Letters to the editor: October 16 to 22 2015

Influential: Is Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as squeaky clean as the international media would have us believe? (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

Influential: Is Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as squeaky clean as the international media would have us believe? (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

Ramaphosa not incorruptible

  Your thorough investigation of MTN and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa reveals once more the dangers of a capitalist becoming the president (Cyril left red-faced as MTN tax havens exposed). Soon after the dissolution of the Constitutional Assembly, Ramaphosa became an instant millionaire, like President Jacob Zuma’s children.

Many are unaware that Ramaphosa is the only National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) secretary general who was never recruited into the South African Communist Party of Moses Kotane. The NUM and the now defunct Metal and Allied Workers Union, which later became the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, have been the backbone of Cosatu.

Kotane’s SACP successfully recruited unionists Elijah Barayi, Sydney Mufamadi, Steven Dlamini, James Motlatsi, Thami Mohlomi and later Alec Erwin, Mike Mabuyakhulu and Moses Mayekiso. Outside Cosatu, it recruited the likes of Kgalema Motlanthe and Cheryl Carolus.

Ramaphosa was identified by business leaders Jonty Sandler and Nthato Motlana, who remarked that “you will have enough money to be incorruptible”. Sandler recognised the importance of political connections as part of the game. Ramaphosa’s involvement in trade unions was key to Sandler. To mining gurus and the capitalist class, he was an attractive prize.

  In 2007, Time magazine rated him one of the world’s 100 most influential people. Former US ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrooke described him a “beacon of hope for Africans” and said: “There are many who hope that Ramaphosa … will emerge as South Africa’s next president.”

Your paper’s allegations confirm the man’s real ideology. Marikana is a black spot on his legacy. This exposé also shows us why Ramaphosa called on the ANC Women’s League and ANC Youth League to defend Zuma. It will therefore mean these structures must defend him about the stashed MTN profits. He was also in the first row with Zwelinzima Vavi and Julius Malema in the purging of Thabo Mbeki.

Hooligans heckled advocate Thuli Madonsela at the 84th birthday celebrations of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, calling on her to speed up investigating funds moved out of the country towards the end of apartheid. MTN must also be investigated. Motlana was wrong to say a rich Ramaphosa would be incorruptible; it is corrupt to keep silent when he knows about these millions stashed in offshore accounts and keeps mum on the Nkandla scandal. He was one of the chief assassins of the Scorpions, and kept silent when Mxolisi Nxasana was purged and when Vavi was attacked.

  If Zuma is a proxy of the Guptas, Vivian Reddy, Thoshan Panday and Roy Moodley, is Ramaphosa not a proxy of mining capital? The stashed MTN profits must come back, be taxed and invested in social services. – Siyanda Mhlongo, KwaDukuza

Ancient Egypt has no relevance to Homo naledi

  In his letter commenting on the article Naledi is our spirit, not simply old bones (Authors duped by pseudo-history), Martin Evans is probably right in much of what he writes. But it must be said that Nubians were more than slaves and mercenaries in ancient Egypt, which was, as it still is, a melting pot and it is far from clear which peoples established the ancient Egyptian kingdom.

Their language seems to have ties to African as well as Asiatic languages and is related to the Asiatic Semitic, North African Berber, Ethiopian Kushitic and some languages spoken in Chad and Sudan.

About 10 000 years ago, a population wave from the Near East and the Mediterranean swept North Africa and settled in, mingling their blood with those they found there. The ancient Egyptians would have hailed from this mixed genetic pool.

The pharaohs of the Old Kingdom (the first) had strong trading ties, from about 2575 BCE, with the Nubian kingdom Kush to its south. During the Middle Kingdom era (circa 2000-1600 BCE), the Egyptians built a series of forts at the second Nile cataract to secure control over this trade.

In time, the Egyptian rulers became corrupt and weak; in 751 BCE Egypt fell to a Kushite (Nubian) king named Piankhy. He and his brother established the 25th dynasty. During the reign of the conservative Nubian pharaoh Taharqa (circa 690-664 BCE), a crusade was conducted, in the name of the god Amon-Re, to purge Egypt and rehabilitate the ancient temples of the land.

The Kushite pharaohs ruled Egypt until about 666 BCE, when they were in turn driven out by the Assyrians. So, to find Nubian remains in Egyptian tombs would not be strange. What puzzles me, though, is why even bring the Egyptians into an article on Homo naledi in the first place?

  Homo naledi is relevant to the development of Homo sapiens, with Egypt millions of years further into the future. – Cassandra Puren

Youth are still fooled by political rhetoric

Some young people have fallen for the Economic Freedom Fighters’ chorus of “economic freedom”, despite the fact that the EFF has no plan of taking us there. Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu are far from leading any people’s struggle for economic freedom, unless that struggle benefits them the most.

It is now an open fact that there is no democracy in the EFF. The decisions made are those their self-styled “commander-in-chief”, Malema, agrees with. Commanders are usually soldiers and police personnel, and thus usually issue orders. But many young people are still fooled. Themba Wele is one of those who appear to have genuinely believed in the EFF’s internal democracy, but now sees himself axed from the party after calling for a forensic investigation into how the EFF’s Eastern Cape legislature funds were allegedly misused by the party’s national leaders.

A similar issue faces the Democratic Alliance. Too many times, the DA has shown that it does not value black people at all, though it claims that it wants to provide opportunities for all. The latest scandal in the DA, in which MP Dianne Kohler Barnard endorsed a racist social media message calling for the return of the brutal apartheid leader PW Botha should show black people who are still in the DA where they stand. DA leader Mmusi Maimane needs to open his eyes and see that he is nothing but a black face for the DA. Real power lies elsewhere. – Thembisile Makgatho, Tembisa



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