- Greg Nicolson
The Marikana report has been admonished by relatives of the victims. Looking at two stories, it's not hard to see why. Lives have been forever changed. The widows of two men seemingly on opposite sides of the strike are linked by the massacre's legacy of injustice and poverty. By GREG NICOLSON & BHEKI C. SIMELANE.
Chaos and high drama swirled about the Western Cape ANC's provincial elective conference at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology at the weekend. After initially storming out, leader Marius Fransman was urged to stand unopposed for re-election. Changes to four top provincial executive committee leadership positions are viewed as a victory for the “forces of renewal” in the region who have been quietly garnering support. The biggest surprise at the weekend was the ousting of divisive provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile by local government specialist Faiez Jacobs. By MARIANNE THAMM.
The Marikana Report may have exonerated top government figures, but platinum producer Lonmin did not come out unscathed. On top of the report’s findings that Lonmin did not do enough to secure the safety of its employees, there’s potentially more trouble on the horizon. The World Bank has agreed to investigate whether Lonmin fulfilled its social and economic responsibilities to the Marikana community after receiving a generous investment earmarked for just that. By REBECCA DAVIS.
President Jacob Zuma was never anointed by the liberation greats to rise to the top. Neither did he become leader through automatic succession. Zuma fought hard. He climbed his way to the top through a phenomenal fight-back campaign, during which he undertook to correct the mistakes of his predecessors and become a president more in touch with the people of South Africa. How did he go from that vision to a man derided as the country’s worst leader, with multiple scandals and failures haunting his legacy? From Nkandla to Marikana, Al-Bashir to Operation Fiela, it is astounding how Zuma’s presidency hurtled from crisis to crisis. But one thing going for him is that he remains securely in power. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
The last five days of South African history have been about Marikana. The fallout from the Farlam Commission’s Marikana Report is such that no matter what the report said, it was always going to dominate every Sunday paper there is, and every radio newscast going. People have been queuing up to have their say, from Mmusi Maimane's DA to Julius Malema's EFF, from every police expert with a South African connection to NGO after NGO. And yet the most powerful, the loudest voice, the organisation with the biggest and most effective reach in the country, has remained almost totally silent. The ANC has said absolutely nothing. In fact it is almost as if it is in another world. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
“I’m innocent” is a refrain prison warders hear with such monotonous regularity, they mostly don’t listen. Zonderwater warder Levi Maphakane proved the exception to the rule. He not only listened to repeated protestations of innocence by inmate Thembekile Molaudzi – sentenced to life imprisonment on four counts including murder and robbery more than a decade ago – he contacted the Wits Justice Project (WJP) for help. Last week, the Constitutional Court reversed its own ruling regarding Molaudzi and ordered his immediate release. CAROLYN RAPHAELY reports.
President Jacob Zuma’s response to the Marikana Report is underwhelming, to say the least. He was allowed to avoid being forced to act in a more pointed way following what happened at Marikana because Judge Ian Farlam’s recommendations are legally and socially conservative, and morally weak. The recommendations that essentially pass the buck to other state agencies to re-investigate will have left most the victims and families of victims of the killing spree in August of 2012 feeling cheated. GREG MARINOVICH looks under the hood of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry’s report.
Once upon a time South Africans made meaningful contributions to international humanitarian law and its institutions – particularly in relation to the prosecution of mass rape. That however, was before some of us started disregarding court orders and spiriting people out of the country like thieves in the night. And so, because it seems to have been conveniently forgotten, let us revisit this history, whose roots stretch deep into the International Military Tribunals conducted at Nuremberg and Tokyo between 1945 and 1948. By LISA VETTEN.
The High Priests of Operation Fiela, or 'Reclaim' — the multidisciplinary onslaught that has made South Africans safer from crime, weapons, drugs and foreigners — has been an impressive success. This, at least, is the line we’re being sold by its champions. But how are they quantifying success? RICHARD POPLAK went to a breakfast to find out, and returned fuller, but dumber.
Amidst all of the conversations about the ANC, our politics, and the possibility of change, one recurring theme keeps coming up. It becomes particularly pertinent when the party's deployees in government ‘forget’ to look at passports as genocidal dictators leave, and when dark talk emerges about Number One thinking of staying in his position past 2017. It's whether the ANC would voluntarily give up power, were it to lose an election. When people ask this, it's thought of in grand terms, as if the country would go through a major shift very quickly. But actually, these things happen slowly, and over time. The ANC has already lost some power in one election, and may soon lose more power. Its behaviour so far in these situations does not engender confidence. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
The Marikana report singled out, among others, Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega for being guided by political rather than professional considerations when it came issuing orders in an impartial and unbiased manner. Over the past six years, many of President Jacob Zuma's hand-picked and appointees have sought to “interpret” the president's wishes rather than acting in a professional manner. Perhaps this should serve as a warning to those deployed to positions of authority by the President and who seek to ingratiate themselves. Because when the axe falls, some will face it alone, like Riah Phiyega. By MARIANNE THAMM.
The big take-away of the report of the Farlam Commission was that an inquiry be held into the fitness to hold office of National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega and former North West provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Zukiswa Mbombo. This is primarily for attempting to mislead the commission, not for the massacre of 34 people on 16 August 2012. Nobody has been held directly accountable for the murders at Marikana; the prosecuting authority now has to investigate this. And no compensation was recommended because the terms of reference of the commission were not wide enough. So the torment of Marikana’s wretched people continues while Cyril Ramaphosa’s path to the presidency has been cleared - for now. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
President Jacob Zuma finally released the report of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry on Thursday. Political figures were exonerated but Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega's fitness for office was questioned. Those who committed the killings, both police and strikers, as well as Lonmin’s failure to protect employees, should be investigated, the commission found. By GREG NICOLSON.
Earlier this year, Parliament established an ad hoc committee to look into the problem of violence against foreigners. That’s a hugely important mandate, given events earlier this year. The committee is getting ready to consult with all kinds of interest groups and ‘stakeholders’. Just don’t suggest that they should pay a visit to King Goodwill Zwelithini. By REBECCA DAVIS.
For two years, the Marikana Commission of Inquiry looked at the deployment of the police to Marikana and who was responsible for the death of 44 people. For three months, the country has waited for its findings and recommendations. Days before the report is due for release, President Jacob Zuma gave his view, a disaster for the public's trust in his ability to lead and act to ensure justice. By GREG NICOLSON.
The courtroom version of the Durban Magoo bombing was common knowledge by 1988: Robert McBride, an MK Special Operative, had bought a 1978 blue Ford Cortina with money given to him by the ANC in Botswana. After purposefully cutting down burglar guards into appropriate shrapnel, he packed the car with explosives and chose a target. McBride, however, says the court record as summarised by the SCA was not the truth in its entirety and there are other details that are less commonly known. Here follow the TRC’s Section 29 Inquiries for Robert McBride and Greta Apelgren (Zahrah Narkedien). By ROBYN LESLIE & DEBORA MATTHEWS.
The greatest threat to miners working underground is not the possibility of a shaft collapse, or a sudden rockfall. It comes every single day via the air that they breathe. When Parliament’s mineral resources committee met on Wednesday, an expert was on hand to remind them just how serious the health consequences of mining remain – and how inadequate the compensation system is for miners who fall sick. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The Southern African Litigation Centre, another of those do-good civil society initiatives attempting to keep the government from using the Constitution as a long-drop, has come in for all sorts of opprobrium because they’re a US State Department-funded, George Soros-minted outfit allegedly hell-bent on regime change in southern Africa. Does the SALC’s going after the government on the Omar al-Bashir affair mean we’re about to fly the Stars and Stripes from the Union Buildings? RICHARD POPLAK reports from the fringes of regime change.
The free market is a ruthless place where gazillions of products and brands compete for the attention of potential consumers. It is a space where a colour, a few bars of music or even a typeface can come to be associated with a product, service or brand. In this noisy marketplace, established and iconic celebrities too can be used to promote or “push” just about anything – usually with their permission, of course. Which is why local veteran singer PJ Powers – who also happens to a former alcoholic – is upset about the apparent use of her name to promote a monthly special by a local liquor outlet. By MARIANNE THAMM.
It is the job of judges to be dispassionate, to look at facts and the law, and to give their views very carefully. For most judges, that must be reasonably easy; they are deciding issues that do not impact on them personally. However, the strange, and illegal departure of Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir from the scandal-prone Waterkloof Airforce Base last week is surely a moment for judges to realise that their own position is threatened. And with it, the entire Constitutional edifice we all used to be so proud of. So when the three judges who ruled last week that al-Bashir was not to leave the country – only to be told he had already gone – handed down their reasoning, it must have been with a very real sense of frustration. Because “[i]f the State, an organ of State or State official does not abide by Court orders, the democratic edifice will crumble stone-by-stone until it collapses and chaos ensues.” By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Momentum is building around an anti-corruption march to the Union Buildings in August, but so too are mutterings that this could be a proxy campaign to mobilise against the ANC. The suggestions arise mostly because Zwelinzima Vavi is one of the figureheads of the campaign, and he has been on a collision course with the ANC. Vavi says the march is neither anti-ANC nor anti-government. But the organisers of the march do need to tailor their messaging or the march could morph into a general whinge session about everything wrong with our society, including bad political leadership. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
In a special debate held in the National Assembly on Tuesday, opposition parties tore into the ANC about the failure to detain Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in South Africa after a court order mandating this. While the institution of the ICC came in for some skepticism from sections of the opposition, there were harsh words for the government’s apparent disregard for South Africa’s own rule of law. ANC MPs remained defiant in the face of criticism – and hinted strongly that South Africa may leave the ICC. By REBECCA DAVIS.
In South Africa, the intense struggle that followed the youthful uprising of 1976 aimed to create a South African Dream – a new country with new prospects for the generations ahead. Today, 21 years after the end of Apartheid, as the youth of the 1976 uprising slide into middle age, how real is that dream for the post-Apartheid youth? By MURRAY LEIBBRANDT AND PIPPA GREEN.
The recently published UBS/PwC 2015 Billionaire Report explores “the story of great wealth – how it’s created, preserved and how it breeds philanthropy”. The authors of the report maintain this prosperous period of wealth generation is soon to decline although various opportunities still exist. By SHELAGH GASTROW.