Saturday, January 23, 2016



This is how much of the tax payers money is wasted by the ANC Government   

Stes de Necker

Much has been said about the cost to upgrade South African president, Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla residence, with chants of “pay back the money” still echoing down the corridors of Parliament.
And while the likes of The Economic Freedom Fighters and the Democratic Alliance have used Nkandla as a political football to win votes, a relatively innocuous sum of money – when compared to R700 billion lost to corruption over the last 20 years – has incensed the country’s citizens to a point of frenzy.

The South African public has been bombarded with media reports about government projects or branches using up millions, and often billions, of taxpayers’ money.

These range from irregular and wasteful expenditure at provincial and municipal level, to infrastructure projects which often balloon far past their original budgets.

The figures presented are often way beyond the comprehension of the every-man. So when broken down, how much do these billions of Rands translate to an individual’s direct exposure to them?

Cost Expressed in terms of the South African tax base

While income tax makes up 34% of the fiscus, VAT, company tax and other levies effectively all come out of the pockets of the South African public and business owners.

Determining the exact number of taxpayers is a tricky affair. In May 2015, union Solidarity found that approximately 3.3 million taxpayers paid 93% of all income tax in the country.

This is the figure used for the calculations below, as it comprises the vast majority of tax-payers in the country.

Breaking the tax groups down further, however, reveals that the tax numbers are even more disproportionate – with 1.1 million taxpayers paying as much as 70% of all income tax, according to Solidarity.

To present the data as accurately as possible, BusinessTech selected three groups – the bulk taxpayers; SARS registered taxpayers; as well as all eligible tax payers in the country.

This translates to:
Taxpayers – 3.3 million
SARS registered taxpayers – 15.4 million
Eligible tax payers – 33 million 

This is how much – in theory – that individuals paid in some of the more high-profile cases of public spending or wasteful expenditure in South Africa.

1. Nkandla Security Upgrades
Reported cost
Cost per taxpayer
Cost per SARS registered taxpayer
Cost per citizen
R246 million

The security upgrades at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead have captured the most attention as an example of the improper use of taxpayer’s money in recent times.
The per person tax burden is however, relatively minor, at R75 – or R75 too much.

2. African Union Fees
Reported cost
Cost per taxpayer
Cost per SARS registered taxpayer
Cost per citizen
R700 million

South Africa pays R700 million a year to be a part of the African Union. In June, the DA challenged the “outrageous” amount, seeking answers as to why the contribution was so high.
Described as a “colossal waste”, the figure splits to around R210 per taxpayer.

3. Prasa Afro 4000 trains
Reported cost
Cost per taxpayer
Cost per SARS registered taxpayer
Cost per citizen
R3.5 billion
R1 060

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) hit the headlines when it was found that the 70 Afro 4000 trains it had purchased from Spain earlier this year, did not meet the specification requirements for South African rails.
The trains were purchased for R3.5 billion, which works out to an average individual tax burden of over R1,000 for equipment which the group has admitted, simply does not work effectively.

4. Gauteng wasteful expenditure (2015)
Reported cost
Cost per taxpayer
Cost per SARS registered taxpayer
Cost per citizen
R5 billion
R1 515

It was announced on 1 September that Gauteng incurred over R5.8 billion in irregular expenditure in the 2014/15 financial year – up from R3.8 billion in the previous year.
According to Gauteng premier David Makhura, this was due to a failure to comply with financial management laws in the province.
Translated to individual citizens, this is around an average of over R1,500 per person, that simply cannot be accounted for.

5. Municipalities irregular expenditure (2014)
Reported cost
Cost per taxpayer
Cost per SARS registered taxpayer
Cost per citizen
R11.5 billion
R3 484

In June 2015, the auditor general revealed that 264 municipalities across South Africa had been exposed to a combined R11.5 billion in irregular expenditure in the 2014 financial year.
This includes fruitless and wasteful expenditure, and a multitude of non-compliance issues with procurement. Irregular expenditure refers to monies used or diverted to things they were not intended for.
Split among the tax paying population, this means individuals were directly exposed to about R3,400, on average.

6. E-toll guarantees
Reported cost
Cost per taxpayer
Cost per SARS registered taxpayer
Cost per citizen
R31 billion
R9 393
R2 013
The controversial e-tolling system has been met with visceral opposition since the scale and full financial burden on Gauteng road users came to light.
While Sanral and the department of transport struggle to get the user-pays principal to stick with motorists, the government has meanwhile placed a guarantee of R31 billion in payments for the system, which needs to be met whether Gauteng road users pay or not.
Government has already bailed out Sanral with regards the the e-tolling system, using state funds, meaning that South African taxpayers are accountable for just over R9,300 a head for the full amount.

 7. Public works wasteful expenditure (2009 – 2014)
Reported cost
Cost per taxpayer
Cost per SARS registered taxpayer
Cost per citizen
R35 billion
R10 606
R2 272
R1 060
In 2014, the public works department reportedly lost just under R35 billion in wrongful and wasted construction or leasing of state buildings over 5 years.
If you were paying taxes over that time, this would have come at an average R10,600 individual cost to you.

8. SA nuclear plans
Reported cost
Cost per taxpayer
Cost per SARS registered taxpayer
Cost per citizen
R500 billion
R151 515
R32 467
R15 151
South Africa has entered into agreements with Russian firms to construct several nuclear power plants in the country.
While details surrounding how these projects will be funded are sketchy and obscure, taxpayers will undoubtedly enter into the equation in paying the estimated optimistic R500 billion price tag.
If the entire project comes from public funds, it will be at an average cost of R150,000 per tax payer. If the DA’s estimates of the costs ballooning to R1 trillion become a reality, the burden would double to R300,000.
According to the DA, even if the initial estimate of R500 billion are accurate, the project is not affordable.

9. Corruption (1995 – 2015)
Reported cost
Cost per taxpayer
Cost per SARS registered taxpayer
Cost per citizen
R700 billion
R212 000
R45 000
R21 000
In January, the Institute of Internal Auditors reported that South Africa has lost R700 billion to corruption over the last 20 years.
Breaking it down across the selected demographics, every citizen in the country has, on average, thus spent R21,000 in that time – or just over R1,050 a year.
Spread across bulk tax payers, the figure climbs massively to R212,000.

The above adds up to:
1. Irregular Expenditure  R11,746 Bill.
2. Wasteful Expenditure R575,200 Bill.
3. Corruption                     R700,000 Bill

Total                                    R1,286,946 Bill

That amounts to a staggering R3,526 Bill. per day!

If that figure doesn’t scare you, nothing will.

Sunday, January 10, 2016




When the majority is hijacked by the minority

Stes de Necker

Like in so many cases throughout the world, where the majority is kept ransom by the minority, the ‘goodwill majority’ of South Africa is kept ransom by a malicious minority.

South Africa is a country where 80% of the population are Christians, professing the doctrine of peace and harmony. Yet when we look at the news on television and read the stories of the press, one would hardly believe that South Africa is a country of peace and good will.


Why does South Africans always gets portrayed as racist in a country of conflict and animosity along the racial divide.  

The reason is simple.

Because political leaders and the media are manipulating the truth to push forward their political agendas.

Many political leaders and even the news media, would normally rush to interpret all land reform debates and differences on this matter as the result of the previous Nationalist Government’s policy of ‘apartheid’; the ongoing 'blood feud' between black and white.
This is misleading and incorrect. While the current dissatisfaction and strife between white and black South Africans over this issue may be substantiated or predictable, it remains absolutely inexcusable.

It is the result of the news media and government's manipulation of our emotions and the lack of knowledge and understanding of the historical developments that, to a large extent, causes the existing animosity.

Politicians and the news media should know the history and stop blaming the previous Nationalist Government as the architects of “apartheid”. Segregation, dividing people on the basis of the colour of their skin, was NOT the creation of the previous National Government.

“Apartheid” has a long history of political purpose and ideology.

Long before Verwoerd was born or when the first mentioning of the word apartheid was ever made, living and working in South Africa was regulated along the colour divide.

The Glen Grey Act of  1894

Glen Grey was the former name for the area around Lady Frere, east of Queenstown, in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.

It gave its name to the Glen Grey Act, an 1894 act of the parliament of the Cape Colony, instigated by the government of Prime Minister Cecil John Rhodes, which established a system of individual (rather than communal) land tenure, and created a labour tax to force Xhosa men into employment on commercial farms or in industry.

The act was so named because, although it was later extended to a larger area, it initially applied only in the Glen Grey district which later became part of the Transkei Homeland.

The Act was drafted by Cecil John Rhodes and his secretary Milton and it was geared towards dealing with three main issues: land, labour and the franchise.

The ideas of the Act were rooted in two commissions previously set up by the colonial government- the Cape Commission on Native Laws (1883) and the Glen Grey Commission (1893).

Additionally, the Act was influenced by the views of various colonial administrators in the Transkeian Territories and the Afrikaner Bond all formed the basis of the Glen Grey Act. In essence, Rhodes’ view was that “natives” must be treated differently from the Europeans.

Rhodes claimed his intention through the Act was to “give natives interest in the land, allow the superior minds among them to attend to their local wants, remove the canteens, and give them a stimulus in labour.”

Cecil John Rhodes called the Glen Grey Act the ‘Bill of Africa’ because he envisaged that it would be extended to cover not just the Transkeian territories and any district in the Cape Colony occupied what he called an ‘aboriginal native’, but he ambitiously saw the Act being extended to other British colonies outside South Africa.

When the Glen Grey Act was promulgated, it provided for the division of all unalienated land in the Glen Grey district into locations. The locations were surveyed and divided into portions of about four morgens (3.43 hectares) for each existing occupier and other claimants which were approved by the governor. Land could not be mortgaged and the remaining land was to serve as commonage. 

Alienation and transfer of land was to be approved by the governor. There was to be no subletting or subdivision of the land, the principle of “one man one plot” was to be applied.  Portions of allocated land were to be passed in the family by the law of primogeniture, (where the firstborn male child inherits the property). Land could be forfeited if the person granted the land failed to pay the cost of survey or quitrent per year and for rebellion.

Each location established by the Act was placed under the control of a board of three people from resident landholders appointed by the governor. The board dealt with issues such as overstocking of livestock and commonages.  The government levied an annual tax of 5 Shillings on every land holder and 10 Shillings on every male adult living in the district judged by the magistrate to be fit for labour to finance it activities. However, those who worked outside the district for 3 months or more were exempt from tax for that year. Rhodes rejected the idea of making more land available to the Africans as a solution to what he viewed as a problem of an increasing African population. 

As Edgecombe notes, “The main purpose of the land provision was to fix the existing population to the land. Any increase would subsequently have to go out and work.”

This Act later served as the ‘benchmark’ of African land-holding for subsequent land allocation Laws in South Africa. 

The Natives Land Act (No: 27 of 1913)

The most important piece of legislation passed by the (then) Government of South Africa, was the promulgation of the Natives Land Act (No: 27) on 19 June 1913.

This act had a profound effect on the African population across the country. It also laid down the foundation for other legislation which further entrenched dispossession of African people and segregation later of Coloured and Indian people.

The Act defined a “native” as “any person, male or female, who is a member of an aboriginal race or tribe of Africa; and shall further include any company or other body of persons, corporate or unincorporate, if the persons who have a controlling interest therein are natives.”

Evidently, this affected millions of Africans. The Act’s most catastrophic provision for Africans was the prohibition from buying or hiring land in 93% of South Africa. In essence, Africans despite being more in number were confined to ownership of 7% South Africa’s land. This was increased to 13.5% by the Native and Land Trust Act which was passed in 1936.

Section 1, sub section ‘a’ of the 1913 Natives Land Act states, “a native shall not enter into any agreement or transaction for the purchase, hire, or other acquisition from a person other than a native, of any such land or of any right thereto, interest therein, or servitude thereover.” However, Africans were permitted to buy and sell land in reserves or scheduled areas while Whites were prohibited from owning land in these places as the Act stated:
“A person other than a native shall not enter into any agreement or transaction for the purchase, hire, or other acquisition from a native of any such land or of any right thereto, interest therein, or servitude there over.”

The Act also included anti-squatting provisions to stop share cropping and also defined the boundaries of reserves which were referred to as scheduled areas.

Harvey Feinberg and Andre Horn state that “scheduled areas encompassed land which Africans had acquired by grant from the South African Republic of Orange Free State government, previously created locations or reserves, land owned under the informal and formal trusteeship system which emerged in the nineteenth century in the Transvaal, and land purchased in the Cape and Natal.”

Loosely defined a squatter was a “native” tenant who paid for his tenancy using money or sharing part of his produce with the farmer.  Consequently, the effect of the Land Act was “to eliminate black tenants and to replace them in white areas by black servants or labourers who would no longer be allowed to lease land in white areas.”

Marleen Flemmer points out that the Act was passed to alleviate the problem of poor white farm labourers who were competing for employment in farms with black labourers, especially “native” tenant farmers.

Pressure to introduce such legislation came more especially from the Transvaal and the Orange Free State where the aforementioned issue was a problem. According to Patricia Gratten Dickson, “The Native Land Act was also a measure designed to protect whites not only the rich white farmers who were assured of the lion’s share of available land, but the landless by owners who thereafter assured of work on farms of others, and the urban poor whites who could no longer be forced to compete with skilled or semi skilled natives.” Thus, the Act went beyond just dispossessing people of their land, it closed avenues of livelihood for Africans other than to work for white farmers and industrialists. 

It is important to note that the Land Act was passed before a decision was made on which land was to be allocated or reserved for black people, and which land was to be allocated to white people.
Until this was resolved, the government maintained the status quo by prohibiting blacks from obtaining land outside the so called “scheduled areas.” Thus, a clause in the Act to establish a commission which would look into the issue of finding land for black and whites was an attempt by the government to implement the Act.

As a consequence, the Native Land Commission (NLC) was established.

The Native Land Commission (Beaumont Commission)

The Native Land Commission was proclaimed in August 1913.

Sir William Beaumont, a former administrator in Natal and Supreme Court judge, was appointed as its head. The commission, which also became known as the Beaumont Commission, began its work on 8 September 1913.  

The commission was granted two years to accomplish its work and submit a report which would then be used to demarcate land. It was tasked with investigating the availability of land and defining boundaries for permanent territorial segregation between black and white people. The two basic questions were:

1. “What areas within the Union of South Africa should lie set apart as areas with which Natives shall not be permitted to acquire or hire land or interests in land?”

2. “What areas within the Union of South Africa should be set apart as areas within which persons other than Natives shall not be permitted to acquire or hire land or interests in land?”

In simple, the primary purpose of the Commission in answering these questions was to find land within South Africa and divide it between Black and White people with legal boundaries to regulate its ownership. Between 1913 and the submission of its report in March 1916, the Beaumont Commission went around the country outlining boundaries and recommending which areas were to be allocated to White people and which one were to be allocated to Black people.

When the commission filed its findings, it recommended a limited increase in African areas. 

However the final decision was left to each province of the Union. All provinces except the Cape reduced area originally recommended by the committee. However, this was not implemented until 1936.

During the Commission’s work, racial prejudice which presumed White people’s superiority over Black people became evident.

For instance, the commissioner notes the Europeans who lived in Kwelera-Maoiplaats were “sadly lacking in much that proves the superiority of the white over the black.”

Subsequently, he recommended the area for Native occupation because it was a “poor soil with a steep and sour pasturage of so limited extent”.

“Only a Kaffir (black person), with his limited requirements could be expected to exist upon such terms.” He adds that in assessing the area’s suitability for settlement, he did not consult the “natives” in case they became “aggressive and annoying to their European neighbours.”
Source: (Report of the Land Commissioner, Vol. 1, Appendix VIII).

The impact of the Land Act

Perhaps the most visible impact of the Act was that it denied Africans access to land which they owned or had been leasing from White famers.

Sol Plaatje wrote, “As a result of the passing of the Natives Land Act groups of natives are to be seen in the different Provinces seeking for new land. They have crossed over from the Free State into Natal, from Natal into the Transvaal, and from the Transvaal into British Bechuanaland” (Native Life in South Africa, p.99).

Evidently, the Act seized the very asset which was central to lives of African people and rendered them destitute.   

The Act also “minimized competition by denying blacks the right to purchase land and the opportunity to become shareholders on white owned land.” In essence, the Land Act marked the end of the limited independence which African farmers had on White-owned land. In spite of the Land Act, sharecropping and labour tenancy continued. This was because of the long delay in its implementation and because White landlords who wanted to keep sharecroppers or rent tenants found ways of getting round the law.

Meanwhile African farm workers struggled to hold on to a land of their own, no matter how small the piece. Thus, the impact of the Land Act to black people was profound.

It dispossessed and locked black people in servitude. As Solomon Plaatjie wrote, ““The section of the law debarring Natives from hiring land is particularly harsh. It has been explained that its major portion is intended to reduce Natives to serfs” (Native Life in South Africa, p.100).

African people forced to move to the reserves often could not find enough fertile land to use for crops
Immediately after the passing of the Land Act, White farmers began issuing notices of eviction to Black people. R.W. Msimang documented some of these notices in his book Natives Land Act 1913, Specific Cases of Evictions and Hardships etc. The position of African farmers was weakened further when the government began to offer low-interest loans to White farmers. These loans enabled White farmers to make improvements to their farms and buy agricultural machinery. They could now farm directly on land which had previously been allocated to sharecroppers. By 1936, nearly half of the African workers in towns had migrated from White farms.

African farmers who owned land inside and outside the reserves did not receive any aid from the government in the form of loans. They therefore found it increasingly difficult to compete with White farmers who could use improved methods and expand their farms.

Lastly, the Act laid down the foundation for separate development through the development of Bantustans, or Homelands.

Obviously the Natives Land Act sparked fierce opposition particularly by Black African people.
While the Act was still a Bill in parliament on 21 March 1913, John L Dube, President of the South African Native National Congress (SANNC), published an article “Wrong Policy” in the newspaper ILanga Lase Natal.

He criticised the Native Land Bill and stated that it was intended to keep Africans down, to tell them “Get out, 'Foutsek' (sic), to go back to your locations, or else go back to work for your white masters.”

The Native Land Act was the first stage in drawing a permanent line between Africans and non Africans.”

In essence, the Land Act became a critical edifice in the construction of a racially and spatially divided South Africa. Subsequent Acts such as The Native Trust and Land Act 18 of 1936, the Urban Areas Act (1923), Natives and Land Trust Act (1936) and the Group Areas Act (1950) reinforced the land dispossession and segregation in South Africa.

The Native Trust and Land Act 18 of 1936 

The Native Trust and Land Act made provision for the establishment of the South African Native Trust, a state agency to administer trust land, and "to be administered for the settlement, support, benefit, and material welfare of the natives of the Union".

The Act abolished individual land ownership by black people and introduced trust tenure through the creation of the South African Development Trust, which was a government body responsible for purchasing land in "released areas" for black settlement. 

In terms of section 2(1) of the Act, certain areas of land (including land identified in the Natives Land Act) were transferred to the Native Trust to be administered by the Trust. Vested in the Trust was land reserved for the occupation of natives and land within the scheduled native areas as identified in the Natives Land Act.

The South African Native Trust Fund was created and the funds utilized to acquire and develop land of the Trust, to advance the interest of natives in scheduled native areas, and to generally assist and develop the "material, moral and social well-being of natives" residing on Trust land.

The Act further empowered the Trust to acquire land for native settlement, but limited the amount of land that could be acquired in this regard to approximately 13% of the total land. The land which could be acquired by the Trust was further limited to land within the scheduled native areas or within released areas.

The Act created "reserves" for black people and increased the 8% of land reserved by the Natives Land Act to 13%, confining 80% of the population to this area. In order to achieve the objectives of the Act, section 13 empowered the trustees of the Trust to expropriate land owned by natives outside a scheduled area for reasons of public health or for any other reason which would promote public welfare or be in the public interest. Compensation paid upon expropriation was determined by the fair market value of the land without any improvements, plus the value of the necessary or useful improvements; plus the value of luxurious improvements (limited to the actual cost of such improvements) plus a sum compensating for inconvenience.

It is obvious that the Native Trust and Land Act was an important instrument used by the then government to facilitate its policy of racial segregation. The Act stripped black South Africans of their right to own land or even to live outside demarcated areas without proper authorization by the relevant authorities. It is clear that this Act furthered the objective of racial segregation, which eventually necessitated the need for land reform. 

The shadow of the Natives Land Act and other legislations that followed are even still evident in the post Apartheid South Africa. A significant proportion of arable land remains in the ownership of white farmers.

All subsequent measures instituted by the current South African Government, dealing with land redistribution and land claims, are all attempts to deal with a legacy of systematic dispossession of land in South Africa. 

Apartheid under national Party rule

What makes South Africa's apartheid era so different to segregation and racial hatred that have occurred in many other countries, is the systematic way in which the National Party, which came into power in 1948, formalised and enacted the principles of segregation.   

What the Nationalist Government in South Africa did, starting in 1948, was to define and enforce the principles and objectives that were already entrenched in pre-1948 'apartheid' legislation. 

The main laws are described below:

Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, Act No 55 of 1949
Prohibited marriages between white people and people of other races. Between 1946 and the enactment of this law, only 75 mixed marriages had been recorded, compared with some 28,000 white marriages.

Immorality Amendment Act, Act No 21 of 1950; amended in 1957 (Act 23)
Prohibited adultery, attempted adultery or related immoral acts (extra-marital sex) between white and black people.

Population Registration Act, Act No 30 of 1950
Led to the creation of a national register in which every person's race was recorded. A Race Classification Board took the final decision on what a person's race was in disputed cases.

Group Areas Act, Act No 41 of 1950
Forced physical separation between races by creating different residential areas for different races. Led to forced removals of people living in "wrong" areas, for example Coloureds living in District Six in Cape Town.

Suppression of Communism Act, Act No 44 of 1950
Outlawed communism and the Community Party in South Africa. Communism was defined so broadly that it covered any call for radical change. Communists could be banned from participating in a political organisation and restricted to a particular area.

Bantu Building Workers Act, Act No 27 of 1951
Allowed black people to be trained as artisans in the building trade, something previously reserved for whites only, but they had to work within an area designated for blacks. Made it a criminal offence for a black person to perform any skilled work in urban areas except in those sections designated for black occupation.

Separate Representation of Voters Act, Act No 46 of 1951
Together with the 1956 amendment, this act led to the removal of Coloureds from the common voters' roll.

Prevention of Illegal Squatting Act, Act No 52 of 1951
Gave the Minister of Native Affairs the power to remove blacks from public or privately owned land and to establishment resettlement camps to house these displaced people.

Bantu Authorities Act, Act No 68 of 1951
Provided for the establishment of black homelands and regional authorities and, with the aim of creating greater self-government in the homelands, abolished the Native Representative Council.

Natives Laws Amendment Act of 1952
Narrowed the definition of the category of blacks who had the right of permanent residence in towns. Section 10 limited this to those who'd been born in a town and had lived there continuously for not less than 15 years, or who had been employed there continuously for at least 15 years, or who had worked continuously for the same employer for at least 10 years.

Natives (Abolition of Passes and Co-ordination of Documents) Act, Act No 67 of 1952
Commonly known as the Pass Laws, this ironically named act forced black people to carry identification with them at all times. A pass included a photograph, details of place of origin, employment record, tax payments, and encounters with the police. It was a criminal offence to be unable to produce a pass when required to do so by the police. No black person could leave a rural area for an urban one without a permit from the local authorities. On arrival in an urban area a permit to seek work had to be obtained within 72 hours.

Native Labour (Settlement of Disputes) Act of 1953
Prohibited strike action by blacks.

Bantu Education Act, Act No 47 of 1953
Established a Black Education Department in the Department of Native Affairs which would compile a curriculum that suited the "nature and requirements of the black people". The author of the legislation, Dr Hendrik Verwoerd (then Minister of Native Affairs, later Prime Minister), stated that its aim was to prevent Africans receiving an education that would lead them to aspire to positions they wouldn't be allowed to hold in society. Instead Africans were to receive an education designed to provide them with skills to serve their own people in the homelands or to work in labouring jobs under whites.

Reservation of Separate Amenities Act, Act No 49 of 1953
Forced segregation in all public amenities, public buildings, and public transport with the aim of eliminating contact between whites and other races. "Europeans Only" and "Non-Europeans Only" signs were put up. The act stated that facilities provided for different races need not be equal.

Natives Resettlement Act, Act No 19 of 1954

Group Areas Development Act, Act No 69 of 1955

Natives (Prohibition of Interdicts) Act, Act No 64 of 1956
Denied black people the option of appealing to the courts against forced removals.

Bantu Investment Corporation Act, Act No 34 of 1959
Provided for the creation of financial, commercial, and industrial schemes in areas designated for black people.

Extension of University Education Act, Act 45 of 1959
Put an end to black students attending white universities (mainly the universities of Cape Town and Witwatersrand). Created separate tertiary institutions for whites, Coloured, blacks, and Asians.

Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act, Act No 46 of 1959
Classified black people into eight ethnic groups. Each group had a Commissioner-General who was tasked to develop a homeland for each, which would be allowed to govern itself independently without white intervention.

Coloured Persons Communal Reserves Act, Act No 3 of 1961

Preservation of Coloured Areas Act, Act No 31 of 1961

Urban Bantu Councils Act, Act No 79 of 1961
Created black councils in urban areas that were supposed to be tied to the authorities running the related ethnic homeland.

Terrorism Act of 1967
Allowed for indefinite detention without trial and established BOSS, the Bureau of State Security, which was responsible for the internal security of South Africa.

Bantu Homelands Citizens Act of 1970
Compelled all black people to become a citizen of the homeland that responded to their ethnic group, regardless of whether they'd ever lived there or not, and removed their South African citizenship.

Until such time that we can wipe out the legacy of the past, peaceful coexistence in South Africa will remain a pipedream.



Friday, January 8, 2016




Stes de Necker

Currently, no less than three highly controversial and top secret trade agreements, that will affect the lives of every person on this planet, are being ironed out. Yet we apparently have no right to decide whether we want them- or even to know the exact details of the draft legislation.

These are the:
  • TTIP (Trans-Atlantic Partnership Agreement) 
  • TISA (Trade in Services Agreement) and
  • TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement)

1. Trans-Atlantic Partnership Agreement

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in particular, is of huge concern.

The TTIP is a series of trade negotiations being carried out mostly in secret between the EU and US.

As a bi-lateral trade agreement, TTIP is about reducing the regulatory barriers to trade for big business, things like food safety law, environmental legislation, banking regulations and the sovereign powers of individual nations.

Since before TTIP negotiations began last February, the process has been secretive and undemocratic.
This secrecy is on-going, with nearly all information on negotiations coming from leaked documents and Freedom of Information requests.

But worryingly, the covert nature of the talks may well be the least of our problems. Here are six other reasons why we everyone should be scared of TTIP: 

1 The National Health Service 

Public services, especially the NHS, are in the firing line. One of the main aims of TTIP is to open up Europe’s public health, education and water services to US companies. This could essentially mean the privatisation of the NHS.

The European Commission has claimed that public services will be kept out of TTIP. However, according to the Huffington Post, the UK Trade Minister Lord Livingston has admitted that talks about the NHS were still on the table.

2 Food and environmental safety

TTIP’s ‘regulatory convergence’ agenda will seek to bring EU standards on food safety and the environment closer to those of the US. But US regulations are much less strict, with 70 per cent of all processed foods sold in US supermarkets now containing genetically modified ingredients.

By contrast, the EU allows virtually no GM foods. The US also has far laxer restrictions on the use of pesticides. It also uses growth hormones in its beef which are restricted in Europe due to links to cancer.

US farmers have tried to have these restrictions lifted repeatedly in the past through the World Trade Organisation and it is likely that they will use TTIP to do so again.

The same goes for the environment, where the EU’s REACH regulations are far tougher on potentially toxic substances. In Europe a company has to prove a substance is safe before it can be used; in the US the opposite is true: any substance can be used until it is proven unsafe. As an example, the EU currently bans 1,200 substances from use in cosmetics; the US just 12.

3 Banking regulations

TTIP cuts both ways. The UK, under the influence of the all-powerful City of London, is thought to be seeking a loosening of US banking regulations. They were put into place after the financial crisis to directly curb the powers of bankers and avoid a similar crisis happening again. TTIP, it is feared, will remove those restrictions, effectively handing all those powers back to the bankers.

4 Privacy

Remember ACTA (the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement)? It was thrown out by a massive majority in the European Parliament in 2012 after a huge public backlash against what was rightly seen as an attack on individual privacy where internet service providers would be required to monitor people’s online activity. 

It’s feared that TTIP could be bringing back ACTA’s central elements, proving that if the democratic approach doesn’t work, there’s always the back door. An easing of data privacy laws and a restriction of public access to pharmaceutical companies’ clinical trials are also thought to be on the cards.

5 Jobs

The EU has admitted that TTIP will probably cause unemployment as jobs switch to the US, where labour standards and trade union rights are lower. It has even advised EU members to draw on European support funds to compensate for the expected unemployment.

Examples from other similar bi-lateral trade agreements around the world support the case for job losses.  The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the US, Canada and Mexico caused the loss of one million US jobs over 12 years, instead of the hundreds of thousands of extra that were promised.

6 Democracy

TTIP’s biggest threat to society is its inherent assault on democracy. One of the main aims of TTIP is the introduction of Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS), which allow companies to sue governments if those governments’ policies cause a loss of profits. In effect it means unelected transnational corporations can dictate the policies of democratically elected governments.

ISDSs are already in place in other bi-lateral trade agreements around the world and have led to such injustices as in Germany where Swedish energy company Vattenfall is suing the German government for billions of dollars over its decision to phase out nuclear power plants in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan. Here we see a public health policy put into place by a democratically elected government being threatened by an energy giant because of a potential loss of profit. Nothing could be more cynically anti-democratic.

There are around 500 similar cases of businesses versus nations going on around the world at the moment and they are all taking place before ‘arbitration tribunals’ made up of corporate lawyers appointed on an ad hoc basis, which according to War on Want’s John Hilary, are “little more than kangaroo courts” with “a vested interest in ruling in favour of business.”

Like most people we have no say whatsoever in whether TTIP goes through or not.  All we can do is tell as many people about it as possible. We may be forced to accept an attack on democracy but we can at least fight against the conspiracy of silence.

2. The Trade in Services Agreement 

TiSA is a proposed international trade treaty between 23 Parties, including the European Union and the United States. The agreement aims at liberalizing the worldwide trade of services such as banking, health care and transport.

 Criticism about the secrecy of the agreement arose after a classified draft of the agreement was leaked in June 2014.   

The process was an initiative of the United States.

It was proposed to a group of countries meeting in Geneva and called the “Really Good Friends”. All negotiating meetings took place in Geneva. The EU and the US are the main proponents of the agreement, and the authors of most joint changes. The participating countries started crafting the proposed agreement in February 2012 and presented initial offers at the end of 2013.

The agreement covers about 70% of the global services economy. Its aim is privatizing the worldwide trade of services such as banking, healthcare and transport.

Services comprise 75% of American economic output; in EU states, almost 75% of its employment and gross domestic product.

Initially having 16 members, TISA has been expanded to include 23 parties. Since the European Union represents 28 member states, there are 50 countries represented.

The number of countries represented in each continent are: 32 in Europe, 7 in Asia, 5 in North America, 3 in South America, 2 in Oceania, and 1 in Africa.

The agreement has also been heavily criticized for the secrecy around the negotiation.

The cover page of the leaked draft states: "Declassify on: Five years from entry into force of the TISA agreement or, if no agreement enters into force, five years from the close of the negotiations."

Because of this practice it is not possible to be informed about the liberalizing rules that the participating countries propose for any future agreement.

A preliminary analysis of the Financial Services Annex by prominent free trade critic Professor Jane Kelsey, Faculty of Law, University of AucklandNew Zealand, states that:  
"The TiSA treaty would further liberalize trade and investment in services, and expand "regulatory disciplines" on all services sectors, including many public services.

The "disciplines," or treaty rules, would provide all foreign providers access to domestic markets at "no less favorable" conditions as domestic suppliers and would restrict governments' ability to regulate, purchase and provide services. This would essentially change the regulation of many public and privatized or commercial services from serving the public interest to serving the profit interests of private, foreign corporations.”

Impacts of the law may include "whether people can get loans or buy insurance and at what prices as well as what jobs may be available."

Dr. Patricia Ranald, a research associate at the University of Sydney, said:
“Amendments from the US are seeking to end publicly provided services like public pension funds, which are referred to as 'monopolies' and to limit public regulation of all financial services ... They want to freeze financial regulation at existing levels, which would mean that governments could not respond to new developments like another global financial crisis."

Regarding the secrecy of the draft, Professor Kelsey commented: "The secrecy of negotiating documents exceeds even the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and runs counter to moves in the WTO towards greater openness." Johnston adds, "It is impossible to obey a law or know how it affects you when the law is secret."

3. The Trans-Pacific Partnership 

The TPP is a trade agreement among twelve Pacific Rim countries concerning a variety of matters of economic policy, which was reached on 5 October 2015 after 7 years of negotiations.

The agreement's stated goal had been to "promote economic growth; support the creation and retention of jobs; enhance innovation, productivity and competitiveness; raise living standards; reduce poverty in our countries; and promote transparency, good governance, and enhanced labor and environmental protections."

Among other things, the TPP Agreement contains measures to lower trade barriers such as tariffs, and establish an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (but states can opt out from tobacco-related measures).

The United States government has considered the TPP as the companion agreement to the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the broadly similar agreement between the United States and the European Union.

Historically, the TPP is an expansion of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP or P4), which was signed by BruneiChileNew Zealand, and Singapore in 2005.
Beginning in 2008, additional countries joined the discussion for a broader agreement: AustraliaCanadaJapanMalaysiaMexicoPeru, the United States, and Vietnam, bringing the total number of participating countries in the negotiations to twelve.

Current trade agreements between participating countries, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, will be reduced to those provisions that do not conflict with the TPP, or that provide greater trade liberalization than the TPP.

Participating nations reached agreement on 5 October 2015.

Implementing the TPP has been one of the trade agenda goals of the Obama administration in the US.

On 5 October 2015 (then) Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper expected "signatures on the finalized text and deal early in the new year, and ratification over the next two years." A version of the text of the treaty "Subject to Legal Review (...) for Accuracy, Clarity and Consistency" was made public on 5 November 2015, the same day President Obama notified Congress that he intends to sign it.

A number of global health professionals, internet freedom activists, environmentalists, trade unions, advocacy groups, and elected officials have criticized and protested against the treaty, in large part again because of the secrecy of negotiations, the agreement's expansive scope, and controversial clauses in drafts leaked to the public.

In December 2014 Senator  Bernie Sanders denounced the TPP saying:
“Let’s be clear: the TPP is much more than a “free trade” agreement. It is part of a global race to the bottom to boost the profits of large corporations and Wall Street by outsourcing jobs; undercutting worker rights; dismantling labor, environmental, health, food safety and financial laws; and allowing corporations to challenge our laws in international tribunals rather than our own court system. If TPP was such a good deal for America, the administration should have the courage to show the American people exactly what is in this deal, instead of keeping the content of the TPP a secret.” 

A June 2015 article in the New England Journal of Medicine summarized concerns about TPP's impact on healthcare in developed and less developed countries including potentially increased prices of medical drugs due to patent extensions, which it claimed, could threaten millions of lives.

Extending "data exclusivity" provisions would "prevent drug regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration from registering a generic version of a drug for a certain number of years."
International tribunals that have been a part of the proposed agreement could theoretically require corporations be paid compensation for any lost profits found to result from a nation's regulations. That in turn might interfere with domestic health policy.

A number of United States Congressional members, including Senator Bernard Sanders and Representatives Sander M. LevinJohn ConyersJim McDermott and the now-retired Henry Waxman, as well as  John LewisCharles B. RangelEarl BlumenauerLloyd Doggett and then-congressman Pete Stark, expressed concerns about access to medicine.

By protecting intellectual property in the form of the TPP mandating patent extensions, access by patients to affordable medicine in the developing world could be hindered.

Additionally, they worried that the TPP would not be flexible enough to accommodate existing non-discriminatory drug reimbursement programs and the diverse health systems of member countries.

Opponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in New Zealand said U.S. corporations were hoping to weaken the ability of its domestic agency Pharmac to get inexpensive, generic medicines by forcing it to otherwise pay considerably higher prices for brand name drugs.

Physicians and organizations including Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) also expressed concern.

In 2014, Noam Chomsky warned that the TPP is "designed to carry forward the neoliberal project to maximise profit and domination, and to set the working people in the world in competition with one another so as to lower wages to increase insecurity."

Senator Bernie Sanders who opposes fast track, stated that trade agreements like the TPP "have ended up devastating working families and enriching large corporations."

Another Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman, reported, "... I'll be undismayed and even a bit relieved if the T.P.P. just fades away", and said that "... there isn't a compelling case for this deal, from either a global or a national point of view." Krugman also noted the absence of "anything like a political consensus in favor, abroad or at home."

Economist Robert Reich contends that the TPP is a "Trojan horse in a global race to the bottom, giving big corporations and Wall Street banks a way to eliminate any and all laws and regulations that get in the way of their profits."

Considering the impact all three of these trade deals will have on democracy, human rights, food, health, safety and the environment, public awareness should be widespread.

Free Trade is definitely not the core objectives of these trade agreements.
Given the global shifts of power with the emergence of new actors, mainly the BRICS countries and in particular China, it is no wonder that questions arise whether the hidden agenda of the TTIP could be part of a broader “West against the Rest” strategy to shore up a US-European alliance against the perceived threat posed by emerging economies in trade and investment negotiations.

With this shift of power, the EU and U.S. trade officials have been frustrated by their inability to obtain all of their negotiating objectives at the WTO and other multilateral forums. However, a key question would be how these trade agreements would affect developing countries’ standing in multilateral negotiations.

The major risk with respect to multilateralism derives from the fact that in an age of an uncertain globalization process and an unclear “new world order,” these trade agreements, in their intention to cement the latter based on the two Western economic superpowers, could actually exacerbate the rivalry of economic blocs and thus deepen the present economic and institutional global crisis.

Worryingly, a huge number of people know next to nothing about these developments.