Student protests continue across the country, raising questions of how they're policed and how campuses can protect students, staff and property. The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has for almost a year hired private security guards, who attacked students, staff and journalists on Wednesday. Despite reports of ongoing abuses and an apology from UJ, the guards are still on campus. By GREG NICOLSON.
Above a faded couch in Moses Mkhondo’s makeshift home hangs a framed tableau of the perfect South African village. The collage was assembled by Mkhondo himself, back when he made a living driving trucks filled with Coca-Cola to spaza shops and taverns and corner cafes throughout Johannesburg’s East Rand. The collage is meant to represent Mkhondo’s ideal world: a bustling middle-class town, centred around a Coca-Cola depot from which great trucks ply the roads, dispensing bottled joy to a booming country. For 30 years, Mkhondo could pretend to himself that he lived in this world. In early 2014 he was forced to stop pretending. By DAILY MAVERICK CHRONICLE.
Like so much else related to the Rwandan genocide, the history of Léopold Munyakazi is bitterly contested. Is he a war criminal with blood on his hands, responsible for organising death squads and inciting killings? Or is he an innocent academic whose real crime was to dare to differ with President Paul Kagame’s official narrative? After finally being deported back to Rwanda, his trial may provide some answers. By SIMON ALLISON.
One of the most disturbing discoveries I made while researching my new book was the network of targets that the police live their days by. Every police station has specific targets to meet, weekly and monthly. And though there are horrific occurrences of corruption in my new book The Street: Exposing a World of Cops, Bribes and Drug Dealers – a systematic exposure over two years of research of the bribes the cops take from drug dealers – I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for the police as they are forced to adhere to unsophisticated goals. By PAUL MCNALLY.
The results of the most comprehensive survey of African elephants ever undertaken – the Great Elephant Census (GEC) announced last month – have a worrying hole: Namibia. Although it was afforded the opportunity to have its elephants counted, free of charge and subject to the highest international standards, it elected not to participate. By CHRISTIAAN BAKKES and MARCIA FARGNOLI.
The appointment of the disgraced Hlaudi Motsoeneng as the head of corporate affairs at the SABC after the Western Cape High Court confirmed that his appointment as Chief Operation Officer was irrational, and thus invalid, is almost certainly also irrational and hence invalid. While probably not in contempt of the order issued by the High Court that invalidated Mr Motsoeneng's appointment, the move by the SABC does show contempt for the Public Protector, for the proven facts, and for the settled legal principles. By PIERRE DE VOS.
As protests continue at universities across the country, there was a call in Johannesburg for the Chamber of Mines to help fund free education. In their demands for equal access to education, students have targeted government, but also called on the private sector and big business. While many campuses have closed, protests are set to continue this week. By GREG NICOLSON.
As Zambians took to the polls last month they voted not only for their choice of president, but also in a constitutional referendum proposing changes to the bill of rights. While President Edgar Lungu was declared the winner of the election, political figures lamented the outcome of the failed referendum as a missed opportunity for Zambians to advance protection for social and economic rights after it didn’t meet the 50% voter turnout threshold required to make it a supreme law of the country. By LOUISE CARMODY and BOB MWIINGA MUNYATI.
Some commentators have claimed that the introduction of the national minimum wage in Germany has had adverse consequences and cost jobs. But they misunderstand the experience of minimum wages in Germany. The growing consensus in Germany is that the impacts of this policy innovation have so far been generally positive. If other countries are to learn from the German experience it is important that this example is properly understood, and accurately described. By Dr GERHARD BOSCH.
As the UN Human Rights Council prepares to vote this week on a potentially life-saving progressive Maternal Mortality and Morbidity resolution that will affect billions of women, it’s the last chance for South Africa to reflect on its role as its current term draws to a close. If it opts to align with Russia’s conservative stance, it may undo much of its earlier good. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
The Islamic State is infamous for its online propaganda, which has driven thousands of new recruits to join its ranks in Iraq and Syria. For curious teenagers who have swallowed whole the Islamist militant group’s message, the process of de-radicalisation requires time, kindness and plenty of patience. By JASMINE OPPERMAN.
Hlaudi Motsoeneng is special. Special, special, special. Special like no one else. It’s not just the chutzpah, the arrogance, the thick skin, the divinity which he ascribes to himself. It takes a special kind of person to get the Public Protector, the ANC, the DA and the Presidency to all agree that they don’t like you. And then to emerge out of it laughing, winking, cracking jokes, stealing funerals. He is, in some ways, the worst that we as South Africa have to offer in the Zuma era. And that’s before we even start on the “concerned citizen” brought in to bolster his legal case. Who is a fugitive from the US. Folks, I’m not Richard Poplak. But what you are about to read may just completely and utterly warp your sense of reality. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
In September 2016, unarmed protesters have been killed by security forces in Gabon and Democratic Republic of Congo. Their major crime: exercising the rights to reject the covert manipulation of the constitution to lengthen the presidential term limit (in DRC) and the outright rejection of electoral chicanery (in Gabon). By BABATUNDE FAGBAYIBO.
Daily Maverick Assistant Editor Marianne Thamm took a break from exposing scandals in SARS, the Western Cape ANC and elsewhere to talk about her new memoir, Hitler, Verwoerd, Mandela and me on BETWEEN THE LINES with John Matisonn. Born to a German father who joined the Hitler Youth and fought in Hitler’s Wehrmacht, Thamm’s search of her past even revealed an aunt who knew the Goebbels family during World War II.
President Jacob Zuma’s brother has appealed to him to quit as he fears South Africa’s leader might be killed. There are many reasons why the president should consider stepping down, with some prominent ANC members probably able to present cogent arguments for this. Being physically under threat would not rank among the reasons Zuma should consider relieving South Africa of his leadership. Yes, the president is under attack and under pressure, but only from a system that demands adherence to the Constitution, accountability and the rule of law. If his family and friends are worried, it is because democracy is proving to be a bitch. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Remand detainees are people who have been arrested, have been refused or cannot afford bail, and are awaiting the start or completion of their trial. South Africa currently has 41,717 people in remand, making up nearly one third of the country’s total prison population, according to the Department of Correctional Services’ (DCS) 2014/2015 Annual Report. By MARCHE ARENDS for Wits Justice Project.
For some months before the local elections in August, there were fears that the Electoral Commission was becoming vulnerable, and that the institution could actually lose the ability to run elections in a way that was perceived to be free and fair. In the end, the polls they ran passed that test with flying colours. Now the ANC appears to be showing that it is unhappy with the IEC's performance. And that Gwede Mantashe, a man who really should know better, is trying to almost intimidate the institution. It’s another sign the ANC is losing the plot. And another strong indication that our politics is changing fundamentally, and more quickly than most people could have imagined. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
“When I was born, I was an ordinary Hlaudi.” So said the acting SABC Chief Operating Officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, during a eulogy of sorts. In these days of peak crazy, who does nuts better than the big broadcasting boss? Last Friday, at kwaito superstar Mandoza’s funeral, Ordinary Hlaudi took the crowd in Soweto’s Grace Bible Church through an extended recap of his greatest hits. Not Mandoza’s, mind you—but Hlaudi’s. It read like an alternate State of the Nation Address, and a fair reminder that in Zuma’s South Africa, the lunatics conduct the band, and we march to their beat. By RICHARD POPLAK.
Call it political Tourette’s, but on the same day that ratings agency Moodys reduced the possibility of a credit downgrade for South Africa, Hawks head, Lieutenant General Mthandazo Berning Ntlemeza, used the Gupta family platforms ANN7 and The New Age to hint, yet again, that Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan is about to be arrested. Ntlemeza said he was tired of people “making a noise” when it came to Gordhan but not about other “high-profile people” the Hawks were investigating. In that spirit Daily Maverick asked the Hawks and the NPA to provide feedback on some of the country’s biggest priority crimes. By MARIANNE THAMM.
ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on Thursday joined the procession of prominent people in society voicing concern about the state of the ANC and the country. “We cannot pretend we do not have problems and we cannot pretend things are not wrong,” she said before calling for “a whole layer of fresh leadership”. Part of the pretence is as a result of the constant dodging of questions about critical issues in the country. This week President Jacob Zuma fobbed off another parliamentary question on his contact with the Guptas. And the ANC will again let it pass. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
The 17th Cites conference (CoP17) begins this week in Johannesburg against the sombre background of a 30% crash in African savanna elephant numbers in just seven years, mainly because of poaching driven by Far Eastern syndicates. Conservationists also worry that ivory poaching is moving through southern Zambia towards Botswana’s Okavanga Delta, location of the world’s largest elephant herds. By John Mukela for AMABHUNGANE.
A South African flag made out of cacti and succulents – the size of 66 football fields, and visible from space – is being built on the outskirts of Graaff-Reinet. Called the Giant Flag, it invites us to revisit the ground of our misplaced patriotic impulse. But can it inspire a more useful metaphor for our current national crisis than “state capture”? By KEVIN BLOOM.
In recent years, the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa has been at the receiving end of bashing from its implacable critics – some members of the media. As such, the Business Day article on Monday, 19 September 2016 by Khulekani Magubane titled “Parliament’s financials ‘are out of order’” came as no surprise. At first glance, the article seems well balanced. But as one delves deeper into the article, one gets a huge sense of disappointment. By Thembani Mbadlanyana, Executive Assistant (Research), Office of the Secretary to Parliament.
After 1994 the ANC government seemed to embrace the idea that what was good for the Anglo American Corporation was good for South Africa, instead of focusing on the three areas known to increase jobs in a developing country, according to former Wits University vice-chancellor Professor Colin Bundy. By JOHN MATISONN.
Students continue to protest at different campuses across the country following Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande’s announcement on fee increases. At the University of Witwatersrand on Wednesday, following clashes with private security officers on Tuesday, students clashed with police. By GREG NICOLSON.
As the days and weeks continue to rush past us until the next general elections in 2019, it is becoming ever clearer that the various parts of the ANC are not, as yet, working hard to ensure the party does not lose power. The shock of the loss of not one, but three metros in the local government elections is still sinking in, and the party appears to be looking inward rather than working on its image. The longer this goes on, the harder it will be for the ANC to retain power in just three years’ time. It is now glaringly obvious that the big stumbling block, the big obstacle in the way, is the party's leader with all he represents. And yet, it is even more glaringly obvious that it is impossible to remove him, and all he represents. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
The hasty appointment of Lieutenant-General Mthandazo Ntlemeza as head of the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation in September 2015, circumventing various legislative requirements, technically renders Ntlemeza a lame duck. Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko twice flouted correct procedures, first by not subjecting Ntlemeza to the required competency assessment, and second by contravening the SAPS Act in failing to notify Parliament timeously of Ntlemeza’s appointment. Like Hlaudi Motsoeneng – another “irrational appointment” – are Ntlemeza’s days numbered? By MARIANNE THAMM.
South Africans are increasingly asking themselves how we got into the fix we are in and how we are to not only get out of it, but do so with the confidence that our democracy will continue to protect our freedoms and grow Africa’s greatest economy to provide the prosperity we need. By WILMOT JAMES, MP.
SAA regrets to announce the delayed arrival of Chairwoman of the Board, Dudu Myeni, at a vital briefing by the new board and the Deputy Minister of Finance to Parliament's standing committee on finance. The two-hour delay is as a result of apparent indigestion brought on by the late onset realisation that a further loss of R1-billion has now been added to the expected original loss of R4.7-billion for 2014/15. We regret to announce also that losses for 2015/16 will be a further R1.5-billion. We thank South African taxpayers for bailing us out... again... and again. Place your tray tables in an upright position, this is going to be a bumpy ride. In the event of crash, pray. By MARIANNE THAMM.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s (non)campaign to succeed President Jacob Zuma as ANC leader next year is in further trouble. Trade union federation Cosatu was meant to be the first structure in the alliance to back Ramaphosa officially by arguing that the ANC should keep the tradition of deputy leaders ascending to the top job. But Cosatu continues to flounder due to internal divisions and some of its leaders wanting to toe the line of the Zuma-aligned “premier league” faction. Without a constituency, platform, a voice or even a campaign song, Ramaphosa is in serious trouble. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Various campuses were closed on Tuesday as students protested against Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande’s announcement about 2017 fee increases. While decisions on the increments rest with individual institutions, some students say the conversation misses the point: free education. At the same time, treasury says finding the R2.5-billion to meet the policy to cover increases for poor students is extremely challenging. By GREG NICOLSON.
South African Revenue Service Commissioner Tom Moyane, who could face criminal charges for sitting on a report from the Financial Intelligence Centre flagging suspicious activity in the bank accounts of now suspended SARS Chief Officer of Business and Individual Tax, Jonas Makwakwa, and his alleged partner Kelly-Ann Elskie, has appointed the international law firm Hogan Lovells to investigate the matter. Why aren’t the Hawks investigating, you might ask, and can Hogan Lovells, like KMPG, really be considered “independent” when SARS is both the client and the target? And how much will this cost taxpayers? By MARIANNE THAMM.
President Jacob Zuma and the law have what you could call an interesting relationship. He is often accused of believing that he is above the law – he has joked that he would like to be a dictator, even for 'only' six months. And time and time again, he has challenged the interpretation of our laws, only to find himself on the losing side. On Monday came news that the Chief Operating Officer of the SABC, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, had his appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal turned down. Last week, (advocates for now, until their next appeal is turned down) Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi took special leave from the National Prosecuting Authority after being found by a judge to be not fit and proper for their posts. When Zuma goes, he is going to leave a body of law that will make it much harder for anyone to ever try to take power in this way again. The law of unintended consequences strikes again. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
In 1990, at the time of its unbanning, the ANC had unique prestige not because of the stature of Mandela alone, though that was an important factor, but because of its record in the struggle. There was powerful evidence of its willingness to throw everything into the struggle on a range of fronts, the sense people had that the organisation was theirs because its leaders truly championed their cause, engaged the enemy in battle to advance their interests and went to jail, were tortured or died while driven by those goals. The ANC may or may not have shifted ideologically. But more important is that the ANC no longer cares about the poor. It no longer cares about those who are more or less the same people as their own mothers and fathers from whose shoulders they previously pledged to lift the yoke of apartheid oppression and exploitation. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
There was blood on the streets of Kinshasa on Monday as police cracked down on an anti-government rally. But neither the deaths of protesters, nor the ongoing “national dialogue”, will do much to dissuade President Joseph Kabila to step down at the end of his second term in office in December. By SIMON ALLISON.
Making a recommendation on university fee increases, Minister Blade Nzimande was faced with competing demands. He took the middle ground, deciding the state would pay for poor and middle class students’ fee hikes while letting the wealthy pay. Some students have already started protesting. Whether it spreads nationwide will depend on whether students accept the piecemeal appeasement or want to make a point for free education, now. By GREG NICOLSON.
Something both the ANC and the DA agree on is that the fate of Joburg is the fate of the nation – that if it does well it will pull the whole country along with it, and if it does badly, we’re all in trouble. Finally, after a bit of a pause following the local government elections, we are beginning to get a sense of the possible future direction for the city. As a commuter cyclist, I’ve been a bit surprised by the amount of noise generated by the closure of the cycle lane project. Still, the substance of the city’s new plans is far more interesting. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Eight years ago today, an ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting began at the Esselen Park conference centre in Ekurhuleni. A day later, it was announced that “after a long and difficult discussion, the ANC has decided to recall the President of the Republic before his term of office expires”. The decision to recall Thabo Mbeki enabled a sudden shift of power in the state to President Jacob Zuma. His once powerful security empire is now devouring itself, with few people left he can rely on. As Zuma becomes a growing liability to the ANC, he is also being left legally exposed as his protection force falls apart. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Immediate palliative care is a vital response to the world’s record numbers of refugees and internally displaced. But any sustainable solution to this global crisis must go further, buttressing international law and ending the wars that drive so many from their homes. Commentary by INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP.
A showdown looms in Marikana as government today might begin evicting those who have occupied new houses on land donated by Lonmin. Occupiers insist they have a right to the housing, while government wants them to respect a recent court decision finding they don’t have a right to these houses. By GREG NICOLSON.
The same day the North Gauteng High court ruled that one of the most powerful women in the country, NPA deputy head Nomgcobo Jiba, should be struck off the Roll of Advocates along with Commercial Crimes head Lawrence Mrwebi, outgoing public protector, Thuli Madonsela – who is investigating allegations of state capture by the Gupta family – revealed that she had subpoenaed the secretary of Cabinet to hand over declarations of Cabinet ministers and minutes from November 2015 to April 2016. Meanwhile, the second most powerful man at SARS, Jonas Makwakwa, has been suspended pending an investigation into allegations of irregular payments into his bank account. Who will be next to fall? By MARIANNE THAMM.
Kenya hosts one of the largest refugee populations in the world, mostly in Dadaab, which is also the biggest refugee camp in the world. But Kenya’s patience is running thin. Having repeatedly threatened to shut down Dadaab, the country is now resorting to fear and intimidation to force refugees to return to Somalia. By SIMON ALLISON.
Eight of the 36 psychiatric patients who died when the Gauteng Department of Health transferred more than 1,000 patients from Life Esidimeni are reported to have died at an NGO called Precious Angels. It still houses patients, suggesting that as investigations begin, improved care might be a long way off. By GREG NICOLSON.
Filipe Nyusi is in the US capital for delicate talks with the International Monetary Fund, and to receive a Congressional award for his personal contribution to conservation. While there, he faces awkward questions about Mozambique’s misuse of international loans, and the ongoing conflict with Renamo. By GEOFF HILL.
On Thursday, the High Court in Pretoria found that Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba, one of the four deputy heads of the National Prosecuting Authority, and Lawrence Mrwebi, the head of the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit, are in possession of characters that were not “fit and proper” to be advocates. That they had lied. That they have brought “the image of the legal profession, the Prosecuting Authority, into disrepute”. By STEPHEN GROOTES.