NO CHRISTMAS CHEER IN NDWEDWE AS GOVERNMENT FAILS TO DEAL WITH TAXI TERRORISM

The large peri-urban Ndwedwe area north of Durban has for years been serviced by Injabaliso Bus Service, offering passengers affordable transport, including for those who rely on it to bring their bulky goods from nearby towns of Verulam and Tongaat. Over the years, there have been sporadic threats, including the blocking of buses, by taxi operators, which have been dealt with through political intervention.  Around three months ago, taxi operators resumed attempts to disrupt the service, including by threats to drivers. Despite pleas to government and police, and warnings of likely bloodshed, no action whatsoever was taken and, on 15 November, two bus drivers were shot dead in hits in the Sonkombo area. Bus operations stopped, as drivers, who live in Ndwedwe, are understandably terrorized, as no arrests have been made.  Fearful residents are crying out for the return of the bus services as costs for transporting their goods have risen since they now need to rely on costlier taxis or their haulage services. While the SAPS have indicated preparedness to assist, continuing pleas for intervention by the municipality, and the provincial Department of Transport, to assist with logistics, have fallen on deaf ears.

When the taxi threats resurfaced, residents initially sought assistance from politicians and police but, when no notice was taken, they became scared for their safety.  KZN Monitor letters were then sent to the Ndwedwe and iLembe District SAPS. On 4 October, they were informed that taxi owners had jammed an Injabaliso bus in Sonkombo, preventing it from proceeding to other areas to load passengers for Tongaat.  The name of the association, and contact details of its chairperson, were provided. The police were asked to take urgent action against the criminal operators and ensure that buses could operate safely. There was no response. On 9 October the bus owner, Kishore Sathanlal, was shot dead in a hit at his Tongaat home.  The local police have yet to provide feedback about the murder investigations. A further letter to Ndwedwe and District SAPS on 4 November described how taxis were chasing buses travelling from Verulam to Ntaphuke (in Ndwedwe) and they were provided with the name of the taxi association implicated. They were reminded that drivers and commuters feared for their lives, and the need for urgent intervention, including arrests, was emphasized. Again, there was no response.  On the late afternoon of 15 November, two bus drivers, brothers Zamo and Jabulani Ngwenya, were shot dead in Somkombo, not far from KZN Premier Zikalala’s home.  One of the deceased was killed while offloading passengers and the second was shot driving on hilly terrain not far away. The bus rolled, but miraculously, despite injuries, no passengers were killed. The private security company employed by the bus company arrived at the scene from Verulam before the local police did.

After telephone calls to the Ndwedwe and District SAPS, the police sprang into action, setting up roadblocks. However, it was too late. There had been another incident in which a driver was blocked by unmarked cars and threatened, so terrified drivers refused to return to work in fear of their lives. Ndwedwe residents suggested that the municipality, together with the four traditional leaders, the Departments of Safety and Security and Transport, and the police meet with the bus operator to formulate a plan to ensure the safe resumption of bus services. For the past three weeks, letters stressing the urgent need for action, sent to all these role-players, including the municipal manager, by email, and even What’s App messages  have been ignored.  An SAPS representative claims that the Department of Transport is ‘on board’, and, referring to complaints about the bus service made by taxi operators, suggests that a meeting between representatives of the bus company and taxi associations take place to plan the way forward – while conceding that the bus service manager is too scared to attend such a meeting.

This response is extraordinary, since serious crimes, including three murders, have been committed, and no one has been arrested and charged, despite the names of three taxi associations – – one of which has been operating in the area illegally, i.e. without a permit – having been given to the police and the Department of Transport.  Since the murder of Kishore Sathanlal, almost certainly by a taxi-industry hitmen, his widow and the bus service manager have lived in fear, especially when leaving their homes. Yet one of them is supposed to meet with taxi operators implicated in the violence.  A remote meeting has been suggested.

What has happened in Ndwedwe highlights two endemic governance problems in this province.  The first is the inefficiency and lack of accountability of elected officials and departmental staff, starting with communication hurdles.  The provincial government website has deteriorated markedly in the past few years. Many email addresses are out-of-date,  few cellphone numbers are provided for administrative staff funded by taxpayers, and land lines are frequently not answered, or staff are not available.  Those cellphones listed are usually not answered and voicemail boxes are full. When, after numerous attempts, emails do not bounce back, they are seldom acknowledged, let alone responded to.

The second problem lies at the heart of South Africa’s abnormally high murder rate: The unwillingness of government to regulate and police the taxi industry, which has become a law until itself.  This is the industry that supplies most hit men and then covers up for them.

It is poor communities who suffer most.  After a year of further impoverishment through job losses and price increases, Ndwedwe residents are now paying more for transporting essential goods, including those needed for the informal sector activities on which communities rely.  Ndwedwe, like the rest of South Africa, is being held to ransom by criminals this government refuses to act against.

 

FEARS FOR THE SAFETY OF ADVOCATE DAN TEFFO AND SUSPENDED SAPS MEMBER PATRICIA MASHALE

Yesterday, 13 December, a press conference, ‘From State Capture to a Police State : The Application of Human Rights precepts to the Emergence of a Return to a Police State in South Africa’ was held in Pretoria.   This initiative came from Advocate Dan Teffo, who was maliciously arrested and imprisoned twice in November because of his work for justice.  He stressed its urgency days before it was held, adding ‘before I disappear’.  Advocate Teffo was today served with a warrant of arrest, and there are unconfirmed reports that a warrant has been issued for another speaker yesterday, Patricial Mashale, who has been suspended following disciplinary charges against her for blowing the whistle on gross corruption in the Free State SAPS.  Details of the charges are not known, but they are believed to arise from yesterday’s media conference.

On 1 November Advocate Teffo was arrested at his Johannesburg home around 04h00, and, dressed in his pyjamas, taken to Johannesburg prison (‘Sun City’). There he was sentenced, on 2 November, and without appearing in court, for Contempt of Court. He then had no knowledge of any such case against him.  He was arrested by three police members, two of whom were white members he believed were apartheid era security policemen (names known). He surmised that after they had left the SAPS they had been re-enlisted, as details he procured showed their appointment date as 16 August 2021. He avers that the signature on appointment cards is not that of National Commissioner Sitole.  He was released from prison ten days later and, when he tried to check on these mysterious police members, he was told they had already resigned.  He was arrested, again, on 16 November, apparently on a Trespass charge, when he entered the Gauteng SAPS headquarters with a client.  Much of Teffo’s work is in the Labour court for police members victimized because they are not part of the corrupt management cabal, battling to get them reinstated when he wins disciplinary cases.  He appeared in court on 19 November, but the bail application could not be heard as he had previously lodged a complaint against the magistrate to whom it had been allocated. When he re-appeared in another court on Monday 22 November there was no docket, and the investigator (apparently acting on instructions –  Teffo thinks those of the Gauteng provincial commissioner) again delayed on the pretext of verifying his residential address. When an incomplete docket appeared in court on 24 November, even the magistrate appeared confused and granted bail.

Teffo believed these arrests were carried out on the orders of the Minister of Police – who refers to him as a ‘troublesome advocate’ – and were primarily linked to very sensitive cases he has taken on which could have serious implications for the minister and management members. One of those cases is the murder, in 2014, of prominent soccer star, Senzo Meyiwa, in which he was approached to hold a watching brief for the deceased’s family, which was the primary focus of the press conference.  The deceased’s brother, Sifiso, provided details to back up Teffo’s argument about how this case had been deliberately sabotaged to protect well-connected killers, and bring false charges against people who had nothing to do with his brother’s murder.  Two good detectives who had cracked the case were removed and another team, reporting to Minister Cele, had taken over and charged five suspects, some of whom are serving prison terms for other crimes.  A sister of one of these men, who also spoke, gave very detailed information about how her own investigations could prove that the men now standing trial are innocent. Of particular concern in Teffo’s input was that it pointed to complicity at high level in the prosecutorial service in what seems to be a gross miscarriage of justice.

At the media conference Patricia Mashale spoke of severe harassment, and malicious charges brought against her, for her anti-corruption work.  She gave chilling information about the extent of criminal corruption in the Free State firearms unit.  She is already severely stressed, and fears for her life, due to SAPS management harassment. Police seized her personal phone, and her car was followed for a long distance by unmarked vehicles with police members in them, who lost interest when they realized she was not in the vehicle.

Proceedings yesterday, and the arrests of an advocate and an SAPS whistleblower, confirm the capture of the SAPS.  However, the man responsible is not the National Commissioner, a mere pawn, but the Minister of Police who was dishonourably discharged as National Commissioner in 2012, following a disastrous tenure in which brutality and all manner of corruption and irregularity escalated. According to media reports, this minister takes his advice from a police general from a notorious apartheid unit, and from a convicted apartheid era drug dealer policeman, who, together with his family, works for Crime Intelligence in KZN. It was Cele to whom the then national  SAPS Crime Intelligence head Jacobs handed a counter-intelligence report in 2019 detailing how apartheid-era security police were running a political hit squad in KZN, and were fueling violent protest such as truck burning on national roads. Minister Cele reportedly failed to take any remedial action, decreeing that the report be kept secret. He also, irregularly, controls a ministerial team investigating political hits in KZN, his own political colleagues being among potential suspects.  This team specializes in malicious arrests and abusing and torturing suspects. He also controls, through his surrogate, The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), because Parliament has still not passed legislation ordered by the Constitutional Court five years ago to give IPID independence from the police ministry.

The lives of Advocate Teffo and Patricia Mashale – and possibly others with insights into the Senzo Meyiwa case – may be in very grave danger, as South Africa slides, increasingly, into an apartheid-era police state. Teffo has provided the President with details of police corruption, but no action has ensued. The President had assured corruption-fighter Thabiso Zulu, another victim of the same police and their tactics, of protection, but has been overruled by his Minister of Police.  Surely questions should be asked about who exactly is running South Africa – and taking the country further along the road to an apartheid-type police state?  See also ‘The Return of Apartheid Policing threatens the lives of whistleblowers’

  See also ‘The Return of Apartheid Policing threatens the lives of whistleblowers’

THE CASE AGAINST MANDATORY VACCINATION IN SOUTH AFRICA: A THREAT TO HEALTH AND A SLIPPERY SLOPE TO INCREASED AUTHORITARIANISM

‘Research and development only takes place to the extent that it empowers or enriches those who sponsor it. In much of the world, independent academic research is a thing of the past, with the university laboratory now a sponsored, branded  profit centre dependent on industry or government  agencies’ (Shelley,T Nanotechnologhy)

The growing, frenzied calls for mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations, are deeply disturbing, especially when they come from doctors who seem to have forgotten the real meaning of health. There is no good reason to make vaccination mandatory, as it does not stop transmission of the virus, and forcing it on people who do not want it may impact negatively on their health.  Science is an open system which should be characterized by transparency, but important debates among leading overseas scientists, and even negative reports about vaccines, and the dubious conduct of manufacturers, receive scant – if any – coverage in local media.  Important questions about long term safety of these vaccines remain unanswered. All efforts to make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory must be opposed on both ethical and health grounds, and because giving an increasingly authoritarian government, and its dysfunctional health system, any further power would be a slippery slope to further health abuses, as happened during the apartheid regime.

Why forcing people to undergo medical procedures may cause them harm

Health is ‘a state of complete physical, social and mental wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’ (WHO definition).  A vast library of anthropological research confirms this holistic view of health, Body and Mind in Zulu Medicine, by the late Dr Harriet Ngubane being one of many local publications.  Modern, allopathic medicine, too, acknowledges that even expectations of benefits of treatment may improve reactions to medication, and hence the use of placebos in clinical trials.  Conversely fears of harm may themselves lead to adverse events (Nocebo), including by raising stress levels. That high stress levels can fuel serious illnesses is well known. (In rare cases entrenched beliefs about harm may even lead to what is termed Voodoo death). As former editor of science journal Nature, Jo Marchant notes in Cure : A Journey into the Science of Mind over Body, ‘If we feel safe, cared for and in control………..We feel less pain, less fatigue, less sickness. Our immune system works with us rather than against us’

People are dying after being vaccinated, but our Regulatory Authority,     SAHPRA, offers no explanation for why it believes these deaths are not vaccine-related, so families believe that they are. Elderly, but fit, Mrs M had avoided Covid-19 but became ill with flu-like symptoms within days of being vaccinated. She died soon afterwards.  Like most South Africans, her family depends on the public health system, and proper monitoring of vaccinees is not happening.  Surely the M family’s fear of vaccination is not unreasonable? Some of the blame for the low vaccine uptake must be laid at the door of this dysfunctional department, where many patients are treated disrespectfully, and medical records are inadequate, or even missing. It even failed to follow up after Rural Women’s Network leader, Sizani Ngubane, already showing Covid-19 symptoms, tested positive, despite pleas from her hospitalized son. She died a lonely, agonizing death, dehydrated and alone, at her home. Empirically-based community health policies formulated by progressive health professionals were ignored by the 1994 government, which preferred to waste many millions of rand on its Cuban allies with no experience of local health dynamics. .

Vaccination does not stop transmission of the virus

It seems that insufficient attention is being paid to what is happening in highly vaccinated populations in Europe, where the infection rate is soaring. The comprehensive UK data is particularly useful, and easily accessible. For a four- week period in October/November, more vaccinated people per 100 000 over the age of thirty were becoming infected than were unvaccinated people. On 9 November, when the under eighteen age group is excluded, seventy six percent of reported Covid cases had been vaccinated. The most recent figures, however, show that infections in those over seventy are higher for the unvaccinated than the vaccinated, which is probably linked to the uptake of third booster shots.  Hospitalization and deaths remain higher among the unvaccinated, but Public Health England cautions that other unknown variables may play a part in illness and deaths. Among those tested, more people have antibodies than have had the virus.

High rates of infection are conspicuous in other European countries where two thirds or more of the population have been vaccinated.  In Portugal, where ninety percent of people have been double vaccinated, a provisional analysis (still subject to confirmation) suggests that the country may have more new cases per day per million of its population than does South Africa.

From their recent Lancet editorial, it appears that local scientists acknowledge that these virus variants are likely to arise in what they term ‘a high transmission, environment’ where vaccine coverage was high.  What seems obvious is that, whether vaccinated or not, it is masks, social distancing and cleanliness that are the crucial weapons in the war against Covid-19.

Divided scientific opinion, Big Pharma, and more questions than answers

Nobel laureate Luc Montagnier is among leading overseas virologists and immunologist who have raised questions about potential problems with the rapid vaccine roll out (he has also been misquoted about it). He (and others) takes issue with the short duration of trials compared with norms about the years required for testing vaccine safety.  He is vindicated by a recent article in the British Medical Journal which confirms that the Pfizer trial used to gain permission for the American roll-out falsified data and failed to follow up on adverse events.  He also believes that mass vaccination could drive more harmful mutations of the virus.  There has been one mutation after another in the year since roll-out, but there is no way of knowing whether they are vaccine linked.   Particularly worrying, though, is his warning that these vaccines, unlike most others we are familiar with, are associated with Antibody Dependent Enhancement (ADE).  ADE leads to vaccine-induced antibodies which rapidly decrease, facilitating further infection.  In August 2021, the American Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and Health and Human Services (HHS) warned that they were seeing reduced protection against moderate infection, and that even protection against severe disease and hospitalization could diminish (italics added).  We thus become increasing vaccine-dependent, which could conceivably compromise our own immune systems.  Nor is there any consensus on the long-term consequences of nanotechnology used in the biotech vaccines, for adverse events (as with asbestos) could manifest only many years later.  Recent epigenetic revelations about intracellular influences on DNA transcription processes also pose unanswered questions.  As prominent physicist Paul Davies puts it in The Demon in the Machine, his brilliant attempt to link quantum physics, information theory and biological processes, ‘Cells are beginning to look like bottomless pits of complexity’.

Few of these issues are publicly debated in South Africa. and even medical doctors who raise their voices against prevailing orthodoxy are ridiculed as ‘anti-vaxxers’ or conspiracists.  Like those of scientists labelled ‘denialists’ in South Africa in the 1990s because they differed in their views about HIV, the important questions the so-called conspiracist doctors raise remain unanswered. It should also be borne in mind that experts who exert influence on health policy have an ethical duty to disclose any conflict of interest linked to funding they receive, which does not seem to happen.  There were no screaming headlines about the whistleblower revelations about Pfizer trial fraud –  described by a British doctor as ‘devastating’ –  despite it being published in a prestigious journal. (While not mentioned in the BMJ article, they had also allegedly embargoed a Japanese rodent study which suggested that mRNA vaccine particles are not as short-lived in bodies as the manufacturers claim).  Nor have vaccine-related adverse events and deaths elsewhere, including in the American Pfizer trials on children, received much attention, despite the local drive to vaccinate teenagers. (children’s immune systems are usually stronger than those of adults). Another problem is the apparent lack of choice of vaccines for children, as some people find the familiar modified virus type of vaccine more acceptable than those using biotechnology.  Should we not be very worried about reports that three Vietnamese children have died, and dozens have been hospitalized, following Pfizer jabs?   Should we not also ask whether our government’s failure to ensure that there is full investigation of apparently vaccine-related deaths has anything to do with avoiding potential liability claims on the South African fiscus? While details of agreements signed by the government with vaccine providers remain secret (which is unacceptable in a constitutional democracy), they reportedly include a liability waver against the manufacturers.

Why are businesses and scientists encouraging the march of authoritarianism in South Africa?

On different continents, large crowds are protesting about their governments using Covid-19 as an excuse to abuse their power, and telling them that ‘enough is enough’  In South Africa, despite government heavy-handedness and abuses during lockdowns, and bans on tobacco and alcohol sales which saw police and other government employees among those continuing to sell these products, business leaders and others are actively demanding that government curtail one of the most fundamental of our freedoms – for health and life are intertwined – and for no good reason, since vaccination does not stop transmission.  Have they forgotten how dysfunctional and corruption-riddled our health system is?  A case in point relates to the responsibility of the then MEC for Health in KZN for the painful, preventable, deaths of countless hundreds of cancer patiens, because of gross corruption in oncology procurement. Despite prima facie evidence of his having breached the Anti-Corruption legislation, the SAHRC, the Hawks, and the ANC have covered up for him, and he has been rewarded with promotion to the position of Deputy Minister of Health.  Is it not madness to even consider giving this government even more power over us than it already has?

Mandatory vaccination for Covid-19 is a slippery slope for, should it be made law, an extremely dangerous precedent would be set, especially as global warming promises further outbreaks of dangerous diseases. Have the lessons of apartheid’s chemical warfare programme not been learnt? When the National Health Act, which makes informed consent for any medical procedure mandatory, was passed, those Nazi-Germany-type abuses were fresh in people’s minds, even though the TRC hearings had been embargoed (and attempts to declassify them, and other material, had been, stopped by the apartheid generals). While key perpetrators were named, but never brought to justice, countless others working covertly in laboratories were never even publicly identified, and no steps were taken to ensure that any such activities stopped. The stripping away of informed consent for any medical procedures, and a lack of transparency – which is already an increasingly serious problem – could well facilitate similar abuses in the future.

Dare we hope that common sense will prevail, and that medical doctors supporting mandatory vaccination will revisit the oath they took to first do no harm?