MyNews24 Users speak

2008-10-03 10:37
To celebrate ten years of interactive news reporting, we asked some of MyNews24's most infamous contributors about what they think the next ten years will bring.

A series of questions were e-mailed to several News24 Users. These are the replied of those who responded. How long have you been reading News24?

Brandon Faber: It's been a few years. Together we saw the coming and going of Fikile April Mbalula, (ANCYL elder) and the rise of that raucous whipper-snapper, Julius Malema. Together we said goodbye to cheap fuel, two cricket world cups, Ernie Els, a dozen Bafana coaches and any sense of justice for the common man - so it's been real.

Kolobe: Comrade Kolobe has been reading News24 occasionally from 2003, but I started interacting last year in September,

Len van Heerden: For about three years.

Lucas Ntyintyane: Also for three years.

MP3: About three years now too! Although over the past year I've dramatically increased my readership of the site. My musings used to only extend to the Stidy cartoons.

Peter Neill: I can't remember... at least five years. Maybe more!

Rivaan Roopnarain: For about three years, and to be honest, I can't imagine life without News24.com.

Unathi Kondile: Since around 2001 - when I moved to Cape Town.

What do you think of the way News24 has been covering breaking news stories over the past 10 years.

Brandon Faber: Can't fault it really. Up to the minute, sometimes controversial (hola comrades), but always entertaining.

Kolobe: Fair and good coverage, but some of the journalists have sometimes being biased, covering the stories from the Eurocentric traditional perspective. Clearly journalists target only the Afrikaans speaking community hence their news and coverage is clearly compromised in this regard, this bias reporting suggests whites are the only targets of crime whereas we experience the same in the townships.

Len van Heerden: The coverage has been up to date and even if the full facts were not there, we were given a glimpse of what to expect.

Lucas Ntyintyane: It's impressive - insightful and incisive

MP3: From my brief time being an avid fan of News24 I'd have to say that the top stories often beat rival news sites. I'd say that's damn good coverage.

Peter Neill: News24 is the first news site I check in the morning, and the last one I visit before bed. I suppose that says it all? For me there is no other South African news portal that is more extensive in its coverage, or more regularly updated, with all the latest news, views and interviews. I do visit other news sites for a different perspective on the same story. A friend once told me to stop being influenced by only "white" media. My experience is that News24 publishes a balanced perspective for both facts and opinion.

Rivaan Roopnarain: I firmly believe that News24.com has positioned itself as one of the very best service providers in terms of news relay. The friendly, conversational and contemporary style that it transmits news truly places it in a league of its own.

Unathi Kondile: It has been up to date and much more in sync with online news reader needs in terms short succinct stories that shed the basics on any news event. It has however lagged a bit in terms of "breaking" stories - in the sense that it hasn't yet achieved the fast-paced nature of breaking news much-like radio news is able to. It is very much possible for online news producers to outdo radio news in breaking stories however one has to consider whether or not News24 has any ground reporters or is it reliant on various other news wires.

What changes do you see happening in the country in the next 10 years? Are you hopeful about the country's future?

Brandon Faber: I think the more people start voting with their minds and not their hearts, the better for us. Poor service delivery, outright lies, corruption and the fallacy that has been the rule of this land should not be tolerated by anyone. We deserve better. The sooner we realise that, the brighter our future will be. I think people are slowly coming around to the realities of leadership - so it bodes well.

Kolobe: South Africa will become the African mouthpiece, the dream of the pan-Africanist African Union would be achieved, Africa will realise the importance of economic independence from the Colonial west, a breakaway from the ANC will materialise, a victory to democracy and once again South Africa will become a model of a successful African story.

Len van Heerden: I think the next 10 years will see a big decline in the support of the ANC, but that will not necessarily benefit the DA. I see a stronger opposition that might contain some old ANC members. In the immediate future, I see the ANC losing Western Cape, Northern Cape and needing a coalition to run Gauteng. They will increase their stranglehold of KZN but years with them enjoying over 70% support in Limpopo, Free State and Mpumalanga might be in the past.

Lucas Ntyintyane: I foresee a more vocal civic society, in the mould of the TAC. Citizenry being more active agents in a participatory democracy. The time of outsourcing everything to the political parties is over. This is one of the blessings from the ANC's internal wrangling. It has made ordinary citizens more vigilant about the rule of law, independence of the judiciary and freedom of speech. One is cautious but hopeful of the future. Africa is not for the fainthearted, but these are interesting times.

MP3: Well based on the past year alone, heaven only knows the changes to come in the next 10 years. One thing is for sure I'll have a bucket of popcorn on hand for the show. Am I hopeful? Tricky question. Every colonial country has seen a steady decline in its ability to maintain the level of development it has sustained. South Africa has been surprisingly resilient I've noticed however. Ever since its dramatic post-apartheid 1994 handover to the more recent Zuma and Thabo & Malema affair. But then again I recently stumbled upon a gem of a quote on Youtube regarding South Africa's constitution. Make the constitution fool-proof and one day when the country is run by fools the constitution will be able to handle it.

I've noticed a lot of people saying that it takes time to unwind the social-political damage apartheid cause. I disagree. Change occurs at the same rate people want to change. So somewhere in the gearbox of the government someone has stuck the drive in 1st gear and left it there. You need to constantly monitor the degree of change needed and adjust appropriately. Street name changes are 1st gear related changes. The easy changes? Now harder more crucial changes need to be addressed. Land reform issues that have progressed little in the past 14 years then there is the corruption etc.

Hopeful, yes! Confident, no.

Peter Neill: I have a lot of faith in this country and particularly in South African people. We have a great constitution and a flourishing democracy, as we have recently proven. I think that in the next 10 years we will see two dominant political parties emerge, much like the Republicans and Democrats in the US. This will help to keep government on their toes and also improve service delivery across the board and enforce action to deal with issues like poverty and crime.

I am expecting government to focus on levelling the playing fields for education and other basic amenities for the masses - and rightly so. Every South African has a dream. The challenge is for us all to help facilitate an environment where everyone has an equal opportunity, and as such is properly equipped to be able to go after that dream.

I believe that common sense will ensure that over the next 10 years people vote to secure positive change and results. If you can't deliver, you get voted out - it's that simple! For me Mbeki is one of the casualties of exactly this process, whilst in contrast to Mbeki's tenure, most people were happy for Trevor Manuel to stay.

Some have been suggesting a split of the ANC and a new party formed from Mbeki supporters. However, I predict that if President Kgalema Motlanthe does a good job, Zuma's election as the next president is anything but a foregone conclusion, as some of his ardent supporters may believe. My feeling is that Zuma and his followers may have unwittingly outfoxed themselves, through their own recent political manoeuvring. Maybe Motlanthe will be the catalyst for a major political shakeup and not Mbeki?

This could happen sooner than later, even within the next seven months, where two new political parties could emerge, that could effectively split the support base, not just of the ANC, but of all voters throughout the country, and thereby create a genuine opposition for the ruling party to the benefit of all South Africans. And yes, of course I am hopeful about our country's future. We are at one of the most exciting periods in our short democratic history.

Rivaan Roopnarain: I am of the opinion, without so much as a shadow of doubt, that the Republic of South Africa has the untapped potential to be among the most socially cohesive and pleasurable places to live, anywhere in the world. Yes we have our shortcomings, but what sets us apart is our ability to openly and frankly engage with each other to find resolutions. As a nation, through our dialogue, through the spirit and letter of our social culture as South Africans, we grow every single day.

Unathi Kondile: Politically we are now in a climate that is conducive to change and severely under pressure to perform. I foresee a coalition of smaller political parties or resurrection of a new political party that will topple the ANC. With the recent political ongoings and ousting of President Mbeki people - voters - have now become much more conscientised to the possible impact of their individual votes. For the first time in years I will be taking to the polls to cast my vote in 2009 and it won't be for the ANC or the DA. And I am sure there are many who are thinking along those lines. And of course with political improvements and delivery the notion of "a better life for all" seems inevitable.

What is the biggest challenge facing South Africa in the next 10 years?

Brandon Faber: Corruption, respect for our constitution, the independence of the judiciary. If we can meet these challenges head on and prove to the average citizen that nobody, NOBODY, is above the law and that you will be brought to answer for your actions, whether you stole a cell phone or a million dollars, then we would have achieved much.

Kolobe: Jacob Zuma and Julius Malema. Clearly when a militant secondary school youth leader is pulling the strings of a primary school populist puppet then we are to be concerned. The greatest challenge would be to overcome the threats of Julius Malema. Jacob Zuma cannot handle the simplest task of uniting the movement, how can he represent us in the United Nations, African Union as well as SADC? South Africa will be included as part of the G13 - can Jacob Zuma really engage at that level? Before the era of Mbeki Africa was burning in wars that lasted for decades but he managed to calm the DRC, Sierra Leone. Can Jacob Zuma solve all these African crises?

Len van Heerden: Maturity of our democracy and the realisation by the poor majority that all politicians speak for their self preservation. There will be significant changes in our judiciary with the retirement of four to five Judges. Otherwise, I think the country will finally recognise that no one gives a damn whether we are the best or worst in something.

Lucas Ntyintyane: Poverty, inequality, crime, education, job creation and health care are our biggest challenges. Globally, terrorism is another. For Africa the most important challenge is putting the right people in key positions. Poor leadership has been Africa's Achilles heel. We need to develop an ethical and accountable leadership that will promote good governance and the principles of democracy.

MP3: Crime. Possibly racial tensions as Julius Malema certainly isn't trying to help in that arena.

Peter Neill: Education is our greatest challenge. Education and communication are inseparable. Everything else will follow.

Rivaan Roopnarain: For me, I would say that some of the biggest challenges lie in protecting the integrity of our judiciary and the cardinal tenet of freedom of expression. The bigger challenge lies in realising the duty that each and every one of us as South Africans has, and that is to feverishly uphold, but never compromise, the definition of democracy.

Unathi Kondile: It is the rural and lower classes of society that constitute a large majority of our population and still go by unnoticed. South Africa is presently pre-occupied with addressing myopic needs of the upper echelons of society simply because these are the most vocal in society. We need to engage deeper with the underpinning problems of our societies and start recognising that the sooner we can uplift the poor or underdeveloped people - the sooner we can address some of the challenges that stare at us daily - crime, poverty, unemployment, etcetera. Fighting the visible problems (by means of arrests and death penalties) will not make it go away - we need to fight the symptoms of our societal problems and things that feed to the rise of South Africa's problems.

Do you think BEE policies will change in the next 10 years?

Brandon Faber: Probably not. I am a fan of best man or woman for the job, always. While I am fully appreciative of the injustices of the past, it was before my time and is (still) no excuse to put people in positions where more harm than good will be done. If we want to cultivate a performance culture and lead the way (as we are perfectly capable of) - we should celebrate and reward the best of us - hopefully it leads to everyone trying that little bit harder.

Kolobe: I really don't see any change in the BEE concept in the next ten years, but the broad Based BEE especially Affirmative Action will definitely change, this because of skills shortage, this is the time that we should start appointing people based on their skills rather that their economic disempowerment.

Len van Heerden: The pressure to do away with BEE will be significant. In the medium term, I think there will be a knee-jerk reaction to the limited number of beneficiaries. This might provide an opportunity for a wider base of benefits to a much wider group of investors.

Lucas Ntyintyane: BEE, in its current form, has failed and must change. Failure to do will be a huge betrayal of what democracy means and is supposed to achieve.

MP3: I certainly hope the country matures enough to let go of this dummy in the mouth, spoon feeding type of policy. It quite frankly suggests that black people can't make it by themselves. Is that what the black majority want?

Peter Neill: After 1994 it is undeniable that most, if not all of the key positions in both public and private sector were occupied by whites, and to say that this does not require change, is simply rubbish. We accept wholeheartedly that injustices of the past needed to be dealt with and an equal opportunity created for all.

Whites in this country need to understand that 80 percent of all the best positions of land are held by 10% of the population (white), and I am a believer that there should be investment and other policies put in place to decisively reverse this situation.

But this is not a program that takes place overnight, and certainly not even in 10 years. So I do think that BEE policies will continue, but should and will change to become more effective.

Rivaan Roopnarain: Rome wasn't built in a day? I think that the contemporary BEE policies will have to be changed. Our country has seen time and time again that BEE does little good, yet very much damage. Its absolute failure is only a matter of time. There can never be a substitute for a person's merit, and this idea of restoring the wrongs of the past through "entitlement by colour" can have no place in a truly progressive and democratic society. The only determinant, by which a person should be judged, is his merit and ability, and nothing else.

Unathi Kondile: Such change can only come about when the goals of BEE have been achieved. Will BEE projections be reached in the next 10 years? No. We have a long way to go in addressing inequalities and part of this long way is exacerbated by the fact that BEE in it present form is not being executed accordingly. Should we ever stumble across the right formula for BEE implementation then maybe changes might then creep in to accommodate more societal groupings under the sub genre of "Black" in Black Economic Empowerment.

How do you think sport in South Africa will change in the next 10 years (especially after 2010)?

Brandon Faber: Politicians should step aside and administrators should work for the benefit of the game, if we do not do that we are going to be in trouble. All anyone wants is a winning team. That creates heroes for our kids to aspire to. Nobody cares what race, creed or colour people are, as long as they perform. Sport does not need politics or administration for it to succeed, all it needs are heroes - and you only get that by being number one. We can, and we should, be one of the leading sporting nations in the world. I'm holding thumbs that sanity will prevail over the next decade.

Kolobe: Clearly we have stumbling blocks of transformation, people like Mickey Arthur that caused the president of Cricket, Comrade Norman Arendse to resign should be "eliminated" before we can finally have peace in sports. And good riddance to Jake White. Now people like the Beast can finally play for the Springboks! We should really get rid of Brazilian coaches - they are really plundering our resources without investing anything.

Len van Heerden: Bafana Bafana will win one game in 2010 and fail to qualify for the second round of the World Cup. However, the exposure will do them a world of good. White rugby fans will continue to demand the appointment of white coaches and SARU will eventually relent and appoint Heyneke Meyer or Dick Muir. Cricket will continue with promises of real change and as long as Smith is there, they will struggle to beat Australia. The Olympic team will win three medals in London and will continue to blame administrators and everything else other than lack of talent, while the Paralympians will move up to 5th in the world.

Lucas Ntyintyane: Sport will become de-politicised. Administrators will be picked on merit rather than political affiliation.

MP3: There'll probably be a name change for our rugby team if the meddling government gets its way. Otherwise I reckon it will stay roughly the same.

Peter Neill: Successful sports results helps to improve the morale of a nation. But it all starts with government. If our politicians become more accountable, as I have already predicted, so will our Sports Administrators.

I am looking forward to a shakeup of all National Sporting Federations, resulting in more professionalism, accountability and results. 2010 will help to ensure that this process takes place.

Rivaan Roopnarain: I think that sport in South Africa, much like our societal dynamics, will quickly come to realise that there is simply no substitute for merit, and absolutely every reason to get rid of mediocrity and incompetence wherever it may rear its ugly head.

Unathi Kondile: There is a lot of talk on "grass roots" development in sport and it seems like the key challenges have been identified. Question is who will implement these changes and when? Such "grass roots" development can of course take place once we can muster the ability to put behind racial squabbles and obsessions with individuals. We need to focus on the games. Merit must surpass all criteria leading to team selections. However in selecting based on merit - there must a broad spectrum of candidates from all racial groups who can thus prove themselves worthy. All roads point to 2010 but it must be known that there is life after 2010 and people must plan beyond 2010 and start harvesting whatever "grass roots" they've been harnessing.

What news events of the past 10 years will you remember for years to come?

Brandon Faber: I'd go for the performances of our Springboks and Paralympians. Mark Shuttleworth's space trip, Manto's mielie mayhem, the mamparra rule of the dithering idiots that are George Bush and his local counterpart, Robert Mugabe and, of course, the local swamp of mistrust, misquotes and miscommunication that is the ANC (especially in 2008).

Kolobe: I think the Tsunami (I did not know what a Tsunami meant - that was really bad) and September 11. But I was really affected by the firing of Comrade Thabo Mbeki. I think the former president was an outstanding statesmen, a true African patriot. Just like Comrade Shilowa I also do not feel that I will be able to, with conviction, publicly explain or defend the NEC's decision on comrade Thabo Mbeki.

Len van Heerden: Mandela retires. South Africa awarded the right to host 2010 World Cup. President Mbeki forced from office and resigns. Jacob Zuma trounces President Mbeki for the leadership of the ANC. Springboks win World Cup. Bafana Bafana fail to qualify for 2010 African Cup of Nations despite two highly paid coaches. Petrol price breaches R10 a litre.

Lucas Ntyintyane: The recall of president Mbeki and winning of the 2010 World Cup bid.

MP3: Minister Beetroo's health advice blunders. Also that dude with the Ninja Sword that just went around chopping people. Also the Xenophobic attacks. I think this will not be the last we'll see of this type of attack happening.

Peter Neill: September 11, Iraq and Zimbabwe.

Rivaan Roopnarain: There have been many, and if you were to press me for a rapid fire response, then I would have to say the granting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Unathi Kondile: It would have to be the American 9/11 attacks - it was the one time in my lifetime where life imitated the arts - and I couldn't bring myself to believe nor imagine planes crashing into buildings with fully conscious passengers. That was deeply disturbing, yet sensitively well-reported by all South African media outlets.

What's to be positive about in the next 10 years?

Brandon Faber: The people of South Africa are reason enough. There's more than enough good to trample on the heads of mediocrity, more than enough strong backbones to rebuke sub-par performance and more than enough common sense to reach across political lines and get things done. We have what it takes to be the best place in the world - it's going to be a fight but I think we are up for it.

Kolobe: I think the 2010 soccer World Cup, both pessimist and optimist are waiting anxiously either to criticize or celebrate. Either way we are all waiting for this tournament, which will become a catalyst for African economic development. If South Africa succeeds then Africa should brace themselves for hosting other major events.

Len van Heerden: A better understanding of democracy by many people in the country. The successful hosting of the world cup. A cure for Aids might be found, thanks to SA effort. Bishop Tutu loses his voice and eventually retires. And Julius Malema, Zwelinzima Vavi and Jacob Zuma drown in a freak accident leading to wild celebrations in the country.

Lucas Ntyintyane: The resilience of South Africans. We are a great nation that is never deterred by failures. We fall ten times, but can rise twenty times. We are a nation of champions.

MP3: Woolies Food Market, I can't wait to see what other yummy things they stock on their shelves.

Peter Neill: Everything!

Rivaan Roopnarain: What's not to be positive about? Perhaps the greatest thing to be positive about is realising our collective of a nation untainted by ignorance and corruption, unblemished by poverty and flourishing through the sheer prosperity of its citizens.

Unathi Kondile: The fact that for the very time in our democratically elected government's history - the possibility of the ANC having opposition is now more likely than ever. Politics are no longer a one-way highway and change is inevitable. There is room for opposition parties to grow or develop. The monotony and fixed diet we have been receiving for the past 14 years is highly likely to change. To whom and what is what most interests me at present. But I am sure it can only be for the best due to the fact that with competition and rising opposition prospects there will finally be pressure on the present or new government to perform - instead of basking in the luxury of knowing that they are an immovable force.

Do you think the economy will still be sound 10 years from now?

Brandon Faber: Yes. I think we'll make it. As long as common sense prevails we will be okay. A lot depends on the image we project to the world beyond our borders - we have to be of sound mind in our policies, clear in our communication and ruthless in our stamping out of corruption.

Kolobe: Only if, and if only the populist president does not allow the hypocrite communist like Blade Nzimande to change policies then the foundation laid by president Mbeki should remain for at least twenty years.

Len van Heerden: Depends on how much control the ANC allows Vavi and Co.

Lucas Ntyintyane: The face of the economy will change due to external forces like globalisation. Reliance on mining will be a thing of the past. Bio-technology will be the new driver as demonstrated by the importance of nanotechnology .

MP3: The economy relies on many things. Of which some things - being an IT nerd - I have no clue of. The US economy recently took quite a nasty knock after that investment bank collapsed and that came somewhat out of the blue. So quite honestly I don't know. I remain hopeful but lack the confidence in thinking anything amazingly positive will happen.

Peter Neill: Yes I do. The example of Zimbabwe serves as a severe warning to all.

Rivaan Roopnarain: The South African economy has no doubt trekked a long path since our emancipation as a truly democratic Republic. The strength of the economy, going forward, may very closely align itself to the integrity and dignity of our nation's governance and the fervour with which we uphold our Constitution, but more than just that, the success of our economy is inextricably linked to our personal "successes" as citizens of this country.

Unathi Kondile: Yes. If not stronger. With experience I believe that this government or future alternate governments will have learnt the processes of governance within a democratic South Africa. Policies that have failed - economic and both socio-economic - will have a backdrop to be mounted against and improved. Therefore the possibilities of a burgeoning economy are still endless - especially when considering the newly opened political change opportunities that await us in this country.

Do you see yourself still living in South Africa in 10 years time?

Brandon Faber: I will be here - unless the sky falls and my best friend Malema becomes president, that is.

Kolobe: Where will I go? I passionately hate Europe, and my African brothers up north will be seeking my blood for revenge of the xenophobic attacks. I belong here in Msansi.

Len van Heerden: Definitely.

Lucas Ntyintyane: Time will tell. My roots are here, but my passport is stamped "global citizen".

MP3: My sun sign says I'm resistant to change. But my moon sign says I tend to be nomadic. I'd like to go to a place where, when my dogs bark at night I don't automatically search for my panic button. If that place is here in South Africa in 10 years time then you'll see me at your nearest Woolies Food Market. If not, probably some remote island where there's a KFC.

My responses to your questions have been moderate to light hearted. I try not to worry about the future too much. I have plenty of other things to worry about in the here and now. Many may think I'm a joker. But there are enough pharmaceutical companies out there making plenty of money from all the anti-depressants they sell to depressed people because of the state of things here. But I will fight the good fight and stay happy just on.

Peter Neill: I'll definitely still be here.

Rivaan Roopnarain: It is more than just my opinion that the Republic of South Africa is a nation brimming with hope, confidence and unbridled opportunity for every and all of its people - this we see every day. Wherever I may be in 10, 20 or 50 years time, South Africa will remain, unshakeably, in my heart, soul and mind, as home sweet home.

Unathi Kondile: Of course. The future is very bright for anyone with an ability to spot opportunities and maintain an optimistic outlook through the mist of our dire political discourse. There is more to South Africa than politics. And once that mental block is overcome people can see beyond Affirmative Action Boundaries and BEE imagined blockades. Opportunities are endless in this country - one need only look and they will find!

Thanks for your time!

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