On fake twitter accounts

I love local political press releases. And this one from the new police minister is particularly good.

Of course, Bheki Cele’s predecessor was hugely active on twitter. Sadly, he was more active in twitter than at doing his actual job. Happily, he’s now not doing his actual job anymore. Lovely.
But will our new minister be busy on the social medias? No chance – if you’ve seen an tweet from him, IT’S FAKE!

The Minister wishes to state categorically clear that any Twitter account or any social media account operating in his name is Fake and that no one is authorized to operate any social media account in his name.


But wait, there’s more:

The mushrooming Twitter handles in the name of the Minister are viewed as sinister and are aimed at dragging the name of Minister Cele in all dirty and tricky mud games in the social media space for reasons best known to the ghost operators.

I actually only go onto Twitter to engage in all dirty and tricky mud games in the social media space. The rest of it is rubbish.

Social media remains a respectable communication platform that should be exempted from any abuse by ghost operators.

Ok. I’m in agreement here. Ghost operators should stick to operating ghosts. That’s definitely what they’re best at. Not abusing respectable communication platforms. No-one needs that. And what happens to all the unoperated ghosts while all this abuse is going on?

A frankly terrible situation.

This is a typically robust, ridiculously nonsensical start from Cele, and I can’t wait for what’s coming next.

Crime: sorted

Incoming: Great news from SAPS (The South African Police Service)!

After a weekend which will inevitably be filled with murder, rape, burglary and violence across South Africa, all will be sorted from 10am on Monday, when the police service hold their prayer day. Yippee!

According to the media release:

 The prayer will among other things focus on the following:

  • Safety for police officers
  • Reduction of crime in general
  • Reduction of gender-based violence

But will it work? Well, apparently, yes it will, because they tell us that:

A collective prayer has the power to protect and save police officers and preserve the nation. Police officials are responsible for protecting the community and our prayers can help save our police officials from harm.

It does make you wonder why, given the power that a collective prayer obviously possesses, no-one has come up with this idea before. Why waste time with community intervention, detective work and shooting miners when we could all come together, say a few words and kill all those birds with one stone, thus finding ourselves all leaving in a harmonious utopia?

Except, they have tried this before: last year:

The SAPS’s National Prayer Day is at the SAPS’s Tshwane Training Academy in Pretoria West from 10:00 to 12:30 on Tuesday, 13 August 2013. Employees of the South African Police Service are encouraged to attend this worthy event. It is through the divine intervention of the Almighty that we stay protected and reach our goal in the fight against crime.

Yep – the divine intervention of the Almighty will sort everything out, starting at 10am on the 13th August.
So, how did that work out for them, then? Well, here are a few lines from a synopsis of the crime stats released last week:

  • For the first time in 20 years the number of murders and the murder rate has increased for a second consecutive year.
  • This means that there were 809 more people murdered than in the previous year.
  • There has been an increase in all categories of robbery over the past year.
  • Vehicle hijacking increased by 12.3% to 11,221 incidents. This means that 31 motor vehicles were hijacked every day on average in 2013/14.

Oops. And, tragically:

Between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014 a total 68 police officers were killed in the line of duty.

So, one has to ask where this confidence in the power of the prayer “to protect and save police officers and preserve the nation” has come from?
Perhaps, like the big guy upstairs that their prayers are aimed at, it’s all just made up.

The media is cordially invited to attend the prayer service.

No thanks.

Stripes-Man continues to assist local police

A new superhero in our midst – at least he’s trying. :


He could probably still  have done a better job than SAPS at the Oscar Pistorius crime scene.

When R4,000 isn’t R4,000

Until we actually have hard facts instead of supposition and rumour, I’m steering well clear of the whole Lonmin/Marikana issue. However, if like me, you’re searching for those hard facts, it seems that the mainstream media isn’t the place to be looking.
There’s a surprise.

Whichever side you’re on, you surely can’t help but feel some pity for the rock drillers who – as we’ve been told here, here, here, here and here – earn just R4,000 per month. How one can survive, let alone support a family, on that amount is beyond me.

Except that Politicsweb has now alleged that the oft quoted R4,000 per month figure is actually some distance from the true amount earned by the Marikana rock drillers:

It was left, not to a journalist, but to Solidarity deputy general secretary Gideon du Plessis to go and find out the actual figures. In a statement issued on Monday he reported “The adjusted total cost package of a Lonmin rock drill operator is approximately R10 500 a month, excluding bonuses.”

In response to a separate query from Politicsweb Lonmin’s Mark Munroe Executive Vice President of Mining, basically confirmed these amounts. He stated: “Lonmin’s Rock Drill Operators earn in the region of R10,000 per month without bonuses and over R11,000 including bonuses. These levels are in line with those of our competitors and are before the wage hike of some 9% which will come into effect on 1 October 2012.”

If this increase applies to the whole compensation package it would push gross earnings – with and without bonuses – to between R11 000 and R12 000 per month. The net income of rock drill operators may well be considerably less than this – after deductions – but this is the cost to company.

If these figures are correct, it makes it even more bewildering, bizarre and tragic that so many lives were lost in search of what amounts to a R500 per month increase.

As the Politicsweb piece states:

One has to ask why no-one in the world’s media appear seem to have bothered to verify the R4 000 figure… Given the critical nature of this information for any analysis of the strikers demands it seems like a very basic mistake.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s news24.com seems to have evidence (via Al-Jazeera) that police were indeed fired upon before opening fire upon the protestors. The video is worth a watch.

I’ll leave the decisions as to whether R10,000 per month plus bonuses is an acceptable wage or whether the two shots apparently fired at police merited their response up to you. But wouldn’t it be nice if the journalists paid to report facts, actually reported facts?