We provide protection for municipal officials but none for whistleblowers (our Minister of police has taken a finding by the Public Protector, requesting protection for anti-corruption fighters, on judicial review). Superficially, the former occupy a public office and the latter not: quite probably the primary challenge for the former is that one may occupy the chair wanted by another which is worth a million Rand a year. Corruption, on the other hand, carries values that often run into hundreds of millions of Rands. Hardly encouraging for those who might speak out when so much more is at stake.


Many farmers are taken to task for obliterating the graves of former farm workers/tenants. Whites find the reverence given to such difficult to deal with – unless it happens to your own: a furore caused by Chinese plundering World War II warships for steel (and disturb the remains of the sailors that went down with the ships) is quite surprising. We regularly plunder wooden wrecks for gold, don’t we? The only real difference is a hundred years or so.


Or else: sowing dragons’ teeth. Violence has become entrenched in South Africa. Communities seemingly only succeed in bringing complaints to the attention of those who govern through violence; Nehawu threatens the NSFAS boss; MK veterans get jobs by closing councils down; Amcu threatens Impala Platinum; the # Fees Must Fall student movement burns and breaks. The roots of violence reach deep into society, tapping into such complex conditions as poverty, racism, joblessness and hopelessness. The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (look them up) seeks the reasons for this in a whole raft of reasons, including the failure of enforcement and, methinks, leadership. An interesting take on this is a note by Tage Rai in which he suggests that people resort to violence as they genuinely believe this to produce good. Take a look. Reference


Fallist anger: a recent note, written by prof Jansen attracted my attention, not for its message on the toll of transformation on the thin layer of black exceptional scholars and leaders on our campuses, but for a student leader’s comment quoted by him: “Make no mistake, those students hate you because of what you have achieved.” This is truly disturbing.