I remember it as if it was yesterday. It was back in 1996, one
Sunday afternoon, me and my new friend, went to visit her grandparents. We arrived
on their farm one Sunday afternoon. We greeted everyone, and sat down at the
table for coffee.
Her grandfather lit up a cigarette, took a few puffs, blew
the kitchen full of smoke and then put it out again. He then began wheezing and
coughing profusely. He then took a few breaths of oxygen, from an oxygen
machine next to him. I was a bit shocked but just ignored it. We then talked a
bit and had a bit of coffee. But then, less than 5 minutes later the whole
procedure repeated itself. Light up a cigarette, take a few puffs, profuse
wheezing and coughing, then taking some oxygen.
Later on when me and my friend was alone I asked, what is
wrong with him. She said he had emphysema.
I was sad to see and hear that. Later on I thought to
myself, that is exactly what an addiction is. One knows it is bad for you, but
you keep on doing it. You know it will make you sick or even kill you, but you
just cannot stop doing it. You are so used to it, it is such a part of your
life, that you cannot imaging going without it.
Well, today I think, we are all addicts. We are all addicted
to smoking. Each time you start your car’s engine, you burn fuel and fill the
air with toxic polluting gasses. Each time you turn on a light or an electrical
appliance somewhere a power station is burning coal to generate that
electricity, and it pumps into the atmosphere toxic polluting smoke.
We are so addicted to dirty energy that we cannot do without
it. Even though we know, that it is making us, and our environment sick. Even though we know, it is bad for us, and
our environment, we just cannot stop doing it. It is such a part of our lives,
that we cannot imaging going without it.
South Africa has the second dirtiest energy in the world
just after India, according to UK department of environment affairs. That is
because 90% of our energy is created through burning coal.
For each kWh of electricity that you consume, a certain
amount of coal are burned, and pollution are created.
From Eskom annual report of last yer, just in the last year
they burned 113 billion tons of coal. This generated the following pollution.
1 211 Billion tons of Carbon dioxide (CO2),
1 1 766 kilo tons of Sulphur dioxide (SO2),
2 782 tons of Nitrous oxide (N2O),
885 kilo tons of
Nitrogen dioxide (NOx),
So, nitrogen dioxide is a gas that is emitted during the combustion
of fossil fuels, this gas can be measured by satellite images.
A new satellite has recently been launched that can analyse
the Nitrogen Dioxide pollution in the worlds atmosphere. It reveals the world’s
NO2 air pollution hotspots across six
continents in the most detail to date, and points the finger at coal and
transport as the two principal sources of emissions.
The world’s biggest hotspot over is Mpumalanga in South
Africa, home to a cluster of a dozen coal fired power plants owned and operated
Europe’s largest hotspot is found around the Niederaussem
coal plant in Germany, followed by the transport emissions hotspot covering
Through all the NO2 and other pollutants all notions are
pumping into the air 24 hours a day 365 days per year, we managed to change the
composition of gasses in our atmosphere. And by changing the composition we
have changed our weather patterns. This phenomena we call climate change. And
the effects of climate change can be seen on an increasing frequency and
severity. Effects like severe droughts, floods, heatwaves, and storms.
So we can all see that our addiction is making us and our
environment sick. But still most people are in denial.
They say the first step in recovery for an addict, is to
realise and admit he has a problem. If he does not, then he just continues with
his addiction and causes greater and greater damage until the day it is too
All I ask of you is to do your own research. Search YouTube
and google the effects of climate change, the causes of it and decide for
In South Africa, Apartheid did not work, but now, multiculturalism and democracy are also not working. At least not in the way it is implemented in South Africa. We need a new system. It feels to me that South Africa is on the brink of a civil war again. Very similar to the when apartheid ended. If apartheid did not end, when it did, we probably would have had a civil war. Fortunately, we were able to transition peacefully to a new system. My hope is that we can do the same again.
Why is the current system not working? There are multiple reasons why it is not working, I will describe a few here. No nation or culture likes to be ruled by another. When one nation or culture rules over another, they tend to oppress them. This happened under Apartheid and is now happening under the ANC. Just as the Zulu’s, Sotho’s, Indian, and colored people and other cultures, did not like being ruled by the Afrikaner. Just so much does the Afrikaner, not like being ruled by the Zulu’s and ANC.
People are tribal by nature. Each nationality wants to rule themselves, wants self-determination. Wants to live out their own culture and be responsible for their own destiny. A person want’s to feel that they belong to and associate with a specific group and culture.
Cultures are very different. And one person from one culture does not always understand or value the norms and practices of other cultures. For example, in some cultures it is the norm to slaughter an animal at festivals like weddings. In other cultures this is not the norm and they find it upsetting and just slaughter animals in the butchery. There recently was a case in Gauteng where they wanted to change the rules of a security estate to allow for the slaughtering of animals in the estate. Obviously, people from other cultures objected strongly against this.
I would spend a Saturday afternoon with beer, biltong and braai, watching Rugby with friends, than I would spend it drinking tea and cake and watching cricket. Or drinking magau, eating pap and wors and watching soccer.
All I am saying is that each culture would like to live out their own culture and associate with people from their own culture. I am not saying that we cannot interact with and work with people of other cultures. Yes, we can and should. But we should respect each other, and give each other space and respect their right to be different and separate.
I want to feel that I belong to and associate with a specific group and culture. I feel at home socializing with people of my own culture. I generally get along easier and better with people in my own culture. Not to say that I do not get along with people of other cultures. It is just that I have more in common and understand people of my own culture better.
A culture has their own language, so people in that culture prefer to be educated in their own language. They would also prefer to do business with people in their own culture and language.
In South Africa we are confusing race with culture. It is not about race but about culture. It is not about white and black. But about Afrikaner, English man, Indian, Chines, Zulu, Sotho, Xhosa, etc. This is why we have different countries in the world. Germany for the Germans. England for the English, France for the French, etc. Humanity has always divided themselves along language and cultural lines. There is nothing wrong with that. Why has it become a problem now?
The problem with South Africa is that we have multiple different cultures living together under one government. This was a problem under apartheid, and this is the problem under the ANC “Democracy”
If you give one group of people control of other people and their land. They are bound to misuse their power, money and oppress the other group in favor of their own group. This is done by not giving them equal employment opportunities. Not respecting their culture, language, heritage, way of living or property. Where they commit violence against the other group. This was wrong under Apartheid and this is wrong now!
Multiple examples of how the Afrikaner is oppressed currently in South Africa can be given here. But just to list a few. Forcing universities and schools that have been giving class in Afrikaans for hundreds of years to change to English, instead of building new schools and universities that are English or Zulu or Xhosa. Defacing and removing monuments that have been there for 100s of years. Black on white violence on farms and cities, and the government that does nothing about it. Public figures inciting their followers to violence publicly. Tax money being misused and wasted for example Nkandla, luxury vehicles etc.
So obviously the previous system did not work and the current system is also not working. We need a new system that will work.
Recently on a trip back from Nelspruit to Pretoria, we stopped at Alzu petrol station on the N4 for coffee and lunch. They have a large camp outside full of different animals. They have Zebras, Impalas, Ostridge, Buffalo and Eland. It was interesting to see that each type of animal formed their own group, and stayed in that group, separate from other groups. There was a group of Zebra’s in the one area, and a group of buffalo in a different area. They socialized with other animals in the group. It was not just one mixed-up group of different types of animals. So even though they shared the same land and food and water resources they lived together in peace. One group of animals did not claim all the resources to be theirs, land food and water and prevented other animals access. No, there was enough for everyone. So this is a good example of a natural system that we can learn from.
We can also learn from and copy from other nations and system that work for other people and adapt it to our circumstances. One good example that I can think of is the political system in Switzerland. Specifically the system of Cantons, and communities and direct democracy. Let me give a quick short explanation of the system. The country is divided into 26 Cantons, each canton is divided into different communities. Each canton has an independent, government, constitution, parliament, court and police. Their president changes each year. They have a system of Direct democracy, where people vote directly for or against specific laws.
This could work very well in South Africa. Each canton and community can be for different cultures, people can have authority over themselves, their rules, and their community. Each canton can be responsible for their own security and economy. Each Canton can develop their own culture. A president changing each year will prevent one man from staying in power and causing problems like Robert Mogabe, and Jacob Zuma. They say good fences make good neighbors. I think this saying is very true and applicable to South Africa.
South Africa is at a crossroad, either we resolve this peacefully or violently. But one way or another it needs to be resolved.
South Africa is a land of many contrasts. Although South Africa represents only 2% of the world’s landmass, it is considered one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world. The same can be said for its people, with a wide array of peoples and cultures, each unique. This diversity is South Africa’s greatest strength, but also, potentially our greatest weakness.
In 1994, South Africa was reborn as a new nation, and Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu first nicknamed South Africa the “Rainbow Nation”. This was both a reference to the country’s diverse population, but also as a way of encouraging unity amongst these people following decades of racial division, ethnic segregation and language discrimination. The term rainbow is also regarded as a symbol of hope and promise. Unfortunately, more than 20 years later many of the people’s hopes, remain just that, hopes.
Over the past couple of years, we have seen an ever-increasing move away from the Rainbow Nation concept, to an ever increasing ‘us vs. them’ mentality, with almost every conversation or topic being shaded with racial overtones – even when the subject under discussion has nothing whatsoever to do with race.
But why should this be happening? 20 years ago, the people, many of them the poorest of the poor, were promised ‘a better life for all’, and for most, the perception was that this would be a relatively rapid improvement. Even in the best of circumstances, the type of change promised would likely take 2-3 generations to truly achieve. And the circumstances have been far from the best, and have been deteriorating over the past several years.
With the new government in place after 1994, a number of broad sweeping changes were made. New legislation was introduced for further Black Economic Empowerment. Such legislation only ever benefitted the select few, who became multi-millionaires, and in the case of our current President, Mr Ramaphosa, billionaires (BBC News, 15-02-2018) (it is perhaps noteworthy, that Mr Ramaphosa was instrumental in drafting the empowerment legislation and is one of those who gained the most from it). The situation for the average citizen remained unchanged.
The reason why there has been no substantial shift of wealth is the subject of ongoing debate, with the blame being laid on “white monopoly capital”. The term “white monopoly capital” gained widespread popularity in 2016, and it appears largely for political gain. On 19 March 2017, the South African Sunday Times alleged that public relations agency Bell Pottinger was behind a social media strategy, using fake bloggers, commentators and Twitter users, in an attempt to influence public opinion and sow racial division in South Africa, as well as targeting media and personalities that were opposed to the Gupta family/ The term was also used in a fake news campaign by levelling accusations against government ministers regarded as hostile to Gupta interests, notably then Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, by accusing them of promoting state capture for “white monopoly capital”. There is also no clear understanding or definition of who or what “white monopoly capital” is. None the less, the term remains current and is frequently used in political discourse, especially by extremist groups, such as Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Black Land First (BLF).
So, if one assumes that the failure to achieve the promised transformation does not lie with the mythical “white monopoly capital”, then where does it lie? Well, I think that the first thing that we should challenge, is the statement itself, that there has been no transformation, and that the wealth remains in the hands of the ‘white’ people. Research conducted by the University of Cape Town, shows that the black middle class has more than rebelled over a 12 year period to 5.8 million people. The shifts attributable to include greater access to credit, improved education levels and BEE.
This would indicate that, in fact, it is a misnomer to say that there has been no shift in wealth. While the white middle class as decreased slightly, they have not lost significant ground, while at the same time the black middle class has grown substantially. This is a message that is almost never communicated, and is certainly outside of the general public debate? Why?
There is a case to be answered – South Africa continues to face a significant issue with poverty (a situation which is worsening). By 2017, South Africa’s Gini co-efficient was the highest in the world (The Gaurdian, 26 Apr 2017). The Gini co-efficient looks at the distribution of a countries income or wealth. What this means is that South Africa is, economically speaking, the most unequal society on earth! This in itself merits the discussion on why more has not been achieved in terms of eradicating poverty.
It is my personal opinion that this is driven by a number of factors. First, and most importantly in my opinion, is the almost complete failure of the public education system. Education is South Africa is rated amongst the worst in the world. In shocking statistics, almost one third of children in South Africa cannot read after 6 years at school, and only 37% who start school complete matric! (The Economist, 7 Jan 2017).
Where historically, schools have been divided by race, today, they are divided by wealth. Just as from a wealth perspective, South Africa is the most unequal in the world, so too are the schools, with wealthy parents, able to pay exorbitant fees to private or exclusive public schools ensuring that their children the best education. Unfortunately, this only serves to further entrench the gaps between the wealthy and the poor.
Children going through such an education are unlikely to ever succeed as productive economic citizens in the future, and are more likely to remain in the care of state, and part of the extremely poor, dependent on handouts for survival.
The second factor which has, in my opinion, driving poverty and the inequality gaps, is corruption. This has become especially prevalent over the term of former president Jacob Zuma, where the level of corruption exposed has been nothing short of breath-taking. It is estimated that corruption costs the South African GDP R27billion annually and 76,000 jobs that would otherwise have been created. (BusinessTech, 1 Sep 2017)
The long term cost of sustained corruption is however, proving to be even greater. International investments are drying up, all but two rating agencies have downgraded South Africa to Junk Status. This grading has significant impact on the economy, as this makes the country not eligible to receive the investments that are so critical to its growth.
Rather than taking steps to pro-actively address these issues, both the ruling party and opposition parties, have deliberately channelled the debate away from these areas, and created an ever increasing focus on racial segregation and “radical economic transformation”. The term “radical economic transformation”, is another political catch phrase that has gained phenomenal popularity, without any clear understanding of what this entails. Recently, this has become focused almost exclusively to the point of land – to the point where parliament has voted for a change in the constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation.
The matter of land is a highly emotive issue, across all of South African society. In my opinion, political parties, and especially the ANC are using the matter to gain/gain back electorates which they have lost in recent year’s due to disaster which was the Zuma administration. However, because this is such an extremely emotive issue for all concerned, this has the potential to run away with them – either, to protect the economy, they will need to back track on promises made, once again losing the faith of their followers, or they pursue the path of personal and political gain (which historically, seems to be the path chosen). In the short-term, this path will result in greater personal and party popularity, but in the long term, is more likely to result in the complete collapse of South Africa (either economically, by inciting civil war or both).
Why is the issue so fraught with tension? As previously mentioned, South Africa comprises a wide diversity of peoples and cultures, each having a claim to the land. From, a truly historical perspective, the peoples with the oldest, and therefore, primary claim to the land are the San people. These people having been driven out of their territories by both the Bantu populations migrating South into South Africa, and the White Colonialists moving up into Africa.
However, the San today represent a very small minority of the population, and therefore whenever the land debate is raised, it is in connection with the redistribution of land from the white owners to the black (Bantu). There can be a long debate on who ‘owns’ the land in a historical context, but in this issue, I am inclined to almost say that fact is irrelevant.
The perception exists that wealth is tied with land, and therefore, that if land is redistributed, the poor will gain wealth. This is the populist belief that the EFF, BLF and ANC are pushing forward at present with such (often aggressive and attacking vigour). But is such belief justified? The poor, and mostly undereducated black individuals certainly believe this, and have already initiated a number of attempted land grabs. The, largely white (and to some extent, black middle class), hold the opposing view that land expropriation without compensation will result in sure economic collapse.
Given the extreme importance of this matter, not just currently, but since 1994, one would expect that there would be ample, reliable, statistical data available, to monitor the transfer of land over the past two decades. In fact, this is not the case. Stats SA, does not have any reporting on this matter, and currently the only available source of information is from a report the only available source of this data is a land audit prepared by Agri SA. I cannot understand, how a matter of such importance, that methods for expropriation where already constitutionalised in our constitution from day 1, does not have a report or metric against which progress can be measured!
The political rhetoric is that white South African’s continue to hold the land. But is this even true? How can we know? The lack of information, only makes it so much easier for politicians to twist the story to suit their needs. Let look at the data which is available – the Agri SA land report.
The Agri SA report is focused on agricultural land and does not provide any detail in terms of changes in land ownership in urban areas. For urban areas, based on observation, there has been substantial transfer of ownership – within the area I live, which would historically been a white area, I would estimate that every other property is owned by a black family.
But back to the Agri SA report, which provides some insight. The report makes distinctions on various levels (ownership by value, ownership by hectares ownership and by the land’s potential/fertility). Each bench mark results in somewhat different outcomes:
(AgriSA, November 2017)
(AgriSA, November 2017)
From this, we see that a large portion of agricultural land held by previously disadvantaged ((aka black) individuals or government. If we consider the provincial breakdown, and interesting picture also emerges:
(AgriSA, November 2017)
The provinces with the highest portion of land ownership in black hands (regardless of metric), are KZN, Limpopo and Eastern Cape. These are also the 3 poorest provinces, with the lowest GDP per capita in the country (Wikipedia)
The natural inference from this, is that land ownership in and of itself does not generate wealth, and ‘radical economic transformation’ in the form of land expropriation without compensation, is unlikely to provide any long term benefit to the poor. Sadly, it is my opinion, that given the levels of corruption currently found throughout the system, any expropriations are likely to go to the benefit of a few (already wealthy) individuals – just as happened in Zimbabwe.
As a further argument, that land ownership and wealth have little to no direct correlation, in Germany, the 4th largest economy in the world, 40% of households live in rented properties and 60% of farmland is farmed by tenants, and not the owner! (Eurostat)
South Africa is a beautiful country, filled with wonderful people, most of whom want nothing more than to live fulfilled, productive lives. As a nation, we have already overcome some many things and achieved results that the world thought to be impossible. Today, we once again sit on the brink. Will we fall into economic collapse and civil war, or will we once again succeed where so many before have failed?
The answer, I think lies in our leadership. During the transition around 1994, we had a strong leadership, united behind the idea of a better future for all, and the message was one of conciliation and reconciliation, and that everyone would work together towards creating a better future. Today, the leadership of the land is fractured. There is an ever increasing rhetoric that divides the people once again along racial lines, and increasing implied or even direct threat against the white minority. This leadership fails to take ownership of the true issues and continually attempts to shift the blame – after 20 years, it is still Apartheid’s fault. We can only move forward if we acknowledge the true issues facing our society and developing plans to address these.
There is no magic pill or quick fix that will overnight turn South Africa into the land of milk and honey for all. Our failures have cost us the first generation of “born frees”, who are not able to actively participate in our economy, because we have failed to educate them properly, we have failed to build our economy and we have failed to build our reputation with the world as a desirable investment destination. It will take the hard work, dedication and commitment of the entire nation to get us out of the hole we have dug for ourselves. We need stronger, better leaders whose goal is the betterment of the lives of all South Africans, not to achieve personal power and wealth.
Once again, we are at a cross roads. Which path do you chose?
I just finished listening to the book “The New Human Rights Movement” written by Peter Josef.
This is really a well research and well-written book. Two years ago I watched the three documentaries created by Peter Josef, Zeitgeist 1, 2 and 3. I was wondering why he has been so quiet the last two years from 2015 to 2016. Turns out he was doing research and writing this book. Well worth the wait and time well spent by him. I think it can be used as a reference manual in future for humanity, state, and communities.
Implementing his ideas detailed in his book, if they are ever implemented in the larger society, will take a long time. The idea behind “New-future eco estates” is to create something similar to what he envisioned but just on a smaller scale. This can be done practically by a few people coming together and intentionally creating a “self-sufficient community”. The idea is not to be 100% independent, but to be as independent as possible. The details of how this will work are still open for debate and research.
I think if we start researching now, and organising now that we can start something in 2022. If we can get like minded and interested people together and start envisioning and designing what we want to create. The first meeting will be 2 September 2017, in the Westrand of Johannesburg.
If anyone is interested in joining please sms me on 082 940 1858.
The book can be hear here:
and downloaded here:
I have a dream. A place where people can live in harmony with each other. A place where we as a community can meet most of our own needs. A place where we can live independently, but also interdependently. Where we will have privacy, but also community. We will not fight the existing system but create an alternative better system. Where we will be better able to meet our needs and each others needs. This is my dream.
This website will be about how to practically create this in reality.
Some of the main areas that will be dealt with is:
This is still work in progress, but the idea is to experiment, research, and implement. To see what works and what does not. Then to develop a model that can be replicated in other areas.
If you share my dream or are interested in finding out more the: