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WHEN FW de Klerk retired from politics in 1997, it seemed implausible that the former South African president would see the hustings again.

As the man who abolished apartheid and, with Nelson Mandela, won the Nobel peace prize for negotiating a peaceful transition to democracy, he has remained resolutely upbeat, saying that whatever the blemishes on the new South Africa, it is a far better and freer country than it was.

Now, at the age of 75, de Klerk is launching himself into an all-out campaign to try to prevent the ruling African National Congress (ANC) from, in effect, tearing up the constitutional settlement on which the new South Africa is built.

The release last week of ANC policy documents in advance of the party’s June conference showed that it is planning a radical agenda. In a key document, Jeff Radebe, the ANC’s policy chief and justice minister, declared that this year, the ANC’s centenary, should mark a “watershed” — a fundamental break with the past.

“We need a vision for a second transition that must focus on the social and economic transformation of South Africa over the next 30 to 50 years,” he said.

Under Mandela, the ANC put aside its long history of armed struggle against the apartheid state to forge a new democratic and decentralised constitution that guaranteed the property rights of the white minority and kept Afrikaans and English as two of the 11 official languages.

With about two-thirds of the seats in parliament, the ANC has governed South Africa since the first free election in 1994, but it has not abused its dominance to try to revise the terms of the settlement. Nor has it challenged the powers of provincial governments. The opposition Democratic Alliance, a party with its roots in white anti-apartheid politics, governs the Western Cape with great efficiency.

Radebe’s “vision” would change all that. Among his proposals are cuts in the powers of the provinces; the establishment of a single national police force under an ANC minister; and the suppression of Afrikaans as an official language.

They also include the introduction of a “national health initiative” to give South Africa its own national health service, which would be the first in a developing country; the imposition of labour controls so that no racial group can hold more than its demographic share of jobs; radical land reform; and a 50% profit tax on mining firms.

Other proposals are the forced sale of newspapers and their allocation by the state to new owners, and a review of the role of the judiciary including the Constitutional Court. As Radebe put it: “There are no holy cows.”

The existing constitution is described as merely a compromise document the ANC had to sign in order to establish itself in power: its time is over.

Behind Radebe’s proposals lurks the ANC’s long-standing commitment to the “National Democratic Revolution” — a Soviet-inspired notion of how socialism will be built in one country — South Africa — which was set aside in Mandela’s deal with de Klerk.

“The key is simply this idea that the constitution was just a temporary compromise,” said Dave Steward of the De Klerk Foundation. “For us it was a binding contract. De Klerk has always said that he didn’t surrender power to the ANC but to the new, democratic constitution. This whole country and all its economic and social relationships, are based upon that constitution.”

Dene Smuts, the Democratic Alliance’s justice spokesman, said she was “shocked and stunned” by the notion that property rights were now regarded as easily dispensable.

The ANC, she said was “hell-bent on undermining the independence of the judiciary”. When judges came out with decisions the ANC did not like, it attacked them as “counter-revolutionaries”.

De Klerk came out guns blazing, claiming he felt “a fiduciary responsibility” for the constitution that he and Mandela had agreed. He said he had “realised full well that the ANC might one day withdraw from its solemn undertakings” but had felt he must “seize [the] unique opportunity for a just and honourable settlement”.

The ANC, he said, “now wants to jeopardise all this. It imagines that it can write off the influence of free market democracies and align itself instead with China, Russia and its friends in Cuba”.

Helen Zille, the leader of the Democratic Alliance, called the ANC proposals “a con trick to mask the ANC’s failures in governance” and committed her party to all-out defence of the constitution. Lindiwe Mazibuko, the alliance’s parliamentary leader, pointed out that Winnie Mandela had recently accused her former husband, Nelson, of “selling out the blacks” by agreeing to the 1996 constitution. “Today’s ANC doesn’t quite have the guts to attack Mandela,” Mazibuko said, “but the idea is the same. They are attacking his legacy and they are doing so because they have become a party of racial nationalists.”

Hermann Giliomee, the Afrikaans historian, said: “People just don’t learn from history.When the ANC introduced affirmative action into the civil service they said, don’t worry, we’ll still have a competent civil service. But in fact we don’t. Similarly, they said, don’t worry, the ANC will always respect language rights. Well, they don’t. The lesson is you just can’t trust them. We made an honest and honourable deal and it has been fully observed. And now they just want to tear it up.”

There are fears of violence if the compromise on which the country is based is up-ended. The ANC, for its part, seems determined to press ahead.

Its opponents expect it to try to pack the Constitutional Court with pro-ANC judges and take steps to curb judicial independence. This would undoubtedly be declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court. And, with 65.9% of the seats in parliament, the ANC is just short of the two-thirds majority needed to legislate constitutional amendments.

Its record in government is not impressive. Unemployment is nearly 40% and South Africa has generated inequality as the new black elite seeks to emulate, or exceed, the white privilege of the apartheid years.

Despite this, the ANC exudes a blithe confidence, as if determined to push its changes through. A battle royal is in prospect — perhaps even the final battle for control of the country.



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Notice what we cut and left out…HUSH-Shooting_Script – 28 Aug ACT 1



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I am trying. Trying to write this this thing more regularly. I hope people read it. I hope people enjoy it. So where to start? Okay. My movie HATES or HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET. I saw a trailer yesterday at Technicolor on 6040 Sunset. Love saying that. It’s another one of my goals that I can cross off. I still have a few left.

  1. Sew a ninja suit.
  2. Learn a magic trick.
  3. Be able to sing Hotel California on the guitar.

Back to the trailer. Gotta say that Relativity (who are putting the movie out in September 20th…have I told you it stars JEN LAWRENCE of the soon to be released HUNGER GAMES)…the trailer is truly awesome and I tell you now, honestly there is nothing out there that is like it. Honestly. I am not bullshitting you. It is really, really good. When will you see it? Watch this space…

Did my back in yesterday. Took my son for a run around Griffith Park in his Jeep stroller. Yes. He has a Jeep Stroller with an i-baby. Don’t ask. Anyway didn’t stretch because he was moaning and then what happens. The back goes. Taken some of that heavy duty shit they prescribe over here. Hello.

Okay. On to the last thing. Been reading this guy. Victor Gischler. First heard of him because of his run on the Punisher. Welcome to the Bayou. Just loved the twists and turns. Reminded me of a proper version of the DEFIANT ONES. So I bought GUN MONKEYS. And now c’mon you know when a book starts off with this line…

‘I turned the Chrysler onto the Florida Turnpike with Rollo Kramer’s headless body in the trunk and all the time I’m thinking I should have put some plastic down.’

It’s gonna be good right? Anyway it just gets better from there. It’s good sharp prose. The plot moves and his worlds are populated by weak men trying to be better men and failing. Great stuff.



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Okay…so less than a week to go.



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We’ve just optioned the rights to the novel WAKE UP DEAD by the disgustingly talented ROGER SMITH. His first book MIXED BLOOD is great. Having fun adapting it as it’s such a good book my job is easy!