#BoycottSARS, FAQs Discussed

Following the publication of yesterday’s mock letter to the Receiver Of Revenue, I received many direct messages on my twitter account; I received more direct messages than public mentions, in fact, though I will only show the public messages here.

In the letter, an as-yet imaginary business bloc announced its intention to #BoycottSARS until certain key performance indicators were met by government.


This catch-22 frustrates me so much because it can be resolved, but won’t be as long as everyone thinks it won’t be.


This lady knows what’s at stake


This gentleman has mastered diplomacy.

The DMs all essentially said, “I love the idea but my business and I just couldn’t…”

Public objections read as follows:


So she admits that we are being abused but would rather we endure than try to break free. Okay.


So at this moment, there is potential to transform the country but most of it remains underground.  People stay hidden out of fear that if they come to the surface, they will do so alone.

But a path walked in fear and hiding is death itself.  By intimidating so many into staying hidden, the ANC has taken away people’s first existential right – the right to proclaim and live truth, truthfully.

You are better than this.  You (at whatever age or race) are the generation that Nelson Mandela spent 27 years to set free.  Your freedom was bought at a hideously high price.  Ours is not a generation of political stillborns to be devoured by the mother-party that birthed us.  We are South African.  We're as strong as hell

You~~are better than this~~You~~whatever your age or race~~are the generation~~that Nelson Mandela spent 27 years to set free~~Your freedom~~was bought at an extraordinary price~~Act worthy of it~~Because you are~~Ours is not a generation~~of political stillborns to be devoured by the mother-party that birthed us~~We are South African~~We’re as strong as hell~~And when pushed to it~~We can fight like hell~~so go rebel

The tragedy is that our people are giving this right up without a whimper.  They are being silenced.

When you can give that right up without a fight, there is no line.  You can give your children up, along with your home and hard-earned belongings (that’s a whole other talk).  When you can go that gently into the sweet goodnight, nothing of yours belongs to you.  I say, “rage”, for God’s sake, “rage, against the dying of the light”.  Rage, rage, gainst the dying of all that is good and pure.

Your second existential right was not written in the Constitution because it is not a right that can be given: it is a right that you must take without permission, even as a thousand voices tell you that you have no right to exist:

You have the right to be brave.

This is true for every person who believes in and works towards the kind of South Africa that Nelson Mandela envisioned us living in.


This isn’t us.  We face reality and we deal with it.

Fear is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  If people’s voices erupted to the surface in unison, organized, they would win.  If they stayed hidden thinking it’s safer that way, they’d lose just as they thought anyway.  Civil disobedience is how history changes and history changers practice civil disobedience.

There is a flaw in our democracy.  Through mechanisms that have been analyzed ad nauseam, the ANC keeps two things constant: the tax rate and the vote percentage. As long as these two are there, government officials can do as they please.  The ANC hasn’t had to perfect the art of governing, merely that of campaigning.  For it stands on these two legs with unshakable stability.  The two legs, as per the info-graph below, are votes and taxes:


And since we’ve failed to kick the one leg, for that was never in any one person’s control, we must perhaps work kick the other leg down or to show that it can be kicked down at people’s behest.  In other words, 2015 should “kick off” with the decisive question of whether running a country is about votes (campaigning) or taxes (governance).  Governing is a science, not an ideology.

Objections raised:


What the above really means is two things.

The first is, “We actually have power and can make a difference but we shouldn’t because this power that we have might vanish as we use it”.  Do you know where that sort of thing happens?  In nightmares, where you fall in mid-flight.  And do you know what all nightmares have in common?  Fear.  Fear takes our power and uses it against us.

The second thing in this objection is, “Let’s not get to the root of the disease because if we do, we might lose the patient”, and this is valid, that may happen.  This person below, however, was willing to take the risk:

photo 7

Which of these persons are you?

The #BoycottSARS campaign I’m suggesting would take us close to the edge of chaos without throwing us over.  I know this because

  • The tax boycotters will still be in the room, negotiating – except this time, on their terms.  Rather than become invisible to the system and making everyone wonder why there is a huge tax gap as this tweeter below says, tax boycotters will be right there, telling SARS exactly how much they’re withholding until  their KPIs are met.  Tax boycotters will pay taxes when agreed-upon results start coming through.  That is how the campaign is structured.

photo x

Incidentally, I suggested that very thing about two weeks ago.  But it would impact one fraction of revenue.  The bulk comes from business.  Hence, #BoycottSARS, which is for business.  I also know that this campaign wouldn’t destroy the country because

  •  Even if every tax payer got behind #BoycottSARS, there would still be tax being paid – just less than what’s currently being paid until the country improves.

What if the government doesn’t play along?  What if, as per the commenter’s fear, they allow this above stalemate to boil over into chaos?  It’s a possibility. But what would we prefer?  To not know whether our rulers would let the country go to hell in a handbasket?  Or to find out and deal with it now once and for all?  Because, by not #BoycottingSARS, we’re only delaying the inevitable and drawing out the pain.  Unless awoken by the shock of #BoycottSARS, selfish leaders would finish the country anyway.

We’re trapped in a narrow corridor with a bad government, and the only way out is mass action.  It’s civil disobedience.  No banned political party will tell us that. No voice from heaven will shout, “Now!” We must grow up and see to it ourselves.  Step back from this moment, and view it from history’s perspective.  Up until now, many of us have been very passive recipients of democracy.  I almost – almost – understand why ANC supporters view us with such disdain.  Freedom was just given to us.  Of course they’ll resent us if we demand the thing in its meaningful entirety, replete with a fully-functional infrastructure.  But it’s still our right to demand it and our duty to fight for it.  If we don’t then maybe they’re right to take the food right our of our mouths, like the song says, so we can watch them eat it…

Jacob Zuma resigned from Presidency because if our Constitution means anything, it is not even necessary for him to step down: there is nowhere left to step down to. He has de facto resigned and he has been resigned by the people.  #ZumasResigned and is now #FormerPresidentJacobZuma.

And, sooner or later, with or without my online prompting, businesses will #BoycottSARS.

Or they will leave South Africa.

In the struggle for survival, it always comes down to fight or flight.  It will.  Watch.

The element of surprise means immediate tactical advantage should one choose to fight.

#BoycottSARS would be exactly that kind of surprise.

More tweets for insight and inspiration:


Not sure whether he was being facetious or serious

photo g

photo 5

(@bryanallot is cool)

photo 6

photo 8

Or, as Tata said,

photo 4

If you also want your I’ve-Had-Enough-Of-This-S**t Tweet featured on this blog, give me a follow


Keep up to date by following the hashtags #ZumasResigned, #FormerPresidentJacobZuma and our latest arrival, #BoycottSARS (which was started in response to allegations that Zuma is using and abusing SARS’s checks and balances; if those allegations are not true, Helen Zille is waiting for Zuma’s lawsuit notice to hit her desk.)

Or drop me a mail – SKhumalo1987@gmail.com – and we’ll chat.



Do We Have The Courage To #BoycottSARS? Do We Have Any Other Choice?

Imagine seeing this letter sent by a coalition of businesses to the Receiver of Revenue under the hashtag #BoycottSARS:


Hello SARS

We hope you’re well?

We recently reviewed your 14% remuneration rate (VAT).  

In light of your government’s performance, it is exhorbitant.

The undersigned companies have, in unison, agreed to decrease it to 1.4% (in line with the economy’s growth) until certain key performance indicators are met.  We will measure the effectiveness, efficiency and productivity of the charity organization we call government (for it creates nothing, actually) until we are satisfied that it is being run frugally and is doing its bit to cultivate an environment conducive to economic growth and investor confidence.  When this is clearly so, we will then consider raising its renumeration figure closer to the 14% mark again. 

By the sweat of its brow will our government earn every crumb of its bread.  Like the rest of us.

You may be upset that we have taken this decision without consulting you.  But many of your government’s decisions are being made unilaterally.  On the occasions when we did consult with one another, you reneged on the spirit of those discussions.  We are informing you of what we shall do; we will negotiate with you when there is tangible proof that steps are being taken towards the targets we need you to meet in order for us to help keep the economy afloat and provide employment.

When an entity is not behaving ethically, people boycott it.  You are being manipulated by a head of State who has de-facto resigned from his position as president of South Africa (insofar as the role is defined and described by the Constitution) and have therefore had your independence compromised.  Hence, this boycott.  Helen Zille has dared Jacob Zuma to sue her for defamation of character if these allegations are not true.  That’s a pretty big dare.  We’re staking the credibility of this boycott on that challenge.  When Helen Zille and Jacob Zuma have battled it out in court (if Zuma is willing to set foot there) we, too, will #PayBackTheMoney that we owe you.

Consider this your boycott, SARS.  It’s called #BoycottSARS

Seasons’ Greetings!

The undersigned business groups


 Siya’s Notes And Questions:

  1. What sort of businesses would get behind the #BoycottSARS campaign?  Let’s plant the seed in their minds and get the idea in the atmosphere.
  2. Will things change as long as every person is scared to put themselves or their business out there first?
  3. What alternatives do we have to boycotting SARS?
  4. With the way media is being slowly taken over, can we hope for the ballot to change the political landscape?
  5. Can corrupt government officials be trusted to discipline themselves and one another?
  6. What benchmarks and key performance indicators would justify 14% VAT?
  7. Do you know of any lucrative private-sector businesses that refuse to pay tax?  Or whole business sectors?  Do you perhaps drive with them every morning?  Just asking.
  8. Do different rules apply to different businesses?  Are you okay with this?image
  9. Which banned political parties can identify moments that call for civil disobedience, and rally poeple on the ground to work with them to dismantle corrupt systems?  Name three.  Or two.  Or one.  Uh-oh. 
  10. Or do you think opposition parties within the establishment, working within the rules, will be able to provoke the conscience of the ruling parties to repentance?  Do they have any effective tools whereby they can bring the government back into line?  What if they’ve already done everything they can?  What if they’ve maxed out what they’re able to do as entities within the establishment? 
  11. Must a voice from heaven tell us that it’s our turn to act?  Or is that fact staring us in the face?





Now, don’t just imagine business groups sending this letter to the Receiver of Revenue.  Encourage them to group up, send it and act on it until something measurable shifts.  We must see real and measurable change – the purging and arrest of corrupt officials. 

Ask businesses whether they’re #BoycottingSARS.  If they give you excuses for not doing so, drop those responses into the comments’ section so we can discuss them. 

Perhaps there will come a moment when citizens of good conscience will have the courage to tell them, “Be #BoycottingSARS or we’ll be #BoycottingYou”

Something.  Must.  Give.

If you’ve had enough of the way things are and want a front-row seat to the change at hand – or better yet, an opportunity to help change happen – then

Follow me on @SKhumalo1987
Contact me on SKhumalo1987@gmail.com

Power From, By And To The People #Eskom

Don’t tell me no, tell me how


I asked which private companies were ready to take the baton from Eskom. Respondent said we should use crowd-funding for each province, and the more each province crowd-funded the less it needed to pay for power.

Yes, I know, State-protected monopoly…

Look, do we wanna be free and do we want reliable power at reasonable prices, or not? It really comes down to that.

So how?

Why The Word “Racism” Worsens Racism, And Why We Must Organize #ICantBreatheSA Demonstrations

We shall examine the issues behind the Eric Garner protest and then lay out a rationale for an international parallel to it. This is important because tensions in South Africa are so high that one unexplained move to combat racism could set off a flurry of misunderstandings.

The Killing Of Eric Garner

A YouTube video shows Daniel Pantaleo, a white member of the New York Police Department, choke a black unarmed Eric Garner to death. Garner’s dying words are, “I can’t breathe” and they have taken on a hashtag life of their own.

It is important to lay out whether and in what sense the Eric Garner homicide was an act of racism. It was, and it runs parallel to other racist actions by Daniel Pantaleo. But the way we discuss and describe racism in each incident of racism worsens the problem. Here’s why.

Calling Out Racism Is As Important As Calling Out False Reports Of Racism

When people cry “racism” in a situation that is not about racism, it aggravates tensions among race groups. The impression develops that the complaint of racism is being used to stifle other legitimate conversations. The word “racism” is abused so often that it eventually paralyses even people who are opposed to racism. Then, when real and spectacular instances of racism occur, the outrage falls on deaf ears.

We see this in the pattern of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown and Eric Garner’s killings. The word has become so easy that it’s lost its shock value. It had the power to scandalize, offend and outrage; now it’s just another word. We see this in the recent spate of racist incidences mostly concentrated in Cape Town. People are numb.

This numbness is not to be mistaken for ignorance about history and prevailing structural disparities, nor is it to be mistaken for selective amnesia, or unawareness of one’s racial privilege, or a tenacious holding to one’s privilege, or the desire to avoid tough conversations on race. It’s just helpless paralysis, similar to the kind you feel when you hear (and are guilted) about 40 000 kids starving to death while you eat three square meals a day. You may be on the better side of that inequality but you’re helpless to do more about it. And for what you have done, you might not be thanked. After all, you were just pretending to care. And when you try to tell people on the other side of the inequality that they, too, must examine certain patterns in their lives so as to be empowered – that change for equality is a universal journey – it’s always seen as a discriminatory statement, never an observation of fact. So you are paralyzed even if you want to help.

And when someone is caught in a similar double-bind in the face of racism, that person’s paralysis too, can be perceived as racism.

So the charge of racism begins to snowball and may end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy. Resentment and helplessness build up as a result of, but also in response to, the chronic and cynical accusation of racism.

These feelings ricochet across over and over but no one ever has the last word or final solution. Legitimate social and historical matters inconveniently do show up. But we must know where reality ends, where perceptions begin, and which people have a vested interest in the rest of us not knowing the difference. Because the difference is the difference between gaining an ally of a different skin, and remaining polarized. Nobody who says he seriously wants to end racism can ignore this aspect of the discussion, and if he does, then he’s using the discussion for other ends. He’s doing politics by other means.

This is why it’s important to be as sensitive to false accusations of racism as it is to be sensitive to actual racism. It’s also important to clarify and elevate discourse around racism so that the word regains a shock value that is proportional to and appropriate for the situation at hand.

Racism Is A Composite Issue, Not Solitary Problem

It does not stand alone. Racism is reinforced and undergirded by varying striations of invisible, unexamined privilege (see Peggy McIntosh’s “invisible knapsack“).

I imagine Daniel Pantaleo was a “good citizen” who was “raised right” with all the “sound morals” expected of the boys and men of his background. I am stereotyping him as the kind who would “take America back” to “right” values; he was raised among those that mistake respectability for moral responsibility. Was he a racist? That is less relevant than asking whether he wasn’t privileged before he was prejudiced.

“Privilege” is the unexamined mindset that says, “I am entitled to such-and-such unquestioned rights because I am such-and-such a type of person”. “Prejudice” complements “privilege” by saying, “My unquestioned rights retain their value only if those who are not as I am, and therefore are not deserving of similar rights, are denied the experience of equality. For in the day that they and I experience equality, in that day I will cease to be the privileged that I am.”

Correctly or not, privilege sees human rights as a zero-sum game where we can’t all have access to the same spaces and liberties because there’s only so much power and specialness to go around. Few people are evil or ignorant enough to wilfully hold on to prejudice; rather, prejudice attaches itself to privilege whether they know it or not. That’s why many either don’t know or won’t admit that they’re racist even if they are. Whatever sob story Pantaleo told the jury, this is the reason he got away with his crime; he can convincingly plead ignorance of racist impulses because he didn’t have to be prejudiced to kill Garner. He just had to be privileged. For the jury to admit that the technicalities of the law that absolve him are against the spirit of the law that condemns him, they have to admit that they, too, live in privilege.

And they wouldn’t admit that.

Now take this above formula and substitute anything. “I deserve to be in a position of exclusive power because I am Zulu”; “I deserve to be in a position where I can abuse the system because I come from a group that was previously disadvantaged”. Drop anything in. Black. White. Straight. Gay. Christian. Muslim. Male. Female. It’s the labels we carry that not only help us understand ourselves but also aid our quest in making the world about ourselves.

This is why I am worried about the monolithically black-and-white nature of the protests occurring in America. The killers in each of the protested instances were men. Where are the feminist offshoots of these protests? Eric Garner was not just a black man who was killed by a white man; rather, according to our formula, he was a person seen as deserving less privilege, killed by a person who felt he deserved more privilege. If we take the formula away and look at the killing strictly in terms of race and not the deeper issue, then we have no perspective from which we can condemn the jury that preferred to believe Pantaleo’s sob story.

Where are the queer theorists to question the socio-sexual oligarchies resonant beneath these killings? If we just confront the issue of zebra-stripe racism without a thoroughgoing investigation of the tribalistic mindsets and inequalities beneath that issue, it will deflect, firstly, into racism against other minorities (Latin, Asian, and Indian), and then later the same privilege-prejudice cycle will emerge again as other issues. Eventually it will re-sprout as white-on-black racism as it so often does in the States. That nation will be back to where it is now and where it was 50 years ago. It’s a cycle because all they ever focus on is “racism” and not the dynamics beneath it. Curing racism doesn’t cure racism: it boomerangs it.

The Word “Racism” Eclipses The Issues Undergirding The Composite Reality Of Racism

Racism exists atop undue feelings of privilege, entitlement and superiority. Superiority necessitates that there be an inferior, and privilege, that there be prejudice. A boundary between “us” and “them” must be marked out.

To his killer, Garner’s body was as accessible as a rape victim’s body appears to a rapist. By its nature, privilege is threatened by the autonomy of bodies that are not like itself, and seeks to demonstrate power over them in order that the boundary between the privileged and the prejudiced may be conserved.

So there are multiple interlocking and mutually reinforcing levels of privilege that Garner’s killer(s) may have been operating from. There may be white privilege, male privilege, and straight privilege involved. It’s important to add these privilege vectors up because it takes that many to make someone believe he has a right to manhandle someone else; put these privileges in uniform and the persons who embody them will think they’re God with the lives of others.

Without passing over multiple experiences, stories and persons, I propose that we need to use this clearly documented killing, and the inexplicable legal conclusion reached by the jury, to expose privilege first and denounce prejudice with it. This is the most vivid, most accessible and most intelligible case scenario of these dynamics there is right now; in crucial ways, its elements are easier to process than those of even local injustices.

I propose that each of us needs to say that under interconnected systems of oppression and suppression – under the sometimes literal weight of a person who cannot see how his privilege burdens those he holds in prejudice – I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe when the system is against me but denies that it is against me. I can’t breathe when the system reasons and legitimizes any and every form of violence and prejudice.

We can arrange a peaceful march from Durban City Hall to the Embassy Building (a block away) to tell them #ICantBreathe. Similar protests can be arranged in any city and in any country. We can write letter to the American Embassy. Garner’s killing justifies an international outcry and it may pull us together in a conversation that will help people understand injustices they currently don’t. In turn, we’ll hopefully be galvanized to also start constructive conversations about privilege back home.

As I write this, it is the Anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s passing. In 11 days, it will be our Day of Reconciliation. We must have started doing something by then.

I call upon NGOs, churches, activists and citizens of every colour, creed or confession to gather together to give a voice to the voiceless and the breath of life to those who cannot breathe. As we flesh out how and why Eric Garner got killed, we will also develop a simple, understandable framework for understanding and confronting other injustices back here.

Please feel free to forward feedback, advice and comments, thanks.


Eric Garner Was Murdered

Eric GarnerI’ll start by admitting something important: I haven’t watched the video in its entirety. I don’t deal well with watching death; this is especially true when one human dies at the hand of another.

Based on the segment I have seen (from the last moment he was on his feet to the moment they had him on his abdomen) it appears that Garner was murdered.

Some would waffle through a lot of technicalities to arrive at the opposite conclusion. Some will discuss “the community” and “sensitive historical and racial issues”. Some will try to avoid a comparison between this killing and Mike Brown’s.

Racially motivated or not, what happened to Eric Garner was murder. And that’s personal and universal before it becomes racial.

Some will justify what happened and will rationalize why the system hasn’t taken steps towards tangible justice. All that means is that the system killed him and is now reasoning its way past the guilt. The New York Police Department murdered him, and then pontificated on why it just had to.

But common sense says that however you spin it, what happened to Eric Garner was murder.

And if a justice system can justify that for one person, then it can justify it for many.

Garner is going to be the first of many.

Halfway across the world there is a country, and for all the good it’s brought the world, it’s a country that kills innocent people.

America. The light of the world.


Homophobic Uganda Parliamentarian Speaker Comes Out As Lesbian

Rebecca Kadaga, Uganda's Parliamentary Speaker, Accidentally Comes Out As Lesbian

Rebecca Kadaga, Uganda’s Parliamentary Speaker, Accidentally Comes Out As Lesbian

By repeatedly anticipating every step in the insidious “gay agenda”, Rebecca Kadaga has shown that she is secretly lesbian. She would not have so much uncanny insight into the enemy’s schemes if this were not the case. How else would she have known that donated computers were being used to recruit young people into the homosexual lifestyle?

She’ll probably deny that she is lesbian, which may be because of internalized homophobia. But the evidence is clear: she knows too much to not be lesbian. #RebeccaKadagaIsLesbian

One possible explanation for how Kadaga could eerily know so much about the gay agenda is supernatural revelation. I expect someone to propose that very soon, seeing as Uganda’s anti-gay stance is mostly religiously motivated. The problem with this explanation is that anyone and everyone can say “God” has commanded that any John Doe be killed. Surely, “God” would do more than just whisper in someone’s imagination, if he were that serious about it? If “God” can whisper into anyone’s ears without accompanying signs and wonders, then communication from “God” becomes meaningless. Does anybody remember the Salem Witch Trials? If God hates gays, he must be more organized about getting them killed. The explanation for Kadaga’s knowledge of the gay agenda is that she is one of its defectors, using her anti-gay words to make sure that nobody ever suspects that she is or ever was one of “them”.

But she was, is, and always will be.


I did a search on the internet for whether Kadaga is married with children or not. That, after all, is the mark of “real” heterosexual womanhood. I found nothing, except, ironically, posts by other internet users who also wondered the same thing. Even if she were married, many people marry opposite-sex partners in spite of their same-sex attractions. So, she’s lesbian.


In view of the human rights’ atrocities she has encouraged towards the gay and lesbian community, I can upon them to, at this time, embrace her and not hold against her the weight of her misguided words and actions. Wherever she is mentioned and on whatever social media she has, I call upon the LGBTI Community to post messages of acceptance towards her as a sister in the cause of equality. I also call upon the heterosexual community to congratulate her on the courageous step of coming out, whether it was accidental or not. We must shower her with all the love and affirmation she needs at this tumultuous time of her life.


Oh, she might deny everything. But we’ve seen that she must be lesbian; why else would she be so obsessed with and knowledgable about gays? So we must embrace her and make her see that contrary to her sentiment, we would have the world a safe and wonderful place for her. Where she has said, “Kill the gays”, we must kill her with love.


It must be terrifying for her, living in a country whose poeple may want to “cure” or kill her; it must be worse, knowing that she played a role in making Uganda that kind of country and is now being haunted by her own karma. So we must just shower her with love, and be as vocal about her recent coming out as we can be. We must hail her as a gay rights’ icon, broadcasting her recent coming out as often as is possible until everyone in Uganda knows that she is lesbian, and that homosexuality, confirmed or not, is the only plausible explanation for why she knows so much. “This is a lie!” they’ll say. But it’s the only hypothesis that fits the evidence. It has too many anchor points not to be true.


Celebrating her coming out may endanger her life – but it’s so common for the Matthew Shepards and David Katos of this world to get killed because of such intolerance for being who they are. If, God forbid, something happpened to Kadaga because of the celebratory welcome she’ll get from the international LGBTI community, she, too, will just become another statistic; another victim of the hatred she promoted. The victim of a tragic misunderstanding. Which she had a hand in.


We must celebrate the fact that she is lesbian, and carry signs of support towards her during Pride marches. We must use her as the face of LGBTI inclusion, relentlessly naming her as one of us. The media may deny that she’s lesbian, as may she, as may the Ugandan government. But denial is normal in such situations. We love her anyway, and we will point out all the evidence and signs that she is lesbian.


Tell it it everyone in Uganda who would use her words as justification for hate crime: Kadaga is lesbian. Tell them that she’s been hiding this terrible secret, and making up lies about some made-up gay agenda revealing so many of the gay agenda’s secrets, because she herself is lesbian. Get the people to question her motives and understand the self-loathing beneath them.


And that’s perfectly okay for the rest of us. We never hated lesbians. She did. May the gods show her more mercy than she has shown others. At any rate, the cat’s out the bag. Twitter and Facebook gay allies, prepare to do your thing. Take your weapons. Aim. Place your finger on your mouse. And fire at will. Tell the world. #RebeccaKadagaIsLesbian