Crime Busters of SA: farm murders 2001-2003
Solidarity trade union: - list of farm murders
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- A Stuijt
- Retired South African medical journalist, ex-Sunday Times of Johannesburg.
Nov 16 2008 -- Within the "old" South Africa, 10 homelands were created, four of which were granted independence by South Africa. More than 550 white farm-lands were confiscated to create these homelands. These former South African homelands/bantustans ceased to exist on 27 April 1994. They have all (including the former so called independent Homelands) been reincorporated into South Africa. It should be noted that today, the former Transkei -- a large slice of territory more than 45,000 square kilometres in extent along the Wild Coast -- is now one of the poorest, delapidated and poverty stricken areas in South Africa... This is one mans account as to what contributed to that happening. I copied it from the IluvSA blog where it was posted by the author, "Ruiter de Swart".]
The Diamond Has Turned To Stone
Ruiter de Swart writes: "In 1963 the homeland of the Transkei, the home of the Xhosa nation, achieved self government from the Republic Of South Africa. It consisted of a large slice of territory more than forty-five thousand square kilometers in extent, stretching from close to Port Shepstone in the north to the Great Kei River in the south. Towns such as Umtata, Encobo, Cofimvaba and Tsomo were gems.
They were clean, neat and sported green trees and lanes full of flowers. Most towns had a country club as well as a delightful golf course. From these towns the white population did business. They assisted with a vibrant agricultural system and also with education. At Butterworth a substantial industrial sector had developed.
The South African government pursued a vigorous policy of expanding the economy, by building dams, establishing irrigation schemes, encouraging agriculture, especially pastoral, which was the traditional form of wealth of the indigenous population anyway. Good tar macadam roads reached into the remotest parts of the territory. The mountain kloofs (steep valleys), had magnificent stands of indigenous timber, stinkwood, yellowwood and iron wood. The quality was excellent because the region usually got good rains and the trees grew prolifically.
(click on the map to navigate, enlarge and focus down on it...)
Then there was the coastline. The Wild Coast it was known as, not because it was uninhabited, as the hills along the coast were all dotted with the thatched cottages of the local inhabitants. The coastline was rugged, with beautiful primeval rock formations, and the sea beat against it in massive waves and thundering surf.
This coastline had been the grave of many ships that passed up and down; from the earlier centuries right up till the present. The rugged beauty is breathtaking, at Waterfall Bluff a magnificent waterfall cascades directly into the sea. The Mfihlelo falls, also falling directly into the sea is 160 meters high. The coastline is a hiker's paradise. Along the coast there are inlets and river mouths where the bird life is phenomenal. The occasional mangrove ecosystems form a valuable nursery for the myriad of sea creatures that inhabit the waters.
Unspoilt beauty and conserved fish populations make this coast a fisherman's paradise. Delightful hotels at Wavecrest, Port St. Johns and Coffee bay were only some of the attractive destinations for travelers and tourists who came to drink in the natural beauties so unique to this coastline.
Full independence was granted to the territory in 1976, and the Republic of Transkei was established with the Matanzima family at the helm. Kaiser Matanzima was the paramount chief, and he took the reins of government. Hardly was he installed when George Matanzima, head of the army overthrew him in a military coup. He in turn was ousted by Major General Bantu Holomisa. Then the slide to oblivion started. Holomisa installed himself as the typical fat cat usurper. He proved to be the typical despotic but weak leader, imprisoning anyone who did not see things his way. Under his government the economy slid into the doldrums.
I had been through the Transkei in 1960 when I had come down to South Africa from Northern Rhodesia on long leave, and had stayed at Coffee Bay, which was a delightful clean pristine little coastal town. The sea was a vision, the people were friendly, and seafood was to die for.
I had traveled down to East London in the Eastern Cape, through the length of the Transkei territory, and can remember my thoughts that how lucky the people were to live in such a splendid paradise. Quaint villages with clusters of round thatched cottages were evident; they were whitewashed and each group was set into a fenced yard, which was swept clean and had chickens scratching around with the inevitable herds of goats, sheep and cattle grazing nearby. All over you could see black women sitting at their front doors doing beadwork, crocheting or preparing meals at open fire hearths. Knowing that the African people measured wealth by the size of their herds of livestock especially cattle, I remember thinking how fortunate they seemed, and how affluent. The rains had been good, and the rolling hills were green and lush.
My first impression as I walked into the front office was "God, how dirty the place is!" The walls seemed as if they had never seen a coat of paint, papers and cool drink cans were scattered all over the floor, and the general dirt testified to the fact that the floor had not been swept for months.
There were three policemen lounging at the back behind a counter that I was reluctant to lean on as it literally shone with encrusted dirt. They were conversing in Xhosa, a language which I understood quite well.
The one mumbled to no one in particular. Getting his arse off the chair he was lounging on he moved over to the other side of the counter and staring at me, lifted his eyebrows in an arrogant gesture of enquiry."I am looking for directions to the Ncora Irrigation scheme." I asked. "Straight up this road and turn right at the fork,' he said. As I left he shouted after me "Next time you come ask questions here, bring some cold drinks!"
What a slovenly bunch they were, I hope this won't be an introduction to the modern Republic of the Transkei. But it was. As I progressed, the picture became more dismal. The countryside was covered in deep erosion ditches, here and there they had tried to fill them by pulling old motorcar wrecks into them piled one on top of the other. Rusting motor wrecks dotted the whole countryside. "I hope theses were not the result of the bad driving of the local population," I mused, "where do they get so many cars to wreck?" Later I found out that the Transkei was the haven for most of the car thieves on the Witwatersrand and Johannesburg.
Soon I came around a bend, and there were the gates to the scheme, with the admin buildings right ahead, I entered and was shown into the Project Managers office. His name was Dick Clapp, and immediately I felt that I would have a lot in common with this big amiable character. I was shown to a house, and settled down with just a bed and a set of curtains. My wife was still up country, and would only join me after the end of the school year. I had five months to go before I could go back to the Transvaal to fetch her.
Don't ever buy a pig...
The following morning I was introduced to the Project engineer whose position I was to take over and who would be leaving within a month to take a new post in Tanzania. The first thing we did was to do a familiarization tour of the scheme and its environment. Driving with him in his light truck, he gave me some tips about the do's and don'ts of life at Ncora. "You can buy an ox for slaughter from the locals, or even a sheep, but don't under any circumstances buy a pig." I had noticed the free ranging black pigs around the countryside. "Why not?" Was my surprised question.
"Well, how many toilets do you see at the houses?" He asked. "These pigs are there for the sole purpose of mobile toilet cleaners."
I was very skeptical about that one, till one Saturday morning early when I left for East London. I had just skirted the edge of the village situated just past our front gate, when as I drove over the bridge spanning the irrigation trench, there was a woman with her skirts hiked over her shoulders relieving herself in the ditch, and a black pig standing behind her intently watching her progress so that he could go in and clean up.
I could not believe my eyes. No wonder the senior staff at Ncora had told me that it was not a very healthy place to stay. So it proved to be with us, as not long after we arrived my wife developed a stomach complaint that took years to clear up and which had the doctors baffled.
Another thing that surprised me was that every trading store that one walked into had a long L- shaped counter running the length of two walls, with all the merchandise displayed behind it on shelves fixed to the wall.
From the top of the counter to the ceiling all along the length was a diamond mesh fence with small pigeon holes cut in from where the assistants served the customers. "Why have you put up all this wire?" I asked Mr. Wood the proprietor of the store nearest to us, "If we did not put that up," he said, "they would leap over the counter and steal us blind."
I shook my head, in disbelief, and after the assistant had served me he moved the goods over to the till which was behind a bullet proofed glass cage and after payment I could take the goods from a door set next to the cage and exit the store. Wait! There at the door was a security guard, checking that what was purchased was properly paid for...
The national flower: plastic bags...
During August a westerly wind blows across the territory, and then the national flower appears. Most of the trees have long thorns growing on them, and on these as well as on the barbs on the barbed wire fences, the plastic shopping packets cling and flutter in the wind. The piles of garbage at every bus stop and main intersection is remarkable, plastic milk, beer and cool drink bottles, together with discarded take away punnets and broken spirit bottles lie in heaps almost to shoulder height. And to offset the scene are the ever present motor car bodies in row upon row.
The scheme was a jewel of a place with vegetables, asparagus and fruit growing. Acres of cabbages were planted for the market, and flourished. Two thousand of the best Holstein Fresian cows were milked daily in three rotary milking parlors. And the well equipped mechanical infrastructure was at the service of the local community.
All was not as it seemed, the agitators were busy in the guise of the trade union F.A.W.U. The most rabid anti white crowd you ever saw.
They were pleased to wreck the scheme and make it unworkable, just because whites were at the helm, and were happy to see millions in equipment going to the dogs in the name of black enterprise.
Remembering that since 1963 the Transkei had not experienced Apartheid. After all it was self governing. So why all that waste and confrontation if it was not purely because the blacks hated white skins, and would oppose all their efforts of assistance? Sitting in on the negotiating committee with the shop stewards I can with total confidence say that all the proposals the whites made were intensely resisted.
- The shop stewards /management meetings were always good for a laugh. The union and all the political agitators would demand meetings at the slightest pretexts, and they did not even need a good reason to demand one.
- Of course the demands for pay rises were always in the forefront of their demands, and caused a lot of dangerous situations.
Notwithstanding the fact that the scheme was not producing anything saleable and able to contribute to the gross product, the voluminous staff complement were always pleading poverty and took it upon themselves to demonstrate with the threat of violence towards the white section of management. Falling into their trap, there were always a section of lily livered whites who from their eagerness to appease these howling savages would kowtow to their demands.
One such occasion they called a general strike for more pay right at the critical time a week before Christmas, notwithstanding the fact that they were expecting a hundred percent bonus check. For days they had us in the boardroom and had brought in the workers and other adherents out of the local population, and they were singing their war songs and behaving like the undisciplined rabble that they were.
- They came dancing and waving their mock spears in the form of sticks into the boardroom and shaking their fists literally in our faces. We knew that if they were to attack us there we would be quite helpless, and they would be able to do us grievous bodily harm.
- We were only about nine whites and they numbered at least two hundred. I had a .25 beretta sequestered in my pocket, and swore to myself that if the whole fiasco deteriorated into violence, I would not stand still and be beaten but would take quite a few with me, the chief shop steward and union organizer first.
Eventually they broke for caucus, and I slipped down for lunch. About an hour later the assistant project manager, one of the lily livers, phoned me and said I was to come up to the meeting.
I refused, and said that it had deteriorated into chaos and they had nothing to contribute of any constructive nature, and I was not prepared to be derided by a bunch of uncivilized cretins who knew that all pay matters were out of our control and subject to sanction by Holomisa's government, and if they had anymore to say then they could take it directly to him.
- After keeping all the white staff in the boardroom for the whole night and denying them sleep, they took their demands to Holomisa. He granted them an increase of about twenty percent. But we had the last laugh as without them being aware of it, we got the same pay rise.
Rapist released from jail: victims drowned in water canal...
Discipline and law enforcement were non existent on the scheme. There was a case where a worker was accused of raping two parlor maids, and he was taken into custody by the local police, and slammed into the cells. Some of the workers had seen him do it on both occasions, but they let him out on bail. Soon after his release the two girls ended up drowned in the water canal and I was tasked to remove the bodies after they had been in the water for about eight days. Needless to say the canal fed our waterworks supplying potable water to the whole scheme.
The verdict of the court was that one had fallen into the canal, and the other had tried to save her and as both could not swim, they had both drowned. The rapist was let off for the lack of evidence. The perpetrator was back at work bragging about his feat after a week of the case.
R11-million over budget - not one cent of income...
The last year of my stay there, when the expenditure budget was presented, it amounted to in excess of eleven million rands, without a cent of income. All we were doing was to keep a labor force in employment which made no money for the scheme, and worked in confrontation to all white efforts to help them create a viable asset. They sabotaged the dairy herd with their militant actions, and allowed the dairy factory to close down as well as a canning factory for canning of vegetables for export.
When we eventually left the scheme, we were relieved to go, and leave it to the militants to take over.
To date it has fallen apart completely, and there is no significant work for any of the local community. Roofs and window frames have been ripped out of the parlors, and taken into the villages to be used in local housing, and the national herd does not exist any longer, having been sold for slaughter as a result of mastitis.
There are a number of other smaller schemes set up and given to the blacks, equipped with the best machinery and infrastructure, which have ended up in the same anarchy as the Ncora scheme. The whole of the Transkei is a shit hole in which the local population live in abject poverty and filth all of their own making. So be it!
What is disconcerting though is that that territory is the pattern of what the whole of the subcontinent is destined to become. We are doomed to accept their cesspool values, and though it shocks us to see life deteriorate to such lows, eventually you tend to look past the degradation and accept the deplorable conditions as the norm. There is no helping the blacks, and in view of the troubles plaguing the whole African continent, It is my opinion that they will not and cannot be uplifted.
"So leave them to it, let them kill pillage and wreck everything, and go back to their cannibal roots. They don't appreciate help, and are like a rabid dog that will only bite the hand that feeds it. The more is the pity, because a wonderful land is dying under their incompetent and hostile actions." END REPORT BY RUITER DE SWART.