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- A Stuijt
- Retired South African medical journalist, ex-Sunday Times of Johannesburg.
Veteran black journalist also was a popular traditional healer
August 14 2009 – ORLANDO, SOWETO. BONA editor, veteran journalist and traditional healer Mr Force Khashane, 60, was shot by two armed men in his yard at his home in Orlando East, Soweto at 11pm on Wednesday. Only a cellphone and laptop were robbed.
His violent death has sent shock waves through the South African media fraternity, many of whom he worked with and mentored. Khashane had a career spanning 28 years, 15 of them as an editor.
"He was a wonderful husband and father. He nurtured journalists and would see potential where no one had hope," said his wife Palesa. She said she was awakened by gunshots around midnight. When she looked outside, she saw her husband lying in front of the garage door.
Journalists and friends reacted with shock yesterday on hearing the news of the execution-style shooting of Khashane. “It is regrettable. His untimely death is a shock,” former journalist and now Unisa lecturer Philip Mthimkulu said. Mthimkulu said Khashane was a dedicated journalist who rose through the ranks to become an editor.“He still had a lot to contribute to the South African media,” said Mthimkulu said.
Tributes continued to pour in yesterday after news of Khashane’s death filtered throughout the country. Boxing writer Phil Nyamane described Khashane as an “amiable guy who loved his job”. “He was very kind, considerate and dedicated to his job,” Nyamane said. Nyamane said Khashane was also a community builder and it was really sad he had died violently.
Sunday World editor Charles Mogale said Khashane was a humble person steeped in his beliefs. “He had the courage of his conviction and was devoted to his family,” he said. Mogale said Khashane came out about being a sangoma and wrote about it. Orlando police station spokesperson Captain Philemon Khorombi said that the police were investigating a case of murder. The murderers are still at large.
Khashane was the editor of Bona magazine. He also was the chairman of Soweto TV, the community broadcasting station. Khashane was in the middle of writing his biography at the time of his death.
They intended to kill him…
“We do not know the motive but it shows they intended to kill him because of the number of bullets fired,” his wife Palesa said.
Khashane was shot in the upper body, with one bullet hitting him behind the ear while the other hit him on the left side of the chest. More details are on http://www.sowetan.co.za/News/Article.aspx?id=1049703
John Hlophe, Judge-President of the Western Cape: “I am not going to shake a white man’s hand…’”
Civil rights campaigning group AfriForum has formally complained to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) about what they say were racist remarks allegedly made by Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe. read.
The JSC is taking it very seriously: it is holding an emergency hearing today about the issue.
- AfriForum's legal team has submitted a written complaint against the judge in response to the "racist and hurtful remarks that Judge Hlophe allegedly made regarding judges of the Constitutional Court, according to an article in the Mail & Guardian", AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said..
"Hlophe is quoted as having said, among other things, that he refused to shake the hand of Chief Justice Pius Langa, as 'I am not going to shake a white man's hand.’ ..
- "Hlophe now denies having said these things, while the Mail & Guardian maintains that he had indeed made these objectionable statements," said Kriel.
The judge had a "history of perpetually denying the large number of ill-considered statements that have been ascribed to Hlophe in the past, or of alleging that his words have been misquoted".
"These latest allegations against Judge Hlophe must not be swept under the carpet once again, as has been the case in the past, because this will raise serious question marks about the integrity of the judicial system," Kriel stated.
Kriel also referred to allegations in 2005 that Judge Hlophe supposedly said he had specifically given (the Afrikaans-language issue surrounding) the Mikro School court case to Judge Wilf Thring, as he (Judge Hlophe) had known that Judge Thring would "f**k the case up", and that the case could then be resolved on appeal.
- In the same year, a Cape lawyer, Joshua Greeff, alleged that Judge Hlophe had called him a "white shit".
Later indications that Judge Hlophe had allegedly accepted payments from the Oasis company while making a decision on whether Oasis could proceed with legal action against Judge Siraj Desai “should have been handled far more circumspectly by the JSC”, Kriel added.
The judicial system was a crucial cornerstone for protecting the rights of civil society and therefore judges should at all times remain above any form of suspicion.
AfriForum's complaint was specifically directed at demanding, from the side of civil society, that the JSC continue and even expand its current investigations into Judge Hlophe's actions, he said.
The Freedom Front Plus opposition party spokesman Frik van Heerden has also called on President Jacob Zuma to suspend Judge Hlophe pending a final outcome of the JSC's investigation.
Van Heerden said: "Hlophe's latest attack, according to reports in the M&G, is clearly a breach of the oath which judges have to take, i.e to respect and protect the constitution. Personal differences exist on all levels of life - also in the highest court of the country. It may, however, never detract from the functioning of the courts and certainly and absolutely not infringe on a pledge," he added.
- This article was originally published on page 6 of The Star on August 14, 2009
- Afriforum complaint: http://www.afriforum.co.za/english/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/20090815jscdiscusseshlopheweekender.pdf
- Legal brief on John Hlophe: http://www.legalbrief.co.za/index.php?page=HlopheSaga
- also read: Judge Hlophe's letter to the Chief Justice
From August 14th, 2009 article by legal expert Pierre De Vos on his blog “Constitutionally Speaking”:
De Vos, holder of the Claude Leon Foundation Chair in Constitutional Governance at the University of Cape Town, writes a weekly blog dealing with social and political aspects of South African society - mostly from a constitutional perspective.
He writes: “Black racism is no less real than white racism,” writes Eisebius McKaiser in this morning’s Business Day, challenging the view that black people cannot be racist. He states:
“Not only can particular remarks and actions by black people easily meet the low standards of racism, it is actually disrespectful to suggest that we cannot be racist. The temptation and capacity to injure others is a human trait. I want my capacity for evil to be recognised. If you deny me the ability to be racist, you are essentially claiming that I am intrinsically good. I cannot help but be a good guy. I am like a rock or a plant or chair — lacking the animation of a being that is fragile but recognisably human. It is hardly complimentary to exclude black people from the full range of human potentiality.
“You are only morally praiseworthy for desisting from racist behaviour if, through reflection, you recognise that racism is immoral and decide to act in accordance with such moral reasoning. If we as blacks cannot help but be non-racists, then we can never get moral praise for our innate non-racism. We would simply be like toasters that work well, designed to produce warm and fuzzy feelings in others. After all, moral praise can be given only to creatures that have the capacity to act in differing ways.
“By condemning Hlophe’s remark [that he will not shake the hands of a white man] as a racist assertion, we are thereby fully respecting his humanity and holding him morally accountable. By denying him the right to be judged in our game of tough ethical relations, we would implicitly be placing him outside the moral community. Even the Justice for Hlophe Alliance would not want that, surely?”
Vos comments: “At first glance this argument seems compelling. Who among us would be able to dispute that the capacity to injure others is a human trait that belongs to us all regardless of what race we might claim to belong to? Who would deny that it is deeply demeaning to argue that because of a person’s purported race, he or she either has moral agency and can do only bad, or has no agency and can only do good?
“However… “ read the rest on his blog: http://constitutionallyspeaking.co.za/?p=1313
updated report with new information about dramatic loss of top skills at South Africa’s parastatal electricity supplier:
August 15 2009 – Despite the new below-inflation rate 10,5% wage-hike agreement reached yesterday, yet another electricity-crisis is looming in South Africa , warns trade union Solidarity’s deputy head Dirk Hermann.
“Solidarity has just held an opinion poll amongs our (white members) at Eskom, its top-skilled artisans, electricians and electrical engineers. And this shows that 62% of our members at Eskom do not visualise having any long-term future at the para-statal electricity provider at all.’
“The problem this poses for Eskom’s ability to continue maintaining and expanding their electricity network, is that the vast majority of these Solidarity-members represent its skilled workforce. This can lead to an even more serious skills-shortage at Eskom – at a time when the skills of these artisans are needed even more to allow the para-statal’s expansion plans,’ Hermann warned.
530-million Euro loan for boilers at new Medupi power station in Limpopo
Eskom has also just signed a 530-million Euro loan agreement with seven European banks to help buy the foreign-made components for the new R80-billion Medupi Power Station’s boilers at Ellisras/Lephalale, in Limpopo Province.
The ESKOM press release notes that the 883-hectare power station site was expropriated from the traditional Boer-cattle farm “Naauw Ontkomen”. The operational life of the station is 50 years.
“Medupi will be the first-baseload power station to come online (in 2015) since the construction of Majuba Power Station in the late eighties.” said Eskom Chief Executive, Jacob Maroga at the August 2007 groundbreaking ceremony -- adding: “This project, together with the commissioning of the new Komati, Grootvlei and Camden Power Stations, as well as the Ingula pumped-storage scheme, will enhance reliable electricity supply.” http://www.eskom.co.za/live/content.php?Item_ID=4989&Revision=en/0
However – to run and maintain South Africa’s growing electricity grid, ESKOM is going to need many more skilled artisans than they have now. Thus, keeping their present workforce of top-skilled white artisans and electrical engineers happy should be a primary concern for the state-run company, Solidarity trade union warns.
The trade unions Solidarity, NUM and NUMSA on Friday reached a new 10,5 % wage-hike agreement – less than the rate of inflation -- with Eskom’s management on Friday, according to Reuters.
Solidarity sounded a warning note however, saying that the new wage-agreement ‘does not resolve the critical labour-relations problems which still exist at Eskom, namely the rift between Eskom’s management and its employees, which still remains very serious’. http://www.solidariteit.co.za
Meanwhile Reuters reports that Eskom reached an agreement with unions over pay and a housing policy on Thursday, claiming that a threatened strike was thus averted ‘that could have led to power cuts and hurt the economy.”
10.5 % salary increase backdated to July 1…
Eskom said in its statement that the new wage-agreement would be signed on Monday. Eskom also said it had agreed with the three unions on a salary increase of 10.5 percent backdated to July 1. The utility also said the parties had agreed to review the existing housing policy. However the statement issued by Solidarity today indicates that there still are many unresolved labour-problems at the South African electricity provider. http://www.busrep.co.za/index.php?from=rss_&fArticleId=5124268
The National Union of Mineworkers said on its website however that it has merely SUSPENDED a planned strike against Eskom which had been set for Thursday when announcing that it had ‘agreed to the wage deal.” However Reuters claimed in its report that the NUM had ‘called off’ the strike.
Reuters has also completely ignored Solidarity’s warnings about the unhappiness of the company’s highest-skilled workers – so we thought we’d mention them to provide a more balanced view of the growing problems which are still developing at ESKOM. The latest news is that Koeberg nuclear power station near Cape Town has been shut down again for maintenance. Media Release - 29 May 2009 .
530-m Euro loan with 7 European banks to expand ESKOM_infastructure:
– and that ESKOM has signed a loan agreement with for 530 million Euros (approximately R6,1 billion) with 7 European banks. This loan will be used to fund part of the foreign content of the Medupi boiler contract with Hitachi Power Europe, and forms part of the Eskom ongoing funding activities for its investment in infrastructure. http://www.eskom.co.za/live/content.php?Item_ID=9511
in 2007 SA had already lost 40% of their top technical personnel to affirmative action:
August 15 2009 -- “My husband Paul, who is an Electrical Engineer, whilst working in South Africa during the worst of the power cuts in 2007, researched Eskom's ability to future-proof SA's electricity supply. At that time they had already lost 40% of their top technical personnel due to Affirmative Action leading to emigration and unemployment.
“Despite senior Eskom executives having forecast the electrical energy shortfall in the early '80's -- and this was highlighted in a report around '92 -- it (this report) has been disregarded.
In 1980s, SA had surplus electricity capacity of 25%…
- “In the mid '80's, SA had a surplus electricity capacity of 25% and supplied Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe as well. At the time of this research 2 years ago, there was a 15% shortfall and older power plants had been forced to close down due to lack of skilled staff.”
- NUM statement: http://www.num.org.za/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=440&Itemid=72
- Reuters report: http://www.busrep.co.za/index.php?from=rss_&fArticleId=5124268
- ESKOM media statements: http://www.eskom.co.za/live/content.php?Category_ID=52
- Medupi power station news release: http://www.eskom.co.za/live/content.php?Item_ID=4989&Revision=en/0
- Medupi power station, Elllisras: pictures: http://www.eskom.co.za/live/content.php?Item_ID=7891
Aug 15 2009 -- Daniëlla du Plooy of Beeld newspaper reports from Johannesburg High Court that three black men were found guilty of murdering twelve-year-old UK-born pupil Emily Williams during a firefight between the armed robbers and security guards in Fairland, Johannesburg.
The Williams family had only been in the country for about a year: her father was appointed chief financial officer of explosives company AECI in May 2007.
The schoolgirl was hit in the head by a stray bullet while waiting in her mother’s car in front of the house of classmate Alison Saunders while a robbery was in progress inside in February 2008.
Mrs Toni Williams had stopped in front of the Saunders home with her BMW car with Emily, her sister Sophie, 10, and two pupils from their school inside, waiting to pick up Alison – initially unaware of the violent scenes taking place inside the house. Toni Williams had hooted as usual for Alison, but had phoned the Chubb security company for help after she saw a strange man emerge out of the Saunders family home. When the security guards arrived, the robbers came out with guns blazing and Emily was hit in the head. The Williams family has since then returned to the UK and did not attend the court proceedings.
Found guilty of her murder were David Busakwe (29), Innocent Skotseni (29) and Shadrack Showe (34). They had pleaded not guilty to all the charges, claiming they weren’t even at the scene at the time. However, Inspector Deon Ehlers testified that fingerprints lifted off a computer belonging to Andrew Sanders, the owner of the house outside which Williams was killed, matched Busakwe’s ring finger. Also, ballistics tests proved that one of the two guns used by the robbers in the firefight had fired the bullet which killed Emily. The court also heard that surgical gloves were found on the property and that no fingerprints were found on the two guns found when the trio were arrested.
However, besides the forensic evidence, the three men also were identified by witnesses. Mr Andrew Saunders, owner of the house, testified that the men had ambushed him and his daughter Alison, 13 outside their garage and forced them at gunpoint to go back inside. The men tied up Alison, Mr Saunders, his mom Mrs Mavis Bourgeous and housekeeper Mrs Dina Maletso. “They then locked us up in the bedroom, and a few minutes later we heard the shots,’ Sanders testified. About 15 minutes later, his terrified wife appeared outside the window of the bedroom, asking them if they were OK, and telling them that Emily had just been shot dead inside her family car. Sentencing will take place on Monday. http://jv.news24.com/Beeld/Suid-Afrika/0,,3-975_2548033,00.html
Emily’s shooting caused outrage in the luxurious suburb of Craighall where she attended a private school. Her school held an unprecedented protest march dressed in their school uniforms through the streets shortly after her murder. And at her funeral service, pupils from the private Trinity House Preparatory School, where Emily was in Grade 7, walked with their heads down into the sanctuary at the front of the church in their uniforms.
The funeral of Emily Williams also was attended by local residents and her father’s co-workers. In that same week, two other girls were also murdered under extremely cruel circumstances, and the community was up in arms about the senseless violence targetting the country’s children.
Father Owen Franklin of St Michael's Church - where pink and white balloons festooned the fences - decried the high level of crime affecting South African children.
The Star’s journalist Janet Smith wrote at the time:
“That is what hounded the hundreds who stood holding each other for about 15 minutes outside St Michael's Anglican Church in Bryanston after the funeral of 12-year-old Emily, as the heartbreaking sound of uncontrolled crying came from inside a vestibule. Her mother, Toni Williams, had appeared calm as she read out a letter her daughter had written a few weeks ago in which she had described herself as a "nonconformist" and "a salmon swimming upstream". Toni was apparently in the vestibule with her younger daughter Sophie. A child's desperate sobs could clearly be heard. Sophie (10) witnessed her older sister's shooting and death from the back seat of her mother's BMW after Emily was the victim in a standoff between robbers and security guards outside the house of a friend, Alison Saunders (sic).
“In their tribute to her, Emily's parents spoke of how they expected she would already be dressing the angels in heaven, fulfilling her dream of a career in haute couture. Each letter of her name carried meaning for them: "E for exceptional, M for marvellous, I for intelligent and independent, L for loyal, and Y for young, too young to die." http://www.thestar.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=4257290
Her parents Roger and Toni, left the country with their remaining daughter Sophie, with Williams announcing his resignation as the Chief Financial Officer at the SA chemicals and explosives firm AECI Ltd three months later – and vowing never again to set foot in South Africa. Her death had devastated her family "beyond belief", her grieving parents wrote in a tribute to their child.
Emily was "one of the most exceptional people we have ever met," the Williams' wrote in their tribute, adding they were proud to have had her as their daughter. Her life had been ended "needlessly" by that "fateful bullet," they said. http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_2271582,00.html.