Letters to the editor
Jeff Radebe's oil play makes excellent sense for SA
Energy minister Jeff Radebe's reported push to invest in oil in South Sudan is a very wise move that should be welcomed rather than discouraged.
South Sudan is emerging from decades of civil war, and it is still involved in several armed conflicts involving various rebel groups. However, the country carries enormous economic potential that would make sense for SA to exploit.
For starters, SA has a history of positive involvement in the affairs of that country. President Thabo Mbeki was instrumental in brokering a peace agreement between the Sudanese government and the South Sudan People's Movement, which led to the eventual independence of South Sudan from Sudan in 2011. It was a heroic move from Mbeki, working with then US secretary of state Colin Powell.
When the conflict with Sudan ended and South Sudan was preparing for its independence, SA played a pivotal role in helping with getting the territory to establish political and economic normality and has been investing heavily in South Sudan. Needless to state, we might not have recouped any of our investment yet. Radebe's reported moves could be among those that would see us getting something in return.
Apart from the oil reserves, South Sudan has immense economic potential. It has several other minerals that SA has all the expertise to explore. South Sudan plans to build a new capital city, over and above reconstructing other cities and towns that have been ravaged by decades of civil war. And it has the money to pay for it, given its natural resources.
South Sudan has nothing, apart from its natural wealth, which means it needs to import almost everything. Neighbouring countries such as Kenya and Uganda have been skimming off the cream, but their economies are too small to cater for the needs of such a vast country and its 13-million people.
SA could make South Sudan one of its key export markets, which would help grow our economy and create jobs. This could happen for several years as South Sudan reconstructs itself.
One unfortunate development in South Sudan is the ongoing conflict. But that is bound to come to an end at some stage. SA's presence in the country has actually been helpful in bringing peace to the country. SA is highly respected in South Sudan and unlike neighbours Sudan, Kenya and Uganda, we are viewed as outside and honest brokers.
Radebe's reported plans should be complemented by other initiatives from both the public and the private sectors. The rewards will be immense. - Enoch Sithole, Johannesburg. (Worked in South Sudan from 2007 to 2010.)
DON'T ELECT THEM, JAIL
If we give the ANC another five years in government, the little it hasn't looted, stolen or broken will be totally gone and there will be nothing left to save. May 8 is our last chance. If it is returned to power, we will never have another chance to rid this country of an inept and incompetent party that has brought a once-proud SA to its knees. How have we allowed it to bring us to this precipice?
Surely if, as promised, there was a new dawn, we would have seen heads roll, arrests and court cases in abundance? But no, despite all the evidence, not one senior ANC official has been arrested. Its parliamentary list reads like a rogues' gallery. These people should be serving time in prison, not serving in parliament.
The ANC lies to itself, it lies to parliament, it lies to the courts but worst of all it lies to the gullible electorate that it takes for granted. Wake up SA, you vote for the ANC at your peril. - Rodney Difford, Honeydew
OIL AND WATER ON GOLAN HEIGHTS
The Golan Heights was annexed by Israel in 1981, an action that was rejected by the international community. International law still refuses to recognise the area as part of Israel, even though Israel has sent more than 20,000 Jewish settlers to live there in order to permanently change the area's ethnic-demographic structure.
US recognition of the occupied Golan Heights threatens regional stability and further cements Israel's choke-hold on the occupied territories. It also just so happens that there are some great big oil reserves in the area. In 2015, a massive oil reserve was discovered in the Golan Heights and is estimated to contain "billions of barrels" of crude oil that could turn Israel - which currently imports the vast majority of its fuel - into a net oil exporter.
In addition to oil, the Golan Heights contains important freshwater resources, as it is one of three sources of freshwater available to the Israeli state. The water resources of the Golan Heights are essential not only to Israel's existence but also to its occupation objectives.
This recognition would mean that the Israeli government would continue to exploit the Golan's water resources as it has done for decades. The world has to demand that Washington break its unbreakable bonds with Israel once and for all - but will the US listen to the international community? - Riyaad Dhai, Durban
CANDIDATES' BAD REPUTATION
A criminal is guilty from the instant that he or she commits a crime. Being convicted is a public demonstration that the criminal is guilty - but we all know that not all criminals are convicted because they are shielded by technicalities and political machinations. This is the reason that most democratic countries do not allow candidates to stand for election if they have bad reputations. - Stephen Cridland, Rondebosch