- Mandy de Waal
Since being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in April last year, Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini has suffered immensely, and in the early hours of Saturday morning, could endure the agony no more. He took his own life, bringing to an end a colourful career. A myriad of tributes poured in, praising his life’s work. But Oriani-Ambrosini was also a controversial character in South African politics, which many people prefer not to speak of now. The passage of time can purify many political legacies but it can also destroy outstanding careers. With the ageing of a generation of eminent political leaders, how will and how should they be remembered? By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
While counsel for embattled SABC COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, argued that an application in the Cape High Court to have him immediately suspended was “politically opportunistic”, an affidavit by Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, warned that the decision by the SABC Board and the Communications Minister to disregard her February report “has significant implications for the workings of our democracy and the independence and effectiveness of the institution of the Public Protector.” By MARIANNE THAMM.
The ANC Youth league is now just five weeks away from holding its first national congress since its formal leadership was disbanded by the ANC’s National Executive Committee in March 2013. At that congress it’s due to reconstitute itself, and be welcome once more into the ANC family. However, it’s going to be a long hard slog for the League to try to live up to the history it has so gloriously painted for itself. And its first big test is whether the young lions are going to choose the right lion to lead their pride. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
If you are reading this, you are among the ever-smaller band of people who still read stories about Marikana in Daily Maverick. Most people prefer not to. Most people choose to think of the Marikana massacre as a terrible thing that happened to other people, a world away from their own lives. By turning away from their suffering, we perpetuate the prejudice against the people of Marikana. Just because those in power treat the people of Marikana like children of a lesser God, does not mean we should too. In the US city of Ferguson in Missouri, a state of emergency was declared this weekend as protests intensified over the killing of an unarmed teenager by a police officer. We know who Mike Brown is because his community is demanding justice. Why are WE not? By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
On Friday President Jacob Zuma’s lawyers admitted in the Supreme Court of Appeal that they were conceding the appeal by the DA for access to what has become known in our political culture as the 'Zuma Spy Tapes'. In other words, the tapes are now going to be handed over. And one can safely presume that it will be a hop, skip and a jump for them to be made public by the DA pretty quickly after that. But just this concession leads automatically to the question of why Zuma has resisted for so long the publication of these recordings. And if this really the beginning of the end of one of the “sagas” that have come to define the Zuma era. And many, many more questions. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
President Jacob Zuma had 14 days to respond to Public Protector’s report on the security upgrades at his Nkandla residence. It took him 148 days to do so. Despite having an extra 134 days to read, digest and respond to the report, one would swear that neither the President nor whomever it was who wrote his response had actually read Thuli Madonsela’s report. Either that, or Zuma is deliberately choosing to ignore the key findings and recommendations. Spare a thought though for the new Minister of Police Nkosinathi Nhleko, who had a blazing hot potato dropped in his lap. Nhleko must determine how much, if anything, his boss must pay back to the state. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Forensic expert Dr David Klatzow has been one of the most vocal and consistent critics of South African police handling of crime scenes and evidence. Speaking on Wednesday about his new book, ‘Justice Denied’, Klatzow wasn’t mincing his words about the quality of local forensic investigations. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The collective pain was overwhelming at the Marikana Commission on Wednesday. Two years after the killings, the relatives of the victims took the floor and spoke of good men, justice, and finding a substitute for the unique. They spoke of men with names, faces and families, what they left behind, what can’t be replaced. By GREG NICOLSON.
Just days after a national newspaper exposed his academic qualifications as a lie, Pallo Jordan apologised to the ANC and to South Africa, and stepped down from his public positions. This week, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa finally appeared before the Marikana Commission of Inquiry to explain his role in events preceding the massacre of 34 mineworkers two years ago, an appearance during which 'sorry' seemed to be the hardest word for him. He still remains the most likely candidate to be the next President of South Africa. Jordan, on the other hand, is headed into the political wilderness. What does this mean for the ANC and for South Africa? By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
12 August is World Elephant Day. In Cape Town this year, conservationists gathered to mark the day by paying tribute to the Kenyan government’s burning of 12 tons of seized elephant tusks in 1989, a move which garnered attention worldwide and led to an international ivory trade ban. The “tusks” burnt by Cape Town conservationists were fake – but the message was very real. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The drama between Advocate Dali Mpofu and Cyril Ramaphosa took precedence on the Deputy President’s second day of testifying at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry. Mpofu wants Ramaphosa, who has become a symbol of the violent collusion between Lonmin, the state and police, charged with murder. GREG NICOLSON reports from the Commission and wonders whether the charges will stick.
As the Oscar Pistorius trial winds to a close, a Special Assignment documentary on Sunday night was a reminder of another South African murder case involving a high-profile man which has consistently failed to win a similar degree of media attention – or outrage. When artist Zwelethu Mthethwa goes to trial in November, will we see crowds, cameras and the ANC Women’s League? Or does nobody care very much when the accused is an artist – and the victim is a sex-worker? By REBECCA DAVIS.
On Monday DA leader Helen Zille released her weekly online newsletter, in which she claimed that it may no longer be possible to trust the Independent Electoral Commission and the Electoral Court. She joins several other opposition parties who have made the same claim. While part of this claim is about the conduct of IEC Chair Advocate Pansy Tlakula, it is also about the ANC. Whatever the facts, what is frightening is that we appear to be heading towards a situation where we have the ANC and the IEC on one side, and almost everyone else on the other. Which cannot be described as very good for our democracy. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Two years ago on Monday, Lonmin workers marched on the NUM and were fired upon by union members, starting a spiral of violence that ended in the Marikana massacre. On Monday, NUM founding general secretary and current Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa testified on his role in the murky collaboration between Lonmin and politicians. The 'buffalo prince' survived, steadfast and resolute, but human after all. By GREG NICOLSON.
Residents of Ward 44 in Gugulethu have taken matters in their own hands to combat crime in the area. About 122 volunteers have signed up to do community policing work, which encompasses patrolling the area 24 hours a day, checking sewage problems and collecting rubbish material. The group has divided itself into three shifts, working around the clock from 7am. By Johnnie Isaacs for GROUNDUP.
What on earth is going on with our land reform process? Recently, South Africa has experienced another of its periodic spasms of concern about the ‘land question’ – this time brought about by the unveiling of a sheaf of controversial new legislation and proposals by the Minister of Land Reform and Rural Development (DRDLR 2014b). After a year or two of relative quiet, we at the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies are once again besieged by journalists seeking comment from experts who can help them make sense of the new proposals. The experts, it has seemed, are as stumped as the rest of us – or even more so. By ANDRIES DU TOIT.
It’s an absolute tragedy that in 2014, we are reading newspaper reports and listening to radio bulletins about petitions to suspend and banish a schoolboy for expressing his opinion about the bloodshed in Gaza. Even more so given our country’s dark past and the price paid for our beacon of light: our proud Constitution. But since we are, ALEX ELISEEV offers his analysis.
The South African national high school debating team, currently in Bangkok for the World Debating Championships, has come under attack for expressing solidarity with the people of Gaza during the tournament’s opening ceremony. The events of the past three days highlight a disturbing trend in the local Jewish community, one which every South African should be concerned about. By SAUL MUSKER.
On Sunday, the Sunday Times and City Press newspapers appeared to be competing for the best angle on a story that could suggest, again, that the very foundation of our nation state is about to be rocked. The two stories relate to what looks like a formally loving relationship between the head of enforcement at the SA Revenue Services Johann van Loggenberg, and a lawyer, Belinda Walter. Walter was not only the former head of the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association, but also, according to the City Press, a member of a “rogue unit within the State Security Agency”. In other words, it appears that a member of SARS was involved with someone who was part of a group of people involved in the Richard Mdluli Affair, and who were trying to discredit SARS as an agency. It really could not be more serious. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Since 3 March 2014, “M’lady” has become a principal character in the biggest criminal trial in the country, her unflustered temperament and quiet authority bringing equilibrium to the case that became global sensation. On 11 September, the world will watch Judge Thokozile Masipa deliver judgment in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, a massive moment for her, for the criminal justice system and the country. In commemorating National Women’s Day and Women’s Month, it is women like Judge Masipa who should be upheld as role models. There are many like her, who beat adversity, advance to great heights and give back to the world so that others may rise. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Chilean president Michelle Bachelet has been in town on a whirlwind tour. As the first female president of Chile and the first director of UN Women, the timing of her visit to coincide with South Africa’s Women’s Day seemed appropriate. But at a public discussion in Cape Town on Sunday, it was clear that both Chile and South Africa have a long path to walk towards true gender equality. By REBECCA DAVIS.