CITY ARROGANCE

July 21, 2016

Since it took over Cape Town the DA has been doing a pretty good job coping with its people’s needs and the challenges of explosive growth.
But now one wonders whether its successes have gone to Mayor Patricia de Lille’s head and generated an unwanted and atypical conceit. There is a crack in their façade of goodwill to all.
It is nothing to do with politics (a1though such philosophically barren individuals as Ehrenreich and Landsman will do their best to make it so) and everything to do with greed and arrogance.
This week the City had inserted into local newspapers expensively glossy brochures extolling “The progress we’ve made possible together through our integrated development plan”.
It covers just about every aspect of what has been and is being done – too long to list here, and states that “Residents of Cape Town need to know that their government works for them, is accountable to them,and answers to them at all times”.
Wrong. They don’t. There is one vital part of its job which it omits from its list blessings and is handling very badly: commercial housing development projects. Its attitude to this is so crassly dictatorial one wonders whether it is simply desperate to increase its rates base or if gratuities have passed hands somewhere.
The area which is hardest hit by this is the so-called “Far South”, the large region over the mountain range south of Muizenberg and Hout Bay, reachable only by the Ou Kaapse Weg, the greatly overcrowded Main Road and Boyes Drive, the costly Chapman’s Peak drive and the dangerous and unreliable Metro railway.
The region is already so full of housing plus the still mushrooming squatter township of Masiphumelele that travel from there to the rest of the city has become an intolerable ordeal. Some people have moved north because they cannot cope with the daily grind of an hour or more across the mountains in addition to the massive traffic jams to the north.
Yet the City is going ahead approving plans for still more housing and other developments in the Far South. A huge new mall has grown almost next door to the existing Longbeach Mall in Sun Valley which is already more than enough to meet local needs.
Now a giant new and apparently expensive housing development is being built at the southern end of the Ou Kaapse Weg which will add drastically to the traffic flow. And the City has approved the first of 107 of 400 houses to be built in little Kommetjie. Other projects are in line or under way.
There are simply not enough transport, water, electricity and sewage services to cope with all this. They are over-extended to destruction already.
One does not object to whatever the City does to better the living circumstances of those unfortunate enough to have to live in Masiphumelele. But that does not give it the right to ignore the needs and demands of the rest of the community, as it is doing.
It has effectively dropped its “integrated” development plan for the Far South. It is supposed to consult residents. It does not.
The Far South Peninsula Community Forum (an alliance of those of the various regions like Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town) have been trying for nearly two months to meet Mayor de Lille to hand over a petition (appropriately under the heading “Gatvol”) detailing and objecting to the rampant approval of unsustainable development. Excluding phone calls they have tried ten times and been brushed off every time with a contempt which was a hallmark of our former disastrous ANC mayor Nomainda Mfeketo, now a senior figure in the party’s archive of political rogues.
De Lille and her party should bear in mind that just because they control Cape Town does not mean they cannot lose votes in the coming elections, and the way they are going they will.
They should put an immediate stop to all this development whose only beneficiaries, ultimately, are thedevelopers whom conned them into giving approval, and will take their money and run as soon as they are completed.
Until then we have no reason to believe that the City’s pompous newspapeer inserts are no more than gilded words worth less than the paper they are printed on … at ratepayers’ expence.

-ends-

Categories: My Word | 1 Comment

Iconoclasts

Iconoclasts. From BizNews.

I’ll say it again: I am not an Afrikaner. I am not a European. I am not an Englishman. Nor am I a Zulu, Koi, Venda, Xhosa, Tswana or any other insular racial group. Yet all of those are part of me and I am part of them because I too am African.
I am a South African, white because of genes, history and geography. I am exceedingly proud of all those things that comprise the ephemeral though very real South African character: its entrancing peoples, its superb environment, its tangled history. Together they make a unique nation rich with diversity, creativity, cultures and achievements.
But with dwindling hope. Our national body is being ravaged by a lethal resurgence of the cancer we hoped we had killed or at least sent into remission with the 1994 general election. It is racism, ironically now being deliberately resuscitated by some of the very people who were its target during the 42 wasted years of apartheid – those whose skins are not white, among them some of today’s most influential and powerful leaders.
I have been watching with growing dismay for months as these fellow countrymen I depend upon, instead of celebrating and promoting all of our society, are systematically trying to destroy vital elements of it purely for political power and the financial gains they get with it.
They attack anything to do with our past and present that is not specifically black. Shaka murdered many thousands but he is great. Helen Suzman murdered nobody and fought for the lives of millions but she is scorned, both as white and Jewish. Nor are brown and coloured people spared from this racist tirade.
In short if it’s black it’s good; if it’s not, it’s bad. It is a crude, blind, self-destructive election ploy devised by our so-called “national” leaders suddenly panicked by the prospect of losing votes in the coming local government elections.
The first real manifestation of this insanity was in March last year when a 30-year-old township fanatic named Chimani Maxwele threw excrement over the statue of Cecil Rhodes at the University of Cape Town, asserting that a monument to the sometimes ruthless coloniser was an insult to blacks. Maxwele was not a total nonentity: five years earlier he gave the finger to a Zuma blue-light motorcade, was arrested then exonerated when he exercised his right to free speech.
Granted, Rhodes was a greedy, ruthlessly ambitious, unconscionable capitalist but he is ineradicably a part of our history, no less than the equally ambitious and ruthless Dingiswayo and Shaka.
Granted also that the statue of him at the University of Cape Town was perchance sited where it could offend black students. But to express disapproval by drenching it in human faeces is an exercise in disgust which should rightly earn its practitioners expulsion from the civilised community.
That was only a beginning. It spread rapidly to other universities: Wits, Stellenbosch, Pretoria, Potchefstroom, Western Cape, University of the North, Rhodes. It grew excrementa1ly, at some the ordure orgy was repeated.
The trend raises the question whether such people are psychologically equipped to fit into ordinary society. It is not merely pointless but profoundly stupid, the actions of youths whose immaturity makes them unfit for university and to become politicians who would be disastrous in the seats of power.
It expanded into the ridiculous demands for all Rhodes links to be eradicated at Oriel college, Oxford, then Cambridge and then, weirdly, the universities of Edinburgh and California – all sensibly rejected. This was followed by some lunatic and rightly ignored extremes such as removing Jan van Riebeeck’s statue.
Next will come a campaign for the destruction of the Rhodes Memorial and a name changes for Rhodes University and Rhodes scholarships (although the source of the funds will not be questioned).
Nobody – not even university heads like Max Price – appears to have made the point that without our historical giants there would be no South Africa. And without Rhodes scholars the world would be a worse place.
Like it or not, it was largely Rhodes’ manipulations which led via the Boer War to the birth of South Africa. Taking his excision from our past to an illogical conclusion would see the fanatics destroying the Voortrekker Monument and statues of Jan Smuts, Louis Botha and other notables right back to those of Jan van Riebeeck. Plus what the fanatics make full use of today, from the Union Buildings, Durban docks and the wheatlands to the railroads and highways linking everything.
Britain is full of statues of past figures who would have been jailed today for what they did, among them such notables as Henry VIII, Cromwell and Richard 111. Nobody wants to knock them down or hide them, they are part of life. The same goes for many other countries.
The entire wreck-and-ruin campaign may have been engineered in the hidden chambers of ANC power. But it seems more likely to have been the brainwave of a handful of student activists seeking infamy and fortune and then seized upon by politicians like Tony Ehrenreich and Marius Fransman who were fast losing influence in the DA-dominated Western Cape.
Most distressing is the ferocious attack on all things Afrikaans, most conspicuously the University of Stellenbosch. Now the ANC Youth League – not a body noted for its rationality or objectivity – is trying to make the university ungovernable to shake up what it says is embedded Afrikaner culture.
It accuses the university of “anti-transformation” practices and incidents of racism. If so there are more positive ways of correction than deliberately wrecking the stability of a renowned high-class pillar of education.
And why should Afrikaner culture not be embedded there? It is, after all, an Afrikaner institution initially created to raise the calibre of Afrikaner society up to international levels and preserve Afrikaner culture, and now it serves everybody. A model perhaps for others to follow.
Every modern democracy has institutions specifically serving the interests of specific cultural, ethnic, religious and other groups and they respect each others’ right to exist.
The university’s right to be a fundamentally Afrikaans institution is no different to that many Cabinet ministers claim while demanding protection and advancement for their own home languages and cultures. If our our youthful bigots dislike the environment there, they have a broad choice of other universities.
This ISIS-like form of iconoclasm is breeding precisely what icons like Mandela and Tutu set out to crush in our newly free nation: racism. It is diametrically contrary to the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is an extremist tactic by a menacingly growing group driven by the ANC to gain political popularity and power regardless of the damage they do in the process, supported by self-seeking non-entities like Ehrenreich and Fransman
They cannot wipe out history but in trying they can cause gulfs of estrangement and enmity that will bedevil our society for generations.
In their obsessive drive to impose their control the destroyers of the past forget that during the 42 years of apartheid Afrikaners were among its strongest opponents. Most of our leading minds were Afrikaners: Louis Botha, Jan Smuts, Jannie Hofmeyr, Beyers Naude, Frederick van Zyl Slabbert, Sol Plaatjies … the list is very long.
Our rebellious students need mental disciplining, to be taught that the way to earn a respected place in society and history is by treating their fellow countrymen with respect, not by hurling ordure.
In our so-called democracy (it has not yet earned that status and risks losing it altogether) the government is supposed to be protecting the majority against minorities. To win its democratic spurs it should put a stop to this nonsense and reverse the trend before its momentum becomes too strong to stop.

-ends-

Categories: Articles | 1 Comment

Watershed

Just forty years ago, on April 24, 1974, an event occurred which swiftly and dramatically changed the face of Southern Africa. It was the coup d’etat which brought the dictatorship in Portugal crashing down and with it the Portuguese empire, including its giant colonies of Angola and Mozambique. That in turn breached the last great dyke between African black nationalism and the resolute white rulers of Rhodesia, South West Africa and South Africa, and simultaneously triggered nearly two decades of civil war in the former colonies.
Now, for the first time, a unique photographic record of what happened in Angola and Mozambique is available. It is a book titled “Watershed” with text by me, Wilf Nussey, and hundreds of photos taken by the many lensmen and reporters who worked with me to cover this dramatic period in African history. The large format of the book has given great scope for stunning display and design by the publishers, 30 Degrees South in Southern Africa and Helion in Britain.
This is a rare and striking account of an often overlooked yet signally important development that, perhaps more than any other pressure, forced the surrender of the white rulers to black rulers, an indispensable addition to any Africana collection.

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Kill poaching

RHINO POACHING

It beggars belief that a government which has wasted billions on pointless weaponry, a grossly inflated bureaucracy, an obscene volume of graft, and excessive perks for its politicians, is unable to stop a handful of poachers from wiping out its small population of rhinos.
Yes, it has beefed up the National Parks Board with more rangers, a couple of helicopters and drone spotter aircraft commanded by an experienced ex-army general. But this is spitting into the wind.
It has a large, inexperienced, not very well trained and mostly idle army sitting on its backside except for a few shunted north allegedly to help bring peace in a couple of African states nobody cares about because they will go on tearing themselves to pieces regardless. Even them it cannot equip properly, although the army does thoughtfully provide camouflaged condoms.
The government can take several actions immediately which will not instantly stop but will dramatically reduce the level of poaching.
One is to redeploy its armed forces along the borders the poachers cross, from Mozambique into the Kruger Park and Northern Natal. They should be instructed to treat poachers as they would terrorists and use lethal force against them, including hot pursuit across the border if necessary.
Anti-poaching forces in the Kruger Park should operate freely on the Mozambique side – to hell with territorial protocols. This IS, after all, a single “transfrontier” park and in principle its wildlife belongs to both nations, therefore its rangers must have the right to function freely on both sides.
The Mozambique authorities do nothing. There is not a single live rhino on their side. Their Frelimo troops sit on their butts. The poachers live in high style in villages around the park fringes, their new 4X4s parked outside their huts. They are tough men, excellent in the bush, and they know the risks in poaching.
They should be chased out of their villages, their vehicles and guns impounded, and arrested if found in possession of wildlife products.
Conservationists say the kill rate of over two each day is fast approaching the point where it will overtake the birth rate. We have little more than 20000 white and just over 5000 black rhino left in South Africa, which has about 85 per cent of Africa’s rhinos.
Tests have been made by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife with injecting poisonous, easily seen dyes into live rhinos’ horns which would make anyone using the end product – powdered horn sniffed up like snuff or tasted or taken in food – “extremely sick”.
Why not make the poison lethal? Vietnam and China and those other countries which use rhino horn in some ridiculous, meaningless “tradition” have huge populations and can afford to spare a few to make the point. No matter how many treaties South Africa and Vietnam make against the use of rhino horn, they will have no effect. Suicide by rhino, however, is unlikely to become a popular new tradition.
I bet that if poachers started taking some of the highly valued nguni cattle from the million-rand kraal at Nkandla the entire South African Defence Force would be there within a week, blasting away.

****

Categories: Articles, My Word | 3 Comments

THE MACHIAVELLIAN AFFAIR – synopsis

mach_coverBy Wilf Nussey
 
 When the Soviet Union crumbles in the late 1980s, control of its huge arsenal disintegrates. Member states go their own ways taking with them sophisticated weaponry. A group of old guard communists, seeing their power evaporating, exploits the situation to try to turn the clock back.
With stolen nuclear missiles they set out to create international crises in several parts of the world to discredit Moscow’s new liberalism, create openings for Russian military power and restore the credibility of communism.
One place they pick is Southern Africa, where black nationalism meets the barrier of apartheid. Missiles will be used to cause a major disaster for which South Africa will be blamed, triggering open war. Russian forces under the Red banner will rush to black Africa’s aid.
British and American intelligence get wind of this but are unwilling to take direct action. Britain’s MI6 opts to use the services of a billionaire and political intriguer with worldwide business interests whose son, a charter pilot in Kenya and covert MI6 agent, has disappeared on a flight to Mauritius. He hires Victor Kennedy to find his son.
Kennedy is an out-of-work Briton who fought for Rhodesia in the guerilla war there. The search leads him via murky exile groups in South Africa to Mozambique, where he enlists the help of the rebel underground and the sinister security police discover his presence.
The CIA learn of the Russian plot from their own sources. They inform the national security advisor and he decides to turn the tables by seizing guidance control of the hijacked  nuclear missiles and blaming the apartheid government in South Africa.
Kennedy finds the missing son and discovers the full ramifications of the plot but is captured. Meanwhile South Africa’s intelligence chiefs have been tipped off and ironically discover their objective is the same that of Mozambique’s Frelimo rulers, who have also learned of the plot: destroy it. They go to Kennedy’s assistance.
The story moves between the political machinations in London, Washington and Southern African as the competing groups move to abort the rebel Russians’ scheme or take it over for their own objectives.
It rises to taut and violent action as Kennedy and a Mozambican colleague move to destroy the missiles, and reaches spectacular climax in the depths of Madagascar.
The scenes, cities, wilderness, technology and most of the names are authentic. The vivid characters are fictitious but modelled from life.
This book is a re-issue of “Darts of Deceit” with a title and cover picture more appropriate to the complexity of the story.
 
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“THE HIDDEN THIRD”

Hidden Third coverBy Wilf Nussey

Four volatile years after Nelson Mandela was freed, South Africans of all races voted in the first democratic general election since their country was created 94 years earlier. There had been much violence in those years and the world watched in lip-smacking anticipation of a flood of blood when the majority black population took revenge for the oppression and brutality of 48 years of apartheid.

It did not happen, to the astonishment of all. Mandela waved a magic wand of peace and reconciliation. Black and white worked together to shape the future, beginning with the writing of a constitution widely regarded as a model of democracy. Blacks took over government, white business thrived, life carried on much as before and the country began its long slide into its present state of decay.

But beneath the placid national surface, concealed by the sweetness and light, powerful forces lay hidden bitterly opposed to the supposedly non-racial though effectively black rule, determined to overthrow it or escape it.

For centuries before the election the Afrikaner people, a tough and capable community born of mainly Dutch but also French and some other racial stock with infusions of Malay, Khoi, Malagasy and even African blood, had been struggling for their total independence as an ethnic group. They wanted their own country, language, religion and custom without the participation of any other people, white, black or brown.

They came close to it with the two large Boer republics in the Orange Free State and the Transvaal until Britain conquered them. They tried again, very hard, in the newly-born South Africa with apartheid.

Statistics defeated them. Black population growth swamped their numbers and their plans. Apartheid was doomed. Most Afrikaners accepted this. They are pragmatic, sensible people with more experience of living with blacks than any other ethnic community on earth.

But some didn’t, and still do not. One or two coup or breakaway moves have been uncovered since 1994, all small and stupid and hopeless. But the motivation is still there, strong, nurtured by powerful people who are not fools.

This e-book, published by Rebel e Publishers, is of a secession attempt soon after the election. It is fiction but it might well have happened. It could still happen. The places are real. The characters are based on real people. The mental attitudes persist. The thirst for an Afrikaner homeland is as strong as ever.

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Fracking facts

November, 2012
Debate in the media about the issue of fracking for natural gas in the Karoo has waned considerably since the Cabinet lifted the moratorium on September 7, giving the impression that its opponents may have lost steam. This would be a great pity because the environmental threat is larger than most people realise. The Mineral Resources Minister, Susan Shabangu, has said that if fracking harms water sources it will be stopped, and if it endangers the Square Kilometre Array project, it might be stopped, but given the government’s record of intransigence once the ANC sets its mind on a profitable venture, she leaves small reason for hope.

Trying to learn more about fracking and its effects, I met a professional based in Britain who has a lifetime of experience in energy exploration and described in greater detail than I have seen before the severity of the damage it does to the environment, especially one as delicate as the Karoo’s. Because of his sensitive position in the energy industry I cannot give his name but I can vouch for him and the detail he describes is sufficient confirmation of his authority. The most chilling fact to emerge is that the exploration for gas will do more damage than its actual extraction.This is an old driller’s perspective of shale gas drilling operations there:

“At the time of writing there are no active land rigs exploring for oil and gas in South Africa, but this is about to change, attendees were informed at the late October 2012 IADC (International Association of Drilling Contractors) Drilling Africa Conference, held in Lisbon, Portugal.

“They were also told that shale exploration in the Karoo and surrounding regions is anticipated to drive a demand for up to sixty land drilling rigs in South Africa by 2016, making South Africa one of the epicentres of land drilling activity on the African continent. Neither PetroSA nor Sasol owns land rigs capable of drilling to the required depths. So this represents a great opportunity for US and European rig contractors, manufacturers and oil service companies. It has also attracted a growing interest from the Chinese who want to have a presence and participate in the Karoo shale gas bonanza.

“Pre-drilling – Rig site construction:
Before the drilling of a single well can start a ‘rig site pad’ has to be constructed. The pad consists of an area of approximately 100 meters x 150 meters which is cleared, levelled and compacted to take the load and mass of the rig’s sub structure, derrick, mud pump, mud tanks, engines, generator hoses, fuel tanks, water tanks, drill pipe, well casing and the chemicals used to mix the drilling mud. When the rig is operating, despite the rig crew’s best intentions, spills of fuel and chemicals will occur and these could leach into the ground and can reach the water table.

“Workers’ accommodation:
Portable camps will be required to house each rig’s 30-40 workers. The construction of each of these camps involves the levelling of an area of land approximately 100 meter x 100 meter area to house the portable accommodation units. The camp also requires a water source for cooking, shower and and toilet facilities, and a refuse disposal site, which is typically a pit dug away from the camp, where refuse can be burned and buried.

“Water requirements:
Unlocking the hydrocarbons in just one shale gas well requires three million to five million gallons of water to drill from spud to fracture. (equivalent to the contents of 4.5 to 7.5 Olympic size swimming pools). It is anticipated the prohibitive cost and logistics involved in transporting such large volumes of water to the Karoo will result in the Shale Exploration Licence Operator (Shell and other companies), requiring their rig contractors to drill water wells into Karoo aquifer close to their rig sites.

“Following the initial exploration drilling phase, should the commerciality of shale gas concept be proven, as many as 1,000 wells could be drilled to exploit the gas . The drilling and completion of this amount of wells will require 3 billion to 4.5 billion gallons of water (equal to 4,500 to 7,500 Olympic size swimming pools).

“There are different types of hydraulic fracturing treatments, each involving different chemicals and acids and all will have to be treated.  Likewise all of the water used in the drilling and fracking operations can (at a cost) be treated for re-use.  Therefore when it comes to water treatment, it makes perfect environmental sense to use the three R’s (reclaim, recycle and reuse). Water treatment is primarily the removal of suspended solids and saline treatment. Saline, a product of old sea water embedded in the shale, can no longer be said to be untreatable, as there are now existing methods to treat saline flow back water and saline tolerant additives are available.

“Sadly, history shows that oil companies and their drilling contractors do not always prioritise protecting the environment ahead of economics, so it is important that water treatment is addressed in the exploration and development licensing.

“Drilled formation cuttings:
Approximately 350 cubic meters (350 tonnes) of drilled formation cuttings are generated during the drilling phases of a single (3000 meter deep) shale gas well.

“The responsible disposal of drilled cuttings has been an ongoing drilling industry challenge since its inception in the late 1800’s. In countries with poor environmental governance, drilled cuttings are routinely left dumped in open ‘mud and cuttings pits’ where they blight the local landscape.
More responsible Governments require an environmentally responsible approach to the disposal of cuttings.

“Two such methods are:
1. The slurryfication and re-injection of cuttings into dedicated cuttings injection disposal wells. However this is not considered to be a suitable option for the Karoo region as it requires a permeable, usually shallow formation.
2. Land farming the cuttings. This process first involves heat treating the cuttings to sanitise them. The cuttings are then spread to create thick ‘fields of cuttings’. These fields are routinely turned over and treated with chemicals, until over a period of years they degrade to produce ‘soil’ capable of being planted.

“Imagine, if you will, the 350,000 cubic meters of cuttings generated from the drilling of 1,000 commercial gas wells and the mammoth task involved in their safe and environmentally friendly disposal, to avoid creating a very negative impact on the Karoo landscape.

“Exploration drilling risks to the Karoo aquifer:
This is considered by the writer to be more serious than poor fracking practises or leaking casing cement jobs.

“During the drilling of each well’s open hole section and prior to setting the steel casing that will eventually line the well, drilling mud is in constant contact with the formation. And because it is necessary for the safety of the well to maintain a hydrostatic mud column overbalance pressure greater than the formation pressure by using a weighted drilling mud, seepage losses occur into open porous formations (such as the Karoo aquifer) as each is penetrated. These seepage losses (containing chemicals in the mud) continue and only stop only after the open hole section is successfully cased off.

“Equally, but perhaps more dangerous than chemicals seeping into the formation and Karoo aquifer, is the potential transfer into the Karoo aquifer of bacteria colonies known to flourish in every type of drilling mud. This is something that will only become evident years after drilling has stopped.

“For example: the unintentional introduction of bacteria into wells in the Red Sea in Egypt, resulted in later years in wells producing high concentrations of H2S (hydrogen sulphide) where none had existed in the early drilling phase. Hydrogen sulphide is a very corrosive compound potentially fatal to livestock and humans in concentrations above 25 ppm in air.

“Post drilling:
After a well has been completed and the rig is removed from the site, it would be logical to believe the rig site will be returned to it’s original pre-drill state. However, many rig site pads will remain un-rehabilitated, primarily because the Operator presents a convincing argument that the existing rig site may be required for future well work-overs. A work- over is a process involving the re-establishment of a rig over an old, no longer productive or a problem well to recover and replace defective down hole equipment such as leaking packers, gravel packs and corroded tubing strings, and possibly re-fracking the well if this is considered necessary to return it to a producing state.”

This depressing prospect by the British professional is aggravated by other factors in addition to the primary threat of damage to underground water resources.

One is the extent of the problem. The full licences and ancillary licences, if granted, will cover most of the Karoo, a huge area extending from the Southern Cape almost to the Botswana border.

Off the main arterial routes it is sparsely served by secondary tarred roads, most of the network being
gravel roads. These are not designed to cope with the many thousands of journeys heavy, 24-wheel trucks will have to make to carry equipment and materials into the remoter parts of the Karoo and continuously serve the operations. The licensed exploration and exploitation companies will not foot the huge cost of building or maintaining roads, which will fall on our small and already over-burdened body of taxpayers.

Picture the daily flow of traffic for just one exploration well and multiply that by one thousand then imagine the impact this will have on roads, villages, farmers and livelihoods.  The Daily Telegraph reports that in DeWitt County in the US, currently hosting 21 of the rigs in operation at Eagle Ford, the county judge says he is facing a $432m (R3.5 billion) bill for road repairs and upkeep. DeWitt is home to just 20,000 people.

The entire fracking project is motivated by one thing: profit. Not national need, not service to the public, not security … just profit, which the government has already demonstrated it places above all else. If the money that goes into this could be used to develop other energy sources like the sun and the sea, gas would become irrelevant and the Karoo left intact. And we could possibly do without more coal and nuclear power stations.

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Author Ian Barker’s review – The Machiavellian Affair

Rhodesian ex-soldier Victor Kennedy accepts the job of finding the missing son of a prominent businessman. He soon finds himself involved in a dangerous scheme involving stolen nuclear missiles and a plan to destabilise both southern African and Russian politics.

The lines between good guys and bad guys blur as the story moves between locations to reach its thunderous climax.

It’s a little slow to get started but worth persevering through the early stages as Darts of Deceit builds into a gripping thriller with an audacious plot.

*****

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By RomeReviewer

Penned by one of Southern Africa’s foremost journalists — and it shows — The Machiavellian Affair is a fast-paced thriller dripping with intrigue, memorable characters and plot-twists that just don’t quit. Historical and political detail as well as local colour are obviously the work of a writer who knows the territory from first-hand experience.
By the time you reach the end, you’ll be bleary-eyed from staying up too late, and wondering how much of it is based on real characters and events that to this day lay hidden in the murky netherworld of international political intrigue.

*****

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James Clarke’s review

Southern Africa was cauldron of conflict in the 1980s following the fall of the Portuguese colonial empire and the dogged white rule in Rhodesia. In this stew a small group of hard-core Stalinists saw a way to help regain their power after communism collapsed in Russia by using stolen nuclear missiles to create international chaos.

Victor Kennedy, a young ex-Rhodesian soldier becomes inadvertently enmeshed when he is hired by a British billionaire to find a son missing somewhere in Southern Africa. The search leads him through a tangled mesh of underground movements into war-torn Mozambique, and into a bloody fight where he learns of the Soviet plot … and is captured before he can do anything.

British and American intelligence also learn of the plot and try to turn it around to their advantage, at the cost of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of lives.

The story accelerates through many twists and turns. Kennedy is sent with an old friend, a Mozambican ex-guerilla, to forestall the plotters, which takes them to a spectacular climax in Madagascar.

The writer, Wilf Nussey, is a journalist of forty years experience, most as a foreign correspondent, and most of that in the turmoil of Southern Africa, which he knows intimately.

Darts of Deceit is extremely well written, well researched and based it on his extensive experience as one of those newsmen who was always where the action was, when violence created wave after wave of unrest and the entire southern third of Africa was crawling with spies and agents provocateurs and sinister disappearances that remain unexplained to this day.

I can appreciate craftsmanship when I see it and he is a master story teller worthy of the Fleming/Charteris school.

*****

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