The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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MDC spokesperson accused of treason

      October 14 2003 at 02:50AM<

Zimbabwe police on Monday charged the spokesperson of the country's main
opposition party with trying to overthrow President Robert Mugabe's
government, a lawyer said.

Paul Themba Nyathi, spokesperson for the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), is accused of belonging to a group of opposition officials who
"wanted to overthrow the constitutional government and coerce the president
to step down," lawyer Nicholas Mathonsi said from Bulawayo.

Nyathi was charged under a section of the country's security law with
allegedly urging supporters to take part in a job stayaway in March,
Mathonsi said.

On March 18 and 19 this year the MDC organised a widely followed national
job stayaway.

      'I don't see how they can prove those allegations. They don't have a
shred of evidence'
It was done to press the government to take urgent steps to resolve the
country's economic and political crises.

If found guilty, Nyathi could face 20 years in prison.

But Mathonsi described the charges against his client as "spurious".

"I don't see how they can prove those allegations. They don't have a shred
of evidence," he said.

Two weeks after the March stayaway, MDC vice-president Gibson Sibanda was
arrested in Bulawayo and similarly charged.

Mathonsi said Nyathi was told on Monday he had to appear in a Bulawayo court
on October 29 to face the charges under the Public Order and Security Act

In a statement the MDC said that by making Nyathi stand trial the government
had shown its determination "to silence all forms of dissent in Zimbabwe and
to close down the democratic space".

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is already standing trial for treason for
allegedly plotting to assassinate Mugabe ahead of last year's disputed
presidential poll, which Mugabe won.

Tsvangirai faces a second treason charge for allegedly urging his supporters
to overthrow the government during another mass stayaway called by the MDC
in June.

The opposition leader denies both charges, which carry the death penalty on
conviction. - Sapa-AFP.<

  .. This article was originally published on page 3 of The Pretoria News
on October 14, 2003

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Zimbabwe Labor Unions Promise Season of 'Dissent' if Demands Not Met
Tendai Maphosa
14 Oct 2003, 14:28 UTC
Labor unions in Zimbabwe are promising a season of dissent and confrontation, if the government does not meet several demands, including a review of the taxation system.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions says it will mount unspecified actions before the government's announcement of the 2004 national budget, which is expected later this month or early in November. The unions also say that if the government does not address its issues, the protests will continue beyond budget day.

The unions are demanding a review of the country's taxation system to ease the plight of workers in the hyper-inflationary economic environment. Inflation in Zimbabwe is estimated at 426 percent.

They also want to see the government take concrete steps to address the economic decline. And they will also be protesting what they call the collapse of the rule of law and rampant human rights abuses by the government.

AP Photo
Police arrest Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union Members who were attempting to demonstrate over high cost of living and high taxation in Zimbabwe
The Trade Union Congress was involved in a failed nationwide action last week, when the police arrested 55 people, including its top leadership, before they could march. They were released without being charged after police recorded statements from them. The arrests drew widespread condemnation from international labor organizations, including the powerful Congress of South African Trade Unions.

It is an offense in Zimbabwe to hold demonstrations without permission from the police. But Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions President Lovemore Matombo says his union will defy the law if the police refuse to grant permission for its marches.

"We want the whole world to know that the government does not believe in the rule of law," he said. "We will advise government in writing through the police, and whatever the answer is, that action is just going to come, we will do it."

Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst economic crisis since independence 23 years ago. Shortages of fuel, basic foodstuffs and cash have become the normal situation, and workers are finding it increasingly difficult to cover their expenses.

A year ago, announcing the 2003 budget, Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa introduced measures he said would bring inflation to less than 100 percent by the end of this year. But inflation continues to be more than four times that much.

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Three Zimbabwean Journalists Warned Of Prosecution<

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP)--Police Tuesday warned three more journalists from
Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper that they faced prosecution for
working without accreditation - part of a crackdown on dissent.

Reporters Grey Chitiga, Saul Gwakuva Ndlovu and Oscar Nkala were ordered to
Harare from the western city of Bulawayo to meet with the police's political
crimes section, Daily News attorney Gugulethu Moyo said.

They were not formally charged, but if prosecuted, they could face up to two
years in jail.

"They are just harassing journalists," Moyo said. "It is meant to have some
kind of chilling effect."

Moyo said the three applied to the state media commission for accreditation
a year ago, but were refused on the basis that their paper had not
registered with the government-appointed media commission.

The commission later rejected the paper's application for registration and
accreditation under stringent new Access to Information laws, saying it had
not followed proper procedures and published illegally for eight months
without being registered.

The newspaper, with 300 employees and daily readership of more than 940,000,
has appealed the ban. But 20 journalists have now been issued warnings that
they will be summoned to court to answer criminal charges of working for an
unlicensed newspaper or without personal accreditation.

In a speech to financial consultants broadcast Tuesday on state radio,
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo accused Daily News management of risking
the livelihoods of its staff by trying to fight media laws.

"I feel very sorry for the staff of the Daily News," he said, before his
voice was drowned out by gales of laughter.

Gugulethu Moyo, no relation to the minister, responded: "If anybody is at
fault here, it is the Zimbabwean government for trying to prevent
journalists practicing their profession."

Daily News' main shareholder, Strive Masiyiwa, now based in South Africa,
has promised to bankroll staff salaries for two years while the paper tries
to have the new media laws struck down as a violation of the constitutional
right to free speech.

Since its launch in 1999, the Daily News has frequently been critical of
President Robert Mugabe's 23-year rule. The state controls the country's two
other dailies and the country's only television and radio station.

  Dow Jones Newswires

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LETTERS FROM ZIMBABWE  (No. 50)   -   10 October 2003

by Sharon Pincott



Right now it seems that it really is over.  The peace and the tranquillity gone.  Shattered by gunfire.


It has been an awful time, my emotions oscillating between hope and dread.  No Hunting.  Hunting.  No Hunting.  Hunting.  Where is the truth?  Supporters cared, and they dared.  There were positive assurances, just days before  -  worth nothing.


A country’s wildlife crying out for help.  “Cry of the Fish Eagle”?  “Cry of the Kalahari (Sands)”?  …..   Cry of Kanondo.


I left Kanondo pan that afternoon, not realising that she wouldn’t be there again the next day in the same way that she has always been.  Looking back, I now know that I left Kanondo that day, and in some essential sense, I will never return.  Not to the Kanondo that she once was.  Wild.  Free.  I had never known any place so lovely.  A light that was often indescribable.  A place not of conflict.  A place of peace.  A place of life.  Her wildness called out to so many, who left with unforgettable memories of the elephants.  Of all of the habituated wildlife.  Shooting with cameras, not with guns.  No matter what the very final outcome, she will never be the same again.  She has been touched by ugly.  She has suffered a desperate wound.  Or perhaps that is me.  Perhaps that is both of us.  Regardless, fear will always now hang in the air above that landmark acacia erioloba that was flowering so profusely, so wonderfully, just a month ago.  Fear of what can, so quickly, happen in Zimbabwe.


The body eventually recovers from the shock, the disillusionment, the tragedy  -  but the heart and the mind do not heal nearly so quickly.  Another part of my Africa is gone forever.  This part, however, was no accident.


I had often marvelled that I had been able to find, without effort, such enchanting and special things to write about every month for years now.  I would have struggled so in my ‘first-world’ life, to do that with such passion.  No day in wild Africa is ever the same.  It is never routine.  I had wondered if I would reach ‘Bushtale No. 50’.  A milestone.  And here it is.


But there are no joyous tales to tell.  None of those special pictures to paint.  It is not how I imagined it would be.  It is all so inexplicable to me.   


Cry of Kanondo 


….   For the first time ever, it was not a happy meeting.  I put my hand on the trunk of a 40-something year old ‘Presidential elephant’, her family so often in the Kanondo area.  Born wild.  Living wild.  Extraordinarily trusting of human beings. 


I could say to her only two words :


I’M sorry” 

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Zimbabwe inflation hits new high
Queue for food aid
There are worries over food shortages in Zimbabwe
Annual inflation in Zimbabwe has risen to 455.6% for September, a new unwanted record for the country's troubled economy.

The rise, from 426.6% in August, has been put down to price increases in the average price of everyday items such as meat, bread, cereals, fruit and vegetables.

The country was once southern Africa's breadbasket, but now seven million of Zimbabwe's 12 million people are believed to be at serious risk of famine.

There are fears that the economic difficulties, following President Robert Mugabe's controversial land reforms, are forcing more people out of the country.

President Thabo Mbeki... told me he has three million Zimbabweans in South Africa
Don McKinnon, Commonwealth secretary general
Commonwealth secretary general Don McKinnon has been reported as saying that large numbers of Zimbabweans were leaving to find jobs and income in nearby states.

Strike threat

He said the presidents of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, and of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano, had alerted him to the growing extent of the problem.

Mr McKinnon was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying: "I was talking to President Thabo Mbeki the other day and he told me he has three million Zimbabweans in South Africa.

"[Mozambique's President] Chissano has 400,000 while Botswana hosts up to 200,000."

On Tuesday the Central Statistical Office in Harare also revealed that Zimbabwe's consumer price index rose by 24.8% in September, a rise from 17.6% in August.

Now the country's main labour movement is threatening a series of strikes over the economic policies which it says are crippling the country.

Currency shortages

Lovemore Matombo, president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), said they were protesting against high inflation, prices, taxes and unemployment.

He said: "We won't ask for permission because it is our right to express ourselves."

As well as one of the highest inflation rates in the world, Zimbabwe is struggling with shortages of foreign currency, and unemployment is over 70%.

Gross domestic product is down by a quarter on the late 1990s.

President Mugabe denies mismanaging the economy and has put economic problems down to foreign opponents, and has blamed drought for food shortages.

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'UN should condemn Zimbabwe'
14/10/2003 15:12  - (SA)<

Sydney - Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer on Tuesday slammed the
failure of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to pass a
resolution condemning Zimbabwe's human rights record.

Downer likened the regime of President Robert Mugabe to that of ousted Iraqi
leader Saddam Hussein.

"In the end the resolution did not pass, so according to the UN Human Rights
Commission, President Mugabe and his regime in Zimbabwe does not deserve
censure," Downer told commercial radio.

"That is very disturbing. It is perhaps not in the same league as Saddam
Hussein's regime, but it is also a pretty bad regime."

Australia is making a bid to take over the leadership of the UN Commission
on Human Rights in the coming months.

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Sunday Times (SA)

McKinnon urges Zimbabwean reconciliation

Tuesday October 14, 2003 06:59 - (SA)

KAMPALA - Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon urged Zimbabwe's
government yesterday to seek reconciliation with the opposition, stop
political violence and accept international help to solve the country's land

"There must be reconciliation between ZANU-PF and  the Movement for
Democratic Change, there must be reduction in systematic violence," McKinnon
told a news conference at the end of a two-day visit to Uganda.

"Zimbabwe should be willing to re-engage the UNDP (UN Development Programme)
and the Commonwealth in land redistribution," he said while acknowledging
that there was a genuine case for land reform in Zimbabwe.

Under its controversial land reform programme launched in 2000, the Zimbabwe
government took over white-owned farms for redistribution to new black

The eviction of white farmers has been partly blamed by aid agencies and
critics of President Robert Mugabe's regime for Zimbabwe's worst famine in
living memory which has left about two-thirds of the country's 11.6 million
people facing severe food shortages.

Zimbabwe was last year suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth, a
54-nation body of former British colonies, over its  poor human rights
record and Mugabe's contentious re-election in a vote widely condemned as

When the initial 12-month period ended in March this year, the body
announced that the southern African country's suspension would  remain in
place until December.

"No one can say that there has been any change of attitude in Zimbabwe in
the past two years," said McKinnon.

McKinnon, who earlier had talks with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in
the eastern town of Mbale, said the crisis in Zimbabwe had affected
neighbouring countries, noting that large numers of Zimbaweans had left
their country in search of better lives in other southern Africa states.

"I was talking to President Thabo Mbeki the other day and he told me he has
three million Zimbabweans in South Africa, (Mozambique's President Joaquim)
Chissano has 400,000 while  Botswana hosts up to 200,000 of them," he added.

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Conference Resolves to Send Peace Teams to Conflict Areas<

African Church Information Service

October 13, 2003
Posted to the web October 14, 2003

Erika Von Wietersheim, Lutheran World Information

A two-day inter-faith conference for southern Africa region ended in
Johannesburg on October 1, with the adoption of a Plan of Action calling on
religious leaders to send regional peace teams to areas of conflict.

With this appeal, religious leaders from the 11 countries represented at the
conference, affirmed their "ongoing commitment to seeking and maintaining
peace in the region", and to move from consultation to action.

Accordingly, delegates committed themselves to implement some practical
steps as soon as possible.

These include the establishment of inter-faith groups in countries where
these do not exist; gathering of a reliable database of faith institutions
and religious leaders; and holding at least one inter-faith conference or
indaba (consultation), plus one "capacity workshop" every year in each

Also included in the action plan is the regular reporting by national
inter-faith groups to the regions, and the establishment of a quarterly

The Southern Africa Inter-Faith Plan of Action was adopted by more than 60
religious representatives of the African Traditional Religion, Baha'i,
Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim faiths.

It is based on the Johannesburg Inter-Faith Declaration, a shared commitment
to safeguarding peace in Africa as outlined during the 2002 Inter-Faith
Peace Summit here.

The conference was organised by the LWF and hosted by the National Religious
Leaders Forum of South Africa (NRLFSA).

Participants came from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius,
Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Similar meetings are planned for the Western and Eastern/Central regions.

Earlier, Ntate Kgalushi Koka, director of the Karaites Institute of
Africology, South Africa, extolled African traditional means of resolving
conflicts, using the concept of Ubuntu.

"The African Traditional Religion (ATR) has only recently been welcomed into
the family of recognised religions," Koka told participants in a session
that focused on ATR's different approaches to conflict resolution.

He continued: "So now we have to ask: What is the contribution of African
Traditional Religion toward the establishment of peace? And what are the
cultural and philosophical roots of our skills and talents to make peace?"

He answered this question by referring to the African concept of Ubuntu or

"Ubuntu is a universal concept that recognises the equality and inherent
spirituality of every human being. This humanness is instilled in our bodies
through the divine spirit, converting them into living souls," he explained.

According to Koka, the African basis for bringing about peace is the
fundamental belief that there is nobody without humanness or Ubuntu, and
that through Ubuntu, individuals become aware that they all share a common
spirit, even with their greatest enemy.

"If we know this, we cannot avoid seeing in every other human being, our
brother or sister. The being-ness of the other person is mirroring my own
humanness," he expounded.

As this philosophical foundation is only a "potentiality," it has to be
"actualised" in practical ways to bring about peace.

In conflict situations in Africa, the administration of rituals is
recognised as a traditional way of putting the philosophy of Ubuntu into
practice. "Rituals make the spiritual forces visible in actions and
gestures," Koka elaborated.

As an example of a peacemaking ritual, he demonstrated the "Ceremony of the
Ashes." During such a ritual, two persons or parties in conflict are
gathered by community elders.

The two adversaries have to face each other, while ash is placed in their
hands. They then have to lick the ash from each other's hands and spit it
out. The washing of hands, a handshake and embracing follow.

"The ash is a symbol of something that has burned [and] whose energy has
been spent," Koka explained, adding, "By licking up the ash and spitting it
out, the quarrelling persons symbolically act out that the evil energy of
their quarrel has been used up."

Koka pointed out that there are many ways of resolving conflict, but noted
that "unfortunately, we do not use our skills enough to make peace."

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Traditional Healers Have Regained Repute<

African Church Information Service

October 13, 2003
Posted to the web October 14, 2003

Tim Chigodo

The high cost of treatment and increased illnesses following the advent of
the AIDS pandemic is forcing many Zimbabweans to seek the services of
traditional healers.

There is now increased awareness and recognition of traditional medicine.
Traditional healers normally referred to as Ng'angas, are making booming
business as their drugs are cheaper than modern medicine, and are widely
available in practically most communities.

As the demand for traditional medicines increases, Zimbabwe is planning to
protect and promote the growing of indigenous rich herbs in the country.

The Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers' Association (ZINATHA) has already
put in place, a programme to commercialise plant-based products, referred to
as green pharmaceuticals.

The president of ZINATHA, Prof Gordon Chavunduka, says the programme has
realised that the country is endowed with a favourable climate for a wide
range of herbal plants, some of which have been used by communities to treat
ailments for over a century.

The government wants local healers to move from traditional to commercial
use of herbal medicines because of the growing market.

Research has found that with proper knowledge and enabling structures, the
healers could benefit financially from export of herbal products, since the
market for herbal cosmetics, perfumes, condiments and confectioneries has
experienced a upward trend.

Zimbabwe has a rich bio-diversity and wealth of indigenous knowledge on
plant life, and therefore has the potential to emerge as one of the
producers of herbal products in the region.

Experts say the government and stakeholders should consolidate past gains of
traditional knowledge base, to start developing new herbal preparations on
Zimbabwe's bio-diversity, and make these products available to the
international community.

Recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) urged African governments to
formally recognise traditional medicine and create an enabling environment
for its practice.

The call was made by the WHO regional director for Africa, Dr Ebrahim Samba,
in a message on the occasion of the first African Traditional Medicine Day,
observed this year across the continent.

Dr Samba noted that for centuries, traditional medicine played a crucial
role in combating multiple and complex conditions affecting Africans, and
that because of its popularity, accessibility and affordability, more than
80 percent of the people in the region continued to rely on it for their
health care needs.

"It is (therefore) incumbent on governments in the region to reverse the
erosion of the centuries-old traditional medical knowledge and practice," he

"This way, they will be restoring the glory of traditional medicine to its
pride of place, and perpetuating the culture of its utilisation," he

Dr Samba also urged countries to invest in research and development to
validate claims on safety, efficacy and quality of traditional medicines,
and document such information.

According to Dr Samba, they should also engage in the large-scale
cultivation and conservation of medicinal plants, and the protection of
intellectual property rights.

These, he said, should be done for two principal reasons. First, most
Africans have recourse to both traditional and modern medicine for their
health care needs due to cultural acceptance and belief, and, secondly, the
average ratio of traditional health practitioners to the population,
compared to that of medical doctors, is 1:200 and 1: 25,000 respectively.

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'Aids will mow down our youth'
14/10/2003 09:22  - (SA)

Elsabé Brits<

Cape Town - Chances are slim that your 15-year-old child will still be alive
by 2015.

By 2015, Aids will have caused the death of nearly two-thirds of all boys
who are 15 years old now in South Africa and Zimbabwe, if the pandemic's
risk levels remain the same.

Even if the risk of transmission is halved, 47% of 15-year-old boys in South
Africa and 52% of the same age group in Zimbabwe would have died by then.

These are the estimations of the United Nation's Aids Programme (UNAids) in
its latest population report.

In Botswana, the forecast looks even worse, with 88% of the target group at
risk by 2015.

These statistics are virtually the same for girls who are now 15 years old.

"If steps are not taken immediately to limit the transmission of Aids to
about zero, it might be too late to prevent a catastrophic death toll among
the present generation of young men and women", the report states.

UNAids said this was particularly true for southern Africa.

Populations south of the Sahara will start waning within the next three
years because of Aids.

By 2010, the average life expectancy in some African countries, including
South Africa, will drop to 30.

This will cause labour and food shortages and will place massive pressure on
social and health services.

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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.



Dear Jag

I thought you would like to know that a former Cgpa officer and farmer died
in Hospital and that the funeral service will be held at Christ Church
Borrowdale Crow Hill Rd on Wednesday 15 October 2003 at 11:00 am

Yours sincerely
 J R E Whitaker


Letter 2: Re Open Letters No. 161 dated 09 October for Frank Urquhart.

Dear Frank OLF160 and Stuart OLF159.

Your suggestions are commendable. "... Get names, photos and biographies of
those who have illegally taken over the farms. Get names, ranks, photos of
police officers that have taken no action to uphold the law...."

In practice though, it is not so easy to take useful photos of settlers. I
have tried sneaking through the bushes with a 200mm lens.

How does one cross-reference all the info? I suppose if the culprits' names
were on an alphabetical list one could find the name and add one's story
about the guy.

Much of this info is probably available from the Loss Documents.

I could give you a couple of names right now of guys that have hassled me
and I suspect others too?

Lawrence Katsiru. Wellington Manyarara. Has anyone got stories on them? Is
this the place (OLF) to tell the stories? I think not, because the Forum
will get jammed up.

Also we must remember to seek 'Justice', not 'Vengeance'. That belongs to
God, not us!

Finally using the web is not so easy for those who don't have a landline.
Cellphones are so slow!

Go for it! Give us some instructions.

Roy Mac.


Letter 3:

Thank you for keeping us informed. The letters show incredible courage and
spiritual power in horrendous circumstances. May Zimbabwe and all her
people be freed SOON from the tyrant that is terrorising them. We are
ex-Zimbabweans and weep for you.  I hope we can help, somewhere, somehow.

Neville and Marian Wright.

P.S. Zambezi Blonde should write a book. She says it so well.


Letter 4: Re Open Letters Forum No. 161 dated 09 October

Dear Mr Freeth,

I write with regard to your open letter to Mr Angelo, the UN representative
in Zimbabwe.

Given the UN's performance over the past 30 years, I am confident they will
continue to assist the likes of murdering despots like Mugabe. The UN is
overwhelmed with a membership of non-democratic and often rogue, despotic
regimes. In fact, it will not surprise me in the least if Kofi Anan and his
UN endorses the violent theft of commercial farmland in Zimbabwe. This will
then open the way for aid money to pour in to help develop these stolen

Sir, no offence intended. It's just that I think you are wasting your

Yours sincerely, Chris


Letter 5: The German Experiment.

"Red, red roses. Travel with this man and you are smothered in flowers.
This man is a god. In his big blue eyes like stars he is pleased to see me
and I am in heaven.

In the morning he talks of the question of RACE and I am deeply moved.
These are expressions of the natural creative instrument of the future
determined by God. He is as a child: kind, good, merciful; as a cat:
cunning, clever, agile; as a lion: roaring, great, gigantic.

In the afternoon he talks of the State, of winning over the State and of
the political revolution, of the creation of a New State and how we are
relentlessly going to fight for it.

He speaks with wit, irony, fun, sarcasm, seriousness and passion thoughts
which I may well have had but have never been able to put into words.

He is a prophet.
"And my head will not roll in the sand until I have fulfilled my mission,"
with these words he ends his prophecy.

In the evening he speaks of the future architecture of the country....and
of a new German constitution. ADOLF HITLER I LOVE YOU because you are both
great and simple. A genius, a born tribune, the coming DICTATOR, a man who
has everything to be a king."

- Dr. Josef Paul Goebbels, Philologist, Heidelberg University. 1926. -

"In time as Minister of Propaganda, Goebbels, liberated by his master from
the constraints of fact, would cynically foster and further the myth of

Hitler had forgotten no hurt or slight or insult or rejection and had
remembered always to meet their perpetrators with a pitiless retribution.
Hatred and more hatred had animated and consoled him. Cunning, deception,
delusion, cant, ruthlessness and power had been his gods, and flattery,
charm, bribery, greed, and hypocrisy his angels."
- Peter O'Toole.

As regards "my head will not roll over in the sand until I have fulfilled
my mission" - In terms of destroying The State this appears to have been
achieved as per Hitler's prophecy before his "head rolled in the sand."

*In terms of the New State, it seems that his prophecy did not extend so
far as to realize that the New State would be through the Marshall Plan
(American) and could only be implemented after his "head had rolled in the

*It is most interesting that Hitler appointed an academic philologist
(language scientist) from a University as his Minister of Propaganda -
probably to ensure a professional job was done.

All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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Cape Times

      Illegal immigrants are a perpetual problem compounded by corruption,
says Buthelezi
      October 14, 2003

      By Basildon Peta

      Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi says it is unlikely that
South Africa will ever overcome the problem of illegal immigrants, which he
says is being compounded by corruption in his department.

      In an interview for a new book on Zimbabwe, the minister told
journalist Geoff Hill the difficulty lay in the huge volume of migrants
entering the country.

      "If people are here illegally and we can round them up, we do it," he

      "But, to think that we will ever control the problem is a dream.

      "We have a very serious problem and it extends well beyond the
difficulties of our region.

      "There is a perception in Africa that this is a very rich country.

      "But we have a high rate of unemployment and there are not enough jobs
for South Africans.

      "If you go to a flea market, you will hear French being spoken and
there are people from West and even North Africa selling their goods."

      Buthelezi conceded that corruption in his department was compounding
the problem.

      "Corruption is everywhere in this country and my department has
serious problems because staff are handling money and they have

      "It is very serious and we are doing our utmost to overcome it. We
have excellent relations with the police and the Scorpions but I know that,
where there is temptation, there will always be some corruption, even at the
highest levels of departments."

      It was hard to solve the problem because his department was
underfunded. "The baseline of treasury is too low.<

      "We have 1 500 vacancies in this department that are not filled
because we are short of money."

      It was a vicious cycle. There was not enough money to employ the right
number of staff so procedures were slowed down.

      This encouraged people to offer bribes to get their applications to
the top of the pile.

      And once this kind of payment established a foothold in a department,
the problem spread like a cancer into other areas as workers became used to
the idea of making money on the side.

      But immigration was a symptom of problems in the source countries.
Zimbabwe was a good example.

      "The issue is to change what is happening in Zimbabwe so that people
don't want to come here in the first place," he said.

      "In Mozambique, the problem is linked to employment. Unless the
government there can create jobs for the people ... they will continue to
come here looking for work," he said.

      "And in Zimbabwe, the current crisis must be solved before we can
expect a slowdown in the number of people crossing the border."

      Asked whether it was appropriate for the South African government to
comment on the internal affairs of countries where bad governance was
causing an inflow of people to South Africa, Buthelezi said: "We don't have
a choice.
      "There is no question of our right to do that."

      The book, The Battle for Zimbabwe (Zebra/New Holland) will be launched
October 23.

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