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.
■ Adriana Stuijt - Subscribe to author
Also: Mar 7, 2009 - Blogger says Monsanto aggressively monopolizing seed business -
March 30, 2009, BLOEMFONTEIN, Free State, South Africa. After ten years of using Monsanto maize seeds, South African farmers suffered millions of dollars in lost income this harvest season after 82,000 hectares of three varieties of Monsanto’s genetically-manipulated corn (maize) failed to produce any viable food: although the plants looked healthy from the outside, the cobs showed up empty or nearly empty of seeds.
Genetically-bred to create infertile seeds:
This maize, which is genetically-bred to create infertility in all the second generations -- thus forcing farmers to keep buying Monsanto seeds each season -- now is showing up with a first-generation infertility problem after about ten years of GM-technology in South Africa.
- Experts say that Monsanto’s self-fertilisation programme, used to breed deliberately infertile seed crops in the second generation, now is clearly endangering the future viabiity of three varieties of their maize seeds.
Some 280 of the 1,000 farmers are facing crop losses of up to 80%, experts say. Monsanto denies the size of the problem, saying ‘only less than 25% of the new maize crops are seedless.
Farmers say the first generation of Monsanto plants now have also become infertile: the plants look healthy from the outside, but when the cob is stripped, it’s discovered that there are little or no maize seeds inside.
“Underfertilisation in the laboratory…’
Monsanto has offered a packet of compensation. Monsanto blames the failure of the three varieties of corn planted on these farms, in three South African provinces,on alleged 'underfertilisation processes in the laboratory".
see video below of Indian farmers' suicides after failed Montanso GM-crops:
However environmental activitist Marian Mayet, director of the Africa-centre for biosecurity in Johannesburg, demands an urgent government investigation and an immediate ban on all GM-foods, blaming the crop failure on Monsanto's genetically-manipulated technology itself.
Willem Pelser, journalist of the Afrikaans Sunday paper Rapport, writes from Nelspruit on March 29 2009 that Monsanto has immediately offered the farmers compensation in three provinces - North West, Free State and Mpumalanga.
- The damage-estimates are being undertaken right now by the local farmers' cooperative, Grain-SA. Monsanto claims that 'less than 25%' of three different corn varieties were 'insufficiently fertilised in the laboratory'.
80% crop failure
However Mayet says Monsanto was grossly understating the problem. According to her own information, some farms have suffered up to 80% crop failures, with cobs turning out empty.
The centre is strongly opposed to GM-food and biologically-manipulated technology in general.
- "Monsanto says they ‘just made a mistake in the laboratory’, however we say that biotechnology is a failure. You cannot make a 'mistake' with three different varieties of corn.'
"We have been warning against GM-technology for years, we have been warning Monsanto that there will be problems,' said Mayet. She calls for an urgent government investigation and an immediate ban on all GM-foods in South Africa.
Monsanto's local spokeswoman Magda du Toit said the 'company is engaged in establishing the exact extent of the damage on the farms'. She did not want to speculate on the extent of the financial losses suffered right now.
- Managing director of Monsanto in Africa, Kobus Lindeque, said however that 'less than 25% of the Monsanto-seeded farms are involved in the loss'.
He says there will be 'a review of the seed-production methods of the three varieties involved in the failure, and we will made the necessary adjustments.' He denied that the problem was caused in any way by 'bio-technology'. Instead, there had been 'insufficient fertilisation during the seed-production process'…
And commercial farming cooperative Grain-SA’s spokesman Nico Hawkins says they 'are still supporting GM-technology; 'We will support any technology which will improve production.' see
He also they were 'satisfied with Monsanto's handling of the case,' and that Grain-SA was 'closely involved in the claims-adjustment methodology' between the farmers and Monsanto.
Farmers told Rapport that Monsanto was 'bending over backwards to try and accommodate them in solving the problem.
Maize looks healthy from outside:
"It's a very good gesture to immediately offer to compensate the farmers for losses they suffered,' said Kobus van Coller, one of the Free State farmers who discovered that his maize cobs were practically seedless this week.
- "One can't see from the outside whether a plant is unseeded. One must open up the cob leaves to establish the problem,' he said. The seedless cobs show no sign of disease or any kind of fungus. They just have very few seeds, often none at all.
The South African supermarket chain Woolworths already banned GM-foods from its shelves in 2000. However there’s no labelling required for GM-products in the country, and South African farmers have been producing GM-corn for years: they were among the very first countries other than the United States to start using the Monsanto products. Many South African farms were also used for the secret experimentation test-phase of Monsanto products over the years.
Maize (*corn in the USA), is the main staple food for South Africa's 48-million people.
The three maize varieties which failed to produce seeds were designed with a built-in resistance to weed-killers, and manipulated to increase yields per hectare, Rapport writes.
Houphet-Boigny Stadium collapse sparks panic
29/03/2009 Abidjan, Ivory Coast - A wall collapsed in an Abidjan stadium on Sunday, sparking crowd panic that left at least 19 dead during a World Cup football match between Ivory Coast and Malawi, a medical source said. Picture from http://www.abidjan.net/
First reports indicated part of a wall fell over in the stadium, prompting a crush of fans, the medical source said, adding that police may have fired tear gas and increased the panic.
Some 50,000 fans were packed in the Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Ivory Coast's biggest city to see European-based stars such as Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou of Chelsea and Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue of Arsenal play in the World Cup qualifying match.
Drogba scored twice and Kalou once in the game which the hosts won 5-0 as the drama unfolded. Hundreds of people have been killed in stadium accidents in Africa over the last decade.
14 tons of fresh dagga grabbed in cross-border raid with mounted cops from Lesotho and South Africa
March 29 2009 – LESOTHO -- The SAPS Crime Combating Unit and Lesotho's Mounted Police returned with a whopping 14 tons of marijuana on yet another of their many cross-border raid in Lesotho attacking dagga plantations in three villages.
The operations were overseen in Lesotho by Superintendent Lerata Fobo of Berea District. The SAPS CCU members from the Free State were under the command of Captain Daniel Pillay who has been initiating these operations ever since their inception in 2007.
illegal firearm trade…
The aim of the operation is to target sources of dagga in Lesotho.
Both countries police authorities believe that dagga plays a major economic role in fuelling cross border crimes, when the marijuana harvests are exchanged for illegal firearms, livestock and motor vehicles.
- The first operation was held on Tuesday, 24 March 2009 at Phororong and Menyanyeng Villages where they seized 265 bags of freshly harvested dagga.
- The second operation was conducted at Ha Mokhethi, Ha Nkhahle and Ha Lenkoane. This operation yielded 511 bags of dagga.
In Lesotho, dagga is mostly planted in remote and inaccessible areas.
Thus, to eradicate these fields, the joint work with the South African cops and the Lesotho Mounted Police Service is important.The confiscated dagga is being kept at TY police station for station to destroy. The bags are seen piled up behind the tired combined police force on this picture.
Story by sergeant M.C. Mophiring, telephone (058) 3077856, cellphone: 0795284784 , email@example.com
Dagga haul found, labelled with dealers’ names
March 28 2009 – ERMELO -- During routine traffic checks on the N2 between Ngwempisi and Sheepmoor by the police and the Ermelo traffic department, a massive find of 28 bags of dagga worth millions of rand, pictured above, was discovered.
- The bags were already neatly labelled with the names of all the dealers who had ordered them in Johannesburg...
Sheepmoor SAPS Communication Officer, Insp Zondo, said the find was made during a routine car search. They’d stopped a van with darkened rear windows. "We requested to check what was inside," said Insp Zondo. Upon opening the police found 28 bags of dagga. "They were destined for Johannesburg said Insp Zondo.
- "The bags have names of people who were expecting their dagga deliveries," he added.
Two suspects, Muziwakhile Xaba (32) and Khulekani (24) were arrested, charged at the Amsterdam Magistrates' Court - and immediately granted R10,000 bail each. It’s not known whether the dealers were also arrested.
In a seperate find that day, also arrested were Sihle Nkosi (30) and Mphikeleli Makhathini (39). The duo was found walking on the road allegedly in possession of refuse bags filled with dagga.
- Story by Captain V.T. Memela, tel. (013) 7591368, cellphone: 0824653701 http://www.sapsjournalonline.gov.za/dynamic/journal_dynamic.aspx?pageid=414&jid=14579
Alleged copper thief questioned in Lenasia
March 27 2009 – LENASIA. Resident Ahmed Dawood was asked to assist police in their enquiries concerning the origin of a large supply of copper cables, located by the Lenasia SAPS members following a tip off which came from Primedia's Crime Line.
- The copper cables, including various steel materials such as door and pipe fittings were taken to the police station.The investigations regarding the origin of the cables are continuing.
It is alleged that a truck had just offloaded copper at a house and it was already packed in a small shack situated at the back of the house. The 42 year old resident has been asked to explain the origin of the copper, and police have opened a docket for alleged possession of stolen property at the police station. The investigations regarding the origin of the cables are continuing.
Story by SAPS Inspector S. TSUNKE, cell 082 778 0403