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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Grading the South African Cabinet

The Mail & Guardian, again, presented "its yearly, no-holds-barred Cabinet report card."

In this report card, each cabinet minister is graded from A - F (F is a failing mark), and is compared with the mark received last year (2005).

Here are the scores for this year:

Thabo Mbeki - President - Grade: A-
Ngconde Balfour - Minister of Correctional Services - Grade: E
Thoko Didiza - Minister of Public Works - Grade: C
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma - Minister of Foreign Affairs - Grade: B-
Alec Erwin - Minister of Public Enterprises - Grade: B-
Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi - Minister of Public Service and Administration - Grade: B-
Lindiwe Hendricks - Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry - Grade: B
Zweledinga Pallo Jordan - Minister of Arts and Culture - Rating: C+
Ronnie Kasrils - Minister of Intelligence - Grade: A-
Mosiuoa Lekota - Minister of Defence - Grade: D
Brigitte Mabandla - Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development - Grade: G
Mosibudi Mangena - Minister of Science and Technology - Grade: A+
Trevor Manuel - Minister of Finance - Grade: A
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula - Minister of Home Affairs - Grade: F
Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri - Minister of Communications - Grade: E
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka - Deputy President - Grade: B (Flight class: Jet set)
Mandisi Mpahlwa - Minister of Trade and Industry - Grade: D
Membathisi Mdladlana - Minister of Labour - Grade: D
Sydney Mufamadi - Minister of Provincial and Local Government - Grade: C
Charles Nqakula - Minister of Safety and Security - Grade: F
Essop Pahad - Minister in the Presidency - Grade: B
Naledi Pandor - Minister of Education - Grade: D
Jeff Radebe - Minister of Transport - Grade: C+
Lindiwe Sisulu - Minister of Housing - Grade: A-
Zola Skweyiya - Minister of Social Development - Grade: A
Buyelwa Sonjica - Minister of Minerals and Energy - Grade: C-
Makhenkesi Stofile - Minister of Sport and Recreation - Grade: E
Manto Tshabalala-Msimang - Minister of Health - Grade: F
Marthinus van Schalkwyk - Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism - Grade: B
Lulama (Lulu) Xingwana - Agriculture and Land Affairs - Grade: B-

It would be interesting to know how other political analysts have scored the cabinet. Analysts that are not in the government's pocket, that is! I am not saying M&G is in the government's pocket. What I am saying is that there are many analysts out there, but many of them are as objective as a baby's mother could ever be!

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

God's Peacekeeper!

A Cartoon by Chuck Asay

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Monday, December 18, 2006

When a cell phone is the barometer of society

Just a week ago my wife and I decided that it was now time to give my son his first cell phone. My daughter has had hers for two and a half years.

Well, got an upgrade to my phone, and so the pass downs began. I gave my, now, older phone to my wife, who gave her older phone to our daughter and our son received our daughter's older phone. Jason was soooo excited! He quickly SMSed the rest of the family to give them his number. The next thing he did was to play the games on it.

In all of this, I think I was just as excited about him getting a phone as he was. Since my daughter, Nicole, got her first phone (the one Jason just got from her), I had been sending her SMSs every now and again just to let her know that I was thinking of her and that I loved her. I do this for my wife on a regular basis.

So, I was excited about the fact that I would now be able to do that for my son too! I have been doing just that in the past week.

Well, yesterday (Sat, 16 Dec) we were at Menlyn Park Shopping Centre to do some of our Christmas shopping. We arrived there at about 13:00 and we did a little shopping until 14:00. Then the whole family, my wife's sisters and parents and nieces together with our family, came together to watch Open Season.

After the movie we all went our separate ways.

Some hours passed and we finally arrived at Game , an apartment store selling almost everything that a house could need or want.

Jason and I decided to sit outside and wait for my wife and daughter. I have a problem with my neck, and by this time my back had started killing me! So, there we were watching people walk by.

Jason had been complaining that the pockets in his shorts were too small for his cell phone, so while we were sitting there he took it out of his pocket and played some games on it.

While we were sitting there my son's cousin and her dad arrived there. My son's cousin had a balloon with her and the two of them started goofing around with the balloon. This continued for about 10-15 minutes. Finally, my wife and daughter came out and I told my son, "Come, let's go!"

When we were two levels up (Menlyn has six levels), and at the parking pay point my son suddenly said that he did not have his cell phone with him!

Well, that was it! I knew exactly where it was! In somebody else's hands who had no intent of handing it in somewhere, just in case the owner was looking for it.

Jason and I ran all the way back, and by the time we got back to where we were sitting, the phone was gone! There was a key-making vendor close by, so I asked him if a phone was handed in to him just in case someone was looking for it. I went in to Game and asked the security at the entrance the same question. I did the same at the cell phone department and the jewelry department, both of which are just into the entrance to Game. Nothing!

I did not expect any better! Why! Because that is exactly what we expect from the vast majority of South Africans to do. Pick up something that does not belong to them and then to keep it as their own!

When I was a kid, I was taught very clearly by my parents (and that was the expectation from society), that if I ever picked up something that did not belong to me, I should hand it in to the closest store or counter in case the owner came searching for it! Else, look for a name on the item and then try contacting the owner.

Unfortunately, the South Africa we live in today is not a country in which ownership, integrity, honesty and dignity are valued above criminal behaviour! I did in no way expect anybody to simply call one of the numbers in the phonebook of the phone to see if they could find the owner! In fact, when we reached the bench where we sat before and saw that the phone was gone, I immediately called Jason's number. Somebody answered the phone without saying a word. I could heard background noise. However, the thief on the other side ended the call and switched the phone off completely. I tried many times after that to call the number, but his service kept on saying, "The number you are trying to contact cannot be reached right now. Please try again later!"

You cannot imagine the disappointment I felt. The anger! Yes, even hatred! I was so angry, I even took it out on my family and especially my son! Driving home I was seething with anger! I was venting beyond anger! Just thinking that someone could be so dishonest, to take what does not belong to them, in the process breaking a little boy's heart. Several times my son was crying out of control! He was so excited about the phone, and now some lowly criminal stole his phone.

And, don't tell me that person is not a criminal. That person took what did not belong to him, and that makes him a thief, hence a criminal!

After we arrived home I sat in front of the TV feeling very sorry for myself! I behaved like a mad man because someone stole my son's phone!

Just there and then I got up and joined my wife and son in my daughter's room. He was still crying his little heart out. My heart was broken by now too! How could I have vented with such anger and hatred?! I sat there with them telling them that with my outbursts and my attitude I had sinned against God and against them. Much of my anger I levelled at them, and especially my son for losing his phone.

I sat there asking each one of them to forgive me for being angry at them, especially since we were being the victims of a crime. I also spoke my forgiveness toward the person that stole the phone. It is not my business hating anybody, even if they commit crimes against us. Jesus told us to love even our enemies. It is not always easy, but that is what He requires of us.

Next, I prayed, asking God for forgiveness, and for the healing of the hurt that I caused in my family through my outbursts.

Please don't think that the cell phone is a small thing and that I must just get over it. In my side of the family, I have had an uncle stabbed to death, a cousin shot to death, a niece raped and two other nieces had their cars hijacked at gunpoint. I had a car broken into, another car stolen and our home was broken into. That cell phone was no SMALL thing! It represents only the tip of the iceberg!

In South Africa, we have lost our moral barometer. When the government has no ability to be leaders in the country, especially in the field of morality, when they are the leaders in corruption, then the people will simply follow. Especially, when more than 67% voted for the current government.

When the government has proven through its own inaction that they do not care in the least about the crime in this country, what is to be expected? More crime!

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Treating the Symptoms and not the Cause

HIV/AIDS is an epidemic that is literally spreading like wild fire. Of course, this epidemic started in the loins of those that are now infected with the virus.

Now, many SADC countries want to start considering fighting HIV/AIDS by having men circumcised. You see, some research have shown that "male circumcision has a 50% to 60% preventative effect." This is where their strategies have gone wrong..., again!

This is like putting Band Aids on the cuts of someone who likes to cut himself! In this way, you simply treat the cuts, instead of the cause of the cuts. Instead of looking at the cause of the spread of HIV/AIDS, SADC simply wants to slap a Band Aid on the HIV/AIDS problem. "There's your Band Aid. Go in peace!"

The problem with treating the symptoms of HIV/AIDS, is that it will not stop the spreading of the virus. HIV/AIDS is, essentially, a moral issue and not a medical issue!

When Uganda started their implementation of the fight against HIV/AIDS, they used the letters 'ABC' to describe this fight. These letters had the following meanings:

  • A - Abstinence
  • B - Be faithful
  • C - Christ
Uganda, thus far has been the most successful in the fight against HIV/AIDS. However, liberal forces have hi-jacked this 'ABC' and condomized it. That's right! Christ was thrown off the team and was replaced with a condom by these amoral/immoral liberals, even though condoms still have a 20% failure rate for protection against HIV/AIDS!

Yet, when these dark forces talk about this fight, you hardly ever hear about the 'A' and 'B' of the 'ABC.' I attended the "1st HIV/AIDS Communications Survey 2006" at the beginning of November, and it was clear in this conference that according to those "fighting" HIV/AIDS, abstinence simply was not an option. Their mantra is: "Use condoms!" There is that Band Aid again!

SADC will lose the fight against HIV/AIDS if they continue this trend. To treat abstinence as a non-option, is to sign the death certificates of millions of people. Yet, the fact is that most of those people who have contracted this moral disease, simply live an immoral lifestyle. This is where the South African government, churches and eventually SADC should take up a leadership role in fighting this scourge. And, that leadership role should not just be a role in which they tell people to use condoms to prevent infection. NO, it should be moral leadership. Certainly not leadership like that of Jacob Zuma!

To keep on suggesting that HIV/AIDS is not a moral problem is to invite massive failure in the war against this disease.

It is with this in mind that the church in South Africa should now start walking the road of the moral high ground. The church must become the example of the fact that abstinence can be followed until marriage. Further, it must also show that being faithful to one's spouse can also be attained. Lastly, the church must uncompromisingly preach the gospel! It is in the gospel of Jesus Christ that there is real deliverance and real forgiveness of sin!

It is time that the church starts speaking out against the sins of our nation, of which sex with someone you are not married to is but just one!

Since HIV/AIDS is a moral issue, the church must start speaking about it as such. We have skirted around this issue for too long. Please, hear me in this! I am not saying that every single person infected with this virus became infected as a result of an immoral lifestyle! What I am saying is that this is true with a great majority of those infected.

The fact is that only the truth concerning this matter can prevent more infections. That truth is that only abstinence can prevent infections. Yet, our government and other institutions keep on lying to the people by telling them that condoms are acceptable to prevent infections. This simply is demonstrably NOT true!

If the death and infections of more and more people can be laid at the feet of someone, it has to be at the feet of those who continue to lie to the people. These liars are in the government and many institutions who claim that they are fighting this virus. Words! That is all they are! Words!

The final solution is not in a small 'c'--condoms, but in the exalted 'C'--Christ!

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Cars cause accidents?

I am sure, that having read the subject to this post, you are thinking, "Yea! Thanks for stating the obvious!"

Well, let me explain!

One can also say, "Guns kill!" Well, is that simply stating the obvious? I don't think so!

You see, cars and guns are inanimate objects. They can do nothing of themselves. Hence, cars do not cause accidents and guns don't kill!

In both these cases, the causing agent is the human race. Human beings cause accidents and kill!

Now, to the cars...

Yesterday, Transport Minister Jeff Radebe, at the closing ceremony of the 16 Days of Activism against Women and Child Abuse Campaign, said that "last year alone, 600 000 vehicles were bought, which translated to a drastic increase in our vehicle population and more drivers on our roads."

He first said that due to economic growth, there is an increase in accidents because there are more cars on the road. He only added the "drivers" later in his speech.

I personally do not think that cars and economic growth are the problem!

Driving just for one day on our roads makes it clear that those driving on our roads do not care much for the rules of the road!

Some of these rules that mean nothing to a whole lot of road users are:

  • Speed limits
  • Following distance
  • Lane change indications
  • Turn signaling
  • Solid white, yellow and red lines
  • Driving without seatbelts
  • Speaking on cell phones without using hands-free kits
  • Not stopping at stop signs
  • Using vehicles that are definitely NOT road worthy
  • and many more...
IMHO, it is much too easy to get a driver's license in this country. All the common mistakes that people make on the road are proof enough of that!

The fact that so many people snub the rules of the road also point to some other factors:
  1. There is not a strong enough presence of traffic officers on our roads, and coupled with that;
  2. Traffic officers are not consistent in their legal right to enforce the rules of the road when there are infringements on the road
Infringing on the rules of the road should be dealt with by the authorities, otherwise, the carnage on our roads will continue.

It should also not be easy to get a driver's license. Prospective licensees should prove their skill in driving, beyond driving around for a while and doing proper parking.

There are just too many people who do not care about the rules of the road. Until this problem is sorted out, we will continue to see too many people die on our roads!

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Homosexuality a disorder

In the aftermath of the legalization of same-sex marriage (Civil Union Act) in South Africa, I thought that Kathleen Melonakos, M.A., R.N., wrote a very interesting article called Why Isn't Homosexuality Considered A Disorder On The Basis Of Its Medical Consequences? It documents the "[l]ethal consequences to engaging in defining features of male homosexuality-- promiscuity and anal intercourse."

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Christians and Politics: Maturity Required

I heard from someone the other night that a friend of his doesn't vote because the only time that political parties are interested in him is around election times.

That, to me, shows a level of immaturity that is all to common among Christians in South Africa. There is a sense among Christians that they want to be spoon fed all the time, all too reminiscent of pre-school and junior-primary aged children. It is at this level that children, to a large extent, still get spoon fed when it comes to teaching them. They haven't learnt the skills of how to acquire knowledge by themselves and need to be directed in the right direction.

When it comes to politics, South African Christians are largely still in the pre-school/junior-primary category.

Yet, these same Christians want positive change in this country. Something that we are still waiting for since the new "democratic" government took over in 1994.

What we did get from the new government is more crime, abortion, pornography, same-sex "marriages" and a constitution that is Godless and completely anti-life.

This is exactly what Christians do not want!

Yet, how many of these "Christians" are actually willing to stand up for a cause! They simply want things to change, but expect someone else to bring about the change. One thing I have learnt from South African politics, is that democracy is a complete fallacy. We have seen that clearly in the same-sex "marriage" debacle. The government simply refused to acknowledge that the people do NOT want same-sex "marriage" legalized! Yet, they went ahead and legalized it anyhow! When asked why they do not hold a Referendum on the same-sex "marriage" issue, one of the ANC members in the National Council of Provinces responded with, "We don’t need to follow the electorate, we must lead the masses – in a creative way!"

If we as Christians do not stand up against this type of anti-democracy, then our nation is doomed! Yet, some don't even want to vote because their is no one to hold their hands! Christians are not supposed to be led by their noses! Stand up and be counted! Make a difference! Bring about change! Don't let negative change overcome you!

Whenever the Bible speaks of social justice, it expects us to be part of rectifying injustices. The fact is, that much of what should be happening in politics can be explained in two terms: justice and injustice. It is government's responsibility to ensure that justice prevails and that injustices are eradicated. However, what we have in South Africa is that the government are the perpetrators of injustice. It is in this context that Christians should stand up and demand justice in the midst of all the injustices.

The problem is that, just like many non-Christians and non-religious people, Christians in South Africa do what is expedient for themselves!

They would rather vote for the DA, who by the way stands for very much the same as the ANC (the DA is just white whereas the ANC is black), in order to hope that the DA as the only real opposition to the ANC will make sure that the blacks don't completely overrun the country. The truth is that many white South Africans stand behind the DA and many black South Africans still stand behind the ANC purely for historical purposes! For whites, the DA is the only party big enough to still hold the ANC (read blacks) at bay and for blacks, the ANC is still seen as their liberators!

What is sad, is that many of these voters claim to be Christians, yet vote for these two parties without knowing that these two parties stand for the same list of abominations that I listed above.

The question, however is, will the knowledge of those abominations make these Christians change their minds on who to vote for? Or, does personal expediency overrule Biblical standards for them? Do they rather want to be comfortable without rocking the boat, or are they willing to stand up for what is right in the eyes of their Lord?

Will Christians stand up against the injustices of this current government, or is the gentle giant slumbering, ready to fall into a coma?

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