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The president holds the key PDF Print E-mail
By Zubeida Jaffer*
Lets not defend the indefensible. President Zuma has led his party and the country into a quagmire. Last weekend’s story in the Sunday Times has further added to the drift, leaving many of us hanging our heads in confusion and disappointment.
Phylicia Oppelt’s team has sifted through 3369 pages of court documents and added further detail to the way in which the arms company Thale and Jacob Zuma and his team conducted their business relationship. 
The transcripts are of testimony given under oath at confidential arbitration hearings held earlier this year in a fee dispute between Sooklal and Thales.
Confirming earlier allegations, the transcripts reveal how Thales fixer Ajay Sooklal allegedly arranged flights, fancy clothes, legal fees and lavish hotel stays in Europe for the president when he faced corruption charges linked to the arms deal. Thales as some other powerful companies will not even blush.
As we head for 19 October, South African Media Freedom Day, our profession can hold its collective head high for bringing facts to the public attention with regard to this matter. We don’t always get it right but with this matter we have not failed in our duty to the public.  To build and further transform our profession, THE JOURNALIST will focus on our strengths and weaknesses this month. (Read us every WEDNESDAY at www.thejournalist.org.za)
Minister in the `Presidency, Jeff Radebe this week shafted any possibility that the ANC will remove its president. He was at pains to explain that his party operated under rule 10.6 that says it can “alter and review decisions of all bodies (but) not the national conference.” He signaled that the party’s hands are tied and that the president will serve his second term.
I can’t help wondering if those like Minister Radebe who are close to the president care at all for his personal well-being. He has gone from a man known for his jolliness and sharp mind to one who appears haggard and weighed down by the duties of high office.  Can it be fair that a man who so many remember and admire for his sacrifices and leadership can be deprived of peace during his aging years? 
Can it be fair that his family who suffered his absence during the resistance against apartheid through no fault of their own must now again be dragged through the mud?
He has an extraordinary group of talented children, some mothered by Dr Nkosazana Zuma who has been an exemplary leader. When the painting debacle broke all rules of common decency, his daughter, Duduzile  Zuma-Sambudla represented all of the children and asked for the degradation of his being to stop. “The power to artistic creativity does not allow the artist the right to insult the inherent dignity of any person, irrespective of how they might hold the person in disdain,” she said. In court papers in 2012 she said: “I submit that it is not the kind of speech the Constitution protects.
Demonstrating personal courage, City Press editor, Ferial Haffajee, apologised to her. It was an awful time but we managed as a country to shout and scream and then find some balance. Under the guidance of our constitution, the role of the journalists, the courts and individual courage we transcended this space.
We again require a transcendent moment. It could come through the courts, or parliament, the media or the Public Protector. These institutions could in the end force a solution. And certainly it will help if Minister Radebe blushes.
However there is someone whose personal courage could unlock this crisis. President Zuma can implement the Public Protector’s report and then step aside to free his party, his family and his country.
This is allowed by his party’s constitution.  It would help remove the attention that his personal issues are provoking, so that the country can focus on the real and difficult questions that are holding back its progress.
The price he is paying by listening to those around him who are insisting that he stay on is just too great. He and his family deserve tranquility.  We were generous with the Apartheid leaders who perpetrated great crimes against millions of us. They were allowed to spend their aging years in peace. Why can we not be generous with one of democracy’s leaders who has so sadly slipped from the high standards he once set for himself?
By stepping down he will make the biggest and hardest contribution that a loyal ANC person can be expected to make. He will be remembered and valued as a person who in the end put the movement and the people first, not as the one who dragged his organization down through demanding that they loyally defend the indefensible.
*This article was first published in The Journalist at www.thejournalist.org.za. Publisher: Zubeida Jaffer. Editor: Sylvia Vollenhoven. Write to us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The Open Mosque Saga: Progressive Politics or Neo-colonial Posturing PDF Print E-mail
By Sa’diyya Shaikh
 and Shuaib Manjra

The notion of an ‘Open Mosque’ is an alluring idea: such a mosque which is inclusive, non-discriminatory and embracing of human diversity naturally resonates with us as Muslims, feminists and proponents of human rights. There is little to argue against it. In fact many are disingenuously falling over themselves to claim their mosques as ‘open spaces’. In reality the vast majority of mosques are male-centred and controlled by a small coterie of individuals without democratic participation. Women are absent from their leadership ranks, even if they are able to attend – more often than not in some relegated space.

The saga of the Open Mosque in Cape Town has raised a number of critical points of reflection and learning for people engaged in progressive politics. If nothing else it has forced an important conversation. The media trumpeted this initiative of Dr. Taj Hargey, who claims to have founded “South Africa’s first Quran-centric, gender-equal and non-sectarian Islamic house of God.” However, Hargey’s claims are simply wrong. The Claremont Main Road Mosque in Cape Town and the Masjid al-Islam in Brixton, Johannesburg are two examples of well-established mosques that have actively and communally fostered gender-egalitarian and non-sectarian ethics in their governance, membership and ritual practices, while the “Taking Islam to the People” initiative in KwaZulu-Natal is based on a similar ethos. These initiatives were built through inclusive community engagement over a prolonged period, buttressed with theological engagements and empowering activism. Importantly, these institutions are also sites of progressive politics and social justice. Sadly these mosques remain a small minority.
Hargey, as visiting revolutionary keen to rescue unthinking South African Muslims from religious leaders, might have had a slightly different view if he had consulted local communities of Muslims who have worked hard and long in collaborative consultation to develop egalitarian institutions. The least he would have realised is that Muslim women do more than just make ‘samoosas’ – (and as one Muslim women sharply noted, making samoosas was what paid for her children’s schooling). He could also have fought his unresolved battles with the clergy on a different terrain.
Last Updated on Friday, 17 October 2014 21:07
The United States is the only major economy that trades less with Africa now than six years ago. PDF Print E-mail

By The Globalist, September 9, 2014


Credit: stanga Shutterstock.com

US oil imports from the African continent have plunged this year to a 40-year low.

The US is losing market share to other nations in Africa.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 October 2014 22:07
Pallo – another uppity darkie brought down? PDF Print E-mail
By Moegsien Williams 
Group Editor, The New Age
So, the liberal media would like us to believe that Pallo Jordan is a faux intellectual? 
Much is being made since the weekend about Jordan's paper academic qualifications that could not traced at various foreign and local universities. 
One can sense the schadenfreude in certain quarters, the high fives and the fist pumps. Ah, another uppity darkie brought down! One of the brightest in the ranks of the African National Congress has been put in his place, has been the tone of the reportage.
We are led to believe he is really just an intellectual pygmy, a liar about his qualifications.
Who defines whether Jordan is suitably qualified? First, he has a superb struggle pedigree. He was born in 1942 in B Location, Kroonstad in the Free State, the son of novelist Archibald Campbell Jordan and Priscilla Phyllis Jordan, a teacher and lecturer. Both his parents were members of the Non-European Unity Movement.
He started at the age of seven selling copies of the Torch, the NEUM’s publication. He left the country in 1962 and worked fulltime for the ANC from 1975 as a researcher and deployed to Angola in 1977 to run Radio Freedom. He was also involved in Mkhonto we Sizwe and later appointed as one the ANC’s chief propagandists, eventually becoming the director for information and publicity in Lusaka.
After the unbanning of the ANC, he had stints in the cabinet as minister of Posts, Telecommunications and Broadcasting in Nelson Mandela’s cabinet. He aslo served stints as minister of Environment Affairs and Tourism and as minister of Arts and Culture in Thabo Mbeki’s cabinet.
With or without qualifications, his is undoubtedly a distinguished history of service to the overthrow of apartheid and the creation of a new South Africa.  
But personal experiences tell their own story. For those of us who have engaged him, sparred with him intellectually, who were hosted by him in Lusaka before the unbanning of the ANC or had him at the other end of a phone, withering in his criticism about a mistake in one of our newspapers, Jordan is an intellectual of outstanding quality.
If reading degrees is about, well, reading, he is extremely well read. Others will be able to speak about his courage when he was locked up by the ANC in exile, mainly because of his outspokenness.  
Hundreds if not thousands of ANC members who crossed his path at conferences or NEC meeting will tell about his well-honed debating skills, a preparedness to be the odd man out when weighty decisions have to be made. His willingness to take a stand based on principles.

Last Updated on Monday, 22 September 2014 20:04

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Float lightly amongst the angels, madiba

zubeida with madiba

Memorial Service for Reginald September

Memorial Service for Reginald September Tuesday 3 December at 5p.m.
St George's Cathedral.

reg september

Tribute to Jakes Gerwel


Gathering of curious minds