Trailer: Burning building Johannesburg (news and analysis) – SECOND TAKE

Paul Hendler and Mike Hyland discuss a political economy model for analysing reporting on the Usindiso building fire of 31 August 2023.

The video is a trailer of a longer recording of a discussion about the implications of a political economy analysis of reportage of news events by main stream media. The longer recording follows after this for interested viewers. Mike Hyland is the compere and Paul Hendler the discussant.

The above video is on the Bitchute platform. It can also be viewed on Rumble and u-Tube

Burning building Johannesburg (news comment and analysis) – SECOND TAKE

Paul Hendler and Mike Hyland discuss a political economy model for analysing reporting on the Usindiso building fire of 31 August 2023.

During December 2023 we returned to reflect on analysing reportage of this news event, namely the burning of the Usindiso building and consequent tragic loss of life and rudimentary shelter for the vulnerable people staying there.  The video below is a recording of that discussion. Mike Hyland is the compere and Paul Hendler the discussant. A summary of Paul’s ideas on the political economy of news reporting and how news about the Usindiso fire was filtered through 24 researched media articles, is contained in the article ‘Emerging consensus of the Usindiso tragedy: decontextualising  governmental mismanagement’. Paul has also posted a more detailed article on which this summary is based (click on button below). 

The above video is on the Rumble platform. It can also be viewed on u-Tube.

Trailer: Land invasions implications – Western Cape and South Africa (news comment and analysis)

Mike Hyland, Arumugam Pillay and Paul Hendler discuss land invasions, their risk and implications …..

The above video is on the Bitchute platform. It can also be viewed on Rumble and u-Tube.

Land invasion implications – Western Cape and South Africa (news comment and analysis)


This is a three way discussion between Mike Hyland (social analyst), Arumugam Pillay (development finance consultant) and Paul Hendler (development activist and investigative journalist), about the vexed problem of land invasions in South Africa, its risks and potential solutions to the problem. Paul has also posted a blog on the topic of land invasions. His reflections are contained in the article “Land invasion implications – Western Cape and South Africa (news comment and analysis)” published on the articles page.

The above video is on the Bitchute platform. It can also be viewed on Rumble and u-Tube.

State of Siege.

During September the theme ‘State of Siege’ came up as a topic in a discussion group that I participate in.

We all agreed to make individual inputs about the meaning of ‘siege’ at our next discussion this Saturday, 18 November 2023.

Like many of us, I experienced the lockdown of 2020 to 2022 as being under siege. It felt like the imposition of a totalitarian system, about which I have written elsewhere as ‘inverted totalitarianism’, following the definition given by the late United States (US) political scientist Sheldon Wolin.

The intensity of the lockdown siege was accompanied by blatant censorship about conflicting opinions about the lockdown, and indeed about the nature of Covid-19 (the health condition that allegedly necessitated the lockdown).

But Covid-19 lockdowns were just the extreme end of a manufactured consensus that had been enveloping Western discourses for a decade and a half. The narrative of Russian threat to democracy peaked with the coup d’etat in Ukraine in 2014, soon to be followed by the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US elections (Russiagate).

Resisting this consensus ‘news’ from the mainstream media brought its own risks, as the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, found out. In 2010 Wikileaks published a leaked video showing US war crimes in Iraq, for which he – and his informant Chelsea Manning – have been persecuted ever since. Manning was sentenced to a jail siege of 35 years, before being pardoned by Obama, and Assange is held under siege in a maximum-security British prison, awaiting extradition to the US.

Then there are the two million plus residents of Gaza, who have suffered a siege for 17 years, punctuated by genocidal attacks by the Israel Defence Force.

There is also the story of the resistance to siege, exemplified in the 07 November break out of the Gaza open air prison by armed Palestinian fighters.

To capture both the siege oppressiveness as well as resistance to siege, I developed the following short video, to the song “Chicago” (1971) by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

For viewers interested in knowing about and understanding more of the background issues to the events depicted in the video, I have included background details to the brief allusions made to past imposition of siege and struggles against siege, in the comments below the Rumble channel video.

Where necessary I have hyperlinked key words in the comments to sources elsewhere.

I also include these same comments and links on this page, below the video.

A luta Continua ……

Paul Hendler, Stellenbosch, November 2023

Video clip – Black Panther Bobby Searle was bound and gagged and chained to a chair during the trial of the Chicago 8 in 1968. Searle had persistently protested for his constitutional right to lead his own defence, which was denied. For more information see “7 Reasons why the Chicago 8 trial Mattered“.
Picture – Chelsea Manning, whistleblower about US war crimes in Iraq, persecuted by US administrations under Obama and Trump. For more information see “The government is torturing Chelsea Manning“.
Picture – Indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad, by a crew of a US helicopter gunship. For more information see “Collateral Murder” video, scroll down one row of images and click on the Collateral Murder photo.
Picture – Julian Assange, publisher of the “Collateral Murder” video and other evidence of US war crimes. For more information see “Years of assailing Assange“.
South African police brutality.

Unverified video shows police officers assaulting resident.

Photo shows police officers manhandling protesting refugees in Cape Town.

No available information on police custody deaths under lockdown. By early April 2020 eight deaths reported, with (then) 25 people reportedly “dead from the coronavirus” (i.e. a total of 33 deaths, almost 25 per cent of which attributable to police violence). Since lockdown start, 200 more complaints of police assault and torture than at the same time in 2019. For more information see “Assault most common complaint…“.
Gazan children defiant amidst the rubble.

The latest bombardment of Gaza has wreaked the most destruction of all of Israel’s nine attacks since 2006. For a summary of the attacks until 2014 see “Israel’s recent wars on Gaza”.

The 2008 attack (Operation Cast Lead) resulted in extensive destruction of housing, damage to service and economic infrastructure and the deaths of over hundreds of people (mainly civilians). For the Goldstone Report findings with regard to the willful destruction of civilian life and social and economic infrastructure, see “International Law and its Breaches with respect to the Occupied Palestinian Territories”.

The current (2023) attack has been widely condemned as violating the UN Convention on Genocide. There is a significant body of literature on the genocidal aspects of Zionist colonization of the Palestinian people. In this regard see Professor Martin Shaw, “Palestine in an International Historical Perspective on Genocide” and also “Palestine and Genocide Revisited“.

Activist and investigative journalist Chris Hedges, quoting Raoul Hillberg, the recognised scholar on the German genocide of European Jewry, has written about the way a strategy of genocide developed incrementally by the Third Reich (German State) towards the Jews, and by analogy Hedges has argued that this is also true of Israel’s developing policy towards the Palestinians (2018).
2015/2016 Student revolt.
Stellenbosch university was not immune to the student revolt, and the picture shows student throngs taking over Merriman Avenue on the campus. Led by Open Stellenbosch, the student activists demanded decolonisation of their curriculum as well as the dissolution of the university council.

For critiques of the student revolt as elitist petite bourgeoise, see Wahbie Long’s “Let’s transform our schools first” and his “Why black consciousness misses the mark”.
Belmarsh Maximum Security Prison in England is where Julian Assange is being held as a political prisoner/prisoner of conscience, pending his likely extradition to the US where he will stand trial for breaking the 1917 Espionage Act. For more information see “Indictment and arrest of Julian Assange“.

Video of Assange inside Belmarsh.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a global public health emergency on 30 January 2020.

On 28 February 2020 the WHO announced a vaccine campaign by Glaxokline Smith in partnership with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). On 11 March 2020 the WHO declared coronavirus a world-wide pandemic. There is a critique of the role and function of the WHO in this regard. For more information see : “Covid-19 Coronavirus: The Crisis“.
Bill Gates has developed views on epidemics and pandemics as being the single largest threat to humanity. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to facilitating the research and development for vaccines that can meet these threats.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation were centrally involved in Event 201 on 18 October 2019, which was a simulation of Coronavirus Covid-2019. The event simulated economic collapse and a 15 per cent contraction of economic activity, as an outcome three months after the start of the virus. The event also projected a ‘later’ simulation of economic collapse world-wide.
Critics of the Gates Foundation say it avoids economic restructuring and political changes to address poverty and social marginalisation. It’s focus facilitates pharmaceutical companies injecting potentially lethal toxins into people, and a form of social control through ‘digital health certificates’.
The Foundation says that high child mortality incentivise poor families to have more children, contributing to overpopulation. Saving children’s lives removes that incentive and could achieve a 15 per cent reduction in population. It denies planning to implant micro-chips in bodies for digital registration.
For more information on Gates’ views on epidemics see interview by Ezra Kein.
For more information on Event 201’s simulation of global economic collapse see Covid-19 video
For more information on the criticism of the Gates Foundation and their response see”Did Bill Gates admit vaccines are …….. to depopulate the world?“; and, “False Claim: Bill Gates planning to use micro-chip implants.”

US military encirclement of Russia and China.

Underlying the US military encirclement of and aggression towards Russia and China, is the need to defend the petrodollar, i.e. the system which requires that all oil transactions are made in US dollars, and also that petrodollar surpluses are invested in Western banks for the purchasing of US treasury securities. A graphic illustration of petrodollar recycling uses the Saudi Arabia national oil company as an example.

Russian and Chinese attempts to trade oil in their own currencies threatens the petrodollar and thereby US economic stability. While much has been written about this, for the layperson the complex effects of dollar denominated oil prices on both the US economy and the rest of the world, is like a siege on the brain of the living.
Mother nature on the run from industrial waste.

Pictures of sorted plastic and glass waste and plastic in the oceans – Typical quantity of glass bottles and plastics disposed by the Hendler household, Stellenbosch, every two to three weeks. Assume that this household’s income is in the top five per cent of Stellenbosch households. Assume that this consumption of non-durables is typical for that segment. There are approximately 48 000 households in the Stellenbosch municipal area.
Five per cent = 2 400 households. Therefore, every two to three weeks this quantity of plastic and glass waste, multiplied 2400 times, is disposed of in Stellenbosch by the top five per cent of income earning households.

For more information on the pollution of the ecosystem by plastic see “The world’s plastic pollution crisis explained“.

For more information on the pollution of the ecosystem by glass and plastic see “Breaking down the environmental impact of glass and plastic”

Economic siege on informal sector.

Informal sector traders have for a long time been dominated by formal sector companies, and under regulatory siege by the governmental authorities. In 2013 Stellenbosch municipality destroyed the livelihoods of informal traders near the town common. Further news and analysis about this and related topics is at Stellenbosch Transparency .

Cartoon of Israel’s apartheid Wall.

Israel’s apartheid Wall represents a state of siege of the West Bank. For more information on Israel’s apartheid regime see “Israeli practices towards the Palestinian People and the question of apartheid” (UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia).
The hegemonic siege of germ theory.

In 2020, 2021 and 2022 entire societies in the global community were besieged (or “locked down”) as part of the war against the SARS Cov2 virus, and basic human rights (like freedom of movement, freedom to assemble and petition and freedom of speech) were suspended.

Do discrete organisms (i.e. viruses) cause (bring about) specific illness conditions? Or is inflammation in its various forms a reflection of poisoning of the body arising from toxins in the environment (terrain)?

The Contagion Myth” discusses these approaches to diagnosing illnesses, weighs the historical evidence and concludes that not only do viruses not cause disease but viruses have not been proven to exist.
Picture – Palestinian protesters removing Israeli barbed wire on the boundary between Gaza and Israel, 2018.

Gaza has been under a land, sea and air siege from Israel since 2006.

Between 2006 and 2014 Israel attacked Gaza seven times, causing thousands of civilian deaths and maiming, and also wanton destruction of housing, buildings and infrastructure.

Author Max Blumenthal writes that the siege that Israel has laid to Gaza restricts access to its border crossings, enforces severe curbs on its exports, and devises complex mathematical formulas to regulate the caloric intake of each resident. A January 2008 Israeli military study called “Food Consumption in the Gaza Strip – The Red Lines,” estimated the required daily caloric intake in Gaza at 2 279 per person “in order to maintain the basic fabric of life”

South Africa’s lockdown was said set to destroy the informal and small business sectors and the formal sector will not escape unscathed. Mass unemployment is on the cards for a long time. Already people in former black townships were experiencing a hunger crisis. Will the siege of our townships and suburbs degenerate into a Gaza-type siege?

For more information on the siege of Gaza see “Gaza, the world’s largest open-air prison

Trailer – Burning building Johannesburg (news comment and analysis)

Paul Hendler and Mike Hyland discuss the implications of the reporting on the Usindiso building fire of 31 August 2023.

During October 2023 we introduced comment and analysis about specific news events. The intention is to follow news reportage about an event as it plays out over time. The first reported event was the fire that destroyed the Usindiso building in Johannesburg on 31 August 2023, and tragically claimed 63 lives (including children).

The video below is a trailer of a longer recording of a discussion about the implications of this fire. The longer recording follows after this, for interested viewers. Mike Hyland is the compere and Paul Hendler the discussant.

Burning building Johannesburg (news comment and analysis)

Paul Hendler and Mike Hyland discuss the implications of the reporting on the Usindiso building fire of 31 August 2023.

During October 2023 we introduced comment and analysis about specific news events. The intention is to follow news reportage about an event as it plays out over time. The first reported event was the fire that destroyed the Usindiso building in Johannesburg on 31 August 2023, and tragically claimed 63 lives (including children).

The video below is a recording of a discussion about the implications of this fire. Mike Hyland is the compere and Paul Hendler the discussant.  A full exposition of Paul’s ideas are contained in the article “News reporting connotations of burning building” published on the articles page.

Security fence not breach-proof

Stellenbosch Transparency assesses the effectiveness of the Fence erected on the perimeter of the Papegaaiberg Nature Reserve.

The Fence is intended to be a barrier to stop criminals. In terms of this logic, this barrier would enable the Onderpapegaaiberg Neighbourhood Watch to corner fleeing criminals. And also to prevent those ouside getting into the suburb.

What the assessment shows is that the Fence is more breachable than the securocrats running the suburb have acknowledged. The assessment concludes with the question whether a Fence is the best way also to protect the Nature Reserve from dumping.


Trailer security fence not breach-proof

The Fence was erected to secure the suburb of Onderpapegaaiberg, Stellenbosch.

Eight months later, the Fence is showing signs of breaking and entry and being breached over the top. This short trailer takes you on a walk to view the breakages and breaches.


Homeless: Fear and Loathing In Jamestown

Inadequate government funding of affordable housing is supplied to beneficiaries on municipal waitng lists.

The need – expressed through the waiting lists – greatly outstrips the supply of affordable housing.

In addition, there is no transparent set of procedures that govern who gets on to a waiting list, who could be discarded from a list and how one might progress from one waiting list to the next. The arbitrary process of constituting and reconstituting waiting lists means that many South Africans have been waiting for decades to get decent houses. One such group of suffering people are the homeless residents of the Stellenbosch suburb of Jamestown.

View an analysis of the waiting list for the Jamestown Housing Project, and hear the cries of those who were simply discarded in the bureaucratic process …..


Wendy Housing Homeless Cloetesville

Homelessness in Stellenbosch is indicated by the extent of informal housing on the one hand and the extremely limited supply of affordable housing on the other hand.

Informal housing structures are the result of independent action by communities to provide their own housing. This search shows the phenomenon of wendyhouses in the previously legally segregated township of Cloetesville, Stellenbosch.


KreefGat – A Community In Crisis (Trailer1)


The first trailer for the next docu-feature produced by Stellenbosch Transparency.

We investigate the complexities surrounding an attempted forced removal of a small community on land once owned by the Stellenbosch Municipality then sold to the Blauwklippen Agricultural Estate.

The community is expected, after 20 years, to move to another temporary relocation site and rebuild their lives under adverse conditions while continuing to wait on the broken promises of the Municipality and the Blauwklippen Agricultural Estate.

The community has decided to resist this relocation attempt and await a judgement at the high court. Stellenbosch Transparency will explore and document the details of this crisis with a hope of exposing the plight of this forgotten community in order that a possibility of a just and fair outcome can be met.


KreefGat – A Community In Crisis (Trailer2)

Eviction and Relocation

The second trailer for the next docu-feature produced by Stellenbosch Transparency.

Our investigation continues by exploring the realities of “temporary” relocation area’s constructed for the unwanted who are evicted from their places of dwelling. We briefly look at the the Symphony Way Relocation Area, also know as “Blikkies” Dorp,and what a shame it is that the City of Cape Town could allow a place like this to exist.

Bringing our attention back to Stellenbosch and the Kreefgat community, we make a comparison between the expected relocation area provided for the Kreefgat community and that of “Blikkies” Dorp. As we interview a resident who was forced to move from the Kreefgat Community to the relocation area due to losing her house in a fire, we get a first hand perspective of what this relocation area is really like putting into stark contrast the narrative of the official authorities that this relocation area the preferred location for those in Kreefgat.


KreefGat – A Community In Crisis (Trailer3)


With land and beautiful scenery in abundance it could be understandable that land owners and the municipality would attempt to maximize the potential value of thier land assets.

However, the incentive of pure profit has adverse consequences on an already marginalized and impoverished sector of the population.

The gentrification of Jamestown Stellenbosch has taken the form of high cost unit and heavily secured, gated villages, like De Zalze estate, Aan De Weber and the luxury retirement village, La Clemence.

The tangible result of this form of gentrification is the local inhabitants, with their children on the street begging for the most basic of services. The misguided solution to this crisis has been to move communities from one informal settlement to another by means of obsfucated and manipulative court documents who’s contents can be deemed legally irrelevant. Causing confusion and creating conditions for conflict.


KreefGat – A Community In Crisis (Trailer4)

Contract and Agreement

Kreefgat is a 25 year old informal settlement in Stellenbosch. Kreefgat sits on land owned by Blaauwklippen Agricultural Estates. There is a court order for Kreefgat residents to move by 7 December 2016.

On that day residents of Kreefgat started demolishing their homes. The municipality and Blaauwklippen threatened them with forced eviction. They also bribed some Kreefgat households with the incentive of completed housing. But Blaauwklippen and the Municipality have broken rules in allocating this housing.


Informal – A Story of Street Trade

Earning your living from a trade of your choice. Being free to occupy spaces conducive to trading. These are basic human rights.

However, in Stellenbosch informal traders do not have this most basic right. On 16 January 2013 Stellenbosch Municipality evicted informal traders from a site (near the Rhenisch Church) – trading on this site had been going on for the past 17 years and it was well supported by tourists.

The Church — to its everlasting shame — had complained that the traders were defecating and urinating on and damaging church property, and making a noise with drums during church services, and threatened legal action against the Municipality if they did not remove the traders.

The Council, however, is rudderless and leaderless on this issue. There are differences within the municipality and the council about how to respond. Municipal management and political leaders passed the buck to their legal department, who advised to evict. The traders, at considerable cost to themselves, challenged the eviction in the High Court, which has to still rule on this.

As a sop the council said the traders should go and trade in the informal market near the taxi rank, but their tourist market does not shop there. The traders have suffered great economic losses. Their families are suffering too as a result. Enterprising, hard working people have had their basic human rights violated. The Municipality didn’t care. The Church didn’t care. And Stellenbosch Tourism — which ‘sells’ Stellenbosch as an international tourism destination – didn’t care.

However we care about the plight of people who are denied their rights by an unjust system. We care about the lack of transparency in the Stellenbosch Municipality where everybody is passing the buck on this issue. We care about the marketing of Stellenbosch as a sustainable and better future for all”stakeholders” when the reality is different.