- John Vlismas & Duncan Harling
In the past 20 years the power, role and political significance of traditional leaders in South Africa has risen considerably. And while the Constitutional Court has sought to deal with Customary Law in a flexible, philosophical and creative fashion, lower courts have tended to apply this law in a rigid fashion, often out of step with the Bill of Rights and the constitutional rights of communities. This week the Judicial Services Commission meets to interview five female candidates, four for a position on the Constitutional Court. With government trying to enhance and entrench the role of traditional leaders in the country the appointment matters, a lot. By MARIANNE THAMM.
Last week, the Tshwane township of Mamelodi was wracked by violence when a new city bus line was attacked by mobs wielding mobby stuff, like bricks and guns. At issue is a hate quadrangle between Autopax, the company with an interim tender for the location’s lucrative bus routes; Putco, who recently lost their partial subsidy for those same routes; the taxi associations, who claim they are being run off the road; and the government, who actually own Autopax. The loser in all of this? The regular Mamelodi commuter, of course. By RICHARD POPLAK.
Of all the names that have come to symbolise that particular symbiosis between President Jacob Zuma and people who seem to either do his dirty work, or are owed favours, that of Richard Mdluli reigns supreme. While Michael Hulley may do all the legal legwork, it's Mdluli that seems to have some kind of hold over Zuma, who is protected, who could be considered royal game. On Monday, once again, we were given a demonstration of how this particular relationship works, and of how it is polluting the police, the National Prosecuting Authority, and the entire justice system. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Joe-Louis Kanyona, a 32-year old Congolese resident of Cape Town, was hired as a doorman at craft beer mega bar Beerhouse on Long Street last December. At 10:37pm on Saturday 20 June, while standing guard at the entrance, Kanyona, a smaller man than his occupation usually dictates, was approached by four men and stabbed in the neck. Without withdrawing the knife from his flesh – "it was a steak knife, like something from a restaurant," an eyewitness said – Kanyona tried to run upstairs, where his brother Julian was working, but faltered after a few steps. He died a few minutes later. His last words, spoken in French and repeated three times, were: "Lord, I put myself in your hands." KIMON DE GREEF reports for GROUNDUP.
The media storm around Caitlyn Jenner has calmed down, and as it always does after any issue receives major attention for a while, the world has returned to its business. But what happens to the ordinary people living the reality of the issue that has been raised? MARELISE VAN DER MERWE has been interviewing transgender South Africans about their lives. Meet C.
The release of the full transcript of an ‘in camera’ Section 29 TRC inquiry into the death of two young MK operatives, Robbie Waterwitch and Coline Williams, who were killed when a zero-timed limpet mine exploded during an action in Athlone in 1989, has revealed various cross-currents in the impossibly murky world of underground secrecy and subterfuge that existed at the time. In the 1997 interview, fellow activist Geoffrey Brown maintains he did not know he had been registered as a NIA source and reveals that he also inadvertently introduced Jacob Zuma, Trevor Manuel and various other high level political operatives to the National Intelligence Service's “best” Apartheid spy. By MARIANNE THAMM
Gender activists have been calling for a National Strategic Plan to end gender-based violence for years. Last August, the government released an “integrated programme of action” to address just that. Produced by an inter-ministerial committee, it is ambitious and wide-ranging. So why are civil society groups still not convinced? By REBECCA DAVIS.
The endless chaos in Parliament is symptomatic of a failure in responsible collective leadership, and is not limited to the ruling party, but extends to all parties represented in the National Assembly. Naked pursuit of political power at all costs, regardless of the outcomes, is the root cause of this failure. By LEBO KESWA & DUMISANI HLOPHE
Many people joined the ANC during the liberation struggle because their principles made them act against a system that was vile and innately wrong. Many also wanted to be on the right side of history. So why then would they flush all that away by trying to defend something now they know is wrong and can leave their own legacies tainted, as well as destroy the organisation they love? Political survival, of course. But what happens when a change in power is visible in the distance? If your name is Gwede Mantashe, you adopt a new survival strategy. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
A damning SMS sent by National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega to a police expert who testified before the Farlam Commission of Inquiry shows why any further investigation into the killings at Marikana would be contaminated and almost impossible to succeed. However, the Economic Freedom Fighters believes Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, former Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, the directors of Lonmin, Phiyega and former North West police commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo have a criminal case to answer. They have also requested a parliamentary debate on Marikana. Alongside Nkandla, a new battlefront has opened. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
In the wake of South Africa’s refusal to arrest Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir, serious concerns have been raised about the government’s relationship to the rule of law both domestically and internationally. At a colloquium in Cape Town on Thursday, both sides of the debate got an airing. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The Western Cape town of Oudtshoorn, previously best known for ostriches and caves, has come to symbolise deep political dysfunction. Claims of corruption, maladministration and in-fighting have dogged the municipality for years. On Tuesday night, matters reached a (new) head when town councillors were held hostage by angry townsfolk after failing to approve the municipal budget. Pravin Gordhan, take the wheel. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Untenable economic and political circumstances in their own countries of birth deliver desperate foreign nationals to South Africa’s borders on a daily basis. They arrive in South Africa with no identity, forge new ones and assume the status of ‘newborns’. Who are the Home Affairs newborns and where will they end up? By BHEKI C. SIMELANE.
The ANC, SACP, Cosatu and the Sanco have finished their five-day alliance summit, the first since 2013. It was convened to ask the hard questions since the ANC has been in government for 21 years and cohesion and the strength of the different partners are at a low. GREG NICOLSON highlights six points from the declaration.
There are massive medicine stockouts in the public health system. These are mainly due to failures within the state system, not external problems such as global supply shortages that Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi has claimed are primarily responsible. Here’s the proof. By Nathan Geffen and Ashleigh Furlong for GROUNDUP.
Smartphone-operated taxi service Uber has caused regulatory problems wherever it operates in the world, and South Africa is no exception. Last weekend, multiple Uber cars were impounded in Cape Town, where provincial government and the company are struggling to come to an agreement on what form of regulation is appropriate for the system. Customers don’t seem to care; Uber is exploding here. South Africans have taken two million Uber rides in the past year. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The Constitution declares that courts are charged with the responsibility of safeguarding the legal system, adjudicating over whether or not some or other person or official or institution has transgressed the law. Insofar as courts defend the law from transgression, a law that substantially embodies our freedom, they are simultaneously defending freedom itself. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
The alliance summit called by President Jacob Zuma ends on Wednesday after a marathon meeting. Zuma called the summit to ensure a better working relationship between the ANC, the SACP and Cosatu, and help resolve the conflict in the trade union federation. There appears to have been a lot of hot air and political posturing but also a few surprises. The Nkandla and e-tolls issues were raised in the context of the strain they are causing to the alliance. One rather controversial position was that perhaps the ANC should pay back the money for Nkandla to close the matter down. It is significant that it was raised, but it is unlikely to fly. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
It's been almost a week since President Zuma made the Marikana report public. On the podcast, Daily Maverick speaks to stakeholders to see how the majority of victims reacted. The Socio-Economic Rights Institute's Grace Gomba and Dennis Webster, whose organisation represents the families of the killed mineworkers, the attorney for the injured and arrested Andries Nkome, and independent researcher David Bruce discuss the shortcomings and achievements within the report. By GREG NICOLSON.
Earlier this week, the Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance formally released the long-sought Environmental Master Plan for the Vanderbijlpark Steel Works owned by international steel giant ArcelorMittal (AMSA). AMSA only handed over this Master Plan, a series of expert reports on the environmental and health impacts of the steel works compiled in 2003, in December 2014, after being ordered to do so by the Supreme Court of Appeal. By Melissa Fourie, Robyn Hugo and Nicole Löser for GROUNDUP.
When the competing film versions of ‘Jacob Zuma: From Nkandla to the Union Buildings to President’ and ‘Zuma: From Hero to Firepool’ are made, you’ll be able to tell who funded which biopic by how they treat the time during which the first decision was made to formally charge the now-president with corruption. So many little details have dribbled out over the years that it’s pretty easy to hide things out without anyone actually noticing. But as the DA’s application to have the decision to withdraw the corruption charges against Zuma reviewed finally gets to the point where, maybe, one day, we’ll actually have a court hearing, it does look like those actually involved in the decision are having to hone their dancing skills. Which is another way of saying that the one little thread which was woven throughout the saga is now in danger of unravelling entirely. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
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.