South Africa has begun the process of withdrawing from the International Criminal Court by notifying the United Nations on Thursday that it intended to revoke its ratification of the Rome Statute, which established the court, as a result of the court’s perceived biases against African nations. However, without parliamentary approval, it’s unclear if the government has the authority to unilaterally withdraw. By SIMON ALLISON.
President Jacob Zuma has increased the size of a ministerial task team assigned to deal with the higher education funding crisis and the Democratic Alliance intends tabling a new motion of no confidence in the president. Yes, we do seem to be stuck in an awful, mind-numbing loop in South African politics with a severe dearth of new ideas to deal with problems. Unlike Einstein’s definition of insanity, nobody even expects different results when they do the same things over and over again. The political disconnect is best evident in Zuma’s view of the violent student protests over free education, now reaching tipping point: “That is democracy”. The rebellion is coming, and it might turn out to be very undemocratic. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
The aggressive disruption of Wednesday’s meeting of the #WitsPeaceAccord at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Braamfontein was not just another failed meeting. It was not just another lost opportunity to take a step towards some sort of way forward for the crisis Wits University finds itself in. It was not just another affirmation of how volatile and fractured the Wits community is. It was a moment in time in which the very DNA of the church was violated. It was a moment when an age-old tradition was rejected. It was an iconic moment in which everyone lost. If it cannot be a peaceful space where sanctuary and dialogue are respected, it cannot be a space for meetings either. By RUSSELL POLLITT.
The call to “scratch off” science is ridiculous. Ditto that it is somehow “Western”, that witchcraft should be preserved, and that Isaac Newton’s concept of gravity is unassailable (ask Einstein about that). But underneath these extraordinary sentiments expressed at a Shackville TRC at the University of Cape Town last week, there is a thread of truth that all the noise is drowning out: science is not relevant to the majority of Africa’s citizens and African scientists are often excluded. By SARAH WILD and LINDA NORDLING.
These are boom years for international humanitarian organisations. As the world’s fault-lines become ever more pronounced, and environmental degradation takes its toll, so the demand for emergency assistance rises. And while the work is never easy, there is plenty of it for the likes of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), one of the largest and best-funded of these organisations. SIMON ALLISON speaks to its president.
The appeal against an interdict that prevented five Shackville protesters from entering the University of Cape Town (UCT) property has been dismissed but the conditions of the interdict have been altered so that the five are now allowed on to campus. In other UCT news, a security guard is in hospital in serious condition. By GROUNDUP staff.
Monday 17 October was the first working day for Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, our new Public Protector. President Zuma formally appointed her to the position; she is set to serve her seven-year term. (This is the second Public Protector President Zuma has appointed; he also appointed Thuli Madonsela in 2009.) Parliament overwhelmingly supported her; and civil society organisations such as Corruption Watch endorsed her. By Prof FRANS VILJOEN.
Since June 1, 2015 there have been 32 political murders in South Africa. Actually, there have been 41. No, wait, there have really been nine. And the SAPS has set up a task team to investigate political killings. As have the Hawks. So has the ANC. And so has the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government. Except that they haven’t. Or have they? No one seems to know. By NIKI MOORE.
Across this nation, universities burn. On Wednesday afternoon, at the University of Witwatersrand, a new movement was (still)born: #WitsPeaceAccord. It included amongst its luminaries our beloved former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela. Let’s just agree that her first post-office foray was not a rousing success. By RICHARD POPLAK.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton squared off for the final time in the 2016 presidential campaign in Las Vegas on the campus of the University of Nevada. It was really the last chance for Donald Trump to recalibrate his standing with voters. He didn't achieve that. With his smirks, scowls and constant interjections, Trump more resembled Alec Baldwin's imitations of himself on the Saturday Night Live. Debate itself was ugly and acrimonious rather than a demonstration of presidential potential. By J BROOKS SPECTOR.
In his letter inviting Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to make representations by 17:00 on Tuesday October 18 with regard to charges of fraud and theft, NPA head Shaun Abrahams fingered his Acting Special Director of Public Prosecutions and head of the Priority Crimes Litigation Unit, Torie Pretorius, saying the decision to prosecute was Pretorius’s, taken in consultation with North Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions, Sibongile Mzinyathi. Meanwhile, Abrahams appears to be scrambling to find a way out of what has clearly turned into a bit of a prosecutorial cock-up. By MARIANNE THAMM.
There is an expression about politics that is almost as old as language itself. It is first recorded in Latin as “in regione caecorum rex est luscus”. Nowadays it is usually translated as “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king”. In our context, where lawlessness, political power and general malfeasance appear to rule supreme, another twist on this line could be “In the land of the dishonest, an honest man is a kingmaker”. People who simply do their jobs, like the former Public Protector, judges who adhere to their vows to protect the Constitution, and police officers who are not corrupt, are hailed as heroes. This gives a chance to those politicians who are honest, who have a track record of being trustworthy. Just by doing the right thing, they can make a mark for themselves, and use that as a building block for something much bigger. Jackson Mthembu is just such a person. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Late on Wednesday afternoon, news broke that the University of the Western Cape (UWC) was suspending its academic year, although students would still be writing exams. The university also responded, in detail, to the current list of student demands. Judging by developments on campus through the day, though, the drama was nowhere near over. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
In order to get the game in the country back on track – or at least find a GPS to begin the journey – SA Rugby is hosting a two-day indaba. The idea is to find short and long-term solutions to the stagnation. Much of day one happened behind closed doors, and here’s what we’ve learnt. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
The final debate of the 2016 presidential election in the US is just about to begin. J. BROOKS SPECTOR found the keys to the Daily Maverick’s DeLorean time travelling machine just in time to get a heads’ up on the first few minutes of this third debate in Las Vegas, only a few hours before it took place.
Oh Shaun, what have you done? The National Director of Public Prosecutions has got himself into such a pickle. He had hoped to ingratiate himself with President Jacob Zuma and his inner circle by putting Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in the dock. Not only is the fraud case against Gordhan likely to collapse but the announcement of the charges has mobilised a massive support campaign. Opposition parties, civil society, veterans, business, public servants and a number of people within the ANC and the alliance are rallying behind Gordhan. Abrahams has two weeks to undo the mess as a “Zunami”-type campaign develops a life of its own. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Plans are afoot to extract more value and better integrate fishing into the Mauritanian economy. Doing so will require a break from the past – including making considerable investment in infrastructure, implanting a new set of policies, and ensuring a new way of doing things. The sector is a key test for a country which could, if it walks its own talk, become a regional exemplar. By GREG MILLS.
NICKY ROBERTS and OSCAR VAN HEERDEN, former students of Turfloop, University of the Witwatersand; University of Cape Town, University of Kwazulu-Natal,University of the Western Cape, University of Cambridge and University of Johannesburg, respond to Wits academic Dr Kelly Gillespie's letter to Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Attempts to salvage the academic year on Cape Town campuses erupted in violence on Tuesday, with scenes of chaos dominating at UCT in particular. From the morning, reports of escalating clashes made it clear that while being unable to complete the year would be disastrous, completing it would carry a cost all its own. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
In the early hours of the morning of Friday September 9, armed robbers broke into the Pretoria home of Judge Mabel Jansen. The men were very specific about what they wanted – court documents relating to the April 29 reserved judgment Jansen had made in respect of Julius Malema’s application to have SARS abide by a 2014 agreement to pay off his tax debt. On further reflection the robbery is just one twist in a curious, politically sensitive and fishy tale in which a cast of recurring characters seem to pop up. By MARIANNE THAMM.
Around 50 to 60 academic and administrative staff protested outside Wits University’s Great Hall to raise concerns about the heavy police presence on campus. The staff members were joined in solidarity by a group of about 100 students who echoed the sentiments of their lecturers. Some wore red tape over their mouths to symbolise that they have been silenced by Wits management. By Ihsaan Haffejee and GROUNDUP Staff.
The concepts of “blue growth” and an “oceans economy” are increasingly bandied about as the next frontier for economic opportunities and growth in South Africa. For a country like South Africa, which in fact has more ocean territory than land, it makes sense that we should be looking to our oceans for economic growth potential. However, this is where the logic seems to end. By JOHN DUNCAN.
In 1976 my mother hid radical young school students in our house in Welkom from the security police. Their fiery rhetoric and intermittent stone throwing could not dampen her deep compassion for their struggle for human dignity and advancement. In 2016, I write from the perspective of my generation. By JACQUES JOUBERT.
It began on Saturday October 8 with the sudden death of Fezekile Kuzwayo, the woman who accused Jacob Zuma of raping her in 2005. It ended on Friday October 14 when outgoing Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, obtained a preservation order in the Pretoria High Court for her final report into state capture by the Gupta family. Sandwiched between these two bookends, a sequence of dramatic events occurred that marked the beginning of the end for the disastrous term of office of President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, the 13th President of the ANC and the fourth to lead post-apartheid South Africa. These seven days in October will go down in history. By MARIANNE THAMM.
How does a nation come to terms with its past? Is there a right way to remember the past? How can a multicultural society forge a common identity for the sake of social cohesion? These were the recurring themes during the course of a study tour to Berlin, Germany, and its surrounds. By PHEPHELAPHI DUBE.
Thuli Madonsela left the office of the Public Protector in dramatic style on Friday with a final media briefing and two court applications preventing her from releasing her much awaited “state capture” report into the dealings of the Gupta family. For seven years, she was the epitome of South Africa’s “protector”. There have been concerns in society about what would happen when Madonsela goes. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan answered the question. He used South Africa’s court system to break open the Gupta chamber of secrets – a manoeuvre that corners President Jacob Zuma and his friends. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
It’s been said before, and it will be said again, that the charging of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan with fraud is the issue that divides the ANC. It forces people to take sides – are they for or against President Jacob Zuma or Gordhan, and all that they represent. It is the issue that forces people off the fence, away from the grey murky foggy ground of ambiguity and into the much harder, starker and firmer terrain of right and wrong. Through all of this, the Waterkloof scandal, CAR, Nkandla, a multi-year Gupta state capture in multiple phases, the reinstatement of the Zuma corruption charges – all of it – Cyril Ramaphosa has stayed silent. Finally, eventually, and possibly late, he has been forced off the fence. But what he has done is to make it that much harder for Zuma to fire Gordhan. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
The presence of heavily armed police and security guards at the University of Witwatersrand seems to have put paid to any chance of stakeholders coming together to seek a solution to the ongoing funding crisis. Instead the struggle has been characterised by terrifyingly violent running battles with police in the past week, which have left some students battered, and no time at all for the round table. By BHEKI C. SIMELANE.
Students at historically black universities were protesting against economic hardship for at least a decade-and-a-half before Wits, Cape Town and Rhodes brought the issue to national importance as the national media covers these institutions far more extensively, Pretoria political scientist Nompumelelo Runji told BETWEEN THE LINES. The issues were predominantly not ideological, but a direct result of poverty. Protests began in the late 1990s. By JOHN MATISONN.
Ethical leadership refers to choices individuals make in relation to what may benefit some or may harm themselves or others. In the life of Chief Albert Luthuli, the anniversary of whose death is in 2017, his ethics were represented in the first place through a concern for all fellow human beings, all God’s creatures. Luthuli had the opportunity to cushion himself and his family from some of the effects of apartheid oppression by virtue of being a teacher and then a chief. He chose instead to link his life to that of all other oppressed people and to act in order to remove the yoke of apartheid from their shoulders. He was also prepared to bear whatever suffering might result from the choices he made. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
Since its establishment in Braamfontein, Johannesburg in 2012, the Orbit Jazz Club & Bistro has become a haven for local musical artistry — a hallowed home to rising young stars from Khayelitsha and African icons alike. On Friday night the Orbit hosted the soulful sounds of the latter — celebrated vocalist Ma’Sibongile Khumalo — but also something else. Something wholly extrinsic. The sound of burning. By DIANA NEILLE.
By his own admission, President Jacob Zuma is an “implicated person” in the Public Protector’s investigation into state capture by the Guptas. He therefore wants to prevent Thuli Madonsela from releasing her preliminary report on her last day in office. This move exposes that Zuma and his cronies have much to hide. In a week of escalating violence over the university fees crisis and the serving of summons on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and EFF leader Julius Malema, it is apparent Zuma and his clique are losing control and have thrown caution to the wind. Desperate times, desperate measures. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
In April next year, the Department of Social Development is due to take over the distribution of crucial social grants to around 17-million of South Africa’s poorest citizens, with payouts totalling R10-billion per month. But there are warnings that the department is unprepared and does not have the infrastructure in place to oversee this vital lifeline to the poor. And if you think the #FeesMustFall violence is bad, a much greater catastrophe looms if Minister Bathabile Dlamini does not pull finger soon. By MARIANNE THAMM.
It is becoming more and more clear that the decision, ostensibly by the National Prosecuting Authority, to issue a summons for Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is going to have a whole host of consequences. It is useful to divide those consequences into short-term and long-term. Some have already been felt – the rand has lost significant value, civil society is rising up against the Zuma administration, almost all South Africans are poorer than they were on Monday. But some of the longer-term consequences are still harder to fathom. Even if they are likely to be more important, because they relate to the integrity or lack thereof of our institutions, and to the future of the ANC. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane might be guilty of contravening the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) when he notified the second most senior executive at the revenue service, Jonas Makwakwa, that the FIC had picked up suspicious payments into his personal bank account. Meanwhile, Finance Minster Pravin Gordhan has told Parliament that he found it “perturbing” that Moyane had tried to prevent the matter from being made public and had also allowed Makwakwa to remain in his position dealing with corporate taxpayers while such serious allegations were being investigated. By MARIANNE THAMM.
It would be fair to say that the #FeesMustFall crisis has been looked at from every single conceivable angle, and for all the hand wringing, we are no closer to a resolution. Even if the student protests blow out as the end of the academic year approaches, next year will be just more of the same and it will go on until the universities collapse. Universities are simply not set up to sustain the damage being done to them. By DIRK DE VOS.
On Monday Father Graham Pugin of Holy Trinity Church in Braamfontein was shot in the face by police during the student protests. While receiving care he called on students to respond peacefully to his attack. Twelve years earlier he had agreed to the pleas of medical students to establish a clinic for the homeless within the church. This is a snapshot of the Trinity Clinic for the homeless, written just before this week’s events. By Kim Harrisberg for GROUNDUP.
Something shifted fundamentally in the Cape Town leg of the #FeesMustFall protests this week. Students at the UWC campus held a staff member hostage during negotiations, and there was a national outcry after two security officers were locked inside a burning building on the CPUT campus in Bellville. If there was any doubt before, it’s been dispelled: this is war. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
President Jacob Zuma should retire to Nkandla, the nuclear deal must be stopped and money earmarked for it must go to reducing students’ costs, Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane told CTV’S BETWEEN THE LINES with JOHN MATISONN in an interview on Robben Island. The archbishop, who left Robben Island as a prisoner 50 years ago, was holding the Robben Island Dialogue to address intergenerational conflict.
Thing is if you're going to make a song and dance and go for the Minister of Finance in public the least you can do is not recycle an old case number. That's what happened on Tuesday when the NPA announced it was charging Pravin Gordhan, former SARS Commissioner Oupa Magashula and Deputy Commissioner Ivan Pillay with fraud. The oversight by the NPA confirms allegations that Gordhan faced a “moving target” and that a sort of “scope creep” has occurred in apparent backroom manoeuvres by the Hawks and the NPA. Meanwhile the NPA's decision has been roundly condemned by just about everyone, except the ANCWL of course. By MARIANNE THAMM.
Images of Catholic priest Father Graham Pugin in front of a police nyala and bleeding after being shot in the face went around the world on Monday night as South Africa’s university fees crisis worsened. Pugin was hit as he stood as a human shield between the church, where students sought refuge, and riot police. The images sent shock waves across the country and prompted alarm from Pope Francis’s emissary in South Africa and the Jesuit General Congregation currently meeting in Rome. The police have apologised “unconditionally” and have instituted an official investigation into the matter. Pugin spoke to RANJENI MUNUSAMY about his face-off with the police and being shot in the leg earlier in the day.
After circling over Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan for months since his accidental re-appointment to the ministry in December, the NPA struck on Tuesday announcing it would charge him, as well as former SARS Commissioner Oupa Magashula and Deputy Commissioner Ivan Pillay, with fraud relating to Pillay's early pension payout of R1.2 million. This is the last card in the pack that an increasingly cornered and desperate President Zuma hopes will remove Gordhan, seen as an obstacle, out of his way. By MARIANNE THAMM.
The powerful connection between respected leaders in the ANC and government and a loyal constituency has been ruptured. There is a sense that leaders can no longer be trusted, for they have generally shown themselves to be acting in their own interest, even illegally and at the expense of the poor. There are very many honest people remaining in the ANC, who can be drawn into a process of cleansing and rebuilding. One cannot predict what can happen. It would be good, however, if people who value democracy and constitutionalism and have the interests of the country at heart would try to find one another in new formations. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
On Sunday the family of Fezikile Kuzwayo confirmed that she had died, at the age of 41. She did not have an easy life. It was made hard not just through the acts of the apartheid government, but through the men she met who abused her. Only one of those incidents resulted in a trial. And in that trial, the man who is now President Jacob Zuma was found to be innocent. It left a mark on her, on Zuma, and on us as a country. It also made a profound impression on STEPHEN GROOTES, who covered the trial for 702 Eyewitness News.
On a day of violence on several university campuses, mayhem on the streets of Johannesburg and a Catholic priest being shot in the mouth by police, President Jacob Zuma was hard at work – looking for a way to wriggle out answering the Public Protector’s questions on state capture. As the fees crisis spirals out of control and the police are left to deal with the situation, the president remains dispassionate and preoccupied with the new investigation against him. Outgoing Public Protector Thuli Madonsela wants Zuma to answer questions about the activities of his friends, the Guptas. Zuma first wants to know who gave her evidence and what they said. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
We all knew it would be a heavyweight bout between students, police and private security. On Monday, the fight spilled out of the ring, and into the audience. The Battle for Braamfontein was as sad as it was ugly, and while the University of Witwatersrand will remain open, to what end? By RICHARD POPLAK.