Friday, August 9, 2013

'Cry Freedom: Mandela's Legacy' - new Peter Cronau investigation on ABC

Cry Freedom: Mandela's Legacy. Photos by Louie Eroglu/ACS
Four Corners TV report by Matt Carney and Peter Cronau

NELSON MANDELA promised a South Africa based on freedom and equality. But as the country's former leader lies in hospital critically ill, the nation he fought to create is slowly disintegrating.

Violence is commonplace, unemployment is out of control and the ruling ANC government is accused of rampant corruption.

Next on Four Corners reporter Matthew Carney goes to South Africa to try and understand the forces that threaten to pull the "rainbow nation" apart. What he finds after nearly 20 years of ANC in government is a tiny black elite have enriched themselves at the expense of a poor black majority.

For the poor not much has changed... 18 million people live on less than $2 a day.

The Marikana mine massacre illuminates the massive contradictions and difficulties confronting the country.

On 16 August last year, 3000 miners gathered to protest substandard wages. The police opened fire killing 34 people and wounding another 78.

Some were killed in the initial attack, but it's alleged that many who died were actually shot in cold blood by police after the initial salvos were fired.

Allegations surfaced that many who died in the Marikana mine massacre
were actually shot in cold blood by police after the initial
shootings. Photo: 

Later, it was alleged the police planted weapons on the dead to justify their actions.

Carney talks to survivors
Carney talks to miners and protesters who survived the massacre, many of whom tell their stories for the first time. Some claim they were tortured and one miner tells how he was shot seven times by a black policeman.

Marikana shocked the nation and evoked powerful memories of apartheid massacres like Sharpeville and Soweto.

The programme also looks at the Commission of Inquiry that has been set up to find out what really happened at Marikana. A year on from the tragedy, the inquiry is bogged down in legal argument and there is a serious threat that government funding will be cut for the miners' legal costs.

Corruption is the other major national issue. As one corruption investigator told the programme: "If we are losing billions to corruption, you can imagine what we could have done with the money."

While the government struggles to provide housing for people, it's now alleged that same government has authorised a retirement home to be built for President Jacob Zuma at a cost to the public purse of A$30 million.

His supporters say it's in the interests of security but the house has already gone way over any official allocation. President Zuma is pleading ignorance but Four Corners has obtained documents that suggest otherwise.

Nearly 20 years ago Nelson Mandela pledged to his people that the massive wealth of South Africa would lift the poor black majority out of poverty and there would be jobs and houses for all.

Two decades on that promise runs hollow and the seeds are there for further upheaval and political instability.

Cry Freedom: Mandela's Legacy, reported by Matthew Carney, produced by Peter Cronau ( a co-founder of Pacific Media Watch), and presented by Kerry O'Brien, goes to air on Monday,  August 12, at 8pm on ABC1. It is replayed on Tuesday, 13 August at 11.35pm. Don't look for it any time soon on NZ television - rarely are the excellent Four Corners docos shown on NZ screens.

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