was 48 degrees that day,” Shehadie remembers. “We were outdoors, flies everywhere. They enjoyed it, but it was a challenge.” We’re lunching at Abla’s, that stalwart of Lebanese dining in Melbourne. Shehadie has suggested the place because his mother and Abla Amad are friends. “She’s like an aunty,” he says. The food is what you’d expect, only better. A starter round of dips and pita is so good that I’m almost full long before the real food arrives. When it does I have no choice but to make room for the moist grilled chicken skewers and garlic dip (white gold, Shehadie calls it) and the “pie” of rice and chicken topped with almond slivers. When it’s over, I have trouble convincing the waitress to take my money; when the bill finally comes, it’s for $137, which is soon crossed out. “Make it $100,” she says. Bilgic, a former teacher, tells me he has studied comedy extensively, and has even written a course that he intends to offer online. “Performing live is my passion,” he says. But TV takes you to a bigger, broader audience. It’s the same with those comedy festival galas, where they get to do a short sampler set for a crowd that doesn’t necessarily know their work. “That different audience, an ABC-style crowd, they love it,” says Bilgic. “It’s so exotic, maybe a bit controversial. But they still won’t come to our shows. We kill it for five minutes, they say ‘brilliant, brilliant’. And then they go and see Danny Bhoy.” Do you think maybe there’s some kind of unofficial apartheid system in Australian comedy? “Sure, sure,” he says. “We get painted into a corner, ‘these guys are just doing ethnic comedy’. We think we’re doing Australian comedy. We’re doing exactly what other comedians are doing they’re talking about their lives, their experiences, their perspectives on the world. We’re doing the same thing, but through our own eyes, our own experiences. But we get, ‘Oh, they’re just doing wog comedy’ and we never get the awards, we never get the recognition.” Take the Logies. As the first home-grown sitcom on a commercial network for 15 years, and with a host of photogenic new talent in its cast, Here Come the Habibs might have been expected to figure somewhere among the 2016 contenders. The show was popular, too, its first season averaging 1.8 million viewers an episode (including regional, consolidated and online views). And despite the knee-jerk reaction to its first promo (“trying to take casual racism to a new low” etc) it even got some decent reviews. “I was confident we were going to get at least nominated,” says Shehadie. But when the nominees were announced, Habibs was not among them. Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell won most outstanding comedy (an industry-voted award), beating out two more ABC comedies (Please Like Me and Utopia) as well as Stan’s No Activity and the Comedy Channel’s sketch show Open Slather. It felt, and still feels, like a snub, but success is the best revenge. “We’re happy we’re getting the crowds coming to our live shows, people watching the Habibs,” Shehadie says. “We know we’re doing something right.” “We’re going to keep pushing,” adds Bilgic, “trying to change the landscape”. Bilgic, 47, is Turkish-Australian and a Muslim. Shehadie, 40, is Lebanese-Australian and a Christian. They met 18 years ago, on the set of Paul Fenech’s SBS comedy Pizza, a show that also gave the world Rebel Wilson, as well as some dubious humour and memorable catchphrases (“fully sick” perhaps being the most durable). Shehadie was a state-level rugby player when a mate who was working on the show convinced him to try out. He turned up and was immediately thrown in front of a camera for a scene with Bilgic. “They said, ‘The camera’s rolling, go for it’,” he recalls. “We were ad-libbing and it just gelled.” “I had another partner for one episode, a Greek guy,” Bilgic chips in. “I don’t know what happened to him. He disappeared, and then he [Shehadie] turned up.” “He’s like the fifth Beatle, that guy,” Shehadie says. “‘That Rob Shehadie that was my role’.” Both see comedy as a means of uniting people. “To see Muslims and Christians all laughing together, that’s what comedy does, that’s what we need,” says Shehadie. But that doesn’t mean skating over differences. One of the defining traits of the comedy they and their cohort perform is that the quirks and peculiarities of ethnic identities are front and centre think of Joe Avati and George Kapiniaris, with whom they appeared in Straight Outta Compo at this year’s Melbourne and Sydney comedy festivals, or Wogs Out of Work creators Simon Palomares and Nick Giannopoulos, whom they acknowledge as pioneers. That willingness to mine the migrant experience and especially the second-generation experience has long been their strength with the fans. But for those on the outside which, ironically, tends to be the white middle-class that might otherwise constitute the “mainstream” it gives rise to accusations of racism and stereotyping. Bilgic illustrates the way “white” Australia responds by reference to a show he performed last year called Bogans, Wogs, Asians and Other Aussie Citizens. He toured it around the country, but when it came to playing at Crown in Melbourne, venue management demanded he change the name because it was too offensive. “They were worried about racism,” he says, incredulous. “I should have just pulled out.” They maynot put it quite this way themselves, but it doesn’t seem too great a stretch to argue that their humour is all about accepting and celebrating the differences that somehow coalesce into the idea of a melting-pot multicultural Australia. “Assimilate, it’s great here,” Bilgic urges. “You don’t have to lose the old ways altogether, but one of my bugbears is people caring more about something happening thousands of miles away than what is happening here where they’re living.” Or as someone put it in a recent episode of the second season of Here Come the Habibs, the funny thing about minorities is that when you put them all together they kind of make a majority. Although Shehadie and Bilgic get credit for the idea of the show, Habibs owes much to the creative input of Phil Lloyd and Ben Davies, of the production company Jungle (The Moodys, No Activity). They gave dramatic shape to what Bilgic and Shehadie had imagined being a more gag-oriented offering. So, how much does it feel like it’s your show up there? “Good question,” says Bilgic. “We still want to do a straight comedy, but we’ve learnt a lot about drama. Let’s say 50-50.” “It’s a stepping stone,” says Shehadie. “We’re finding people are taking us seriously now.” “If we get a few more goes, we can put more of our flavour in,” says Bilgic. “We’ve got some other stuff in the pipeline.” Among them, he says, is a tonight show he wants to do, but he fears he’ll be met with a familiar refrain. ” ‘What do you mean you want to host it? We want one of the Daddos to host it.’ Why do we have to keep following the same formula? Why can’t you take a punt?” Almost 30 years after Acropolis Now, commissioning Here Come the Habibs was seen by many as an act of bravery (and by its detractors, conversely and perversely, as a huge step backwards). For Bilgic, that’s indicative of the lack of nerve in Televisionland. “We’ve broken ground, again,” he says. “We’ve opened the door. But for me the question is why isn’t there more?” Here Come the Habibs is on Nine on Mondays at 8pm. Facebook:karlquinnjournalist Twitter:@karlkwin

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June 29, 2017   Posted in: Apartheid  Comments Closed

Apartheid police to be subpoenaed to Timol inquest – News24

Johannesburg – Judge Billy Mothle has ordered that all the surviving policemen who were involved in the arrest and detention of the struggle veteran Salim Essop and anti-apartheid activist, Ahmed Timol, be subpoenaed to testify in court. Mothle on Thursday said the National Prosecuting Authority must issue subpoenas urgently to the policemen so that they can assist with information as to what really led to Timol’s death. Mothle wants the police officers to appear in the next sitting of the inquest, expected to take place between July 24 and August 4. “I will authorise the issue of subpoenas to all the police who were involved in the arrest and interrogation and detention of Mr Essop and Mr Timol. If they are still alive, I am authorising, through the NPA, to issue subpoenas.” The court heard on Monday that of about 23 security police that were allegedly involved in the matter, only three were still alive. Mothle on Thursday said the police commissioner should assist the court. READ: ‘They will answer to God’ – Ahmed Timol’s brother In detention Timol’s death was ruled a suicide in 1972. However, a private investigation launched by Timol’s family into his death uncovered new evidence which it presented to the NPA, asking for the inquest to be reopened. On the fourth day of the first sitting of the inquest at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, the court called Professor Kantilal Naik who said he knew Timol from Roodepoort, where they both grew up. Naik taught at the Roodepoort Indian High School with Timol. He was arrested on Saturday, October 23, 1971, because of his association with Timol. The police went to his house and told him that because he was Timol’s friend, he must have been involved in political activity. Speaking about his time in detention, he said: “The security police were really terrible, they said: ‘Jou bliksem se coolie, ons sal jou wys [You bloody coolie, we will show you]. You are lying.'” This is what the police said to him after he wrote a statement, with which they were not happy. “I told them that I am a follower of Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy and I was not violent. They were not happy.” READ: Ahmed Timol inquest to inspect scene of his death Torture The police were dissatisfied with his statement and then they allegedly began to torture him. “Using a helicopter method, I was swung like a see-saw on a broomstick. They did this until my hands were immobilised. I could not do basic things.” Naik could not clean and wash himself, the court heard. He said one police officer who went by the surname, Van Tonder, apologised to him saying: “Ek is baaie jammer dat hulle het dit gedoen het. [I’m very sorry that they did that.” Subsequent to the torture, he had to undergo physiotherapy treatment for months. He said the torture ended after he was visited by a magistrate, whose name he could not remember. Timol’s younger brother, Mohammad, who was in police detention and not allowed to attend his brother’s funeral, is expected to testify on Thursday afternoon. The first sitting of the inquest is expected to end on Friday, June 30, and then resume between July 24 and August 4, and August 10 and 11. 24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

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June 29, 2017   Posted in: Apartheid  Comments Closed

‘State-sponsored housing reinforces apartheid spatial pattern’ – Eyewitness News

State-sponsored housing reinforces apartheid spatial pattern Professor Ivan Turok says state-sponsored housing projects reinforce the old apartheid pattern where poor & working class people live far from city centres where most jobs are. FILE: President Jacob Zuma officially opening the N2 Gateway Integrated Human Settlements Development at the Joe Slovo housing project in Cape Town. Picture: GCIS. JOHANNESBURG – Government policies are entrenching unequal access to land in and around cities rather than easing the problem, a panel chaired by former President Kgalema Motlanthe has been told. The high-level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and Acceleration of Fundamental Change is holding a round-table discussion on spatial inequality in Parliament, focusing on peoples access to urban land. The panel was set up by National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete last year to look at whether laws passed since 1994 are helping or hindering efforts to address poverty, unemployment, job creation, land reform and nation building. Professor Ivan Turok of the Human Sciences Research Council says state-sponsored housing projects planned for the next two decades will reinforce rather than change the old apartheid pattern where poor and working class people live far from city centres where most jobs can be found. We need to stop this. We need jobs in these places, not more housing. Shipping people out. Politics is driving this. Governments desperation to do something for the people, we build them houses, but were not thinking about where people are going to work. Turok is cautioning against a rigid, one-size fits all approach. He says land redistribution on its own is not a solution, and that a much more integrated approach, that includes planning for transport, health, education and other services is the way forward. (Edited by Zinhle Nkosi) However, we will NOT condone the following: – Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality) – Sexism – Homophobia – Religious intolerance – Cyber bullying – Hate speech – Derogatory language – Comments inciting violence. We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section. We strive to make the EWN community a safe and welcoming space for all. EWN reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules. Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines. EWN is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

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June 29, 2017   Posted in: Apartheid  Comments Closed


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