[DEBATE] : Mbeki the only 'third force' - Qwelane
b.miles.teg at gmail.com
Wed May 28 14:17:35 BST 2008
Perhaps the hunting and killing of Somali's (who cares they are just
moslems who may want to blow up the Carlton Centre! - remember that?)
bred and also contributed to this impunity.
Perhaps we should wonder at our own tolerance of such gross ineptitude!
After all economic reasons cannot be behind this because Growth is at
record levels, the economy is creating jobs, and people are getting
Mbeki the only 'third force'
26/05/2008 08:48 - (SA)
The horrifying xenophobic violence sweeping across vast tracts of our
black communities has been as shocking as the government's useless,
predictable and false theory of a so-called "third force" behind it all.
That excuse is as lame and tired as claiming that the alarming incidence
of crime and the spread of Aids can be blamed on people of a criminal
mindset and of loose morals only.
In every calamitous instance the answer is always one, and one only:
government ineptitude and incompetence is the reason things are in such
a sorry state. If there is any "third force" to blame, then that force
is Thabo Mbeki and his bunch of equally incompetent ministers.
This week I drove around Ramaphosa informal settlement across the road
from Reiger Park in Boksburg, and saw incensed residents rushing to and
fro in search of their neighbours, the Zimbabwean and Mozambican immigrants.
The worrying factor about the search was that no goodwill was intended:
the searchers had one desire only - to kill their hitherto good neighbours.
I got a good idea of who the so-called "third force" was when a
middle-aged woman carrying a child stated quite loudly: "(Home affairs
minister Nosiviwe) Mapisa-Nqakula says these illegal immigrants are
welcome to stay because they have been invited. We did not invite them
to stay in our country; they are not welcome. If Mapisa-Nqakula says
they have been invited here and are welcome, then she must take them to
her home because here we do not want them."
Chillingly, Mapisa-Nqakula's husband, police minister Charles Nqakula,
had barely 48 hours earlier opined that the violence was "not a crisis"
- a favourite but false Mbekism - and his rationale was that if it were
a crisis, it would be spreading to other areas!
The "third force" is the government, finish and klaar.
Had Nqakula been fast asleep a mere two weeks earlier when Mamelodi,
right on his Union Buildings doorstep, erupted in an orgy of hate and
violence? Was the outbreak in Alexandra not a sign the malaise was
spreading and was therefore, in his terms, a crisis?
Anyway, after his infamous "not a crisis" statement, Diepsloot erupted,
rapidly followed by Thokoza, Tembisa, parts of central Joburg, the
Diepkloof Baragwanath taxi terminus, Boksburg, and by this week it was
The savagery of the image of a man slowly roasting to death, "necklaced"
with his only worldly belongings - a mattress, duvet and some strapped
to his back is haunting, more so that people joked about it.
It reminded me of the barbaric scenes in Kwanobuhle in Uitenhage in
1987, when I was the only journalist around to witness the first
"necklacings" of alleged sell-outs.
The intensity and cruelty of such barbarism cannot be described in
words. There is no word for the nauseating smell of burning human flesh,
and the frightened and loud screams gradually reduced to moans and
groans, while around the wretched victim the people dance, scream and
It did not matter what the reasons for such barbarity were then, and it
does not matter now: savagery and cruelty of that level simply
dehumanise us all, and if this government does not see it as a crisis,
then they deserve to be kicked out of office immediately.
On Sunday morning I had a call from a friend who works in the
intelligence services. He was telling me he was in Thokoza where "it is
very bad, my brother", and just two hours later he called to tell me
that Wattville township in Benoni was also very restive. Would the
situation then compel Nqakula to describe it as a crisis?
I believe the trouble with our fat-cat cabinet ministers is simply that
they are hopelessly out of touch with reality and with the people. They
wouldn't be able to "organise a piss-up in a brewery".
Another thing that I have been told is also sensibly right: why would a
foreigner selling apples and oranges be seen as "taking jobs away from
The government has frittered away the decency and dignity which Nelson
Mandela brought to the post-1994 dispensation. They are now just a
mindless gang of men and women who pale into frightful tikoloshes and
morally bankrupt pygmies beside their own shadows; corruption, lying,
ineptitude and hopeless incompetence are their trademarks.
The sooner Mbeki takes his blighted henchmen and women with him on his
imminent exit, the better for us all.
· Jon Qwelane's column is published each week on News24, courtesy of Jon
Qwelane and the editor of Sunday Sun, which originally carried the article.
More information about the Debate-list