- Mandy de Waal
On Thursday, the Cape High Court ruled in favour of the Marikana occupiers and instructed the City of Cape Town to rebuild the homes they 'unconstitutionally and unlawfully' destroyed on 7 and 8 January. The importance of this landmark ruling, if it is upheld, cannot be overstated. Its impact will reverberate in municipalities throughout the country. Anti-Land Invasion units beware: your operations have now been judged illegal. By JARED SACKS.
The history of our time will never do justice to the story of Kgalema Motlanthe, South Africa’s shortest-serving president and the man who could have changed the destiny of this country – if he had had the slightest trace of political ambition. After the 7 May elections, he will cease to be South Africa’s deputy president and will go on to live the rest of his days free from the bondage of politics and public service. Should we be angry, in awe or grateful to Motlanthe as he bows and walks off the political stage? Perhaps all of the above. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Nominations for candidates for the 7 May vote have been officially closed by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). Despite worries the party wouldn't make it, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) delivered their lists, contesting all available provincial and national positions, in true Fighter style – with a scuffle outside the IEC offices at the last minute. So, who might be going to Parliament? The political class of 2014 continues to surprise. By GREG NICOLSON.
It is perhaps a pity that government’s 20-year review document was released two months before the national elections. It is now viewed through the prism of electioneering rather than as an in-depth look at the state of South Africa after 20 years of democracy. Some opposition parties have already accused President Jacob Zuma of using it as a brag book and claim he is skewing the findings to support his “good story” narrative. But what if it were President Nelson Mandela presenting us with the very same document? Would we believe it then? Zuma, though, does not believe the ANC government could have done any better. So this is as good as it gets. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
For many political parties around the world, drawing up candidate lists for Parliament is a tricky business. There are dozens of contradictory constituencies to manage, egos to massage, and debts to be paid. In South Africa it's even more difficult, particularly for bigger parties. While they have more spaces to fill, they also have more political equations to balance. Geographical representation needs to work, as does racial balance and language balance. And that's before one deals with issues like political power, the strength of support of relative constituencies, and competence. The ANC's National Assembly list is the product of just such a process. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Chief Luthuli is a Nobel Prize winner who receives less attention that he deserves, for his life has important lessons. From his earliest days in the ANC Luthuli spoke of the ‘gospel of service’, embracing a social gospel, a Christianity that understood serving the Creator as signifying serving the cause of freedom, the equality of all God’s creatures, without thought of reward. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
South African politics can move so quickly that some people may be forgiven for forgetting how important Trevor Manuel once was. Not to say he’s not important now. Just that there was once a time when he was really the second-most important and powerful person in the country, when the rand appeared to quiver at his every word. And when he was the financial face of the Mbeki government, the person who had to sell his macroeconomic policies to the western world and prove to them that South Africa was not going to follow the path of other African countries on our continent. We will miss him. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Judge Thokozile Masipa’s decision not to allow any live media coverage of Reeva Steenkamp’s postmortem coverage was doubtless undertaken for the noblest possible reasons. But that still doesn’t mean it was the perfect call – particularly because it reinforces the perceived discrepancy between the way white and black bodies are treated in death, or the idea that famous people have greater rights to dignity and privacy than folk on the street. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union's (AMCU) strike at Impala Platinum (Implats), Lonmin and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) is in its seventh week. GREG NICOLSON & THAPELO LEKGOWA speak to AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa and workers to understand what's going on and see what's dividing the parties and stopping them from reaching a wage deal.
Politics is power. Nowhere can that be truer than when it comes to governance in South Africa, and our electrical supply. It is clear that we do not have enough electricity, and won't have for many more years. It's also clear that because of what we could call the unique features of our political system, not one political leader is going to pay a political price for this. And if that is not depressing enough, consider this: the legal system we have at the moment around power is not going to change. The proposed laws that would have seen other producers helping out Eskom are lapsing in Parliament as we speak - and will have to be drawn up again after the elections. Things are most definitely going to get darker before they get lighter. If they ever get lighter. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
President Jacob Zuma got booed again last week, this time at a soccer match. It is uncertain whether this was a political statement against the president himself or whether South African soccer fans are so fed up with the performance of the national soccer team Bafana Bafana that they needed to take it out on someone – and opted for Number One. Had Bafana Bafana won or at least drawn against Brazil, would it still have happened? Losing has a tremendous psychological effect on people, and everyone wants to be on the winning side. This is why in this year’s election campaign, so many parties are projecting themselves as the next government, even though some of them could hardly win a fluffy toy at the funfair. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Issues of Israeli-Palestinian politics are coming to a town near you! It's Israeli Apartheid Week again and with 155 events planned to rally against the Israeli state, there's sure to be either a fuming pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli around the corner. It's hot, like a red beret, with the youth, you know. But if it's all too much, you can catch Simphiwe Dana – and maybe a protest and counter-protest – for free! By GREG NICOLSON.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union’s (AMCU) strike at Impala Platinum, Anglo American Platinum and Lonmin has entered its seventh week. On Thursday, 12,000 supporters marched to the Union Buildings. They presented a memorandum demanding Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu be sacked and President Jacob Zuma intervene to stop government’s antagonistic stance towards the union and help end the platinum negotiations. By GREG NICOLSON & THAPELO LEKGOWA.
In PR terms, the ANC has had a rough ride in the approach to this year’s elections: deadly and rampant service delivery protests, corruption scandals, poor performance of the economy, successive fuel price increases, the e-tolling mess and of course, the king of all PR nightmares, the Nkandla security upgrades. As of Thursday, rolling nationwide electricity blackouts were introduced into the mix of things that induce frustration and rage among South Africans. The ANC says load shedding will have no effect its election campaign but for as long as the power supply remains vulnerable, electricity outages remain a reality. Someone will have to carry the burden of responsibility. So far it’s the consumer, who might, incidentally, also be a voter. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Spare a thought for the witnesses in the Pistorius murder trial. In coming forward to do their civic duty, they must face not only sustained interrogation by some of South Africa’s fiercest lawyers, but also the stress of doing so while being watched or heard by an international audience. If you’re Michelle Burger’s husband Charl Johnson, you’re now also looking at having to change your cellphone number. It’s hardly an enviable prospect – but they still have it luckier than many. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Six weeks after the start of the Association Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) strike began at Impala Platinum (Implats), Lonmin and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) negotiations have made little progress. In fact, they’ve stopped. While AMCU has finally shown it’s willing to play ball, there’s no love lost between the union and the platinum producers. By GREG NICOLSON.
On Friday the National Union of Metalworkers of SA is expected to provide a full answer to a request by Cosatu for reasons why it should not be “suspended or expelled” from the federation. As we’ve suggested before, this is the latest act in a rather long and overly extended ballet, where everyone knows the final outcome, but is going to extend the misery nonetheless. Cosatu will split. The misery continues. But it’s only now that the full impact of this on workers is really beginning to be felt. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Not all opinion polls and surveys are created equal. But all too often news websites, newspapers and radio and television stations fail to properly interrogate them. Just as a single-source news article will lack credibility, so does a news report based solely on the results of a snapshot poll or a survey. Journalists should always question how a poll or survey was done, and dig deeper. Context, additional comment and analysis are vital. Researched by Raymond Joseph and Julian Rademeyer for AFRICA CHECK.
There are nine weeks to go before South Africa’s fifth democratic elections, and hype should be mounting as the campaign season is now in full swing. Leaders of all political parties are fanning out across the country trying to whip up support and ignite excitement about the elections. But as of this week, the country’s attention is firmly on Court GD at the North Gauteng High Court, where the epic murder trial of paralympian Oscar Pistorius is underway. What does this mean for the elections and how does the trial impact on the political dynamics in the country? By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
In dissecting the character of Oscar Pistorius, much has been written about a certain culture of South African hyper-masculinity within which Pistorius is taken to fall: valorising guns, fast cars, anger, speed, physical strength and violence. If his defence against murder is that he “screams like a woman”, we may have to re-write some of our simplistic gendered assumptions and responses, writes REBECCA DAVIS.
Oscarama, also known as murder trial against world famous athlete Oscar Pistorius, has attracted media from across the world. First they were here for Nelson Mandela’s funeral, now this. The media was the centre of attention at the beginning of proceedings on day two after certain outlets published a witness’s photograph against the expressed orders of the court. GREG NICOLSON was there, shooting with and at the circus.
In this, the first properly “viral” South African election, the way that politicians, citizens and journalists are now battling it out online has made old-school, paper ‘n ink headlines more than once. What does the latest flap over opposition leader and Democratic Alliance president, Helen Zille, say about new realms of civic engagement in South Africa 3.0? RICHARD POPLAK goes online to find out.
While many tuned in to television channels, radio stations or caught up with the minutiae of the Oscar Pistorius trial on the Internet and on their Twitter timelines, some opted for face-to-face encounter with the paralympian as he made his court appearance in an overcast Pretoria. By GREG NICOLSON.