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  1. The Joburg war museum (now Ditsong museum of military history) is a bit of an odd beast. Located right next to the Joburg Zoo, it's sort of small and kind of schizo in terms of content. It's also partly a monument to the fallen, partly a conference/events venue and partly a warehouse for all the odds and ends that the country has collected over the years and isn't sure what to do with. Anyway, I went there recently with my son and brought back tonnes of photos. These will be dumped around the forum in the appropriate places (tanks, planes, big guns and small arms), with this thread serving as an overview. The entrance is like the rest of the place: tucked away a bit and kind of pokey. A few metres away, though, is an impressive monument to the British dead from the second Boer war. Nothing screams 'empire' like crushing your enemies and then putting up a huge shrine to your own war dead in their former city. The museum is divided into a few big halls, some narrow glass-fronted galleries, an open park area and a central conference venue. One thing which should be noted is that two of the galleries do not allow photography. The interior pictures from these halls posted below are merely accurate replicas made from memory and a bunch of 1:72 models I happened to have lying around. Brink Hall from the front and back. It has a number of aircraft and related gear, as well as stuff related to the Boer war and First World War. The Brink Hall is pretty much the first thing you're going to wander into, as its close to the entrance. Between the two halls is a little artillery display. From here you can either go right to the open park area or straight into the Adler Hall. The Adler Hall from a few angles. This one is dedicated to small arms, uniforms, a POW exhibit and just about everything else you can cram into a small hall and still fit. It also has a few vehicles (M3 light, Sexton, M4) that are opened up and/or have stairs so that you can look into them. Past the uniform exhibit (which snakes around the sides and back of the hall) is a rather random exhibit on Cuito and the Border war. The cut-up Ratel in there has a driver's station with a display above it. The display shows grainy footage from the battle on a loop. Just past the artillery display thingy there are a few naval objects on display. The most interesting is probably this Nazi mini-sub which we got from who-knows-where. The placement of the sub did something strange to my phone camera, so there are no photos with it in perfectly focus. Most of the outdoor park stuff is going into other posts, so I'm just putting this there. These are the only two things that kids are allowed to clamber all over in the museum, and the little tykes seem to have stripped them down to bare metal over the years in doing so. I actually have lots of photos of these, as my little one was very insistent on spending time driving the jeep/flying the plane. All in all: a decent little museum, and home to a few interesting odds and ends that I'll put up in other places. Edit: Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6
  2. This article, specifically; http://businesstech.co.za/news/general/83023/south-africa-refuses-to-let-go-of-its-nuclear-explosives/ As far as I know, the uranium itself should be good for quite a while (235 has a shorter half life than 238, but 704 million years is still damn long). However, I'm not sure about some of the other components, such as the neutron sources. Po-210 only has a half life of 138 days, which means that they'd be long dead. I don't know about the specific design of South African bombs (beyond them being gun type, and therefore using HEU), or whether they have the ability to acquire neutron sources. They probably do, since they have operating reactors.
  3. Today's lesson drawn directly from studies: The principles of self defence (known as private defence) in South African law Private defence may be raised where the following requirements are met: The attack: - Must be unlawful - Must be against interests that ought to be protected - Must be threatening but not yet completed The defensive action: - must only be directed against the attacker - must be necessary - must be in reasonable relationship to the attack - must be taken while the defender is aware that he/she is acting private defence. Detail Regarding the unlawful nature of the attack, it is obviously not possible to raise private defence where the attack is lawful (ie: attacking a policeman trying to lawfully arrest you). It is further not possible to raise private defence in cases where you are defending against an attack which was, itself, in defence of an attack you unlawfully carried out (Jansen). One can act in private defence even where the attacker lacks criminal capacity by virtue of minority, isanity, lack of intent and so on. Animals cannot, of course, act unlawfully, and so defense against an animal attack falls outside of the scope of private defence. Regarding the interests protected, the attack need not be directed at the defending party. Accordingly, a person may intervene to defend another against attack to protect their interests even where there is no other connection between them (Patel). Further, the interests themselves need not be limited to life or bodily integrity. Indeed, our law has recognised valid cases of private defence in service of protecting property (Ex parte die Minister van Justicie: in re S v Van Wyk), dignity (Van Vuuren) and preventing unlawful arrest (Mfuseni). The case of Van Wyk is very interesting in this regard, because it involved a bunch of issues which tested the abovementioned requirements in interesting ways - it will crop up again. Van Vuuren is also interesting, because it involved a case where a man successfully argued against a charge of assault based on the fact that the other party had insulted his wife. Turning to the threatening nature of the attack, it should be pretty obvious that one cannot attack someone pre-emptively because they expect to be attacked in the future. However, this does not mean that you need to wait until the first blow has landed - Patel (supra) established that one may attack first in service of defending against an impending blow. In the case of Van Wyk (supra) the defendant (a shopkeeper) had set up an automatic mechanism designed to wound a would-be thief. This was held not to invalidate the requirment of immenant attack, as the device was only triggered when the 'attack' occured (IE: when the thief broke in). In another case; Mogohlwane; the defendant had his possessions stolen at axe-point, ran home, fetched a weapon, and killed his attacker when he was again threatened. This was held to form one continuous act of resistance and therefore also complied with the requirement. Turning to the requirments for defensive action, it is pretty obvious that one cannot claim private defence in cases where your acts are directed at somoeone other than your attacker. Equally; the requirment of necessity simply states that the defensive action must have been the only remaining option at the time (Attwood). Here our law is perhaps too strict, as present precedent requires that a person has a duty to flee unless no other option presents itself. Here Snyman (Snyman; Criminal Law 5th Edition; pg 107-109) has the following to say (emphasis mine): "...our courts recognise the principle that if it is dangerous for X to flee in the sense that she would expose herself... she need not flee, but may act pro-actively and put her attacker out of action... It is the attacker, who unlawfully and intentionally launches the attack, who carries the risk of injury and death, and not the attacked party." "...the law does not expect X to flee from her own house if she is attacked there. Her house or place of residence is her last refuge - her castle - where she may protect herself against an unlawful attack." "It is submitted that there is not duty on the attacked party to flee. To recognise a duty to flee is to deny the very essence of the present defence. Private defence deals with the defence of the legal order, that is, the upholding of justice. Fleeing is no defence; it is the capitulation to injustice. Why must justice yeild to injustice?" Turning to the requirment for a reasonable relationship between the attack and defensive act; this may be interpreted as suggesting that no more force be used than is needed to ward off the attack (Trainor). This is obvious if you contemplate the idea of, say, warding off the office sandwich thief by placing a mine under your lunchbox. However, there is equally also no requirment that the defender 'play fair' by limiting himself/herself to whatever the attacker is using. Equally, there is no requirement that the damage sustained by both sides must be equal. Finally, there need not be any particular relationship between the nature of the interest threatened and the nature of the interest impaired in the course of defence. Here the case of Steyn provides some useful guidelines on the definition of 'reasonable' for this requirement. Finally, the defender must be aware that they are acting in private defence. This is sort of non-intuitive, but makes sense if one considers an example where one person kills another for their own reasons, and thus inadvertently prevents them from attacking a third party. I hope that the above is interesting and useful in comparison to your own self defence/private defence law. Feel free to comment about any aspects which are similar or differ, and about the concept of self defence in general.
  4. Having conclusively proven that the Olifant is the best (and most terrifying) MBT ever released into the wild in a tragic move for which we all suffer on an continuous basis, I thought that interested parties might like to know some more about recent military developments in South Africa. First off: here is a picture of the SAS Thabo Mbeki (our recently acquired President-class carrier) seen entering Cape Town harbour: The South African Navy, who obtained the vessel for what has been described as a 'suspiciously low' price from an anonymous third-party vendor, are reputedly very happy with the increase in long-range striking power that it provides to our armed forces, along with the freshly repainted finish. Another new development has been the recent acquisition by the SANDF of a large amount of 'surplus' equipment. This has begun showing up at army exercises, where it has proved popular with the troops: Note the light-weight rifle and snazzy sunglasses - two items especially appreciated by our hard-working lads. Other recent equipment purchases - widely praised for their 'made-in-China affordability', have been focused towards filling specific niches which have become apparent over the last few years: Finally, the SANDF is proud to introduce a new line of MBTs to our existing fleet - the Iphisi Main Battle Tank: It is hoped that these placid, benign vehicles will help to stem the Oliphant scourge which we, in our arrogance and pride, unleashed upon the country.
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