September 6, 2009

Will South Africa be Ready for the 2010 World Cup?

I've been trying to work out whether I'm a lazy blogger or if I just get so busy that my head starts spinning and sort of goes into a loop. I was horrified when I looked at the date of the last blog post on this blog. I've been so busy blogging for others, and keeping the Vuvuzela blog up to date, that I just let this one slide out of view.

2010 FIFA World Cup - How Ready Are We Really ?

When I was watching Bafana Bafana play Germany last night I realised that our national soccer team is probably more ready for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, in spite of losing 2 - 0 than the South African tourism and hospitality industry.

And I'm trying very hard not to think about how the communications infrastructure is going to cope with 2010 - with all those visitors yapping away on mobile phones; typing on laptops (and netbooks) - eating up bandwidth - sending images, videos, live streaming...???

Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban

I'm sure our stadiums will be ready. Every time I drive past Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban my mouth hangs open because I can't believe the progress - it is almost like playing Sim City - you draw your mouse across a square and a building pops up.

So, Will South Africa be ready for 2010?

The one thing I know is that South Africans have quite a unique ability to rally in times of stress and crises and pull a rainbow of rabbits out of the hat. (Fortunately very few of us run away to Canada for political asylum! And they say Africa is not for sissies.)

And when we need to work under pressure; when we need to get together to rally under that multi-coloured flag - hey man, South Africans seem to put aside all their bickering and differences and work together as one.

So, in spite of all my unanswered questions, if anyone asks me, will South Africa be ready for the 2010 World Cup, I just have one word for them - well tow actually, well it only counts as one because the one means the sames other...

Yebo, Yes!

July 21, 2009

Vuvuzela Blog - Getting Ready for the 2010 World Cup

My new VuvuzelaSouthAfrica Blog isn't just about Vuvuzelas. It is about soccer - local and international; about South African tourism and interesting places to visit and things to do and of course about the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup.

And I have a partner in this venture, Lantz from Afromedia, who is doing all the technical stuff, which leaves the writing to me.

Vuvuzelas Banned in Austria

Now, I know there are people who don't like the vuvuzela. They don't like the noise, they say, and recently we were told Austrian League Bans Vuvuzelas because they were afraid that the vuvus would be "used as missiles"

But, fortunately there are some of us who love these brightly colored plastic trumpets, and we don't care what the history of the vuvuzela really is. All we care about is the sense of excitement in the stadiums that they create and the support that the sound of the vuvuzelas give our boys when they are on the field.

FIFA will not Ban the Vuvuzela from the 2010 World Cup

We know that FIFA will not Ban the Vuvuzela from the 2010 World Cup .

“We approach this in a relaxed manner. I am convinced the vuvuzelas will be a hit at the World Cup. It will be a World Cup with African sound,” Hans Klaus, director of communications at FIFA, told reporters .

July 19, 2009

Shortened Links - Choose Carefully

Shortened links have now become a way of life!

It amazes me how quickly we adapt to change and innovation on the Web - I mean it wasn't that long ago that shortened links didn't even exist, and now we all have our favorites.

I found this really handy post on my trusted resource Daily Blog Tips that warned Careful with those Shortened Links. I warned to be careful of shortened links because one couldn't see where they were coming from and as with most things in life, those with sneaky minds has already found a way to exploit this.

"Shortened links also have a drawback, however, which is the fact that you can’t see where the link is pointing. Bring malicious users into the picture, and you can see the security risks."

And they warn that you should only click on shortened links if you know who they are coming from - which is sometimes very hard on Twitter, isn't it?

Unshortening Tool

But they do offer a great solution, and direct me to an unshortening tool, if I want to check out a link - Sucuri. It supports all the shortening tools.

Wide Range of Shortening Tools

So what do you use to shorten urls?

At the moment I'm using tinyurl but I use on tweetdeck

July 10, 2009

Cope is Better off Without Lynda Odendaal and Simon Grinrod

Cope is not my party, I'll say it upfront. But as I'm interested in politics and feel like having a skinner, I just want to say that I think Cope is much better off without Lynda Odendaal and Simon Grinrod.

Now they need to regroup and organise in the "old fashioned way".

I looked at the Cope website - off course it wasn't updated!

Youth Sad to See her Go

The Congress of the People's Youth Movement (COPEYM) on Wednesday lamented the departure of party second deputy president Lynda Odendaal.

"After having been one of the most committed members and leaders that this organisation has had, it really is difficult to let go of her unexpected departure," COPEYM said in a statement.

This amazes me that anyone in the party feels any loyalty towards her because Ms Odendaal did not only leave the leadership, she also resigned as a member of parliament and has said that it is possible that she will be joining another party. And she is sort of trashing the party... making allegations that Shilowa is plotting to oust Lekota.

Lynda Odendaal leaves Cope

I can remember my amazement at Lynda Odendaal's election to such high office and I knew when I saw her that it didn't bode well for Cope. As far as I know the woman made no significant speeches or real contributions - I just saw her as a white chick with connections - people the party can hit up for donations and contributions - she certainly isn't any kind of IT specialist as is claimed.

Odendaal confirmed this week to the Cape Times that she had quit the troubled party.

"I've resigned from COPE. I've decided to move on and serve the people in another vehicle. I'm not moving out of politics, I'm going to take stock of the current political landscape and then take it from there," she said.

She didn't rule out the possibility of joining another political party.

Simon Grinrod on the Move

Party hopper, Simon Grinrod alleges one of the reasons for his leaving Cope is that former ANC members had abandoned the promise of a new party with their continued idolisation of former president Thabo Mbeki.

Cape Printing Business Sues Cope

In addition to having two of its leaders - second deputy president, Lynda Odendaal and elections head Simon Grindrod - resign on Tuesday, it has emerged that COPE is now being sued by a Cape Town printing business which claims the party failed to pay it for work done ahead of the elections.

June 12, 2009

Jail Bird - Durban Metro Police Abuse Power at Amphi Market

People keep sending me pictures - here I am in the back of the police van - you cant see the handcuffs. At that stage I was more frightened than unhappy, although I always knew that the Metro Police and the SAPS had NOTHING to hold me on. I just took one picture of a police officer who would not identify himself. He did not have a badge on so I took the picture for identification.

I also don't understand why they had to break the trader's tables and incite violence. The Amphimarket at the Durban Beachfront is a "controlled environment" trades buy their space every week from the manager who is on duty all the time.

If the police had a problem, why did they even get into it with the traders - they were de facto employees of the market manager, Di Greenwood, so the cops should have spoken to her.


Craig Perumal of Verulam writes:

ON Sunday 07.06.2009, I WITNESSED behaviour of both Metro officers and SAPS officers at the Amphimarket on the Durban Beachfront that was totally uncalled for.

The amphimarket is in excess of 20 years with most traders being there for the same period. One arrogant officer started what we can called abuse. He had a problem with a vendor whom pays rent for his allocated space to the fleamarket and has been trading on the same spot for many years. The officer in question wanted the guy to move from his allocated space.

The vendor rightfully refused and requested the officer to contact the flea market organisers.

Eventually the officer refused and decided to confiscate the vendors products.

The problem is the manner in which it was done.naturally the vendor was upset and was refusing . A few other officers the arrived a bagged the produce.

I must state at this stage the officers had no name tags on.

A media reporter as in the attached photo then took a photo of the said officer and the police action. The officer grabbed the camera and from the woman saying she cannot take photos and he was taking the camera. The lady refused and told him to contact the mayors office if he wanted to identify her as that is where she had worked as she was allowed to take pictures.

The lady was eventually arrested and handcuffed.The officer then summoned his colleagues of which 12 metro police cars responded, 3 motorcycles and a saps car. At This stage the vendors wife intervened as did the flea market management. The said officer then insisted on arresting the vendor as well for no reason and that is when the vendor's sons and wife protested.

Two saps officers then also arrived. The SAPs officer grabbed the vendor in a throttle and punched him. The metro officers then hit the wife and one son was also hit and went into an epileptic fit whilst in a fit he was handcuffed and thrown into a vehicle. A foreigner who was standing close by captured this on his cellphone camera.The metro officers then tried to grab him and tripped and kicked him and then arrested him.

Another policeman on a motorcycle the arrived and was calling on somebody to fight with with whom he had some problem .

This incident was viewed many many people. The cleaners from eThekwini as well a Hungarian visitors could only say Disgusting.

These officers need to be disciplined .The saps officers used excessive force/violence knowing very well that metro police would be to blame. One metro officer that used , also mention he was off duty but arrived there in a municipal vehicle as he said the other officer was his friend.

I would also like to state that the cities cctv cameras was focused on these happenings as I saw the camera being operated.

(I removed the names of the officers as well as the regstration numbers Craig provided - for his own safety, but I will forward his letter to the City Manager, in case the newspapers haven't done so) karen

Durban Police: Abuse of Power- A Slow Sunday in the Cells

It was going to be a great day – my old friends Peter and Stevie Godson were here from East London and we were picking up Ros Sarkin and going down to the Beachfront to the Amphimarket Flea Market, which Ros started together with Margaret Winter about 26 years ago.

Section 21 Company (non profit)

The Amphimarket is a Section 21 company that has an agreement with the local municipality for the use of that space every Sunday. Stallholders pay a minimum amount and many are regulars. Some of the original stallholders are still there after 26 years.

Over the years, I’ve become involved in the Market via Ros and know many of the stallholders – for some the Sunday stalls are their only source of income; others have put kinds through university with the proceeds of the stalls.

I guess I was also smiling and looking at it through new eyes because I’ve just written a feature for African Leader Magazine on the boom of small business in KwaZulu Natal and I’ve seen the stats – these traders are poised on the brink of moving from the informal section into the smme sector which makes up over 50 percent of South Africa’s employed population.

Di Greenwood in the Middle of A Swam of Traders and Police

I see a commotion and go over to look and see Di Greenwood, the market manager in the middle of a swarm of traders and a blue cloud of police breaking down their stalls and shouting and pushing people around.

I tried to find out what was going on. I asked the guy who seemed to be in change what was going on and he said he didn't have to tell me, so I asked him who he is because he didn't have a name badge on his jacket (which I know they have to have) and he said he didn't have to tell me that either. So, I got my camera out of my bag and took a photo of him so that we could identify who the guy was who was in change if we wanted to lay a complaint. Which I was sure Di would have to do on behalf of the Market.

(I now want to find out why they decided to raid the Amphimarket -a section 21 company that has all that area on lease from the municipality -the cops are now lying and keep changing their stories, saying that they didn't have access and then saying it was a drug raid – they also allege that three policemen were hurt in this “riot”)

Policeman Grabbed my Camera

Anyway this guy I photographed grabbed my camera which I wouldn’t let go and told me I wasn’t allowed to take a picture of him. I told him he was nuts – of course I can take a picture of him and as he didn’t want to identify himself how the hell else would we know who he is.

He asked me for my card. I told him I had many cards but he wanted a press card. So I told him I don’t work for a newspaper I don’t have a press card but he can phone the mayor or the city manager- they know me well, I’ve worked for them for a long time.

He didn’t hear me and wouldn’t leave my camera.

I was Put in Handcuffs

Then he called someone and put handcuffs on me prised the camera out of my hands and put me in the back of a police van.

My friend Peter asked him what I was being charged with and he said for not identifying myself.

I was eventually charged with Public Violence, fingerprinted, and put in a cell.

About eight hours later the attorney walked in and got us off.

Captain Logan Govender Charged us with Public Violence

It took Captain Logan Govender ages to decide what to charge me, the poor American, and the other young trader with because he really had no charge, so he chose the one thing that the police couldn't release us on "public violence.”

They had to get a prosecutor there on a Sunday night. The father and son - the Khans who have been trading there for 17 years on that same spot and have never ever had any trouble with the police got R1000 bail each and have to appear in court on Tuesday for assault- they were trying to protect their livelihood - this is their sole income.

There is obviously no crime in South Africa - I spent from just after 11 – 8 in the evening in the main police station - besides us they brought in a few kids who were selling dagga but I saw so many cops doing nothing, filling in papers, hanging around. And most of them seemed to delight in shouting orders at us – wait there, keep quite, no you can’t do that. They wouldn’t allow me any reading matter.

Emotional Abuse and Waste of Time (and money)

Ros brought me water and a coke while they were charging us. I kept the water and gave the coke to the guys – they shouted at me about me having limited rights and they were being kind by allowing me to have the water! (Di told me later the coke and water came from the guy who sells brass goods)

The amount of time and papers processed to "arrest" us and get a prosecutor in on a Sunday night because I took a picture of a cop who wouldn't identify himself is beyond absurd. (I have the picture on my camera) the American lost his glasses when they tackled him and they removed him memory card and roughed him up. He is a PhD student from University of Virgina and his friend who was with him is from Yale. - the girl friend, mother in he US Congress, so news has even spread that far - he was just taking pics at the market and took a few pictures of the scuffle when he was assaulted and arrested.

Naively I believed that after liberation, the one thing that would improve is our poling, but sadly, the culture of brutality has either been passed down or is re-blooming.

The police are supposed to protect us?

May the Good Lord protect u from this lot.

I hope that we can get something done before 2010. The humiliating way they treated this young man who chose to do a Phd on a part of our history and who loves this country is too terrible. And the way they treat their own fellow citizens, is a disgrace.