Oscar Mpetha

by craig on February 22, 2013 3:15 pm in Uncategorized

I spent the first two years of my FCO career trying to push the FCO to pressure South Africa to release Oscar Mpetha. I don’t recall Afrikaaner amputee sympathy then.

The school named after Oscar is criminally under-resourced, but then it’s only for black kids. I bet no-one from the Oscar Mpetha school ever got, or will get, bail.

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  1. Uzbek in the UK

    22 Feb, 2013 - 3:27 pm

    If the question that really is behind this blog is whether or not South Africa is the most racially unequal and white supermasist country in the world then the answer is most certainly Yes.

    But equally, the victim was white too.

  2. I’m from South Africa originally, and a bit disappointed in this post from you, Craig.

    No-one should dispute the institutionally racist criminal justice system, at all levels, back in the apartheid era. That people like Oscar Mpetha were subject to these sort of injustices was an intended feature of the system then.

    To compare his case however, to Pistorius’s, some 25+ years later, is absurd. To suggest a racist angle to the fact Pistorius was granted bail is, at best, trolling.

    Pistorius is an Afrikaner, famous, disabled, white, and also, INCREDIBLY WEALTHY. He has assembled the finest team of defence lawyers money can buy. They are up against a police force and prosecuting authority that is institutionally under-resourced and reliably incompetent. That this bail decision broke his way is really not a surprise.

    I’ve spent god-knows how many painful hours of my life working with my father who represents Cape Town residents in police liaison. The details are too painful to recount (the default setting of any investigation is “files went missing”), but the idea that the police may provide any sort of a service to communities, communities of any colour, is an insult. The police force in SA is a shambles, the prosecution service hopelessly politicised, the net effect is that the well-off and well-connected almost invariably get their way in court.

    Bottom line, the flaws in South Africa’s justice system today are little to do with racism. If you believe otherwise, you’ve obviously not read much about the relationship between the senior ANC brass and the supposed independent prosecuting authorities. The one bright spot is that the most senior judges tend to be decent and competent people; and obviously quite unlike the apartheid era judiciary.

  3. Eddie-G

    I don’t disagree with a lot of that, I just perhaps forgive less readily than you. Some Afrikaaner woman (a criminologist, I think she was introduced as) opined that Pistorius needs as an amputee were a reason he shouldn’t be kept in jail. Borught Oscar Mpetha back strongly to mind – a great man, by the way.

    The existence of a wealthy highly corrupt black elite doesn’t mean racial advantage has been eliminated in South Africa.

  4. O/T But there’s a good BBC 4 Documentary on Anonymous. Heavily featured is the battle against Scientology and the support for Wikileaks. Interestingly there is no mention of Wikileaks in the programme information provided by the BBC. Possibly because it doesn’t demonise Assange and Wikileaks.


    Storyville – 2012-2013 – 19. How Hackers Changed the World: We Are Legion

    Storyville: Documentary that goes inside the complex network and history of Anonymous, the radical online ‘hacktivist’ collective. Through interviews with current members – some recently returned from prison, others still awaiting trial – as well as writers, academics and major players in various ‘raids’, the film traces the collective’s breathtaking evolution from merry pranksters to a full-blown global movement, one armed with new weapons of civil disobedience for an online world.

    In recent years, Anonymous has been associated with attacks or ‘raids’ on hundreds of targets. Angered by issues as diverse as copyright abuse and police brutality, they have also taken on targets such as the Church of Scientology.

  5. Having gone back down memory lane, I should mention Terry Curran and Tony Gooch in the context of trying to help Oscar Mpetha, and also to recall that I was taught by people for whom the idea that you used your position to try to do good was a given.

  6. OT – Should add Assange/Wikileaks first section mentioned above is about 35 minutes in for those pushed for time. The BBC blurb does mention that it interviews people awaiting trial What it doesn’t say is that these people are awaiting trial for Wikileaks related actions. Although that’s clear in the documentary itself.

  7. Uzbek In The UK, he didn’t kill her because she was black.

    He may not even be free because he’s white, but because people who are celebrities and have bags of money can get away with murder. Its the same everywhere; apparently even in South Africa.

  8. Oh dear! How unfortunate. ‘I am a bullet in the chamber! Just do it!’ said the Nike ad followed by their logo, the swoosh.

    Sports sponsorship. Nike pull out.

    Pistorius fall-out: The perils of sports sponsorship
    By Matthew Wall Business reporter, BBC News

  9. Eddie G, I agree that much of what you say is right, it is money that does the talking, not justice. Evil beings like Craig Williamson, Eeben Barlow, other Executive Outcomes’ personnel and Mark Thatcher are walking around like free men, when collectively they have organised countless assassinations and bombings, including those of Olaf Palme and probably of Bernt Carlsson on Lockerbie flight Pan Am 103, plus the planned overthrow of Equatorial Guinea and so on. Even Simon ‘I am not the main man’ Mann spent less time in prison than English Muslims who were never charged with any crime. There is justice for the poor, and a different kind of justice for the rich.

  10. The latest warmonger to get a peace prize is Francois Hollande.

    ‘A very unfortunate decision’: French President gets UNESCO peace

  11. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21554311

    UK’s AAA credit rating cut to Aa1 by Moody’s

    The UK has had its top AAA credit rating cut by Moody’s, based on its expectation that growth will “remain sluggish over the next few years”.

    The ratings agency became the first to lower the UK from its highest rating, to Aa1.

    Moody’s said that the country’s debt reduction programme faced “challenges” ahead and the UK’s huge debts were unlikely to reverse until 2016.

  12. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    22 Feb, 2013 - 11:04 pm

    Don’t forget Steven Biko, Craig. As to the current state of racial animus in SA, the US has been recalcitrant in some regions (Southeast) to accept the forward push to equality. SA has made significant gains the last twenty-or-so years.

  13. The more unequal a society the more unequal the justice meeted out to its different categories of citizens whether that be a function of race … or class … or religion … or gender (to name but four) is of little import.

    Inequality – and unequal justice – exists in all societies in greater or lesser measure.

  14. Craig,
    I have known South Africans of many ethnicities and wonder sometimes about the human species.
    I recall, in my post grad studies, when I settled on a career in law, being in the college cafeteria. Adriane was a white South African and we started talking and then the conversation got round to Apartheid. It went something like this:-
    Courtenay (C ) : But Adriane, surely you can’t be suggesting that Apartheid is right?
    Adriane ( A): You don’t understand Courtenay – the Africans are stupid.
    C. Well Adriane, I am of African descent – am I stupid?
    A. No – I don’t mean you.
    C. So?
    A. They are just stupid – they can’t learn.
    C. So – do the majority have the same opportunities and privileges that you have had, that I have had – by way of education and financial assistance?
    …need not take that exchange further, but it was one of those exchanges that somehow even these 35 plus years on just stuck in my head ( thick as Adriane may have impliedly thought it was).
    Then there was my Jamaican scientist friend who lectured in France and then went over to South Africa to work at a University and train PhD. students. He said to me – South Africa under Apartheid had the best socialist system in the world. I asked him how he could say such a ridiculous thing. His reply was that once you were white – the socialist benefits flowed your way.
    And Craig you observe – “In 1983 he was convicted of terrorism and of inciting a riot at a squatter camp in August 1980 during which two whites were killed”
    I am presently giving some legal assistance to a white South African on a legal matter. I marveled at the tales I heard then in my student days, and even now as I get to know another client and hear the tales of what humans did to humans under the guise of “race” I really sometimes wonder about the human race.

    Footnote: Back at you Craig:-

    ” The existence of a wealthy highly corrupt black elite doesn’t mean racial advantage has been eliminated in South Africa”

    I think that it went a bit this way:-

    A. Give the black politicos and their cronies a big enough slice of the economic pie.
    B. Keep the lion’s share for the tradional holders of economic power.
    C. Let the blacks in large measure continue with the skewed ecocomic distribution and black and white elites remain contented ( more or less).

    Someone with first hand experience of contempoary South Africa come back with a should of a big “bollocks” – no – even bigger “BOLLOCKS” – AND LET THE REAL DEBATE BEGIN!


    “come back with a should”


  16. @Ben Franklin,

    ” SA has made significant gains the last twenty-or-so years.”

    Tell us what you know….

  17. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    23 Feb, 2013 - 12:32 am

    Courtenay @ 11:53

    “”Wat is verby verby”

  18. @ Ben Franklin.

    You are the clever one:-

    Come on…tell us all:-

    “Wat is verby verby”

    Then get back to my original point:-

    ” SA has made significant gains the last twenty-or-so years.”

    Tell us what you know….

  19. @Courtenay Barnett

    Can’t speak of present day SA having only had experience of it in 1989 – left me truly traumatised!

    Was friendly with the SA Argus newspaper London correspondent and his wife who, after they’d moved back and knowing my political tendencies and interests, asked me to come over for a visit “to see it for myself before it changed”. I went with my youngest son – 8 years old – for a month and travelled extensively, even living on an Africaans farm in Orange Free State for ten days. I was a photographer at the time and wanted to mount an exhibition (with text) on my return.

    I had many conversations like yours above and managed to shut one person up by pointing out that the majority of black South Africans spoke at least three, and often more, languages. Scarcely a sign of stupidity.

    But predjudice and bigotry was – to me – often found in the strangest of places; Cape Indians, for example I generally found to be incredibly racist in their attitudes to black South Africans.

    And one thing that’s never mentioned … it was the most sexist society that I’ve ever experienced. There was I, a single woman travelling alone with a child and the very first words uttered by every single person I met on being introduced to them were, “Where’s your husband?” I eventually got so fed up with it I told them why he wasn’t with me … “because he’s Jamaican!”

    My son inherited my Celtic skin!

  20. @ Indigo,

    I understand.

    What can I say?

    Ol’ Ben Franklin ducks out and I am here really trying to go to the heart from the head and in reverse, the head from the heart.

    WOW – makes me “verby” does it.

    Come on – let us have a serious debate about the kinds of things that affect and impact us all as human beings.

  21. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    23 Feb, 2013 - 1:03 am

    Courtenay; What is it you are looking for? Spell it out. I happen to think the progressive human spirit is sufficient when it overcomes obstacles. Time is a requisite ingredient for real change.

    Case in point; although biological….In 2002 I needed to lose about 70 pounds of excessive protoplasm. I could have undertaken a fad diet and lost it quickly; only to regain because I had not changed my lifestyle. I could have lost it quickly and dealt with the sagging flesh, only to have it inflated to full psi. I chose to lose it slowly (2-3 lbs per month) so that I established a baseline of rectitude and permanent change. Humans change slowly. The US didn’t establish voting rights of Afro/Americans until 1964…100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Still there are pockets of resistance to equality in the south eastern US. The Confederate Flag still flies on the same pole as the US flag in some states. It is a slow process. Changing human opinion, attitudes and beliefs takes a while. Instant change is impossible. Now, what is your beef?

  22. @Courtenay Barnett

    I wish I knew what it was like now … I would expect that it’s not dissimilar to Jamaican society around 100+ years ago – the evolution of the society post slavery into a society of haves and have-nots with even the poorest of the whites keeping the status already earned on the back of their skin colour.

    Come on, someone, put me right!

  23. @Courtenay Barnett

    … our gender … our identity … our upbrigning … our education … our experiences … our culture.

  24. @ Ben Franklin,

    Thanks for your frank response.

    I said to you – and repeated your statement – twice:-

    ” SA has made significant gains the last twenty-or-so years.”

    Tell us what you know….

    So – Q. Courtenay; What is it you are looking for? Spell it out.
    A. I did – twice over.

    You said: “Changing human opinion, attitudes and beliefs takes a while. Instant change is impossible. Now,…

    what is your beef?”

    I ought not to be typecast as having a “beef”. I am inviting conversation and a discourse. You gave a reasoned and sensible answer.

    Thanks and – cheers!

  25. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    23 Feb, 2013 - 1:31 am

    Courtenay; ”Wat is verby verby”

    What is past, is past. Wise words from a sagacious leader.

  26. @ Indigo,

    “I would expect that it’s not dissimilar to Jamaican society around 100+ years ago..”

    The processes of so-called development – I believe work something like this:-

    A. The golden rule of international wealth creation: he who has the guns will get the gold and get rich.

    B. Those who do not have gold will not have to face the guns.

    C. Those who have the gold and not sufficient guns – then be prepared to lose the gold.

    Now – face forward in this way – slavery – exploitation – capital accumulation – then now black gold. Why do you think that the US is so focused in its foreign policy on oil rich countries in the world? In a figurative way of speaking – those countries of special concern have the “gold” – “black gold”.

    I see the global processes that way. But then again you say:-

    ” … our gender … our identity … our upbringing … our education … our experiences … our culture.”

    Indeed and then we weld them all together and try to embrace our “humanity”.

  27. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    23 Feb, 2013 - 1:43 am


    ‘Gold’ whether black, or precious metal, is almost nearly, past. Water is the new oil. Look there first, in these times.

  28. Ben Franklin,

    So – different resource(s) – same war…huh?

  29. @ Indigo,

    ” I wish I knew what it was like now … I would expect that it’s not dissimilar to Jamaican society around 100+ years ago – the evolution of the society post slavery into a society of haves and have-nots with even the poorest of the whites keeping the status already earned on the back of their skin colour.

    Come on, someone, put me right!”

    As Malachy Postlethwayt, a political economist, frankly and honestly wrote in 1745: “British trade is a magnificent superstructure of American commerce and naval power on an African foundation.”

    And if I were to be a little mischievous here:-

    “… earned on the back of their skin colour.” ?

    Surely – lack of skin colour…huh?

  30. @ Ben Franklin,

    ” Courtenay; ”Wat is verby verby”

    What is past, is past. Wise words from a sagacious leader.”

    Ha! history is bunk and the past has no connection with the present. Yeah! sure.

  31. @ Ben Franklin,

    ” SA has made significant gains the last twenty-or-so years.”

    Tell us what you know….”

    And that is thrice…

  32. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    23 Feb, 2013 - 2:22 am

    “And that is thrice…”

    Courtenay; Is the Circle Unbroken? I feel like I’m on a carousel.

  33. You funny Ben.

    I will place one more post and call it a good discussion.

  34. @Indigo,

    A really big question for you:-

    What is the cure for prejudice and bigotry?

  35. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    23 Feb, 2013 - 2:33 am

    Declare victory in a discussion, then exit the field at half-time. Is that your intent, courtenay?

    I don’t see you proffering any counterpoint, save snark.

  36. @ Ben,

    I really was checking out and you came back before I pressed the button.

    You are simply not answering what you profess you know and posted and profess to stan by.

    Why don’t you simply answer:-

    ” SA has made significant gains the last twenty-or-so years.”

    Tell us what you know….”

    Over, and over and over again you have been asked. State your points, facts and figures.

    Is that a hard task – or – you just gamiming with your posts?

    Honestly, I don’t know. But, I will sign off now and see what you have to say tomorrow.

    Kind regards to you and all.

  37. The other Apartheid state.

    How the US covered up the truth on the killing of the young American citizen on the Mavi Marmara by the Israelis who put five bullets in him all from the back.

    Documents reveal how US let Israel off the hook over ‘execution’ of American Furkan Dogan
    by Alex Kane on February 22, 2013

    “In total Furkan received five bullet wounds, to the face, head, back thorax, left leg and foot. All of the entry wounds were on the back of his body, except for the face wound which entered to the right of his nose. According to forensic analysis, tattooing around the wound in his face indicates that the shot was delivered at point blank range”


    I visited relatives in SA a few times in Apartheid days. I felt ashamed to be white. It was vile. It was disgusting and I have never understood why a blood bath did not take place before the whites gave up their control of political power. They still have the economic power of course.

    The worst aspect were the maids who lived in the equivalent space of coal holes at the back of the gated houses. They had children and families of their own who lived miles and miles away in some terrible shanty yet they had enough love in them to treat the white babies and children of their masters and mistresses with smiles and tender care.

    What was the name of that horrible racist who mouthed obscenities and who went around on horseback?

  38. Still on topic! Ex Medialens.

    Exploitation this time by the royal hangers on of impoverished people in another land, ie slavery.

    ‘Mother and daughter are making pinatas — those colourful cardboard figures filled with sweets which cascade out when their cardboard casing is broken with a stick. They have become a popular source of amusement at middle-class birthday parties, weddings and other celebratory events in Britain.

    Among the companies that sell them in sizeable quantities is Party Pieces, the Berkshire-based business run by the Duchess of Cambridge’s family, which offers more than 40 types on its website, in all manner of designs, from lions and castles to Minnie Mouse.

    Since Carole and Michael Middleton have never been slow to cash in on their royal connection (last year they launched a range of regally-themed trinkets to coincide with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee), they now include giant pinatas in party packs called Little Prince and Little Princess: blue for a boy, pink for a girl.

    Such matters are of small concern to 38-year-old Monica Villegas and her daughter. Each week, she must make a set number of pinatas, which varies according to how big they are and how intricate the design.

    They are among the many thousands shipped to Britain via a chain of distributors and sold to retailers including Party Pieces.
    To meet her target, Monica invariably works ten hours a day, seven days a week — and even then she needs the help of her 18-year-old son, Jonathan, and little Stephanie, who assists her after nursery school by sticking on the bar-codes and labels.
    While the Middletons sell their pinatas for £12.99 each, Monica sometimes earns as little as 10p an hour.’


    Those Mail readers who are royalists must choke on their cornflakes when they see this stuff.

  39. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    23 Feb, 2013 - 9:04 am

    The name of the (not very good) horseman was Eugene Terreblanche. Now deceased – he got hacked to death by a couple of blacks.

  40. Radio 4 Today this morning. Two items of interest. Ah diddums to Wallis btw.

    0751 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qsph3/live

    Civil Rights lawyer Chase Madar and former spokesman for the State Department PJ Crowley debate whether Bradley Manning, the man who passed secret documents to Wikileaks, is a whistleblower. This comes on the day of Manning’s 1000th day in detention for his actions.

    HEAR the discussion:
    Manning spends 1000th day in detention
    Bradley Manning, the American soldier who passed over 200,000 secret documents to Wikileaks, will spend his 1000th day in detention today…



    and Neil Wallis

    It was announced yesterday that former executive editor of The News of the World, Neil Wallis, will not face charges for phone hacking. He talks about his experience.

    HEAR the interview here:
    Neil Wallis: Arrest was ‘terrible ordeal’
    Former News of the World executive editor Neil Wallis will not face charges over phone hacking

    Pat. Pending @Cupid5tunts tweeted: “More journalists under arrest in UK than Iran”, says free man @neilwallis1 #r4today #incredible
    23 Feb 2013 08:46 on Twitter

    So Neil Wallis still doesn’t accept or understand the damage his colleagues and other journalists did to peoples lives, then? He was just describing exactly what many other people experience when they’re under suspicion. A shame that he’s not more contrite about the behaviour of his part of Fleet Street and was perfectly happy to see them attend dawn raids on “ordinary” people. [signed] M

    PS I am not on Twitter and I am not the ‘M’ above

  41. Oh yes it was Terre’blanche, that kindly man who ‘spent three years in prison for assaulting a black petrol station worker and for the attempted murder of a black security guard in 1996. On 3 April 2010, he was hacked and beaten to death on his farm by a black farm labourer, allegedly over a wage dispute.’

    The hate within him showed in his face and in the way he spat out his slime.


  42. Former Foreign Ministry director-general invokes South Africa comparisons

    ‘Joint Israel-West Bank’ reality is an apartheid state

    If Obama intends to ignore the looming ‘apartheid cliff’ on his visit, he’d be better off staying home, adds Alon Liel, who also served as Israel’s envoy to Pretoria


  43. I always assumed ‘Terre’Blanche’ was an assumed name until I read the Wiki entry above.
    It’s a case of “nominative determinism”.

  44. ‘Blood comes cheap, and with budgets tight at home, western leaders are happy with the current arrangement. Rebel terrorist fighters are being paid between $500 and $2000 per month, and arms are free of charge through various NATO proxies and Gulf States.

    Their job assignment is a blunt one – to intimidate loyal pro-Syrian citizens, and to butcher thousands of innocent civilians – all in all, inflicting a reign of terror much like that one engineered by Washington in Nicaragua during the 1980′s. This is who Washington, London and Paris are backing in their quest to finally bring Syria under their globalist umbrella.’-UKColumn


  45. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    23 Feb, 2013 - 5:34 pm

    Oh, I see. You’re a facts and figures kind of bloke, Courtenay. Here’s a fact; SA elected Mandela in 1994 ( a Bantu, no less). It took the US a century and a half to elect a black Chief Exec. Progress (need I explain the concept?—data to support?) is slow with mankind. The question is; what happens to SA when he dies? Sorry, no prescient ownership of facts related to that event.

  46. @ Ben,

    Very well then.

    The demographics of the US is that the whites were and still are a majority and the blacks a minority; the reverse was the case in South Africa. Your point is taken nevertheless – there was racism in both countries which operated as a block against electing an African or person of African descent.

    I really wanted to hear you on points such as:-

    – Income distribution on a comparative ethnic based assessment.
    – The socio-economic conditions by reference to pre and post Apartheid.

    Even without facts and figures, someone who has visited or lived in South Africa will have formed an impression about those issues.

    Kind regards.

  47. @ Courtenay Barnett, you ask,

    What is the cure for prejudice and bigotry?

    We are what we learn, Courtenay.

    Unlearning and re-learning are complex and infinitely long processes …

    We start with ourselves.

  48. Israeli Apartheid Week 2013

    The lessons of apartheid and the Palestinian popular struggle

    MEMO, PSC and JfJfP invite you to a public seminar during Israeli Apartheid week 2013 on ‘The lessons of apartheid and the Palestinian popular struggle’.

    Venue: Friends Meeting House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ
    Date: Monday 25th February 2013 @ 7pm-9pm

    Organised by Middle East Monitor, Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Jews for Justice for Palestinians


    Sami Abu Shehadeh

    Sami is a long term Palestinian activist and is currently a PhD student at Tel Aviv university focussing on Jaffa as an Arab Cultural centre during Mandate Palestine 1920-1948. Sami is a leading activist in the Balad Party and a member of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality council representing Jaffa.

    Mahmoud Zwahre

    Member of the Al Ma’sara Popular Resistance Committee in the West Bank

    Chaired by:

    Victoria Brittain



  49. @ Indigo,

    Or – as has been said by a wise man:-

    “To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.”

    Lao Tzu – Chinese philosopher

  50. @ Indigo,

    You are right, and consider this:-

    ” For Kids, Mom and Dad’s Attitudes on Prejudice Rule
    Adult words have more value than positive experiences for young: study By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff

    Posted Mar 21, 2012 11:20 AM CDT
    (Newser) – Where do kids get prejudiced ideas from? Adults—at least when the children are young. A new study found that when first-graders were told by an adult that another group of children was “mean,” those first-graders in turn evaluated the other group as “mean”—even if they had a positive experience with the group. By third grade, adults’ words had about the same weight as the kids’ own experiences, and by fifth grade the two had completely flipped: Children at that point evaluated a group positively if they had a good experience with that group, even if an adult had spoken negatively of the group beforehand.

    “Our work suggests that older children are going to be more influenced by their own experiences, so it’s not enough for us to lecture to them about equality and diversity-related issues,” a study researcher says in a statement. “We need to help create situations and environments that foster positive experiences among children from all backgrounds…”

  51. Now the Pistorius brother is on a charge of causing the death of a woman by dangerous driving in 2010. It is now 2013? Why the delay?

    ‘The charges against Carl Pistorius over an accident involving his car in which a woman on a motorcycle died date back to 2010 but have only just emerged, local media reports say.

    They were confirmed to the BBC by Pistorius family lawyer Kenneth Oldwage.’


    The wheels of justice in SA do grind exceedingly slow and strange.

  52. dope post

  53. Great article is there any chance I can take it and copy it onto my own blog

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