Sunday, December 15, 2013

South Africa is doing well, however, the brutal work in the mines has to change.

Jac Laubscher
Group Economiist
December 10, 2013

...To my mind, the main reason for the improvement in South Africa’s growth performance after 1994 lies in the lifting of economic sanctions and the subsequent reintegration of the South African economy with the global economy. Although the lifting of trade sanctions was important (the volume of exports plus imports did increase by 65% from 1991 to 1998), with an accompanying improvement in productivity as a result of greater global competition, it was the lifting of specifically financial sanctions that made the critical difference....

Of course the lifting of sanctions improved the economy, but, there is also a larger number of people with money to spend. So, the economic base of Africa is going with the freedom and new government the people achieved.


The Constitutional Court (click here) has settled one of South Africa's most complex, protracted and bitter mining rights disputes in favour of Kumba subsidiary, Sishen Iron Ore Company (Sioc).
A two-part judgment delivered by Justice Chris Jafta and Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke found that Sioc "is the only party competent to apply for and be granted a mining right" to a disputed 21.4% of Sishen, one of the biggest opencast iron ore mines in the world situated in the Northern Cape.
The judgment dealt blows of varying severity to each of Sioc's adversaries – giant steel manufacturer Arcelor Mittal South Africa (Amsa), politically-connected Imperial Crown Trading 289 (ICT) and the department of mineral resources.
Before the new Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act came into play, Sioc held a mining right under the old law which entitled it to 78.6% of Sishen. Amsa held a separate, or "undivided", old order mining right to the remaining 21.4%. Practically speaking, Sioc mined the iron ore and supplied it to Amsa at a negotiated discount....

He served on Robbin Island with Nelson Mandela and was moved to tears at his passing.

South African President Jacob Zuma addresses the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Tuesday. The audience at the service began booing Zuma from the moment he stepped into the stadium.

by Greg Myre and Renee Montagne
December 11, 2013

South African President Jacob Zuma (click here) likes to see himself as following in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela: They made their names in the anti-apartheid movement, they were imprisoned together on Robben Island and they both were elected president.

But that's where the comparison ends.

Zuma, who has been embroiled in multiple corruption and sex scandals, thought he might catch a break and bask in Mandela's reflected glory as the world pays tribute to the iconic figure following his death last week....

It is more than likely President Zuma will not be re-elected.

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 December, 2013, 4:44am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 December, 2013, 4:44am

...Of the 1,000 ANC voters (click here) polled in a representative survey, 33 per cent said they were less likely to vote for the ANC over allegations that Zuma used about US$20 million of public money to upgrade his private residence.
And 42 per cent of the voters said they believed he had abused taxpayer funds....

Zuma is somewhat playing footsies with foreign investors while supporting a position of redistribution of wealth. He is seen as a threat to the advances the Late President Mandela had made by some.

In his corruption charges, Zuma is stated to have been involved with a defense contractor,Schabir Shaik.  In the trial, Shaik was shown to have solicited a bribe of R500 000 per annum for Zuma in return for Zuma's support for the defence contractor Thomson CSF. On 2 June 2005, Shaik was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Fri, 08/12/2000
Thomson-CSF, (click here) the international defence and commercial electronics group, today announces the rebranding of its global operations, with a new corporate identity and a new name: THALES (pron. ta'les).
The move follows a wide-ranging strategic review, which revealed that Thomson-CSF's former corporate identity no longer adequately reflected the reality of the group today.
THALES today is a global business, with operations in nearly 30 countries and over 65,000 employees worldwide - half of them based outside France.
The group's strategy is to leverage its expertise in dual technologies - where military applications can take advantage of advances made in response to the civil market and vice-versa - to achieve balanced growth in both the commercial and military markets....

Kgalema Motlanthe would replace Mbeki until 2009. Today he is Deputy to President Zuma.

He maintained the position on HIV/AIDS that was the denialist of Mbeki, however, he changed the acceptance of Anti-retrovirals and implemented a mass rollout. It was a significant accomplishment for a President that would only serve a short time. It may be that his actions when President will prove to be one of the most profound actions in saving and changing people's lives in South Africa.

He was not verbose, but, had strong opinions. He believed Mugabe was wrong for his policies in Zimbabwe. He also didn't appreciate the way BEE was transforming some citizens into wealthy Africans while leaving the rest behind. He demanded 'One Deal" within BEE per citizen to prevent an elite class of Black Millionaires rather than sincere economic transformation.

While only serving a short time, he may be the one person sincerely dedicated to the development of South Africa, it's people and economy. 

The leaders following the Late President Mandela have been met with mixed success.

The second President of South Africa was Thabo Mbeki. He instituted reforms known as BEE or Black Economic Empowerment. It was a redistribution of assets and actually grew a Middle Class. 

The guiding principles of several African nations was laid down in "The Freedom Charter." It enumerates the equality of race and language.

The flame of freedom in the Freedom Charter Monument in Kliptown, in the Johannesburg metropolitan area. The flame was lit in June 2005 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Charter.

The Freedom Charter existed long before there were free elections in South Africa. It can be compared somewhat to the Declaration of Independence but perhaps more like the Magna Carta, protecting the rights of people under a government rule.

The Freedom Charter is not exclusive to South Africa. It formed a Congress of African nations seeking reform and equality.

Mbeki was criticized for his lack of influence with Mugabe in Zimbabwe. Rather than taking on Mugabe he provided a safe haven for refugees and took a more diplomatic approach in attempting to promote human rights and equality. Eventually, NigeriaAustralia, and South Africa would suspend Zimbabwe from "The Commonwealth," an economic alliance of former British territories.

His position on HIV/AIDS was very controversial. With an estimated 850,000 people infected which was 2.1% of the total population of South Africa, then President Mbeki stated was not caused by HIV. As a result some 350,000 South Africans perished because he refused to treat with anti-retroviral medications.

He fell into scandal similar to that of the current President Zuma, resigned from the Presidency and was later dismissed of the charges.

The ANC has existed as opposition to Europe since 1860.

A man holds up his dompas. Such passes were used as a means of controlling the movement of the majority of South Africans within urban areas. According to apartheid ideology, Black people were only allowed to be in the cities and towns if they carried such pass books. This was part of the Grand Apartheid scheme of Influx Control. Black workers were required to carry their Dompas at all times and were subject to spot checks.

A brief history of the African National Congress (click here)

Our struggle for freedom has a long history. It goes back to the days when the African people fought spear in hand against the British and Boer colonisers.
The ANC has kept this spirit of resistance alive! Over the last 80 years the ANC has brought together millions in the struggle for liberation. Together we have fought for our land, against low wages, high rents and the dompas. We have fought against bantu education, and for the right to vote for a government of our choice. This history is about our struggle for freedom and justice. It tells the story of the ANC

Guess what happens next?

Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, photographed by Alberto Korda in 1961.

Fidel Castro was actually from a comfortable 
circumstances and through the marriage to his second wife he was exposed to wealth in Cuba. He was educated as a lawyer at the University of Havana and it was there he became exposed to the political climate of Cuban nationalism, anti-imperialism and socialism.

One thing would lead to another in his life and he eventually would come to participate in the "July 26th Movement." In it's earliest form it failed, but, in 1959 it became a populous preference. Imagine that. 

The populous movement was originally a political organization. In 1952, they were believed to be the party that would win that election, however, an insurrection occurred. July of 1953 Castro's organized militia would attack the the Moncada Barracks, which was a federal garrison. It began the Cuban Revolution that would ultimately lead to Batista's exile.

Following the attack on Moncada, Castro was sentenced to prison for fifteen years but due to his iconic status among the people and their unrest he was given amnesty in 1955, released. He went to Mexico and met Che Guevara.

In 1956, both Fidel and Raul Castro along with Guevara would lead a guerrilla war against Batista. Fidel Castro carried out a campaign that was not only military, but, also in agricultural reform among the people. He improved their lives. In 1959, he would succeed in forcing Batista out of power and into exile. He would become the youngest leader of Cuba at the age of 32. 

Ultimately, he would seek a relationship with the USA under Eisenhower, but, it failed. His instituted agricultural reforms would remove low taxes from American industries and limit their size of land holdings. He always denied being communist, but, he continued radical reforms that took land and placed it in the hands of the government with the people ultimately employees. He then began to control the media.

In February 1960, Cuba signed a trade agreement to buy oil from the Soviet Union and established diplomatic relations. U.S.-owned refineries in Cuba refused to process the oil, so Castro expropriated the refineries. The United States retaliated by cutting Cuba's import quota on sugar. This began a decades-long contentious relationship between the two countries.

The poor relationship with Cuba exists in American grudges over it's loss of economic freedom. It isn't really based in Anti-Communism. At least not today. No one can over look the Cuban Missile Crisis, but, the opposition the USA carried out ended that aspect of any danger to USA borders. 

Basically, over the decades the relationship between the USA and Cuba has stagnated as has the Cuban economy.

I am not sympathetic to dictatorships. But, one of the reasons Fidel Castro was the first to recognize Nelson Mandela was because he recognized himself in the struggles of the people in South Africa. True to form the USA was not interested in upsetting the economic apple cart in South Africa when it's ally was Great Britain. So, while Nelson Mandela looked to the USA for support, it would not come until later. Having Fidel Castro recognize apartheid as an oppressive directive by the South African government did bring it to the international stage, whether The West liked it or not.

Cuban rebels? Mafia? No clue.

The American Mafia controlled drugs, gambling and prostitution in Havana. Somehow, I doubt this is what Taft ever had in mind.

Now get this. American interests were everywhere in Cuba and because of those interests Batista remained in power with USA assistance because he could control the people. 

Batista was given financial support as well as military support. He called his police an 'anti-communist' secret police force. He controlled the media and carried out public executions. He tortured and committed violence within Cuba killing as much as 20,000 people some estimate.

He was brutal. He was for the most part a dictator. 

A reminder from real life in the movie, "The Godfather."

The General that ruled with puppet Presidents.

Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar was next in line with a "Revolt of the Sergeants".

Cuban leaders during this period in the country's history considered the USA their second home. As a matter of fact Machado is buried in the USA. But, Batista was less interested in Cuba as a nation so much as Cuba as an economic engine. He served one Presidency, took a break in the USA and returned to Cuba to be re-elected. 

Batista basically became a dictator. He suspended the constitution, eliminated labor unions through prohibition of their right to strike and aligned with the wealthy instituting a widening gap between rich and poor. Cuba at this time was considered to be among the wealthier nations. It was the wealthiest in the Caribbean, although about a third of the population lived in poverty. Under his regime the rich became richer and the poor became poorer. 

He was corrupt after returning for his second election and had aligned with what was then considered, the American Mafia.

Cuba in transition.

Following Tomas Estrada Palma, who was President of Cuba in the Ten Year war; Gerardo Machado y Morales was to become the next President of Cuba. Yes, Cuba had elections and Machado was elected twice.

Machado had fought in the War for Independence and afterward was a political figure rising to President.

It was a murky time for Cuba and the US was discontented with the turbulence within the country. The USA appointed Governors to Cuba from from 1906 to  1909. The first Governor would eventually be the 27th President taking office in 1909, William Howard Taft.

Oddly interesting, the USA had control over Cuba following the Spanish-American War, but, relinquished that authority in 1902 forming the Republic of Cuba.

Under Cuba's new constitution, the U.S. retained the right to intervene in Cuban affairs and to supervise its finances and foreign relations. Under the Platt Amendment, the U.S. leased the Guantánamo Bay naval base from Cuba.

Machado would be overthrown in 1933 in a bloodless coup relieving Cuba of authoritarian rule.

In order to understand Castro's interest and loyalty to South Africa one needs to understand Cuba's struggle as well.

Calixto García, a general of Cuban rebel forces, (right) with American Brigadier General William Ludlow with Cuban rebels in the background, 1898.

The American Civil War, or the War Between the States, or the War of the Rebellion, or simply the Civil War, was fought from 1861 to 1865. Slavery was over in the US, at least the war was over and the Africans in the US would no longer be used as slaves.

There was slavery in Cuba as well. 

Following the end of the Ten Year War in Cuba there was unrest which resulted in the abolition of slavery in 1886. Long before Castro was even born. The country became a boom town with more and more tenant farmers taking over the plantations of the wealthy. Some wealthy landowners remained, but, during that time the economy was growing because production was increasing due to the Middle Class and the new farmers willing to make their land work for them. The Cuban economy was so vibrant during those years it attracted American investors. They invested in sugar production, tobacco and mining. The oddity is that Cuba was still a Spanish possession. It was for long after Americans became interested.

Four US Presidents tried to purchase Cuba from Spain, but, to no avail. 

...The central leaders (click here) of the 1895 Cuban revolution were Maximo Gomez, ,Calixto Garcia, and Jose Marti. Gomez (1836-1905), who had dedicated more than half of his life to make Cuba free, became the military leader of the Cuban revolution in 1895. Garcia (1839-1898), one of the best known Cuban insurgents, was an essential factor in the U.S. military's success in Cuba. Garcia provided key intelligence to the United States military, including maps and information about the Spanish officers. Marti (1853-1895), a Cuban émigré who organized the Cigarworkers Party, joined Gomez in 1895 and was killed in action. After his death, Marti became a martyr of the revolution and remains a hero to the Cuban people.

Spain responded to the Cuban insurgency by sending 100,000 soldiers to Cuba in 1895. After the United States government was drawn into the conflict in 1898, the end of Spanish rule became a reality. However, the defeat of Spain and the U.S. presence in Cuba raised new questions for the "Pearl" of the Caribbean—questions that have never been fully answered.

The path to freedom is not paved in gold.

Fidel Castro was the first world leader to recognize apartheid. But, why? Was South Africa going to be a strategic outpost? Was it a place that would provide a boom to the economy of Cuba? Why would a communist nation embrace and a South African trouble maker? Power? Fame? 

None of the above. 

The struggle for freedom takes on strange bedfellows sometimes, especially when it is a minority population. Why indeed would a Cuban leader already controversial in his own hemisphere take up the mantel of a populous' struggle half a world away? Was Castro sending warships? Mounting an assault? None of the above. 

So, what is this all about, because this relationship with a Cuban dictator earned Nelson Mandela the accusation of being a communist. 
It's Sunday Night

Freedom, freedom
Freedom, freedom
Freedom, freedom
Freedom, freedom

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
A long way from my home, yeah

Freedom, freedom
Freedom, freedom
Freedom, freedom
Freedom, freedom
Freedom, freedom

Sometimes I feel like I'm almost gone
Sometimes I feel like I'm almost gone
Sometimes I feel like I'm almost gone
A long, long, long, way, way from my home, yeah, yeah

Clap your hands, clap your hands
Clap your hands, clap your hands
Clap your hands, clap your hands
Clap your hands, (yeah), clap your hands

Hey, yeah, yeah, yeah, Hey, yeah, yeah
Hey, yeah, yeah, yeah, Hey, yeah, yeah

I got a telephone in my bosom
And I can call him up from my heart
I got a telephone in my bosom
And I can call him up from my heart

When I need my brother, brother
When I need my father, father
When I need my mother, mother
When I need my sister, sister

Hey, yeah [unverified]

When I need my brother, brother
When I need my father, father
When I need my mother, mother
When I need my sister, sister

The US needs to negotiate a settlement regarding the Snowden leaks.

WASHINGTON — American intelligence (click here) and law enforcement investigators have concluded that they may never know the entirety of what the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden extracted from classified government computers before leaving the United States, according to senior government officials....

The United States is responsible for Mr. Snowden's disgust with it. It allows free and open access to delicate information of the USA to Wall Street. It is outrageous this happened in the first place. It is also very corrupt. Wall Street is NOT the sovereign USA. The USA allowed this. It built an ungainly and uncontrollable National Security State and never bothered to sincerely secure the country against exploitation. Wall Street has actively used sensitive records of this country to plot their own course. Insider trading if you will. There is no reason for any of it. Contractors receive information based in their contracts, not the entire of the intelligence of the USA.

This is definitely the mistake of the USA. Now, the country needs to reclaim what is theirs and negotiate with those involved to close the book on this damage to our country.

The leaks have been enlightening and our democracy is LESS FREE because of the privatized National Security State. Enough.

If the USA wants to be responsible and end the hideous circumstances it finds itself in then it is time to negotiate and end to this stupidity. The country is suppose to be compromised forever? I don't think so. 

No money. No power. But a willingness to recognize the lack of accountability to the people of this nation from it's beginning and returning rights to Mr. Snowden and others involved in ending this imposition on innocent lives, priorities that do not serve the nation well. The USA has to end this mess and the sooner the better.

I am quite sure President Obama has taken this breach to our national security seriously. Now he has to close the ability for Wall Street to access sensitive information of the nation. He has to end this and if it requires legislation perhaps it could be a place where Congress and he agrees.

This mess is huge and was started under Bush. The intelligence of the USA became an open book under the previous administration and the accountability has to be conducted and never repeated again.
The Late President Mandela was laid to rest today at noon with full honors. Noon time was important when the sun was full and the shadows were few. 

As all great leaders, they leave behind a legacy for the people of South Africa. There is much work to do in encouraging their economy and building a Middle Class. The Father of South African democracy had not completed his work. South Africa must go forward to complete their dream. The dream of a nation and not just a man.

Oprah Winfrey was at the funeral. She has interests in Africa when she started a girl's school there. Perhaps she can find a way to bring more focus to the continuing struggle of the people in South Africa and inspire the legacy to go forward.

There were emotional scenes as the funeral took place.
15 December 2013 Last updated at 06:41 ET

His widow, Graca Machel, (click here) and President Jacob Zuma were present for the private, traditional Xhosa ceremony at Mr Mandela's ancestral home in Qunu.
Mr Zuma had earlier told the larger funeral service that South Africans had to take his legacy forward.
Mr Mandela died on 5 December aged 95.
A close friend, Ahmed Kathrada, told mourners at the service he had lost an "elder brother" who was with him for many years in prison on Robben island....