The year in quotes

2001-12-20 15:56

Pretoria - A selection of quotes from and about southern and South Africa published in the media during the past year.

The law at work - or not

"First it was a nine-month-old in Upington, now a five-month-old. Will they be raping babies just out of the womb soon?" - Miranda Friedman, director of Women and Men against Child Abuse.

"My greatest wish is to see a 17-year-old boy who has raped an 84-year-old woman wearing an apron that says 'I am 17 years old and have raped an 84-year-old', and doing community work in that apron." - Gauteng safety and liaison MEC Nomvula Mokonyane.

"The government should kill him so that the relatives of his victims can be happy and relieved ... I did not teach him to kill." - Alexinah Simelane, whose son David has confessed to killing 19 women in Swaziland. He faces 34 murder charges.

"These days it is easier to shoot someone than to smoke in a public place." - Ampie Uys, whose husband Henk was shot dead along with his brother-in-law, Johan Stapelberg, in a farm attack in the Magaliesberg.

"These laws are certainly good in their intention, and they might work in somewhere like Sweden, but ... not here." - National police commissioner Jackie Selebi, referring to the Domestic Violence Act and laws governing smoking in public places and the use of cellphones in cars.

"You are evil." - Botswana's acting judge president Akinola Aguda, dismissing the appeal by South African Mariette Bosch against the death sentence for killing Ria Wolmarans, whose husband she later married.

"A champion of crime-fighting." - What then Ekurhuleni executive mayor Bavumile Vilakazi was, thus the need for him to drive a fully armoured Mercedes E430 (which cost R560 000) - according to his spokesperson, Mbangwa Xaba.

"The Republic of Namibia does not allow homosexuality, lesbianism here. Police are ordered to arrest you, and deport you and imprison you." - Namibian President Sam Nujoma.

"I was young and on the go. I enjoyed it. If I think about it now, I get heart palpitations and my vision blurs. I think I was mad, but I was young." - Dr Wouter Basson, who headed the former government's chemical and biological warfare programme, testifying in his trial on 46 charges, including murder and fraud.

"It sometimes happens if one does not keep an eye on the speedometer." - Gauteng MEC for sports, recreation, arts and culture Mondli Gungubele, after being caught driving at 182km/h on the N1 in the Free State.

Zimbabwe simmers on

"Where we are going, it is not like the June 2000 parliamentary elections, which was like a football game where I was centre striker. This is total war." - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe about the upcoming presidential elections.

"The biggest prayer of my life is that God gives me more life to see me through the land issue. I have the backbone to pull through, the courage and I am fearless, but I need God's blessings. I am human." - Mugabe.

"The liberation battle is not over until all whites leave. If the white man has to stay and live with us, they have to be our servants, then we can reconsider living with them." - Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, on a visit to Zimbabwe.

"We call them terrorists, because they terrorise Zimbabweans." - Zanu-PF chairperson John Nkomo, who said all opponents of Mugabe were terrorists.

Aids - of victims, victory and varying opinions

"We've been shackled too long by our policy makers. Now we are free to do what we are best trained to do - saving our babies." - Dr Haroon Saloojee of the Organisation Save Our Babies, after the Pretoria High Court ordered the government to provide the antiretroviral Nevirapine to medically suited HIV-positive pregnant women.

"Condoms may even be one of the main reasons for the spread of HIV/Aids." - Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference president Cardinal Wilfrid Napier. The conference decided the indiscriminate promotion of condoms was an "immoral and misguided" weapon in the battle against HIV/Aids.

"Aids would disappear instantly if all HIV testing were outlawed." - Dissident member of the presidential panel on Aids, Dr David Rasnick.

"We can no longer afford to dabble in statistics and semantics. This whole issue is about real people who suffer real pain and are entitled to basic human rights." - Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane.

"I am sad, but his race was run. I am proud of my son. He has done more for Aids in Africa and South Africa than anyone else. But it is his turn to rest now." - 12-year-old Aids activist Nkosi Johnson's adoptive mother Gail after his death.

Cheers turn into tears

"Your husband is dead, he's in the mortuary. His cellphone was ringing in his pocket." - An unidentified mortuary worker to Alina Gwala, who phoned her husband Raymond on his cellphone, only to discover he was one of the 43 people who died in a stampede at the Kaizer Chiefs/Orlando Pirates match at Ellis Park.

Two takes on September 11

"I lived in Durban in the times of terror bombs and thought now we were safe in America. In Durban I was angry, but never afraid. Later in Kuwait, too, with rumours of attacks by Iraq, I was never really scared. But this week I was paralysed by fear." - South African Peta Gale Cappello, who works in Washington DC and looked on as the Pentagon burned after being struck by a jetliner on September 11.

"I am tired of politics. I just want to go and fight. I am preparing to die because I know I will become a martyr." - Rameez Ebrahim, 19, of Johannesburg, who said he, along with his father and brother, was preparing to leave for Afghanistan to participate in a jihad (holy war).

The war around the arms deal

"When I first heard of the arms contract, it sounded to me like a pyramid scheme." - PAC MP Patricia de Lille.

"No, it's not my hand that is sweating but yours, Mr Yengeni." - Sunday Times reporter Mzilikazi wa Afrika, shaking the hand of African National Congress chief whip Tony Yengeni and former chairperson of Parliament's joint standing committee on defence. The paper suggested Yengeni had acquired a luxury 4X4 vehicle in an underhand way from a company involved in the R43-billion arms deal.

"The only thing Tony is guilty of is sheer arrogance." - An unnamed ANC MP on Yengeni who was arrested on charges of corruption, forgery and statutory perjury.

Madiba - the magic continues

"I want to make it clear that I am going to be on top of this little development." - Former president Nelson Mandela about his prostate cancer.

"He's crazy. He gets about as if he were half his age. He leaves me panting in exhaustion just looking at the schedule he keeps." - Former Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who also suffers from prostate cancer, urging Mandela to rest.

"You won't feel humiliated, will you? If you shake my hand, you'll make my day." - Mandela insisting to shake the hands of about 30 Norwood Primary choir members who sang for him on his birthday.

Invincible Winnie

"I am the ANC. I will lead the ANC Women's League until I die. I will continue to fight for the women of this country until God calls me." - ANC Women's League president Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

"I am sick of politicians trying to get publicity for themselves and their little parties by harassing me. That time is now over." - Madikizela-Mandela.

"What a shocking example set by the president for the youth of South Africa on Youth Day, pushing and jostling an older woman shows terrible manners and disrespect." - DA leader Tony Leon reacting to President Thabo Mbeki's snub of Madikizela-Mandela when she attempted to embrace him at a Youth Day celebration in Soweto.

"Determined to flaunt her disrespect for the occasion and for everybody else, she [Madikizela-Mandela] marched onto the podium and proceeded to enjoin the President into her tomfoolery. President Thabo Mbeki went on to protect himself from this caper." - The ANC in a statement explaining its position on the June 16 incident.

The DA divorce

"The best way to handle him is to forget about him." - A letter reportedly written by Democratic Alliance strategist Ryan Coetzee to party leader Tony Leon, about then deputy leader Marthinus van Schalkwyk.

"I was truthful in my assessment as I summed up the situation at that point ... but I wasn't mathematically accurate, because at that point I was a politician and not a mathematician." - Then Cape Town mayor Peter Marais testifying at an inquiry into alleged vote-rigging in favour of his proposal to rename two city streets. Marais previously told the Cape Town Press Club that favourable responses to the renaming outnumbered objections by two-and-a-half to one. At the time there had been 417 objections and an unspecified amount of support.

"South Africans ... don't want to be manipulated, U-turned, zigzagged and backstabbed." - DA leader Tony Leon, criticising the NNP's decision to withdraw from the DA.

"[Tony] Leon's ego is so large. I don't know whether we will be able to get past it. It is not worth the while to burn down the house because the toothpaste is not capped, but if he wants to enforce his personal will on questionable grounds, it is over with the alliance." - An unidentified NNP member.

"I am not prepared to become a tame Coloured to feed other people's personal desire for position and advantage." - Gerald Morkel, who resigned as Western Cape premier after opposing the NNP's decision to withdraw from the DA.

"Evidently, [NNP leader] Marthinus van Schalkwyk is from the same philosophical school as Voldemort, the villain in the Harry Potter series, who says, 'There is no such thing as good and evil. There is only power'." - DA chairperson Joe Seremane about the co-operation between the New National Party and the ANC.

From gravel roads to gravy planes

"In the course of our work, we should travel beyond the end of a tarred road. We should be prepared to forego the luxury and smoothness of a tarred road and deal with the bumpy potholes and rough surface of a gravel road. That is where we will see the real South Africa that is posing the challenges that we must overcome." - President Thabo Mbeki, addressing the National Council of Provinces.

"I would like to see a country that is a sort of get-ahead, stand-up-and-go-for-it, not a sit-around-and-wait-for-it country; where lament and excuse have been left to one side and we are free-standing individuals; where we're not saying I'm white and you're black, you're rich and I'm poor, you owe me. But rather: I'm a South African and I want to get ahead." - DA leader Tony Leon.

"Government goes to the people." - Reason stated on the schedule of the KwaZulu-Natal government's Learjet for Premier Lionel Mtshali's 24-minute flight to Margate, an hour's drive from Durban.

"I don't think anybody can blame the PAC for wanting to be a strong party." - PAC leader Dr Stanley Mogoba, explaining his party's wish to enter into an opposition alliance.

"[Indigenous people's] right to land is more important than that which is extended to homosexuals and prostitutes now disgracefully called 'sex workers'." - PAC deputy president Dr Motsoko Pheko. PAC officials "sold" plots of land on the East Rand at R25 each to hundreds of homeless people.

"A brave man in inverted commas." - How Safety and Security Minister Steve Tshwete described Marthinus van Schalkwyk in parliament, after being ordered to withdraw his earlier remarks that the then DA deputy leader was a "coward" and a "spy".

Racism and reconciliation

"Who was Tarzan? As we could see in the movies he was the white man and no-one knows how he got there." - Cuban leader Fidel Castro at the World Conference Against Racism.

"Collective white guilt reminds me of the repulsive practice of the force-feeding of geese to enlarge their livers to end up on a plate as exotic foie gras ... to be enjoyed with a glass of sweet wine." - Then DA deputy leader Marthinus van Schalkwyk.

"The moment you allow multi-racialism, even from media representatives, you break down the walls of racial segregation ... We are in a state of war, and we will counter war with war. If people seek confrontation, we will not shy away." - Herstigte Nasionale Party secretary Louis van der Schyff who chased a Coloured Beeld assistant editor from the party's congress.

The Kama Sutra and the cucumber

"I want my wife to be a respectable and dignified woman but when we get in the bedroom, she has to be a bitch." - Apostolic Faith Mission pastor Agrippa Khathide.

"Turn our children into little fornicators." - What sex education in the revised curriculum would do, according to ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe.

"The pack is for [enumerators] to use in their personal time but it would be good if they had it with them in the event that something happened while they're visiting a house." - Free State census manager Owen Thothela, who said kits for census enumerators would contain packs of condoms as part of an Aids awareness project.

"You don't need a scientist to tell you that. It's good that darker people are finally getting ahead in something." - Comedian Soli Philander about Nobel laureate geneticist James Watson's theory that darker-skinned people have stronger libidos than paler people.

"The fact that she is a teacher is completely irrelevant. Whether she's an accountant or a gravedigger doesn't make an ounce of difference. I am astonished that anybody with any sense of sensibility can agree to appear on this programme ... It makes one feel sorry about the demise of Boswell-Wilkie Circus." - Education Minister Kader Asmal about teacher Janine Orderson, who gained infamy with her suggestive cucumber antics in the Big Brother house.

Sports: Cronje's court bid a no-ball, and Harry's plans

"Suffice to say that [Hansie Cronje] cast aside the honour of leading his national cricket team for the shadowy pleasures of bookmakers' money." - Pretoria High Court Judge Frank Kirk-Cohen who overturned an application by the disgraced skipper to have his life-ban by the United Cricket Board overturned.

"Am I judicially entitled to know who Naas Botha is?" - Judge Frank Kirk-Cohen in the hearing of the Cronje application.

"Cronje can start coaching. He can open the Cronje clinic for clean cricket." - Wim Trengove, SC, for the UCB, who called Cronje "a self-confessed cheat".

"Like President Clinton will be remembered for his shenanigans with Miss Lewinsky rather than his successful economic policies, that's what Cronje will be remembered for - not as the most successful one-day cricket captain." - Malcolm Wallis, SC, for Cronje, about the matchfixing scandal.

"It's a lot to pay for a puff." - United Cricket Board managing director Gerald Majola about the fine of R10 000 each for the five players and the team physiotherapist found to have smoked dagga in the West Indies.

"I was just thinking, gee-whiskers, was that the right thing to do? He is one of my role-models, after all." - Easterns cricketer Andre Nel, after two of his bouncers hit SA fast bowler Allan Donald against the head.

"Nobody expects me to sit down and fold my arms like a gentleman when my players are viciously maimed like that." - Kaizer Chiefs coach Muhsin Ertugral, who received a red card during a match against Ajax Cape Town.

"Those players who fail to impress me will unfortunately be given an opportunity to try their luck elsewhere." - Mamelodi Sundowns coach Ted Dumitru.

"There are too many in this country who like to complain, and they will die complaining." - Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Queiroz, reacting to criticism about the lack of a creative playmaker in the team.

"We cannot win games on the reputations of players who are not available." - Queiroz.

"We are never satisfied because there is no such thing as perfection in soccer." - Queiroz.

"People can say whatever they want to say, but the truth is I am leaving the PSL a happy man." - Former Premier Soccer League security chief David Thidiela who went on early retirement and was reported to have received a golden handshake of about R1-million.

"Obviously I cannot live on R15 000 a month." - SA National Boxing Control Commission chief executive officer Dumile Mateza who got a pay rise of more than 60 percent.

"We must seek until we find the right formula." - Springbok rugby coach Harry Viljoen.

"What I want to achieve with this team is still lying far ahead in the future." - Viljoen.

"We're too scared to admit reality: that our team is maybe not as good as we think it is." - SA Rugby managing director Rian Oberholzer.

"I felt like I left my hands in the drawer in my hotel room." - Springbok captain Bob Skinstad after his team's 3-12 defeat by the All Blacks.

"Must we sit back like a bunch of aunties every time? Who is Mark Andrews to drag me around by the head without the ball?" - Western Province wing Breyton Paulse, complaining about the treatment meted out to him by the Sharks at their home ground of King's Park. Paulse later apologised to Andrews.

"The Bulls aren't really that bad - but they need to learn to win. And when they finally do, they'll be a completely different side." - Bulls coach Phil Pretorius after his team's sixth consecutive defeat this year, with 42-29 against Crusaders.

"Well, I've never seen a cat that could swim in a shark tank. It's just a question of time before the Sharks sink their teeth deep into those furry, fluffy little animals." - National cricket captain Shaun Pollock's feelings before a Cats-Sharks match.

"I don't know. It just comes naturally. Maybe I'm a bird." - World highjump champion Hestrie Cloete, asked how she developed her style, with her arms spread like wings when she jumps.

"I used to just zoom along and nobody would bother me. Now they won't leave me alone. But, gee, it's a nice feeling." - Golfer Retief Goosen, who bagged both the US Open and the Scottish Open titles within four weeks.

"Retief's win [in the US Open] may have been a shock to the world, but not to the guys on the European Tour." - Danish golfer Thomas Bjorn after South African Retief Goosen won the Madrid Open, with which he also clinched the European Order of Merit.

"I'd become a bit too complicated." - Golfer Ernie Els, revealing that he was consulting Belgian sports psychologist Jos Vanstiphout, who also advises Retief Goosen.

"Despite her beauty, I hope I can concentrate on the game. I am sure she can play tennis." - South Africa's top junior tennis player, Peter-Jon Nomdo, a training partner for Russian Anna Kournikova in preparation for her three exhibition matches against Amanda Coetzer.

"It's like blood in the water when its time for the sharks to eat. Wherever you look there are cyclists." - Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour co-chairperson David Bellairs before the race.

"I'm ready to retire tomorrow. I was looking for someone to buy my bike, but there were no takers. - Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota after the Argus tour, his fifth.

"[If] a few townships were nuked first." - A prerequisite for living in South Africa, according to world superbike champion Colin Edwards, as reported in the Saturday Star. Edwards later said he was misquoted or quoted out of context, but the reporter stood by her story.