Return of the Daxk

Daxk is back with a belter of a comment that sums up many SA expat’s feelings perfectly. Perhaps.

Aaah yes,6K,I really dont understand what the fuss is about,its been going on for about a week and they’ve only killed about 25,going back to the famous Crime Blog post,and the normal 50 murdered per day on average,its hardly going to make a blip on the figures,is’nt it?
Besides, the police services have been saying for years that its the illegal Mocambican and Zimbabwean immigrants who are responsible for the Hi-Jackings and armed home invasions, not to mention the daily cash in transit robberies.
will be interesting to see wether there has been a decrease over this period.
Hate to say it,but its only been noticed because its all on Camera.
Ho Hum! Another day in Paradise.

When responding to something like this, I often find it difficult to know where to start. Then I remember Maria’s advice – “Start at the very beginning – a very good place to start”.
So maybe we should start with the fact that Daxk is right in the thick of the action, in Ireland. And no – that’s not the name of a township just outside Jo’burg, it’s the place 11,000kms away where they make Guinness and film the pisspoor Ballykissangel.

Moving on from that shock revelation, I’m assuming that the “famous Crime Blog post” Daxk refers to is the BSACP, which was voted as the second best post written on any South African blog in the whole of 2007. (Just behind one about buying condoms, but that’s not important right now.) Daxk doesn’t agree with the sentiment of that post, despite the fact that it quite clearly states:

South Africa has a big problem with crime… The stats show that South Africa remains one of the most violent societies on earth – the figures are shocking.

I don’t know. Maybe I should have made it a bit more melodramatic.

Daxk goes on to say that because the murder rate in South Africa is so high, we shouldn’t really be bothered about this minor problem – “they’ve only killed about 25”. Perhaps Daxk would call that attitude “desensitization”. Most others would choose “cold”, “unfeeling” or “callous”. 

And then, the pièce de résistance – the affirmation that illegal immigrants (those from Mozambique and Zimbabwe, anyway) are responsible for armed home invasions, hijackings and cash-in-transit robberies – and a suggestion that because of the xenophobic violence against foreign nationals, the numbers of these crimes may have decreased over the last week. This would be laughable, if it wasn’t quite so inaccurate, irrelevant and downright sick.
The mobs roaming informal settlements in Gauteng at the moment are targeting anyone suspected of being foreign – legal, illegal, men, women, children. Several deaths have been South African nationals who were mistaken for foreign nationals. The excellent Special Assignment on SABC3 devoted their whole show to the issue yesterday evening – including interviews with the families of the victims of the gangs’ “mistakes”, something you may have seen if you weren’t in Ireland. Instead you rely on iol, news24 and Tannie Brenda for your third hand information.

The figures suggest that there are somewhere between 3-5 million immigrants in SA. (Incidentally, I think that the breadth of those numbers quite clearly indicates the huge problem with border control in SA.) And yes, crime is high in South Africa, but the suggestion that around 1,000 of those immigrants being displaced, many of them women and children (60+ injured, 23 dead as of last night) would make a difference to the number of armed robberies is a bit of a stretch. A desperate one.

And yes. It’s all on camera. And, in some ways, thank goodness it is. This is not something that should be or can be brushed under the carpet. Just because the victims are immigrants, because some foreigners may be involved in crime, because “they’ve only killed 25” doesn’t make this situation any less of a crisis. 

Please note: anyone – Daxk included – is welcome to share their views by commenting on 6000 miles… provided they abide by the rules available here.

The Umshini Wam Plan

Further information is coming out of the townships where xenophobic violence has erupted – namely that those individuals perpetrating the attacks on foreign nationals and immigrants have allegedly been singing Jacob Zuma’s infamous Umshini wam “theme” song. Cue another ZumaRuma™.

Zuma is unimpressed:

He said he had heard that people attacked others while singing the song Umshini wam.
“That is a serious matter, for that song belongs to the ANC, it doesn’t belong to unknown people.
The question is, who are those people who are misleading the public by singing an ANC song when they’re doing the wrong thing?”

Who indeed? I’m certainly confused. I could give you the shortlist* I’ve made up if you wish. Just ask.
But it’s brought a heap of somewhat unjustified criticism onto Zuma’s shoulders and has played right into the hands of his detractors.

Let’s get this perfectly clear and right out in the open – seriously – JZ is not personally responsible for the xenophobic attacks in Alexandra or anywhere else for that matter, is he?
Just because the person with the big stick is singing his song, that doesn’t mean that it’s actually him. If that were the case, I’d have been going around for the last 10 years wearing a wig and battering people while singing Sicky Dion’s My Heart Will Go On in a perfectly reasonable attempt to get her put away in a (preferably soundproof) (actually, preferably airproof too) cell.

It’s all getting a bit silly now. Stop trying to score cheap political points and sort this mess out.

Said shortlist does not contain the name of any fmous Holly wood actors. Or does it?

South Africa’s Xenophobic Attacks

We, more than many other nations, should know better. We should know better because we have just emerged from more than three centuries of the horror of settler colonialism and apartheid… This madness has to stop. There is simply no justification for attacking people simply because they are not South African nationals.

Editorial, City Press

 

But xenophobic violence continued today, especially in the townships around Johannesburg. The police (SAPS) who had previously warned of a growing undercurrent of xenophobic unrest have accused criminal elements of hijacking the issues which have caused these attacks and worsening the situation. And while the police responded to the trouble with rubber bullets and tear gas, they have regularly come under fire from live ammunition. 

Burning man 
Immigrant alight (BBC)

 Section 201 of South Africa’s Constitution allows for the army to be called in by the President to assist the SAPS: 

Only the President, as head of the national executive, may authorise the employment of the defence force ­… in co-operation with the police service; 

 I would suggest that the time for that decision has already passed. With every news bulletin, we are hearing of more problems, more casualties, more deaths. However, whether Mbeki will (for once?) act decisively in this situation remains to be seen.

 Now there is the distinct possibility that the situation will spread to other cities across SA, including Cape Town

About 30 Somali shopkeepers trading and living in Du Noon have received warning letters telling them to leave the area, fuelling fears that xenophobic attacks occurring in Johannesburg could spread to Cape Town.

It seems likely that this situation will certainly get worse before it gets better. In fact, listening to the news on the radio, it’s getting worse even as I write this. Once again, huge negative publicity for South Africa and huge issues for the 3-5 million (depending whose figures you believe) immigrants in this country at the moment. And what choice for the Zimbabwean immigrants particularly – starvation in their own country or the threat of violence in this new home.

I’m sorry. I don’t have any answers. Even deploying the army in these hotspots will only see the trouble move elsewhere and does nothing to cure the underlying issues which have led to this situation.
“Send them back where they came from” suggests to these people that violence is the answer. It surely isn’t.
And me? An immigrant here myself – “taking their jobs”.  I’m just glad that I am where I am and not facing what those less fortunate than me are facing right now.

More on this issue will surely follow over the next few days on here as the situation develops. Don’t miss out.

Some Freedom

Today is a public holiday in South Africa. The first of three this week. On May 1st, we have the ubiquitous Worker’s Day and on the 2nd, an “extra” public holiday which was only granted in late March, for reasons that no-one really knows or wants to ask about in case it gets taken away again. This means only 2 working days, which means that we have the obligatory dose of Short Week Service Syndrome ahead.

But celebrate, for today is Freedom Day – the National Holiday to commemorate the 1994 General Election and the “official end” of apartheid. While many were delighted to welcome the non-racial elections, there were some disappointments, not least the poor showing of the DikWankWetla Party, who only managed to capture 0.1% of the vote. I know very, very little about the DikWankWetla Party, but they have an absolutely awesome name and for that alone are probably worth a vote even if their policies are a little ropey.

So. How has SA done over the last 14 years?
I guess that would be one of those questions with a host of “no win” answers, basically drawn out along racial lines. Let’s just say that the majority of people in this country are better off than they were pre-1994.
Of course, it hasn’t worked for everyone. Somehow today, it was even more saddening to see the beggars with small kids and babies in tow at the traffic lights. Some freedom for them. One wonders if they recognise that today holds any special significance for the country.
I gave away an entire 2kg bag of apples on the 3km run back home from the supermarket. Not much, I know, but trying to help, at least. One day, I hope 0.6 will understand why he didn’t get his Granny Smiths today.

Happy Freedom Day, South Africa.

The JonnyHarvard post

There is nothing training cannot do. Nothing is above its reach. It can turn bad morals to good; it can destroy bad principles and recreate good ones; it can lift men to angelship.

So said Mark Twain. And yes, we all look to further ourselves, we strive for knowledge, for education. Some more than others. One of those “some” is Jonny Faull, 6000 miles… own political analyst.
Jonny was the one swimming against the tide of “experts”, when last March he predicted a Zuma win in Polokwane, 9 months before it happened. He was the one on the front line in Zim last month acting as an independent observer during the elections which Bob/Thabo/Morgan/Simba* won. He talks politics honestly and frankly, basing his opinions on solid logic facts, with no subjectivity and no emotion save for his obvious passion for the discipline.  
He has written articles which have been published in newspapers across the world, from Cape Town to New York. He plays football, is well respected in the Cape Town knitting fraternity and has recently taken up basketweaving as a weekend pastime. He uses the word “fabulous” like there is no tomorrow – a fact that, given his apparent clairvoyant skills, is somewhat disturbing.

And now, he has been accepted to study a Masters in Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Yes – that Harvard University. An honour indeed and one that he has worked so hard to achieve. 
Just one issue. Cash. Moolah. Spondulicks. Or as we call it here in South Africa: “Money”.
Five hundred thousand of our South African Rands, to be precise.

And that’s where you can help out. In order to raise funds, Jonny has already sold all his worldly possessions. I know this for two reasons. Firstly, because I myself picked up some awesome (some might say “fabulous”) bargains including his beautiful collection of handcrafted woollen tea-cosies; and secondly because he has been seen wandering around Cape Town CBD wearing just his underpants. Evidently, there were no takers for those at the garage sale.

What he needs now is more money. And you can help by pledging on his website. I would urge my UK and US readers to be particularly generous. You’ll hardly even notice the hard currency equivalent of R500 disappearing from your bank account.
You could either have that 12th bottle of disappointingly watery beer or you could send Jonny to Havard.
Think about it. Well, actually – don’t: it’s a no brainer.
Jonny says:

I believe that the Kennedy School MPP will complement and deepen my political, economic policy and analytical skills base and consequently enhance my capacity for contributing to the consolidation, and vibrancy of democracy in my country and region.

And while that may be true, I can’t help but think that it would like a paler version of Eddie Murphy in Coming to America. Surely, that’s got to be worth your cash alone.

* delete as applicable when we actually get some results.