- Shaun Swingler
On Tuesday the ANC’s national task team that has been running the ANC Youth League since a certain ‘young lion’ went off the game reserve announced that the League’s planned elections had been postponed. For, depending on how you count these things, the third or fourth time. But, farcically, the conference itself is now going to go ahead as a policy gathering. While it is a real indication of the political problems facing the League at the moment, it is also part of a much bigger picture that should worry Luthuli House greatly. It is the picture of the rot setting in at the extremes, rather than the centre. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
The ANC Youth League conference will proceed, but without leadership elections. Leaders of the organisation's national task team and the ANC don't believe the ‘young lions’ can discuss the future of the League and contest positions at the same time. They're probably right and it's an indictment on the organisers that leaves the ANC with another leaderless campaigning body. By GREG NICOLSON.
Many observers derive some pleasure from the disorder recently witnessed in parliament and the embarrassment it has caused the ANC. While lamenting this development, many may wish to see these scenes continue, no matter what the cost to parliament as an institution. It is, however, necessary to look to the long-term and find a way of resolving the problems. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
The ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) met over the weekend at a time of great political strain. Parliament is in disarray due to tensions between the ANC and opposition parties, Cosatu is self-combusting, and the Nkandla scandal continues to drag the ruling party through the mud. You would think that when the top decision-making structure of the ANC meets, it would recognise the level of turmoil and take the opportunity to provide firm leadership. But ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said he did not know how to answer a question about the broken fence around the presidential estate at Nkandla, let alone acknowledge that it was bringing the 103-year-old organisation to its knees. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
This is the 15th year in which South Africa has taken part in the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign. Though it’s a worldwide initiative, there can be few places which need it more than South Africa – yet the government’s plans for the period are less than inspiring. Is it a sign that they’re simply out of ideas as to how to tackle the ongoing tidal wave of gender-based violence? By REBECCA DAVIS.
As the dust finally begins to settle on the chaos and mess that has been the National Assembly over the last two weeks, a broader picture is finally beginning to emerge of the very real dynamics and problems the leaderships of the various parties are facing. In the old days, just before the May elections, it was relatively simple. The ANC could use its muscle to win arguments, the DA could shout and everyone knew Cope was already dope. And of course, no one was watching Parliament, so it didn’t really matter very much. Now things are beginning to change. And, strangely enough, it may mean more consensus. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Last week a waiter at a fast food restaurant in Cape Town made headlines when he was spotted lovingly helping a disabled man eat his takeaway ice cream cone. This simple act of random kindness seemed to resonate deeply with weary South Africans seeking some respite from negative headlines and helping to restore a much-needed sense of community and hope. But should we really be surprised? By MARIANNE THAMM.
Zwelinzima Vavi seems to believe in miracles. The Cosatu general secretary not only thinks he can remain in Cosatu as general secretary and return it to its former glory, he also thinks that those who fought tooth and nail to expel Numsa will now let the metalworkers’ union be reinstated. Vavi was front and centre at a Cosatu media briefing last week, trying to sell the illusion of a possible political settlement. What stands between Vavi’s dream of stitched-back-together federation and the fractured state Cosatu finds itself in is the word “unconditional”. But the game intensified over the weekend with Numsa and its allies wanting an “unconditional” reversal of the expulsion. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
The Farlam Commission of Inquiry wraps up this week, while Bafana Bafana surprise us all and the the unearthed Khampepe Report sees the light of day after 12 years. Are all the President's women also looking for Jacob Zuma as chaos unfolds in Parliament this week? Get your weekly dose of all the most evocative news from the last seven days, brought to you by the Daily Maverick, in partnership with TVPC Media. By DIANA NEILLE.
What blessed relief to hear MPs in the National Assembly on Thursday finally get down to discussing the Medium Term Budget. What a shame that the debate came over six hours after the start of the Parliamentary sitting, when many South Africans would likely have given up following events. The day started with the ANC announcing that the Ramaphosa-brokered truce between parties was definitely off; after hours of closed-doors negotiations, the truce is now back on. It’s tempting to say: a pox on all their houses. By REBECCA DAVIS.
After months of open warfare, Cosatu’s leaders have decided to smoke the peace pipe and begin a new, new negotiations process, led by the ANC, to resolve their numerous problems. Suddenly the special congress Cosatu affiliates have been demanding for over a year is on the table, Zwelinzima Vavi’s disciplinary charges are held in abeyance and there is a possibility that Numsa’s expulsion could be reversed. A week ago, these were non negotiable. What changed? Cosatu has been hit by the consequences of expelling Numsa, which, apparently, they did not anticipate. And the ANC has realised how much they stand to lose with Vavi and Numsa setting up a new force outside the Alliance. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Below the surface of the Nkandla scandal currently paralysing parliament is the fact that the monies misused were intended to meet basic needs of impoverished citizens. It is, however, important to understand freedom as indivisible: social and economic rights do not inhabit a different world from the rights to dignity and equality or other rights. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
The storm that is raging in the National Assembly shows no signs of abating. Hot on the heels of last Thursday night’s filibuster/police drama came Wednesday’s filibuster 2.0, including personal insults, racial subtext, and even the odd substantive idea. At the centre of this circular high pressure system sits speaker Baleka Mbete. Blamed by the commentariat for what happened last week, almost hated by opposition parties, and directly contradicted by the ANC’s chief whip Stone Sizani during the first filibuster debate, she is in the eye of the storm. So when she actually takes the time to grant an interview, you know it’s unlikely to be boring. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
It took little more than 24 hours for the truce between parties negotiated by Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday to fall apart. The ANC blamed the DA’s insistence on pressing ahead with a debate on whether President Zuma should be censured for non-appearance in Parliament as grounds for discarding the armistice. But the opposition argued that the debate going ahead was always part of the deal. By REBECCA DAVIS.
After a faltering start, the deadline for parties to make submissions to the Competition Commission's inquiry into the private healthcare system is up. Health is a priority in the country's transformation, but when it comes to the private sector, so little is known and, it seems, so much needs to change. By GREG NICOLSON.
Naspers appears to be a company comfortable with contradiction. On the one hand, it owns Media24, the largest independent media group in South Africa and a vocal critic of any attempts to restrict media freedoms in South Africa. On the other hand, most of Naspers’ revenue, and its entire market cap, comes from its large stake in Tencent, the Chinese social media giant that is deeply complicit in official Chinese censorship efforts. Can the two positions be reconciled? Or is this an unsustainable hypocrisy that will not end well for South Africa? By SIMON ALLISON.
On the face of it, it looks like high-octane political opposition in South Africa. The fifth Parliament is a bustle of activity, with opposition parties challenging the ANC and tackling President Jacob Zuma and his Cabinet at every opportunity. In a day of high drama last week, the opposition parties staged their first filibuster in the South African Parliament. Regardless, the Nkandla report was adopted by the ANC majority. So apart from the EFF’s red overalls, the DA’s mourning garments, the clashes with police, the constant motions mocking Nkandla and the legendary clashes with Speaker Baleka Mbete, are opposition parties succeeding in running interference against the ANC? By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Though DA MPs wore all black to the National Assembly on Tuesday to dramatically signal the death of the democratic space, two things secured a kind of fraught truce to Parliamentary hostilities – relatively speaking. One was the meeting convened between opposition leaders and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday morning. The other, which emerged from the first, was the postponement of the contentious agenda item to discuss disciplinary measures against EFF MPs. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The challenge issued by Small Business Minister Lindiwe Zulu to a political opponent last week in Parliament to come out the corridor and slug it out encourages J. BROOKS SPECTOR to look back at America’s most famous duel between political rivals – Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr’s face-off in 1804.
That the issue of Nkandla is going to be seen as the scandal of these years probably goes without saying. It has come to dominate our politics in a way we haven’t seen since the Arms Deal. Despite fierce competition from the likes of the Bheki Cele Headquarters scandal, or the Guptas landing at Waterkloof, Nkandla has come to take over day-to-day politics in a whole new way. For the last week or so, much of the action has been in Parliament. But down in Kwa-Zulu/Natal, a small drama is playing out that could really show us what actually happened. It is vital that the media are allowed to see it. Even if both the defence and the prosecution object. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Fisticuffs in Parliament, Number One not responsible for the upgrades to his private home at Nkandla, a dodgy nuclear energy tender. While our politicians provide sensational headlines, ordinary South Africans get on with the business of rebuilding and healing the country out of the public eye. MARIANNE THAMM found much to celebrate at the recent Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards.
There is a common complaint among the middle-class grumparati that politics in South Africa never changes; that no matter what happens, there is no political cost to the actions of those who dominate our political scene. But the last six months have shown, once again, how quickly things can change in our country. The question now is whether this rate of change will speed up, or whether it will subside once again. By STEPHEN GROOTES.