/ 8 November 2018

Letters to the Editor: November 9 to 15

A reader questions why the horrors of the civil war in Yemen
A reader questions why the horrors of the civil war in Yemen, such as the recent bombing of a bus carrying children, do not make the headlines. (Mohammed Huwais/AFP)

M&G made a Brief error

It is very unfortunate that the Mail & Guardian reported that a home affairs official tore up the passport of a 16-year-old from Zimbabwe (In Brief, November 2). As far as I know, this has not been established as fact.

It’s also not correct to report that a home affairs official appeared in court this week. No official appeared in court in this regard.

On October31, GroundUp published an update in which it shared comment received from home affairs, contrary to the belief of the unnamed “experts” in the M&G’s piece, who allege, figuratively or ­otherwise, that “a year is but a day in the department’s schedule”.

Occasionally, we receive media inquiries from the M&G.

To the best of our ability, these are attended to. Where sufficient time was required to investigate, or to seek guidance from relevant business units, an extension was accordingly requested. This was the case also in respect of the media inquiry we received from GroundUp, which obliged, by the way.As explained to GroundUp, from which the M&Gsourced its report, the department received a notice of motion. It noted allegations made against certain officialsand it will be filing its papers in due course.

Without venturing into the merits, we should, at the very least, ask: Why would the child be asked “to apply for a German study visa” as reported in the M&G?

GroundUp itself says the child has been at Zonnebloem Nest High School in South Africa.

South African authorities can only issue study visas for study in this country. I think it would assist to familiarise ourselves first with the issues before drawing conclusions or apportioning blame.

In the manner that your report is constructed, a reader may be pardoned for thinking this whole matter is about the fictitious court appearance of an official. — David Hlabane, head of media, department of home affairs

■ The M&G’s brief account, in its round-up of the week’s news, was drawn from GroundUp, and we were inaccurate in that we did not make it clear that these were allegations made against home affairs and not established fact. We apologise for the error.

‘Integrity commission lacks integrity’

The establishment of the ANC integrity commission is welcomed in all sectors of the society.However, it still has to prove itself when it comes to dealing with ANC deployees who are implicated in wrongdoing.With the VBS scandal that implicates senior ANC members, the integrity commission must have teeth to deal with them and set a precedent.

The challenge with the commission is that it seems like its duty is to make findings and recommendations to the NEC of the ANC, who seemingly know what to do, but who are always awaiting recommendations of the integrity commission.Unfortunately, it appears as if the only recommendations the integrity commission has made is the suspension of those implicated in VBS.

But what about the allegations of state capture and people implicated in state capture, some of whom still occupy senior positions in government and Cabinet?

How can South Africans be expected to have full confidence in the commission if such a bodyis selective when it comes to the cases it investigates?

Senior members of the ANC must, like any responsible citizens who are aware of criminal activities, have the legal obligation to report such matters to law enforcement agencies.

If South Africans are to give the commission full confidence, it must make recommendations of prosecution for all members of the ANC who are implicated in corrupt activities.

Any ordinary citizens who had allegations against them, like what Malusi Gigaba is accused of committing, would be in jail by now. It appears some people are more equal than others in South Africa. This integrity commission lacks integrity. — Itumeleng Ntsoelengoe Aphane, Johannesburg

Yemeni kids’ killing also newsworthy

In Yemen, is the United States again on the side of dictators?

The murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi had the newsworthiness to make news almost every day in the past two weeks.

But when the Saudis’ bombing of a school bus kills 40 children in Yemen, this is not as newsworthy. As many as 14-million people — nearly half the country’s population — are on the verge of famine. Yemen also is home to the world’s worst cholera epidemic in modern history, with more than a million Yemenis contracting the disease.

I am sure that photos could be found of shredded, dismembered children that would equal the horrible description of Khashoggi’s dismemberment.

Could it be that US involvement in the Yemen civil war — supplying planes, bombs, mid-air refuelling and tactical support — places us, once again, embarrassingly on the side of dictators? Or is it Trump’s reluctance to let go of the ­$100-billion arms deal to the Saudis?

Maybe the bone saw was Made in America. — Iqbal Randeree