- Ranjeni Munusamy
Take one flaming hot potato and throw it back at public protector Thuli Madonsela. That appears to be the sum total of the ANC’s response to dealing with the raging controversy around the upgrade of President Jacob Zuma’s private estate at Nkandla. The ANC is desperate to communicate that it is not party to any cover-up on the Nkandla matter and has therefore called for the speedy release of Madonsela’s investigation report as well as government’s full task team report on the security upgrades. But when it comes to demanding answers from the one person who can provide his organisation with all the details of the renovations at his Nkandla home, the ANC is rather coy. Deliberately so. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
The “Know Your Constitution” Campaign* is a campaign that advocates for the right to constitutional literacy, including the right to access physical copies of our Constitution. The Campaign culminates on 10 December – the 17th anniversary of the official adoption of the Constitution. This week’s focus is on rights of people with disabilities - a group of South Africans that face human rights violations as a matter, of course, on a daily basis. Beyond blind beggars at traffic lights, and a handful of exceptional public figures with disabilities, the relative invisibility of disabled people in our society belies the fact that up to 15% of our population may have a disabling impairment of some kind. The work of SECTION27 and Afrika Tikkun proves that constitutional literacy is a tool for amplifying the quiet voices of the most marginalised, and provides an example of what those voices can achieve, given access to and the understanding of our Constitution. By MUHAMMAD ZAKARIA SULEMAN and JEAN ELPHICK.
After years of resistance, e-tolling began on Tuesday on highways that have been upgraded by the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project. The South African National Roads Agency Limited's (Sanral) lawyers were right, the world did not come to an end. But neither has the fight. Despite government's continued assurances that tolling is necessary and above board, anti-tolling activists are as determined as ever to fight the power. By GREG NICOLSON, THAPELO LEKGOWA & BHEKI SIMELANE.
Expelled ANC councillor Andile Lili was at the helm of the October protests in Cape Town which led to violence and looting. Two further protests scheduled for the last few days were cancelled following the refusal of the City of Cape Town to grant permits, and the intervention of religious leaders. Lili now says that if they don’t reach an agreement with Western Cape Premier Helen Zille by the end of January on issues like housing and sanitation, she can expect a “radical” march in February. There’s no love lost between Lili and the ANC, so who is he representing? By REBECCA DAVIS.
The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) has raised concerns over what they call “an attempt to harass and intimidate” the editor of a small community newspaper in the Eastern Cape who blew the whistle on allegedly irregular expenditure by a senior manager in Matatiele municipality. Editor of The Informer, Andile Nomabhunga, was arrested by police and has been charged with trespassing, together with a DA councillor, some days after they visited the home of the manager to investigate the allegations. The DA claims the saga has echoes of Nkandla on a tiny (tiny) scale. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Hear ye! Hear ye! Gauteng's e-tolling system, with a build-up bigger than a pay-per-view fight, as awaited as Y2K, is here. The South African National Road Agency Limited (Sanral) is confident people are taking the bait. Opposition groups remain as opposed as ever. Daily Maverick spoke to motorists on the street who are cautiously adopting a wait-and-see approach. By GREG NICOLSON & THAPELO LEKGOWA
In case you haven't heard, those white ornaments above the Gauteng highways go live today. E-tolling has officially started. Joy. As this is aimed squarely at the middle class, we asked our middle-class correspondent, STEPHEN GROOTES, to meditate over what one should do. Should you pay? Or should you join the ranks of the ungovernable?
The leak of details of public protector’s provisional report on the upgrade of President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla estate has increased the political pressure on Thuli Madonsela. Not only does she have to keep fighting attempts to intimidate her and frustrate the public release of her report, all indications are that government is gearing to challenge her findings and force her to whitewash the final version. Now her biggest detractors, the South African Communist Party (SACP), has weighed in, calling for legislation which currently makes it “unlawful” to insult the public protector or her deputy to be changed. This from the people who brought you the proposal for an “anti-insult law” to protect the president. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
For all the bluster and bickering this year, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (Numsa) have resisted tearing at each others' throats. That was before the union seriously started considering forming a workers' party. If it does, Numsa will vie directly with the Communist Party to see who can be more Marxist. The gloves are off and the SACP looks threatened and threatening. By GREG NICOLSON.
To a political alien from another system, President Jacob Zuma must look like a boxer on the ropes. Pow! Pow! Pow! The scandals just keep on coming. Nkandla! Zuma Spy Tapes! Corruption charges! And they're all, quite literally, at that large "fire pool" on his doorstep. To someone from what we South Africans sometimes like to a call a "normal" country, it would seem that Zuma stands no chance; he's going to be impeached. As South Africans, we all know differently. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
The leaking of the draft Nkandla report played out like a well-rehearsed drama: the crusading investigative reporters, the outraged nation, the unflappable government and the defensive ANC. But the details are out there now. And they are explosive. Whatever happens from here, ALEX ELISEEV argues, we are a more empowered citizenry.
For months there has been speculation about the political future of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and whether it will continue to back the African National Congress in light of conflicting policy trajectories. Numsa is holding a special national congress in two weeks to put a number of difficult questions to its membership, including its role in Cosatu, the alliance and electoral support for the ANC. The most ground-breaking decision from this congress is likely to be support for the establishment of a new workers’ “vanguard” party or a coalition of the Left. It has been a long time coming but the parting of ways between Numsa and the ANC is imminent. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
“Will South Africans ever be shocked by rape?” a BBC op-ed asked in January this year, shortly before the rape and murder of Anene Booysen. In certain circumstances: yes. This week saw an outpouring of indignation over a question in the Matric Dramatic Art theory exam, which required pupils to describe how they would direct actors in the simulation of a rape using props to “maximise the horror”. The Department of Basic Education remains unapologetic. REBECCA DAVIS took a look at the furore.
A new report claims 21% of public health facilities in South Africa have experienced a “stock out” or shortage of ARV and/or TB medicines in the last three months. There is no simple explanation for the stock outs. It is often a result of a complex administrative process that ultimately endangers the lives of South Africans. By KHADIJA PATEL.
October delivered a bumper holiday edition of by-elections: 22 wards were up for elections and 20 were eventually contested across eight provinces. This was the largest number of wards to be contested in one day since the 2011 municipal elections. A couple of wards did change hands and a couple more were strenuously defended. These by-elections boasted the mixed fortunes of some smaller parties, a sprinkling of independent candidates, requests for recounts and more. What this round of by-elections didn’t do however was settle the last few wards in Tlokwe. That’s another battle for another day. By PAUL BERKOWITZ.
Comparisons between the TRC and the Farlam Commission into Marikana were the order of the day on Wednesday, when SERI (the Socio-Economic Rights Institute) was awarded the annual Reconciliation Award by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation for “keeping the Marikana victims and their families on the national agenda”. Archbishop Desmond Tutu was on hand to deliver one of his increasingly pained laments on the state of the nation. By REBECCA DAVIS.
While our political commentariat has been focused on what now looks like the slow, inevitable split of Cosatu, and what Irvin Jim will one day no doubt call the divorce between the federation and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, there are big stirrings within the ANC for a change in economic policy. The two processes are, of course, intertwined. The ANC would never have rammed the Youth Wage Employment Subsidy through Parliament, if Cosatu were still the force it was just this time last year. But now the man who is supposed to be the centre weight of the alliance has made an intervention that is revealing about both processes. And as we all know, when Gwede Mantashe speaks, action can soon follow. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) central executive committee meeting provided the latest instalment in rifts running through Cosatu and the tripartite alliance on Wednesday. Cosatu President Sdumo Dlamini warned his opposition the National Union of Metalworkers SA (Numsa) of the pains it could face in splitting from Cosatu. ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said at all costs the federation must stay together. Given the battle-like tone of the event, that seems unlikely. By GREG NICOLSON.
Does South Africa have the most corrupt government in the world? Do ten times more people live in squatter camps than in 1994? Did schoolgirls have 100,000 abortions last year? These are some of the claims made in a Facebook post that has gone viral in recent weeks. AFRICA CHECK investigated. Researched by Kate Wilkinson and Sintha Chiumia.
An intriguing story involving a meeting with President Jacob Zuma at his Nkandla residence is at the centre of the ructions in the metalworkers’ union Numsa, following its president Cedric Gina's resignation this week. It is one of a number of tales being circulated to explain the clash of personalities and reasons for the fallout in the Alliance. On Tuesday, the Numsa leadership hit back at its former president, accusing him of orchestrating a commotion in the union ahead of its crucial special congress next month. Gina’s behaviour leading up to his resignation does seem to be quite odd, and he also seems to have played his cards out. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
The South Gauteng High Court heard on Thursday that the City of Johannesburg has flouted its own rules during Operation Clean Sweep and left evicted informal traders destitute. The municipality's lawyers wouldn't deal with the meat of the case and continued their delaying tactics. Meanwhile, Clean Sweep is harming lives and the economy. By GREG NICOLSON.
On Tuesday, Statistics South Africa released the GDP figures for the third quarter of 2013. They were not encouraging and were slightly below market expectations that have already been modified and managed downwards. A sharp contraction in the manufacturing sector and weak growth in the tertiary sectors were the leg shackles that kept the economy shuffling along, just when it needs to be running. By PAUL BERKOWITZ.