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When you think of nuclear weapons, you probably think of America, Russia, China or Iran. But you might be shocked to discover that South Africa had its very own secret nuclear programme that was developed during apartheid.

While sources disagree about the exact date that the Apartheid Government initiated their nuclear arms programme, many believe that the decision “develop a limited nuclear deterrent capabilities” can be traced back to as as early as 1974.

In order to achieve this goal, the government stepped up the production at their uranium enrichment plant at Valindaba, known as the “Y-plant”. Numerous nuclear tests were also performed at the Somerset West explosives installation near Cape Town.
While the Apartheid Government’s activities during the 70’s were mainly secret, their actions did alarm leaders in the Soviet Union and the U.S. The Soviets allegedly considered a pre-emptive strike on the Y-plant, an option that U.S. officials reportedly rejected.
In 1977, South Africa successfully managed first full-scale nuclear explosive device based on a gun-type design.

According to reports, a U.S. Vela surveillance satellite detected a distinct light event off of Africa’s southern coast in 1979. U.S. officials believed that the source of the light was a nuclear test performed by the Apartheid Government, producing an intense double flash of light. The Apartheid Government denied all knowledge of the event. Later, representatives from the government stated that South Africa could not have been responsible for the double flash as it did not possess a complete nuclear device until November 1979.

According to reports, the Apartheid Government managed to produce a total of six nuclear devices by the 1980’s. The Apartheid Government was able to do so by mastering the uranium production and enrichment process in order to develop a complete nuclear fuel cycle with advanced waste management techniques.

But while South Africa was able to produce a number of nuclear weapons, by the late 1980’s, the Apartheid Government was facing incredible political pressure, both locally and abroad.

One of the government’s strongest bargaining chips was the ability to negotiate with regards to their nuclear weapons programme. Under great international pressure, South Africa begun nuclear disarmament in 1989.

What happened to all of South Africa’s nuclear scientists? Where did they go and what have they been doing for the past twenty years? Some might be driven by money, some by ideology…but it’s hard to imagine that they have been sitting around twiddling their thumbs…There must be plenty of rouge nations or extremist groups that would the skills that only nuclear scientists could provide. Could nuclear experiments still be secretly going on in South Africa?

What do you think?

For a more detailed overview of South Africa’s secret nuclear history, click here

For more information about the South Africa’s disarmament process, click here

Wheat farmers around South Africa are becoming increasingly worried about the discovery of  a new  mutation of the Ug99 virus.

Ug99 is a form of wheat stem rust and it is a killer pathogen that decimates crops, especially wheat – the world’s most consumed cereal. The newest mutation of the fungus was discovered in South Africa in 2009. The rust attacks the stem of wheat plants causing them to be unable to stand upright. The effect of an outbreak of Ug99 can be seen by looking back to Kenya in 2007 where farmers in the Narok region of Kenya lost up to 80% of their wheat crop.

Although the disease can be prevented by using fungicides, the latest strain of the virus has stirred a panic because, not only is it more virulent than anything that has previously been encountered but it also presents the wheat plant with fewer defenses against it. Plant geneticist Ravi Singh found that the new variant of the fungus is now able to overcome approximately 32 resistance genes of about 50 in total.

South Africa’s wheat requirement sits at about 3 million tons yearly which is mainly used to produce bread. About 2 million tons of that amount is locally produced by the country’s commercial farmers, the rest is imported. If South Africa had any difficulty with producing the 2 million tons, the country could face a major food crisis.

There are seven mutant strains of the virus that are known to scientists. The virus was first detected in 1999. This means that in 10 years the virus has mutated 6 times becoming more and more resistant to fungicides.

What is most worrying is that the mutation of the virus seems to be speeding up. It also seems that the more the virus is exposed to fungicides the more it mutates.

Could there be a possible scenario where fungus mutates to such an extent that it eventually becomes completely immune to fungicides? Scientists from around the world have often stated that the evolution of viruses poses the greatest threat to man’s survival.

Do you think they are right?

Gold Mine Massacre

Posted: August 17, 2010 in Uncategorized
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By now, hopefully everyone has heard about the incident that took place last week at Aurora Empowerment System’s Grootvlei mine, where security forces gunned down four unarmed men.

It’s been a week since the incident first took place but concrete details regarding the incident have yet to emerge. In fact, the mysterious nature of the incident has led to some to question just what really happened.

The Times recently published an article that raised concerns about why police left the four bodies of those gunned down underground for three days before removing them.

The shootings at the Grootvlei mine took place last Monday, but the bodies were only removed last Thursday.

Gauteng police spokesman Colonel Noxolo Kweza said police had been unaware of the shooting at that stage [Monday], but added that police had gone to the scene on Tuesday once an incident report had been received. No bodies were found.

Kweza refused to comment on claims by attorney Piet du Plessis, acting on behalf of several security guards and mine captains, that the shooting had been reported to the police on Monday.

According to the Business Report, five security personnel were involved in the shooting in which four illegal miners were killed in West Pit 3, the abandoned open pit mine that belongs to Aurora Empowerment Systems.

One of the survivors, Sam Sithole from Mozambique, said three white men entered the mining area and shouted “voetsek, voetsek” and started shooting. He immediately switched off his torch and pretended to be dead until the area went quiet when he slipped out of the tunnel.

His brothers, Marthinus and Kenny Sithole, died in the shootings.

There has been speculation about whether the men were thieves or unpaid miners (for a bit more background about the unpaid miners, see our post about Did SA Gov See Acid Water Crisis Coming).

Meanwhile, five suspected illegal miners were arrested on Monday, although the charges against them have been dropped pending further investigation.

Thulani Ngubane, a Aurora director, has defended the killing of illegal miners with the following statement: “It is simple… if you go out there and steal gold, should I just go down on my knees and pray? It doesn’t work like that. We have to protect our assets.”

Whoever the men who were gunned down underground were, it’s clear that there is more to the story then meets the eye…Why were they so violently gunned down? What will happen to the security forces involved in the incident? And why did it take police so long to remove the bodies from the mine?

Aurora is owned by relatives of both Jacob Zuma and Nelson Mandela, which leads one to wonder if any political strings were pulled with regards to how this case has been handled.

Secret South Africa has published a number of posts about the Acid Water Crisis that is threatening the city of Joburg. But in addition to the Acid Water, it seems that there is something else that South Africans should be worried about.

According to an article published by The Saturday Star on August 7th, two of South Africa’s mining giants, Rand Uranium and Gold Fields are planning to create major toxic and radioactive super-dumps. The mining companies are planning to create the two super-dumps near farming communities in the high-yield agricultural area near Carletonville and Geluksdal.

According to The Saturday Star, the combined of the dumps would result in a deposit of around one billion tons of uraniferous tailings. Yes, you read correctly. One BILLION TONS of uraniferous tailings. Investigations around uraniferous tailings have concluded that they transfer radio nuclides to nearby vegetation which is extremely unhealthy for humans.

Not only do these dumps affect vegetation, toxic and radioactive pollutants also seep into groundwater sources. This could only add to the heavy metals such as uranium and sulphates have been found in high concentration in the acid water underneath Johannesburg.

After 120 years of gold mining in Gauteng’s West Rand, the area has become one of the country’s most polluted areas and a serious public health risk. The new plans to create additional dumps is a concern for local farmers. So much so that emerging black farmers, the Mhatammoho Agricultural Union, and the potentially affected landowners organized a second protest in April citing the fact that the community was never consulted about creation of new mine dumps.

And it seems as if they have just cause. The have been numerous reports that the mines in the area have had an overwhelmingly negative effect on local water supplies. Fish in nearby water sources in the area have been found dead and residents have also reported breaking out into vicious rashes after wearing clothes that had been washed in local water. Farmers have also noticed the livestock, particularly chickens, have been dying at an abnormal rate. It is clear that the radioactivity contained in the waste is not conductive to sustaining animal and human life. Special Assignment covered this issue and you can see their report here.  Clearly, the creation of more super-dumps would only make the situation worse.

The surrounding areas have been subject to over a century’s worth of toxic mining waste. What other effects has this had of the local communities? We only know what has been uncovered but how many stories have yet to be told?

How will South Africa’s toxic and radioactive materials physically affect our population. The long-term effects cannot be good. Why is government making no significant inroads towards legislation protecting our water and agriculture from greedy mining companies?

Earlier this week, I uploaded a post about the practice of harvesting body parts for Muti in South Africa. As shocking as the practice is, I was even more shocked to discover another similar case involving a government official in Kwazulu-Natal. A chopped hand was found after several would-be assassins were intercepted on their way to kill Kwazulu-Natal Premier, Dr. Zweli Mkhize. The hand was to be buried as muti before the assassination to give strength to the would-be killers.
The practice of harvesting body parts for Muti is not uncommon in South Africa. It’s also pretty common for those using muti to consume the flesh of the dead to make the muti more powerful.

The financier of the assassination attempt was King Melizwe Dlamini. It is alleged that he began planning the assassination after the Premier diverted some R1.1 billion in development funding from Dlamini’s Nhlangwini area on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. He hired five thugs who were to carry out the murder, one of them reported the on-goings to the police and this is how they were subsequently caught. According to reports, Police deny that they were given any information prior to the arrest of the suspects.

Incidents like this make the practice of acquiring human body parts seem even more real than before. It makes you wonder how often crimes like this are committed in South Africa. What do you make of the practice of consuming human flesh? It’s pretty gruesome, but it’s a practice found in a number of cultures around the world…

If you have any thoughts or information about muti-related crimes, please feel free to comment or email me at secretsouthafricablog@gmail.com

To read our original post about muti murders, click here

Unknown Disease in South Africa

Disease is a major concern in South Africa. In addition to having one of the highest HIV/AIDS infection rates in the world, the majority of South Africans do not have access to quality public healthcare.

This is what makes the story of an unknown disease breaking out in South Africa in 2008 all that more disturbing. On the 12th of September, 2008, an office employee working for a safari company in Zambia was diagnosed with an as yet unknown disease. The woman was evacuated and died in a Johannesburg hospital two days later. On the 27th of September the paramedic who had assisted in her evacuation to South Africa was also admitted to hospital. He died on the 2nd of October. A nurse who had taken care of the first patient also fell ill and succumbed to the disease on the 5th of October.

The disease was analyzed in a laboratory but no conclusive results were reached. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) based in South Africa have done several tests of which none have tested positive for viral haemorrhagic fevers or other common infectious disease pathogens. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, United States assisted in the testing of the disease. Symptoms of the disease include fever, headaches, diarrhea, rash and liver failure which lead to death.

After initial tests with inconclusive results the disease was identified as arenavirus infection by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Arenaviruses are associated with rodents which are the carriers of the virus. Contact with faeces, urine, blood or saliva of infected rodents or dust containing infective particles results in the transmission of the virus to humans.

An entire month passed from the point of infection to the point of identification of the virus. This makes you wonder what would happen if a larger outbreak had to take place…

How many more people would have lost their lives if the virus had been more widespread?

I’ve been following the progress of the Acid Water Crisis that is brewing beneath the city of Joburg and I came across an interesting article published in this week’s Saturday Star, written by Sheree Bega.

The article featured an interview with Professor Terence McCarthy from the school of Geosciences at Wits University.

Currently the acid water is now 530m below Johannesburg and is still rising at a rate of about 60cm a day. McCarthy has warned that if the water reaches the surface, basements in the inner city, including building belonging to Standard Bank, could begin to flood. In addition to this, Gold Reef City could also potentially lose their underground mine to the acid water.

But McCarthy is also worried about another unforeseen consequence of the acid water. There are currently a series of underground tunnels that house Johannesburg’s electricity cables. The acid water contains high levels of heavy metal, including uranium and sulphates. And if the tunnels below Johannesburg flood with corrosive water, the entire city could be plunged into darkness.

McCarthy stated that none of the mining companies will step up to take responsibility. It will then be up to the government, who are the largest beneficiary of mining in South Africa according to McCarthy, to take action.

It seems that the water crisis is getting worse and no one is doing anything about it.

I think action needs to be taken. What do you think?

The following post contains information from The South African Chemical and Biological Warefare Program: An Overview, by Chandré Gould and Peter I. Folb.

While many details about Project Coast have not been made publicly available, one particular covert operation that has been partially documented is Operation Barnacle.

Operation Barnacle was established in the early 1980’s and involved members of the South African Defence Force and former Rhodesian security forces. The primary goal of Operation Barnacle was to eliminate the enemies of the Apartheid Government.

A number of these covert assassinations were carried out by utilising a variety of toxins and chemicals developed by Wouter Basson and other Apartheid scientists.

The majority of victims targeted by Operation Barnacle  were members of the South West African People’s Organization (SWAPO) in Namibia. It is estimated that the number of deaths of prisoners of war and those who were considered “security risks” were well into the hundreds.

Johan Theron, who testified at Wouter Basson’s criminal trial, said that he was ordered to inject his victims with overdoses of muscle relaxants tuberine and scoline. This caused death by suffocation. All bodies were disposed of by throwing them out of aircraft into the sea.

Other victims of Operation Barnacle included members of the ANC, members of the United Democratic Front, individuals in the South African Council of Churches and its associated organizations and even  members of the SADF who threatened to reveal the workings of the Apartheid Government.

Operation Barnacle was just one of the many covert operations initiated by the Apartheid Government under Project Coast. But how many similar operations were there? How many deaths were the Apartheid Government responsible for? And what other atrocities did they commit.

We might never know.

Mutant Maggots

Posted: August 6, 2010 in Uncategorized
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We’ve recently uploaded quite a few posts about chemical experiments perpetuated by the Apartheid Government, one of which was to spread biological agents through the country’s water supply.

It’s all pretty strange, but stranger still is something found by one of our readers, who alerted us to a bizarre series of events that occurred in Mitchell’s Plain, South Africa’s third biggest township.

In 2006 teachers at Montague Drive Primary School in Mitchell’s Plain reported numerous cases of diarrhoea and vomiting by both teachers and students. The Health Department was called in to collect samples after pupils discovered what seemed to be maggots in a blocked drain. The maggots were described as having rat tails due to their unusual length of over 2.5 cm. One was even reported as being the size of a small mouse.

The spokesperson for the Department of Health made a statement that the rat-tailed maggots could not have passed through the city’s robust water treatment system.

So how did they get there if not through the water system? And if they did pass through the water system, how did they survive?

You can find the original article about the mutant maggots here.