A shocking report appeared in the Johannesburg Sunday Times this week in which Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) veterans beat up party supporters during a train trip from Cape Town to Johannesburg.
The dispute was over distribution of free food parcels following attendance of ANC cadres at celebrations in Cape Town.
Gauteng party supporters who were on the 36-hour journey home from the ANC’s hundred and third birthday celebrations said conflict between them and members of MK broke out over the distribution of food.
A pregnant woman was kicked and punched by party members, the Sunday Times reports.
Tension has been mounting in Cape Town over the celebrations. The city and adjoining region are controlled by the Democratic Alliance.
The ANC has been trying to make inroads into the province. But its methods have often proved counter-productive. ANC activists who were on the train protested when they learnt that food was provided for free to about 1 000 people, but then sold to cadres.
“Youth League members protested and demanded that food be given to the elderly, but the veterans told them to shut up,” the paper reported . The brutality has been confirmed by witnesses.
“When you look at the pictures at the Apartheid Museum,” one traveller said, “where white police are hitting people, it was like that.”
So when President Robert Mugabe’s birthday comes along next month, we should be duly thankful that our Zanu PF activists set a better standard of behaviour than their South African counterparts! Yes, it does happen!
Muckraker was interested in a report recently that referred to a dramatic improvement in relations between the United States and Cuba. Among the areas that have seen normalisation are the media.
Cuba has released journalists whose fate has been largely ignored by governments except the US. The previous Pope on his visit to Cuba last year called for the release of detainees and, hey presto, it was done.
Now a visit to Cuba by US officials has resulted in further reforms including the release of detainees.
What needs to be asked here is why did Cuba take so long to release detainees including journalists in the first place?
Don’t you recall all those propaganda pieces in the Herald telling us why it was so important to lock people up? Perhaps the Cuban authorities can tell us. Now things seem to have relaxed a little, Cuba must stop persecuting its dissident citizens. That includes its allies. Does anybody remember Horace Campbell of Nicaragua? He was a familiar face on ZBC-TV that we could have done without.
Nothing to celebrate
Meanwhile, our own government is just as pernicious. It gives orders to slash fuel prices and everybody celebrates. Then it imposes duties on the same imports and we end up with no benefits.
Leave agric alone
In case you were wondering what sort of president Emmerson Mnangagwa will make, you need look no further than Monday’s NewsDay. It says government will intensify its land grab targeting the few remaining white farmers, multiple farm owners and other groups involved in land ownership struggles.
What we have here is inconsistency. The policy is to achieve political stability. But we know from past experience a small elite will benefit.
“We shall make sure every family has food on the table,” Mnangagwa said at a farewell ceremony in his constituency. Mnangagwa should leave agriculture alone and let farmers do what they do best.
The Commercial Farmers Union is right to point to government’s inconsistency in the agricultural sector. Farmers need to know what the next cropping season will hold.
Meanwhile, it is not good policy for MPs to have their wives nominated for party posts.