Sunday, 18 April 2010

Snippets -summary of main headlines in South Africa

From JP

Note: One of the main stories in the weekend newspapers was the claim that Eugene Terre'Blanche's murder had been triggered by sexual abuse of the young black men alleged to have killed him. If this story was true it was the best story of the week -an extraordinary twist in the tale of the AWB leader's life and death. Untrue, it was the worst, with the editors all falling for what would appear to be some kind of disinformation campaign. Recent retractions suggest it could be the latter. Either way, however, the story is significant and so has been included in these weekend listing.

The Saturday Star lead story claiming that a used condom had been found at the Terre'Blanche murder scene:

Baldwin Ndaba, Thabiso Thakali and Sheree Bega reported that "sources close to the investigation" claimed that "the murdered AWB leader's body had been found with his pants around his knees and a used condom on the floor, there has been speculation that he may have been involved in a sexual relationship with one of the two men, Chris Mahlangu, 27, and a 15-year-old, who are suspected of his murder. This will be the argument put forward by lawyers for the two when they appear in court next week for a bail application. Investigators placed the condom and its contents in a crime kit, which has been sent to the forensic unit in Pretoria for analysis."

The City Press and Sunday Times reports (see here and here) elaborating on the sex claims against Terre'Blanche:

The Sunday Times quoted Puna Moroko, attorney for the 28-year old accused Chris Mahlangu, as saying: "My instructions from my client are that there was some sodomy going on and it sparked the murder of Mr Terre'Blanche. This is going to form part of our defence during trial." Zola Majavu, the attorney for the 15-year old accused told the newspaper: "I have consulted with my client and I am satisfied that something shocking happened on that day. I will disclose fully what my client told me happened during trial."

City Press quoted a "source close to the investigation" as saying that "details were disclosed during a closed meeting between National Prosecuting Authority boss Menzi Simelane and his senior officials in Pretoria on Wednesday. The source said the prosecutors were briefed on details of the investigation, such as the discovery of a condom on Terre'Blanche's body and other sexual details."

The newspaper further stated that "three police sources in Ventersdorp, two working for crime intelligence [claimed] that the investigation included the possibility that Terre'Blanche was having sex with the 15-year old."

The sex claims contained in items 9 and 10 were almost too good to be true, and they were soon gleefully reported on around the world. However, the claim about the condom was almost immediately debunked by North West police spokeswoman Adele Myburgh. She told Sapa on Saturday: "There was no condom found on the scene of the late Mr Eugene Terre'Blanche. I'm prepared to put my neck in a guillotine and you can have a go at it if I have been lying." By Tuesday Moroko had retracted his earlier statement telling Beeld that the reports on the condom and sodomy had nothing to do with his client's case.

The Rapport (Sake24) article on how Match - Fifa's accommodation, travelling and ticket agency - had helped scupper South Africa's chances of attracting huge numbers of overseas fans to the soccer world cup:

Antoinette Slabbert writes that "It is becoming clearer that foreigners' interest in attending the tournament is less than hoped for. This is apparently because of the high cost - for which Match is partly responsible." Match had initially booked up 1,8m bed nights from the local tourism industry (as well as tens of thousands of seats on airline flights.) Its prices were determined in 2007 before the world economic crisis "when the market was frothy. A mark-up was added to these, which were already high, to determine the 2010 prices." Unable to sell them, Match has now dumped hundreds of thousands of "bed nights" back onto the market and local hotels are now scrambling to try and sell them. The newspaper quoted Hidde Salverda, 2010 coordinator of the Dutch soccer federation (KNVB), as saying that "disappointingly few Dutch soccer fans were coming to the tournament. The KNVB has scaled its original expectation of 10 000-12 000-10 down to 5 000. Match's grip on tournament tickets, which it offers together with travel packages, is the reason for the poor interest, Salverda said."

The Sunday Times interview with various (black) fellow former inmates of Terre'Blanche's at the Rooigrond Medium B Prison Farm:

Vincent Sereo, 50, in jail for murder and robbery told Shanaaz Eggington: "We were in the non-smoking cell. We ate together, exercised together and watched TV. I never saw any racism in him." Sereo described the former AWB leader as "a good man". "He was my friend. People might think that he just pretended to like black people because he was in jail and fearing for his life. This was not so. When he was released, we continued to be friends. He gave me all his (contact) numbers ... I could call him any time and if I was in Ventersdorp, I made time to see him." Another former cell mate, Euclid Moses, 36, told the newspaper. "He was deeply against sodomy, drugs and dagga smoking. He even gave up cigarettes. I'm shocked to see that people say that he had a relationship with one of his alleged killers. He has been set up. People will do anything for money and he is dead. He can't defend himself."

Richard Lapper's feature in the Financial Times (weekend edition) on growing Afrikaner disaffection in South Africa:

Lapper writes that the murder of AWB leader Eugene Terre'Blanch, the inflammatory rhetoric of Malema and an epidemic of farm murders has "crystallised a broader sense of disillusionment, and even betrayal, with post-apartheid South Africa among Afrikaners." It seems that even the most pro-ANC Afrikaners are becoming disillusioned. He quotes Sam de Beer, "who served as a minister in apartheid governments, helping negotiate transition to majority rule before ending his political career in the governing African National Congress", as saying there has been "an onslaught against farmers and old people. You can't open a newspaper without reading details of another murder. The Afrikaner is beginning to feel under threat. The circumstances are very, very bad." De Beer also talked about "growing disillusion and bitterness [among Afrikaners]. The promises of reconciliation have not been lived up to."

The City Press report on the open rebellion against Julius Malema at the ANYCL provincial electoral conference in Limpopo:

Piet Rampedi writes that the ANCYL president was "booed, jeered and prevented from addressing hundreds of delegates... at the Makhado FET (Further Education and Training) College outside ­Louis Trichardt." Malema eventually ordered the police to remove the rowdy supporters of the League's provincial leader, Lehlogonolo Masoga, precipitating a walk out. The newspaper notes that "Malema had earlier in the day chased around and beat another rival delegate with a chair for jeering him with a song. Malema had just ­arrived in Mathale's BMW as part of a four-vehicle convoy at a nearby venue where accreditation was being processed. The delegate, who did not want his name published for fear of a possible reprisal, later said: ‘He hit me with a chair for no apparent reason. I merely expressed my view as a young person. I did not insult him'."

The Sunday Times (Business Times) report that the ANC, or at least Treasurer General Mathews Phosa, wanted Chancellor House to exit from Hitachi Power Africa:

Phosa told Rob Rose that "We have advised Chancellor House of our desire to exit from Hitachi as quickly as possible, and they are in the process of doing so. My expectation is that this will be done in the next six weeks." He added that "as a shareholder, we can only give advice to Chancellor House." Whether the company would accept that advice was, it seems, open to question. Professor Taole Mokoena, the Chancellor House chairman, was quoted as saying: "We are an independent company and nobody tells the directors what to do."

Hermann Giliomee's feature in the Mail & Guardian on the life of AWB leader Eugene Terre'Blanche:

Giliomee notes that Terre'Blanche "was to a large extent a creation of the media. Particularly for foreign journalists he embodied the stereotype of uncouth, fanatical Boers prepared to plunge the country into a bloodbath to resist the inevitable victory of the black majority." In reality, the AWB "did not remotely have the capacity to act as an effective rebel force. The movement's actual support was insignificant. According to a previous head of the security police I interviewed for this article, there was an active membership of at most 2 000 men concentrated in the Western Transvaal and the passive support of 20 000 to 30 000 people."

In his political heyday Terre'Blanche had often played on acute Afrikaner fears that under a future ANC government there would be widespread criminal violence. Giliomee notes, Terre'Blanche's "murder in his own bed tragically confirmed the seemingly reckless predictions he had made during his career."

Rian Malan's article in The Telegraph (London) on the "chubby man-child" Julius Malema:

Malan says the ANCYL president's rhetoric is that of a Pere Ubu or Idi Amin. Malema's political significance is that he is "the point-man for a powerful ANC faction whose motive is greed and whose chosen weapon is racial demagoguery of the most primitive kind. The trouble is that this card trumps all others. Our underclass is huge, poorly educated and desperately poor. They know what happened in Zimbabwe, but even so, the prospect of loot is irresistible, and that's Malema's bait. Mandela gave them free houses. Mbeki gave them welfare grants, leading to a situation where five million taxpayers support 13 million indigents, with the total rising far more rapidly than our ability to pay. Now Malema and the faceless vultures behind him are offering them the rest. They are playing the death card, the Ace of Spades."

Jacob Zuma's statement, issued at a press conference on Saturday, in which he smacked down Malema:

The Sunday Times led with the story under the headline "Zuma berates ‘alien' Malema" as did the Sunday Independent under the headline "Shut Up! Zuma threatens Malema." City Press ran with the story on Page 1 headed "Zuma puts his foot down at last." It quoted a source as saying: "People must appreciate that the ANC is like an elephant. It walks slowly but when it puts its foot down you'll be in crutches."

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