City Press http://www.citypress.co.za The home of City Press online Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:45:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mario Balotelli’s 5 craziest moments http://www.citypress.co.za/sport/mario-balotellis-5-craziest-moments/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mario-balotellis-5-craziest-moments http://www.citypress.co.za/sport/mario-balotellis-5-craziest-moments/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:21:11 +0000 http://www.citypress.co.za/?p=136038 Mario Balotelli’s antics caught up with him again yesterday as his half-time shirt-swap with Real Madrid’s Pepe was greeted with outrage at Anfield.

The post Mario Balotelli’s 5 craziest moments appeared first on City Press.

]]>

Mario Balotelli’s antics caught up with him again yesterday as his half-time shirt-swap with Real Madrid’s Pepe was greeted with outrage at Anfield.

Here is a look at five earlier moments of madness that have marked the Italian out as eccentric:

Bad first impression
Just days after signing for Manchester City, Balotelli hits the headlines after crashing his Audi R8 en route to the club’s training ground.

Balotelli is found to be carrying £5 000 (about R88 000) in cash at the time of the accident and when police ask why, he reportedly replies: “Because I am rich.”

Dart shame
Balotelli once again showed his lack of maturity when it emerged that he threw darts at City youth team players through a training ground window in March 2011.

No one was hurt in the incident and he escaped punishment.

Fireworks off the pitch
Balotelli had a run-in with the emergency services in October 2011 after a firework was set off in the bathroom of his home, triggering a fire.

The next day, he scored in the Manchester derby and celebrated by revealing a T-shirt which read: “Why always me?”

Bizarre prison break
Mario and 17-year-old brother Enock were arrested strolling through the grounds of a women’s prison in Brescia, near Milan, in October 2011.

Balotelli is said to have told police that curiosity got the better of him and “just fancied having a look”.

Banned after Parker stamp
Balotelli is charged with violent conduct by the Football Association, and subsequently handed a four-match ban, after appearing to stamp on the head of Tottenham’s Scott Parker during a Premier League match in January 2012.

The post Mario Balotelli’s 5 craziest moments appeared first on City Press.

]]>
http://www.citypress.co.za/sport/mario-balotellis-5-craziest-moments/feed/ 0
Mall developer wants Lindiwe Sisulu to apologise for funding claim http://www.citypress.co.za/news/mall-developer-wants-lindiwe-sisulu-apologise-funding-claim/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mall-developer-wants-lindiwe-sisulu-apologise-funding-claim http://www.citypress.co.za/news/mall-developer-wants-lindiwe-sisulu-apologise-funding-claim/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:12:26 +0000 http://www.citypress.co.za/?p=136036 Durban businessperson Jay Singh wants Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to apologise for claiming that the ill-fated Tongaat mall was partially financed by her department.

The post Mall developer wants Lindiwe Sisulu to apologise for funding claim appeared first on City Press.

]]>

Durban businessperson Jay Singh wants Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to apologise for claiming that the ill-fated Tongaat mall was partially financed by her department.

A section of the mall, which was under construction, collapsed in November. A woman was killed and 29 people were injured.

An inquiry into the building collapse was postponed yesterday due to a lack of recording equipment, but Sisulu made the funding claim at an unrelated press conference in Durban on Tuesday.

“I can categorically state that the Tongaat mall was never partly funded by the human settlements department as stated by Minister Lindiwe Sisulu in an interview with the media recently,” Singh’s spokesperson Mervyn Reddy said today.

Sisulu said: “The tragedy about that building is that it was partly funded by myself. I am keenly waiting to see what the outcome of that investigation is. Part of the funding did come from human settlements.”

She did not say how much money the department spent on the mall, or why it was funding a shopping mall.

She was briefing reporters during the sixth Planning Africa Conference.

No comment could be obtained from human settlements spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya.

Singh is chief executive of Gralio Precast, which was building the mall when a portion of it collapsed on November 19 2013.

Singh’s son Ravi Jagadasan is the sole member of Rectangle Property Investments, the developer of the mall.

When he testified on July 24, at the labour department’s inquiry, Jagadasan stated that the mall was privately funded.

Reddy said: “The minister needs to correct her statement and also clarify that her department in no way funded or partly funded the mall at any time.

“Rectangle Property and the developer Gralio’s chief executive, businessperson and philanthropist Mr Jay Singh, seek an apology from Minister Lindiwe Sisulu for the harm and negative publicity that her incorrect statement caused to Mr Jay Singh.”

The inquiry continued today with a visit to the site by the commission. It will sit again on Friday to hear more testimony from design engineer Andre Ballack.

The post Mall developer wants Lindiwe Sisulu to apologise for funding claim appeared first on City Press.

]]>
http://www.citypress.co.za/news/mall-developer-wants-lindiwe-sisulu-apologise-funding-claim/feed/ 0
SA steps up Ebola screening http://www.citypress.co.za/news/sa-steps-ebola-screening/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sa-steps-ebola-screening http://www.citypress.co.za/news/sa-steps-ebola-screening/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:07:52 +0000 http://www.citypress.co.za/?p=136034 South Africa has upped its screening of arriving travellers in an effort to stop Ebola entering the country, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe has said.

The post SA steps up Ebola screening appeared first on City Press.

]]>

South Africa has upped its screening of arriving travellers in an effort to stop Ebola entering the country, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe has said.

Briefing the media at Parliament in Cape Town today following Cabinet’s fortnightly meeting yesterday, he repeated the government’s message that all necessary measures were in place to prevent the spread of the disease, which to date has killed nearly 5 000 people in West Africa.

“Surveillance at all points of entry has been strengthened to identify viral haemorrhagic fevers, in particular Ebola.”

Radebe said the government had established a national response team in case of an outbreak, and 11 hospitals were on standby as Ebola treatment centres.

“We support the efforts by the World Health Organisation in establishing Ebola treatment centres and strengthening capacity for laboratory testing, contact tracing, social mobilisation, safe burials and non-Ebola healthcare in West Africa,” he said.

The post SA steps up Ebola screening appeared first on City Press.

]]>
http://www.citypress.co.za/news/sa-steps-ebola-screening/feed/ 0
Malema confronted Moller for calling workers ka**irs – EFF http://www.citypress.co.za/politics/malema-confronted-moller-calling-workers-kairs-eff/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=malema-confronted-moller-calling-workers-kairs-eff http://www.citypress.co.za/politics/malema-confronted-moller-calling-workers-kairs-eff/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:54:27 +0000 http://www.citypress.co.za/?p=136030 The Economic Freedom Fighters have lambasted civil rights group AfriForum for defending “racists”.

The post Malema confronted Moller for calling workers ka**irs – EFF appeared first on City Press.

]]>

The Economic Freedom Fighters has lambasted civil-rights group AfriForum for defending “racists”.

The party today argued that their commander in chief, Julius Malema, was in fact protecting workers of a restaurant in Tzaneen, Limpopo, from “racist” attacks by the AfriForum member who was involved in the altercation with Malema.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi today confirmed that Malema and a group of EFF members were involved in an altercation with Cassie Moller on August 6.

But Ndlozi vehemently denied that Malema assaulted Moller and instead accused Moller of hurling racist insults at restaurant staff which prompted Malema to defend them.

Ndlozi was responding to AfriForum’s release of CCTV footage, which showed the altercation between Moller and Malema.

He said Malema had stopped for refreshments at the Tzaneen filling station when he saw “a drunk white man aggressively moving out of his car, rushing into the Steers shop”.

Ndlozi said Moller hurled racist insults, using the word “ka**ir”.

“At this point CIC [Malema] followed the man and witnessed him shouting f*** and k***** at female workers. He approached him and told him to stop what he was doing and step aside to allow workers to do their job. The CIC strongly indicated to him that he must be mindful that workers are overworked and underpaid and that he must immediately desist from insulting workers,” said Ndlozi.

“After the CIC, together with other customers, successfully removed him physically from the position of shouting and insulting workers he left the shop. He returned shortly after getting his order from his lady friend. The man was seen aggressively spinning the car away … he even almost crashed into petrol tanks, risking the lives of everyone

He also questioned why Steers was “collaborating” with “racists of AfriForum” to defend a racist man, adding that the party was proud of Malema for defending black employees.

“The EFF is proud of the CIC in that he has truly defended black workers who daily face abuse from both their employers as well as arrogant, racist and bullying white customers. It is the duty of all fighters to confront racism each time it rears its ugly head. It is also the duty of EFF members everywhere to defend the dignity of black vulnerable workers without any apology or hesitation as the policies of EFF state,” said Ndlozi.

He accused AfriForum of being “selective” in its interpretation of events, which resulted in Moller laying charges of crimen injuria, intimidation and assault against Malema at the Tzaneen Police Station today.

“The CIC will never apologise and the EFF stands firmly with him. Black dignity has long been degraded by centuries of slavery and colonisation. The EFF and all its members have a duty to make sure to confront it each time they see a sign of it, or each time they hear a sigh of racism,” said Ndlozi.

He labelled the laying of charges and the release of the so-called “assault” video as “an attempt to protect racism and the racists”.

“It is a case of the white racist arrogance of one individual now taking the form of a collective response. AfriForum is basically acting as a lynch mob like the KKK [Ku Klux Klan], who used to collectively respond each time when one white racist had been put in its place by blacks. AfriForum can be sure that EFF will never allow any racist offensive on black folks. Not under our watch and not in our lifetime,” said Ndlozi.

In a written affidavit, Moller said he felt intimidated by Malema and accused him of being “hostile”.

“When I turned around there was a person standing very close to me and who asked me in a very hostile way: ‘Who do you think you are?’ He repeatedly asked the question and in between the questions he called me ‘Boer’ [a descendant of the Dutch or Huguenot colonists]. At that point I recognised the person as Julius Malema.

“He also started telling us [Moller and his wife]: ‘Get Out! Get Out’ and he called me a Boer again,” reads Moller’s affidavit.

He said he tried to explain to Malema that he was “not here to fight anyone” but Malema’s group began surrounding him and his wife.

“Julius Malema became more aggressive and started shouting. He started pushing me against my will and he tried physically to remove me from the restaurant.

“I continued to explain that I did not want to fight but Julius Malema’s aggressiveness just increased. He started shouting louder and swore at me in the words: ‘F*ck you, you Boer! F*ck you.’ During the shouting, I also heard him telling me: ‘I will f*ck you up.’”

AfriForum deputy chief executive Ernst Roets said they were helping Moller in his case because Malema was a “bully”.

“The video footage clearly shows how Malema pushes the victim at least three times, how he waves his finger in the victim’s face and how Malema yells at him. Although the CCTV cameras did not capture audio, the victim submitted an affidavit at the police station confirming under oath the verbal assault that took place. Malema cursed the victim and called him a ‘Boer’. The incident sketches a clear image of Malema as a bully who regards himself above the law and his fellow citizens. We cannot allow public representatives to act like criminals without facing the consequences,” said Roets.

The post Malema confronted Moller for calling workers ka**irs – EFF appeared first on City Press.

]]>
http://www.citypress.co.za/politics/malema-confronted-moller-calling-workers-kairs-eff/feed/ 1
Moody’s upbeat about Eskom plan http://www.citypress.co.za/business/moodys-upbeat-eskom-plan/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=moodys-upbeat-eskom-plan http://www.citypress.co.za/business/moodys-upbeat-eskom-plan/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:36:23 +0000 http://www.citypress.co.za/?p=136021 The government’s announcement of the package of solutions to support electricity utility Eskom was positive, rating agency Moody’s has said.

The post Moody’s upbeat about Eskom plan appeared first on City Press.

]]>

The government’s announcement of the package of solutions to support electricity utility Eskom was positive, rating agency Moody’s has said.

“We view the announcement as positive because it clarifies the size of the proposed equity injection, although no information was provided regarding potential tariff increases,” said vice-president and senior analyst Paul Marty.

“As part of the medium-term budget policy statement, the government announced that it would inject at least R20 billion of equity into Eskom to be funded through the sale of nonstrategic state assets, although no timetable was disclosed.”

In addition, the government indicated that, if necessary, it could consider providing additional support to Eskom by converting its existing R60-billion subordinated loan to equity.

“At the same time, the government confirmed that Eskom’s additional borrowings, expected to be about R50 billion over the medium term, will need to be accommodated within the existing guarantee facility,” he said.

This was because no new guarantees would be issued.

“We view this announcement as credit positive because the proposed equity injection would provide much-needed liquidity and ease the short-term funding pressure on Eskom,” Marty said.

Eskom’s current Baa3 rating relied on the support Moody’s expected would be provided by government in a distress scenario.

“Eskom’s funds from operations to debt ratio would be 4.4% pro forma versus 3.6% actual at year-end 2013, assuming an aggregate equity injection of R50 billion.”

This underlined the need for tariff increases to ensure the sustainability of Eskom’s financial profile, for which no additional clarity had been provided.

“The negative outlook on the rating therefore continues to reflect Eskom’s weak standalone credit quality [as expressed by a baseline credit assessment of b1],” he said.

It reflected the risk that the measures to be taken would fail to address Eskom’s problems, and the negative outlook for the South African government’s rating.

The post Moody’s upbeat about Eskom plan appeared first on City Press.

]]>
http://www.citypress.co.za/business/moodys-upbeat-eskom-plan/feed/ 0
We won’t repeat Marikana if people rise up – Lindiwe Zulu http://www.citypress.co.za/politics/wont-repeat-marikana-people-rise-lindiwe-zulu/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=wont-repeat-marikana-people-rise-lindiwe-zulu http://www.citypress.co.za/politics/wont-repeat-marikana-people-rise-lindiwe-zulu/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:31:45 +0000 http://www.citypress.co.za/?p=136027 People will rise up if there is no change in the levels of inequality, unemployment and poverty, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has said.

The post We won’t repeat Marikana if people rise up – Lindiwe Zulu appeared first on City Press.

]]>

People will rise up if there is no change in the levels of inequality, unemployment and poverty, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has said.

“When the people who have been struggling for many, many years find that the gap between the poor and the rich keeps on expanding, one day they will get up and say enough is enough and we are tired of that,” she said at the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry conference in Midrand today.

“[If that happens], believe me, it is not this government that will go out with guns blazing to shoot them. Marikana was a very good example for us; we are not going to make that happen again.”

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with the police during unrest at Lonmin’s platinum mine in Marikana in August 2012.

More than 70 people were wounded and more than 200 were arrested. The police were apparently trying to disarm and disperse them. In the preceding week, 10 people, including two police officers and two Lonmin security guards, were killed.

Zulu said big business needed to work together with the government to fix problems in the country.

“It’s high time that you [business] looked deeper into where you are putting the money in terms of supporting black entrepreneurs and make sure that you give them skills that are relevant to the economy of the country,” she said.

“It cannot be the responsibility of the government alone, but that does not mean that the government must abdicate its responsibility to address these issues.”

Zulu said her department was clear about using resources of government.

“What we need to do as a department is to lead in terms of ensuring that those resources that sit in the three spheres of government – national, provincial and local – are what we will be able to … [use],” she said.

“As a department, sitting in Pretoria, we are not going to be able to deliver to the people. Our connection to these structures at a provincial and local level is very important.”

Zulu said the issue of providing money was important because the majority of people, particularly black people and women, did not have enough capital to create their own start-ups.

“We must have mechanisms and systems of ensuring that that money is used properly … we must empower them to use that money adequately,” she said.

The post We won’t repeat Marikana if people rise up – Lindiwe Zulu appeared first on City Press.

]]>
http://www.citypress.co.za/politics/wont-repeat-marikana-people-rise-lindiwe-zulu/feed/ 0
How Zuma’s boat dream will be fulfilled http://www.citypress.co.za/politics/zumas-boat-dream-will-fulfilled/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=zumas-boat-dream-will-fulfilled http://www.citypress.co.za/politics/zumas-boat-dream-will-fulfilled/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:17:48 +0000 http://www.citypress.co.za/?p=136020 Regardless of political differences, all South Africans must work together to make the country prosperous, President Jacob Zuma has said.

The post How Zuma’s boat dream will be fulfilled appeared first on City Press.

]]>

Regardless of political differences, all South Africans must work together to make the country prosperous, President Jacob Zuma has said.

“Let me remind you that South Africa is open for business. We may be going through a rough period economically, like most economies in the world, but we will survive if we work together,” he said at an South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry conference in Midrand today.

“As various political parties [and] business organisations … we may differ on methods. We need to be careful of the methods we use as we push political and economic objectives.

“Let us disagree on issues but ensure that South Africa does not suffer in the process. We all have a duty to make our beautiful country succeed.”

He said all South Africans wanted a prosperous country.

“Some may want to walk on a footpath [to a better South Africa], some may want to take a highway, some may want to fly and some may want to use the oceans, and the time to take to get there is not the same – but we are going to one place,” Zuma said.

“We can’t fight like we live in different countries, and therefore [be] the people who seem to be running the country down.”

Zuma also spoke about the implementation of Operation Phakisa – an initiative aimed at fast-tracking the delivery of the priorities outlined in the National Development Plan.

The first phase of the operation included looking at “unlocking the economic potential of the country’s ocean economy”.

“I think for the first time we are deliberately going to exploit the ocean, which we have never done before,” Zuma said.

He related a story of being in Cape Town and wanting to take a boat trip to Durban. He was told at the time there was no trip between the two cities.

“Operation Phakisa is unlocking that so that … my wish to have a boat from Cape Town to Durban will be fulfilled.”

Zuma said the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act, which he signed into law in January, provided for the establishment of a commission that would help monitor empowerment.

“The process of setting up the commission is at an advanced stage and it is targeted for March 31 2015,” he said.

Zuma said there was an “ambitious programme” to graduate broad-based black economic empowerment beneficiaries to “fully fledged industrialists”.

“Our aim is to promote and enable the participation of black people in the manufacturing sectors of the economy, who become giants through support for government and other related institutions,” he said.

“With the support of big business, this transformative programme will succeed.”

The post How Zuma’s boat dream will be fulfilled appeared first on City Press.

]]>
http://www.citypress.co.za/politics/zumas-boat-dream-will-fulfilled/feed/ 3
Pics – Top 20 celebrity photobombs http://www.citypress.co.za/multimedia/pics-top-20-celebrity-photobombs/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pics-top-20-celebrity-photobombs http://www.citypress.co.za/multimedia/pics-top-20-celebrity-photobombs/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:12:15 +0000 http://www.citypress.co.za/?p=135959 Collins English Dictionary has named photobomb the 2014 word of the year. The term, used to describe the hijacking of a picture being taken by someone else, has become red carpet du jour.

The post Pics – Top 20 celebrity photobombs appeared first on City Press.

]]>

The post Pics – Top 20 celebrity photobombs appeared first on City Press.

]]>
http://www.citypress.co.za/multimedia/pics-top-20-celebrity-photobombs/feed/ 0
Terrorism exists and it’s a global phenomenon http://www.citypress.co.za/columnists/terrorism-exists-global-phenomenon/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=terrorism-exists-global-phenomenon http://www.citypress.co.za/columnists/terrorism-exists-global-phenomenon/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:45:14 +0000 http://www.citypress.co.za/?p=135290 All Muslims are painted with the same brush, but the majority do not support the ideals of groups like the Islamic State.

The post Terrorism exists and it’s a global phenomenon appeared first on City Press.

]]>

All Muslims are painted with the same brush, but the majority do not support the ideals of groups like the Islamic State

According to the Global Terrorism Database, from 1970 to 2013 there were 4 954 incidents of terrorism that resulted in the deaths of 12 176 people and 10 162 injuries worldwide.

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism – a research and education centre at the University of Maryland in the US focused on the causes and consequences of terrorism in the US and across the world that maintains the Global Terrorism Database, covering more than 113 000 terror attacks and described as the most comprehensive unclassified database on terrorist events in the world – has determined that 32% of the perpetrating groups were ethno-nationalist or had separatist agendas; 28% were driven by single issues such as animal rights or opposition to war; and 7% were motivated by religious beliefs.

This doesn’t cover wars and insurgencies; they’re generally localised and geopolitically specific acts of madness, initiated by self-proclaimed caliphs or gung ho imperialists.

Beheadings, on the other hand (excluding legally sanctioned ones, as happens in Saudi Arabia every month in scores) count as acts of terror.

So, on the reasonably unassailable basis of the facts and definition above, it is clear that Islamic terrorism is relatively small beer.

Islamophobia, meanwhile, is relatively ubiquitous from Maine to Manchester and Mumbai to Murmansk, and beyond.

As a secular, atheist, Muslim-born, swine-eating, wine-drinking heathen, I am assailed left, right and centre. Hence the framing above and the fusillade below.

Now that we’re clear that only 7% of terror acts are attributable to religious nutters and that Muslim religious nutters account for but a part of that, let’s also understand whence the focus on Islam and the attendant Islamophobia, over the last two or so decades, derives.

It is directly attributable to the Muslim-extremist actions of that fraction of 7% who are motivated by religious beliefs to commit acts of terror, to the actions of radical and perverse Islamic ideologies and the funding of these by some Middle Eastern and US interest groups.

Then there are the globally disproportionate, fossil fuel-hungry, arms industry-fuelling actions of Western countries – led (disingenuously) by the US – that destabilise the world and conduct numerous wars by proxy.

The militant group, the Islamic State (formerly Isil or Isis), notwithstanding, most Muslims simply get on with life in much the same way as others mired in religious beliefs worldwide.

The Islamic State itself interferes with the rights of Muslims to go about the business of their diverse but unified faith. Muslims really ought to be left alone, provided they don’t force their beliefs and practices on others.

That some Muslim countries continue to conflate “din” with “daula” (religion with state) presents a problem in that regard – one that pioneering modern-era leaders like Mustafa Kemal Atatürk of Turkey and Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia sought to correct.

For a host of reasons alluded to above, Muslims won’t be left alone – whether they’re part of a dark and radical minority or a mainstay of the law-abiding adherents of a significant religion across the world.

Even those who aren’t Muslims but might “look Muslim” are placed in the same pot – to be boiled and examined at will.

So, given this singular and global focus on Islam in the world at present, The Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life report on Islamic beliefs – titled The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society – is a telling, well-researched and timely document.

The researchers surveyed more than 38 000 people in one-on-one interviews in 39 countries.

Unfortunately, they left out Saudi Arabia and Iran, where, they note, “political sensitivities or security concerns prevented opinion research among Muslims”. This alone suggests that including those countries would have given the data an even more extremist slant.

In summary, here’s what they said: most adherents of the world’s second-largest religion are deeply committed to their faith and want its teachings to shape not only their personal lives but their societies and politics.

In all but a handful of the 39 countries surveyed, a majority of Muslims say Islam is the one true faith leading to eternal life in heaven and that belief in God is necessary to be a moral person.

Many also think their religious leaders should have at least some influence over political matters. And many express a desire for sharia – traditional Islamic law – to be recognised as the official law of their country.

The percentage of Muslims who say they want sharia to be “the official law of the land” varies widely across the world, from fewer than one in 10 in Azerbaijan (8%) to near unanimity in Afghanistan (99%).

But solid majorities in most of the countries surveyed across the Middle East and north Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, south Asia and southeast Asia favour the establishment of sharia, including 71% of Muslims in Nigeria, 72% in Indonesia, 74% in Egypt and 89% in the Palestinian territories.

While only 8%, on aggregate, believe suicide bombing in defence of Islam is justified, at least half of Muslims who favour making sharia law the law of the land also favour the stoning of unfaithful spouses.

The majority is opposed to abortion, sex before marriage and homosexuality, and most believe a wife must always obey her husband.

That said, the survey is substantial and nuanced, and it is clear that Afghanistan, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian territories represent a more strident and conservative Islam than the rest – making a one-size-fits-all approach untenable.

The survey does highlight that overall, most Muslims see no inherent tension between being religiously devout and living in a modern society.

Nor do they see any conflict between religion and science. Many favour democracy over authoritarianism, believe that humans and other living things have evolved over time and say they personally enjoy Western movies, music and television – even though most think Western popular culture undermines public morality.

All the same, what is clear (to me, at any rate) is that Islam is in need of an enlightenment that never came.

But that’s my personal view and I dare say, many Hindus, Jews, Burmese Buddhists, First Day Adventists, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Opus Dei adherents and other Christian fundamentalists either missed the bright lights of enlightenment or are still waiting (or not) for its advent.

The question relevant to the divide in Islam between those who seek to pursue an enlightened course and those proponents of radical Islamic political movements like Wahhabism and Salafism is: who commands the pulpit in a religion that doesn’t have a clergy?

Moderate Muslims speak of other features of historical Islam, such as Sufism, “a science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God”, and the many humanist and knowledge-enhancing currents that derive from Islam’s golden age.

The radicals, on the other hand, see Sufism as a heresy and like many who seek to turn their beliefs into dictat, they achieve centre stage over the moderates.

Whether the enlightenment is about to fire up the firmament or not is moot. I choose to eschew religion in general.

But, for better or worse, Islam is in the spotlight and I am disproportionately affected, lumped together as potentially part of the fraction of the 7% of nutters who commit acts of terror. That’s why I wear my heart on my sleeve.

It’s about the worldwide coalition of the stand-up-to-be-counted secularists and not about a selective homogenisation of religious fundamentalists to suit a dubious agenda.

Cachalia is commentator, independent strategic consultant and founder of Mentisfactum (made by mind)

The post Terrorism exists and it’s a global phenomenon appeared first on City Press.

]]>
http://www.citypress.co.za/columnists/terrorism-exists-global-phenomenon/feed/ 0
Language can reshape our economy http://www.citypress.co.za/columnists/language-can-reshape-economy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=language-can-reshape-economy http://www.citypress.co.za/columnists/language-can-reshape-economy/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:50:58 +0000 http://www.citypress.co.za/?p=135979 What do you do when you’ve stared at the same problem for years but still cannot figure out how to solve it? You frame it differently and see it through someone else’s eyes.

The post Language can reshape our economy appeared first on City Press.

]]>

What do you do when you’ve stared at the same problem for years but still cannot figure out how to solve it? You frame it differently and see it through someone else’s eyes.

So the next time we hold a big education summit in South Africa, we don’t invite educationists, but civil engineers.

They might picture the education system as a high-rise building, but would not spend their time agonising over the cracks and weaknesses on the 12th floor. And they’re unlikely to suggest that we pour more money into ­refurbishing the floors above until the foundations are strengthened.

The engineers would also argue that there can be no compromise on the strength of the cement that should hold the whole structure together, enabling each level of the skyscraper to be built upon the one below it.

Now let’s call in the neurocognitive scientists to explain the foundations of education and identify the cement that holds it together.

They would point to the last ­trimester of pregnancy and the first three months of life, when brain growth is fastest as cognitive circuits are laid down. This circuitry is the intellectual fibreoptics of a knowledge economy.

For vision and hearing, the rate of new connections peaks at three months old. For language, it’s at eight months old, while the networks for thinking and reasoning develop fastest at one year. Over the next few years, the brain is shaped further as children learn through play and interaction.

By the time they reach Grade R, their lifelong educational prospects can be predicted. The foundations are set –  almost in concrete.

The ability to think and reason is cemented by ­language development.

It is time to solve our education crisis by thinking outside the box. Picture: Alet Pretorius

It is time to solve our education crisis by thinking outside the box. Picture: Alet Pretorius

We tend to think of maths as numbers and forms, ­distinct from language.

But mathematics is a language of symbols that taps into the same neural pathways that enable us to talk and read. Language is the cement that allows us to build upon prior learning. If language is weak, so too is the ability to learn.

This might explain why, in the Grade 9 annual national ­assessments last year, the average score was 43% for home language and 14% for mathematics.

Now that we understand the foundations and ­substance of education, it’s time to bring in the quantity surveyors and accountants.

Three-quarters of children in South Africa never ­experience quality learning before they go to school and public spending on preschool education is only 1% of the basic education budget.

Yet, according to a review published in The Lancet in 2011, we would recoup more than 10 times our ­investment in early education.

Compare that with our funding of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme where – with dropout rates of close to 75% – we get back R1 for every R4 we spend.

The national promotion of early language development is even more pitiful. It shows in the fact that only 5% of parents read to their children, according to the SA Book Development Council. Reading should start in the home, not at school – and even if parents cannot read, they can tell their children stories that stimulate their imagination and curiosity.

Even money-poor homes can be rich in language. We need a concerted national campaign of ­sufficient scale, intensity and duration to get South ­Africans to read.

It could probably be done for about R100 million a year, or less than one-thousandth of the basic education budget.

Yet, this relatively small public investment is not there because the basic education department is focused on schooling, and the arts and culture department has yet to grasp the true potential of reading. But the problem is not just with government.

For reasons I find hard to understand, there are few corporate or private foundations willing to make large-scale investments in reading development.

The national Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign spends about R20 million a year on 300 community ­reading clubs, 6 million newspaper supplements and ­stories for children to listen to on all public radio stations in their home languages three times a week.

Since the beginning of this month, 500 billboards across South ­Africa urge people to bring “story power” back into their homes. But this is not enough and we need partnerships with government and other corporations to sustain a ­national campaign for at least the next decade.

It’s time to bring the educationists back into the room for a radically different discussion. This time, the conversation should not only be about retrofitting schooling and tertiary education, or improving operational efficiencies. This has to happen, but it won’t reshape the national economy.

The talk should centre on allocative efficiency – where we need to put our money where it would get the best returns.

Only then will we fundamentally change the education and employment outcomes in South Africa.

Harrison is CEO of the DG Murray Trust, which is behind the Nal’ibali campaign

The post Language can reshape our economy appeared first on City Press.

]]>
http://www.citypress.co.za/columnists/language-can-reshape-economy/feed/ 0 apdaveyton6 It is time to solve our education crisis by thinking outside the box. Picture: Alet Pretorius