- Paul Berkowitz
Below you will find a letter written by one of the 11-year olds at the Sacred Heart primary school. We have changed names to protect identities and I encourage you to share the letter with all your contacts. She arrived at her teacher’s classroom this morning and said, “Please will you help me get this out to as many people as possible”. Letter written by DANAI PACHEDU.
“South Africans are generally not xenophobic”, President Jacob Zuma said in Parliament on Thursday. What are we generally? Complacent? Angry? Fed up? Who knows what the true state of this nation is. However our default position whenever we are under pressure is to resort to violence. It is our thing. Like the French are known for romance and the British are known for being snooty. We are defined by violence – from the roads to our homes to the streets to Parliament and to our bedrooms. We came from violence and we always go back to it. And for as long as violence is our means of engagement, something extraordinary needs to happen to heal our nation. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Thursday’s National Assembly eventually saw the current outbreak of xenophobic violence take centre stage, after yet more wrangling about President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla bill. The session had originally been scheduled in order for the President to complete answering questions from August’s aborted Q&A – but that part of the agenda proved as elusive as ever. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The Christian owners of a Wolseley guesthouse who claimed that their religious beliefs prevented them from accommodating a same sex couple have apologised for their behaviour and have undertaken not to discriminate against anyone in future. The settlement in the Equality Court in Cape Town this week is a victory for equality. By MARIANNE THAMM.
On Wednesday, there was some relief from South Africa's political leadership, speaking to the xenophobic attacks which have gripped Durban. But there were also risks of attacks returning to Jo’burg, home of the 2008 violence. What's clear is that the government won't give a damn until it's forced to, and no hashtag can stay trending long enough to counter the violence of poverty, unemployment and inequality. By GREG NICOLSON.
For over a century women and men with dreams of other peoples’ equality and dignity in their hearts were prepared to sacrifice their own life possibilities in the belief that a better society was possible. In the end, their dreams were unstoppable and on 27 April 1994 they took 35 million expectant people over the finishing line to freedom. Tragically, however, the baton has been dropped and besmirched by those to whom they handed it. And yet, the future can still be made better for all South Africans. By MARK HEYWOOD.
This shouldn’t be happening again. That’s the feeling almost everyone has as people who are not from here are attacked in South Africa once more, fatally in some cases. It’s impossible to think of the violence that gripped parts of Durban this week, and the fear that gripped part of the Jo’burg CBD, without thinking of the people who died in 2008. In formal society, there is now much hand-wringing, campaigning and hash-tagging. People want to know what can be done to stop it, why it is happening, and whether this evil will ever leave us. Some blame King Goodwill Zwelithini for saying foreigners should go, some blame Number One for failing to act (which is not true), and some blame Apartheid. In the end, the job of unpacking reasons for xenophobia is not so complicated. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Gender equity in the judiciary is an ongoing and critical issue in South Africa. This week the JSC conducted interviews for seven vacant positions. Out of the 23 candidates listed, only three were women. But how exactly do we go about selecting our judges and why are so few women put up for consideration? What is the shape of the playing field? The Judges Matter Coalition this week tried to map the terrain. By MARIANNE THAMM.
This week’s Judicial Service Commission interviews have concluded with the recommendation of two senior counsel to serve as judges on the Eastern Cape bench. One of the issues aired on the final day of interviews was the reluctance of both private practice and government to appoint black lawyers to appear for them – which experts say continues to delay transformation in the judiciary as well as the legal profession. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Some of Ntuzuma residents in Durban ran wild on Monday night when they violently attacked foreign shopkeepers. The Lindelani section of Ntuzuma is the latest to suffer in a three-week spate of attacks on foreigners, which have claimed several lives around Durban already, including that of a teenage boy. By BHEKI C. SIMELANE.
Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has up to now not said anything that has had a major impact on life and politics in post-democracy South Africa. He has just been there, presiding and chewing up a large proportion of KwaZulu-Natal’s budget. Suddenly His Majesty has been catapulted in the spotlight after his royal musings sparked a wave of violent xenophobic attacks. It is has fallen on government and the police to try to contain the violence, with even the security cluster ministers trundling out trying to clean up the mess. The king, meanwhile, has been the one receiving an apology instead of making one. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
On the second day of the Judicial Service Commission’s interviews for judicial officer positions, the hot potato of judges’ political independence reared its head, with one candidate accused of inappropriately advertising his close friendship with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. Issues of transformation, meanwhile, remained close to the surface. By REBECCA DAVIS.
So check this out: in the span of only four years, Maimane has been the Democratic Alliance’s Johannesburg mayoral candidate, the city’s caucus leader, deputy chair of the federal congress, Gauteng’s premier candidate, the party’s leader in Parliament, and now heir apparent to whole dang show. But wait! Is he? Will he run? Now that Helen Zille has said she will not put her hat in the ring for the party’s leadership come May 9 conference, is Mmusi Maimane The Man? By RICHARD POPLAK
As the Judicial Services Commission begins interviews for judicial positions in Cape Town this week, issues of transformation will once again take centre stage. Of 23 candidates shortlisted for judge and judge president positions, only four are women – one of whom is ‘Oscar judge’ Thokozile Masipa, dubbed “the most famous judge in the country” by the Chief Justice. As ever, the interviews are also casting conditions within South Africa’s criminal justice system into stark relief. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Helen Zille was right. The time had definitely come for her to leave. Her decision to step down as leader of the Democratic Alliance marks another significant shift in South African politics since the 2009 elections. The formation of new parties such as the Economic Freedom Fighters and the National Freedom Party, the rise and fall of the breakaway Congress of the People, the breakup of Cosatu and now a new leader of the biggest opposition party shows the altering of the political landscape around the ANC. Now it’s all the new kids of the block versus the 103-year-old ANC in a rapidly changing world where the law of the jungle is the only way to survive. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
While land ownership and redistribution will feature as the key political issue of the next few decades, there is mounting evidence, say experts, of an elite capture of the redistribution programme, with politically connected businessmen and agri-business cashing in on how resources are redistributed. This creates an even greater urgency for the permanent appointment of a Judge President to the country’s Land Claims Court. By MARIANNE THAMM.
On Monday, Wits University students and staff marched for the victims of the attacks on students in Garissa, Kenya. While South Africa again faces xenophobic violence and questions its relationships with other African nationals, at home and abroad, such acts of solidarity need to increase. By GREG NICOLSON.
Helen Zille’s announcement that she was no longer available for re-election at the DA’s congress next month was met with immediate headlines shouting that Mmusi Maimane was going to be the party’s next leader. To outside analysts, it seems impossible to believe that it could be otherwise. How did this happen, and what kind of leader would Maimane be? And, to put it bluntly, is he old enough? By STEPHEN GROOTES.
In the relatively polarised debate on whether a legalised trade in rhino horn can save the species from extinction, it seems that both sides are guilty of cherry picking to one degree or another. Sweeping statements and unsubstantiated assertions are commonplace, according to strategist ROSS HARVEY, with each side caricaturing the other, setting up straw men and obliterating them.
On 9 April, Daily Maverick published a feature sourced from GroundUp entitled ‘The Long Wait for Motsepe’s Money’ regarding delays in funding for disadvantaged recipients in Khayelitsha. The Motsepe Foundation denies these charges. In the interests of fair debate, we publish their response in full below.
There can be no denying that Sunday’s announcement by Helen Zille that she will not be available for another term as party leader is the end of an era. She has taken a mostly white (or perceived as mostly white) grouping for minorities, from where it ended under Tony Leon, and left it as a rather different political animal. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
President Jacob Zuma’s announcement on Sunday that he was deploying three Cabinet ministers to deal with the flare-up of xenophobic violence in KwaZulu Natal is a sign that the government is finally taking this massive problem seriously. But what is the point if public figures keep on making irresponsible statements about the role of foreigners in South Africa? By REBECCA DAVIS.
For eight years, overseeing the party's growth, Helen Zille has led the Democratic Alliance. Sunday's announcement that she will not run for re-election came as a surprise, both to the public and many leaders of the party, opening up the leadership race for the country's main opposition party. It's a pivotal moment that will define the future of the DA. By GREG NICOLSON.
Rhodes has now fallen. Now the question, as always, is what should we do next. University of Cape Town students are not alone in their anger. Statues in Port Elizabeth and Pretoria have been defaced, and the State Security Agency forgot to put their jammer on again in Parliament to protect the Louis Botha statue. This issue is not going to go away, for the simple reason that we have never really dealt with our past; the trauma is still with us. By STEPHEN GROOTES.