- John Vlismas & Duncan Harling
Dozens of Metro law enforcement officers swooped on Wolwerivier relocation camp on Wednesday morning. They broke locks and ejected two households deemed to have unlawfully occupied the structures built by the municipality. A community leader has called this show of force an insult, citing the general lack of safety and protection for Wolwerivier's inhabitants. By DANEEL KNOETZE for GROUNDUP.
If you thought the latest Nkandla parliamentary ad hoc committee was about whether President Jacob Zuma should pay back the money, you were very wrong. It may have appeared that the committee was set up to consider Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko’s report on whether the president benefitted unduly from the Nkandla upgrades, but the end result is very different. The first outcome of this process was to lay the foundation to authorise that more taxpayers’ money be spent on upgrading security at the president’s private home. The second was to allow ANC members to maul Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in an effort to discredit her report and findings. Madonsela, the ANC would have us believe, is the chief villain who wronged the president and misled the public. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
MTN on Wednesday dumped their Tour de France conquering team. It doesn’t matter. When you’ve battled the hardest mountains in the Alps—blah blah blah, etc etc. But seriously, what’s next for this team? How will they cope? Can they keep making Africans across the continent happy? Or will a certain cell phone company ruin the show? We spoke to Team [Insert Sponsor]-Qhubeka's Number One, Douglas Ryder. By RICHARD POPLAK.
The Marikana Commission of Inquiry’s final report gives rise to a number of questions. Where is the body to be headed by senior counsel to investigate the police officers identified as having taken part in the violence? Why are we forced to ask this question when the report was handed to President Jacob Zuma more than four months ago? What is the role of Parliament in ensuring accountability and that justice is served? Where is the response of National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega on why she should not face an inquiry into her fitness to hold office? By REHAD DESAI.
The winter initiation season saw more young men added to the long list of deceased and injured. Illegal schools continue and prosecutions are rare. But there have been improvements and with an increased focus on regulating and monitoring initiation schools, one day the positive stories might escape the shadow of tragedy. By GREG NICOLSON.
After months of near-silence on the new visa regime imposed by Home Affairs, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom finally went public on Wednesday morning, telling the world he was worried about the impact they were having on his industry. A few hours later, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba hit back strongly. It’s not often that we have two cabinet minister slugging it out in public. While it could be considered fun for some of us, it is probably not so much fun for them. And it’s certainly not much fun for the travel industry, which says it’s losing money, passengers, and faith. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
US President Barack Obama historic address at the African Union headquarters on Tuesday was every bit as rousing as he intended it to be – inspiring yet cutting, easy-going yet contemporary. No bluster. Just Obama being Obamaesque. Thabo Mbeki’s “I am an African” speech was probably the last big oratory moment by a world leader that could inspire hope for the future and pride in Africa’s heritage. In South Africa we no longer do big inspirational speeches – although some verbal Prozac is probably much needed in a country where people resort to being fed snakes and rats as succour in the face of increasing difficulties. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Online music giants such as Spotify and Apple Music have missed one important thing: they’re not catering for niche markets. That’s the view of one local entrepreneur, who is selling online music differently. Meet the team at NicheStreem, which plans to take on online music streaming, one targeted market at a time. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
Seventeen years ago on 28 July 1998, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission granted amnesty to four young men who had been sentenced to jail terms for killing American Fulbright scholar Amy Biehl in Gugulethu in 1993. The manner in which her parents, Peter and Linda Biehl, chose to deal with her death as well as their decision to forgive and engage with the killers, provided a much-needed example of restorative justice. In a country torn apart at the time by racial tension and violence, the Biehls taught us how to step out of the eye of the tempest and seek a common humanity. By MARIANNE THAMM.
Should the words “treachery” and “betrayal” be reserved for use in a time of war? Are these words not applicable as valid descriptions of those who steal from their own people, their own constituency, the very people in whose name they have risen to power, from whose loins they have come and whose cause they claim to have made their own? Is it not a special type of treachery that orders or condones the shooting of these people or the looting of funds that could be used to meet their needs? By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
The most important phase of learning takes place in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, and if that opportunity is missed, the damage can never be undone. Yet in South Africa, the lion’s share of our education budget is spent on tertiary education – the phase which delivers the least long-term benefits from the investment. Slowly, however, with the help of key players in government and nongovernmental organisations, early childhood development is starting to gain more attention. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
Modern philanthropy is seeing the rise of activist philanthropy, with activism treated as part of a continuum of change involving various stakeholders. Activist philanthropy understands that we need to work together and that there can be no change unless we create a situation of equality and equity. By SHELAGH GASTROW.
Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has just led a delegation to China ostensibly to learn more about how the country’s state-owned broadcast media works. However, as the Democratic Alliance’s shadow communications minister Gavin Davis put it, going to China to learn about media is like going to the Sudan to learn about human rights. That China is ranked by Reporters Without Borders as 177th out of 180 countries in its worldwide index of press freedom appears to be of little concern to the minister. Meanwhile, the Independent Group, which has a 20% Chinese stake, has dispatched one of its deputy editors to China on a 10-month media scholarship. By MARIANNE THAMM.
Mac Maharaj may be out of formal politics, for the moment. But that doesn’t mean he’s out of politics. Over the weekend it emerged he’d told the Financial Times that he had advised President Jacob Zuma to prepare to pay back some of the money the government had spent on his home at Nkandla. It’s a matter of public record that Zuma did not accept that advice. But there was far more in that interview that appears to have been missed in all the (predictable) screaming and shouting over Nkandla. Maharaj holds forth on fundamental issues such as whether the African National Congress will split after Zuma, whether Cyril Ramaphosa would be a good president, and the relationship between the ANC, politics, and judges. As always with Maharaj, it makes for fascinating reading. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Where should “well meaning” South Africans or “progressives” who cherish liberty and have a sense that things “have gone horribly wrong” be devoting their energies today? Where are the key points of hardship where we should be advancing our positions and joining with one another in order to move towards remedying the problems of the present? By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
Most two-year olds spend their days slobbering on chew toys or scrawling with crayons on crèche walls. Not Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). A fully formed entity almost from birth, the party has dominated political headlines for most of its brief existence. But this weekend, in Rustenburg’s Olympia Stadium, before tens of thousands of supporters, the Commander in Chief didn’t seem much in the mood for a good time. He wanted to cut the cake, and go to war. By RICHARD POPLAK.
How would having Members of Parliament and a big contingent of journalists trudging through your private space be better than paying back the money? Whoever thought it was a good idea to have the parliamentary ad hoc committee on Nkandla visit President Jacob Zuma’s rural home obviously did not think it through. In the ANC’s desperation to protect the president from scrutiny and having to pay back the state for non-security upgrades, they keep prolonging the saga and introducing new fiascos. This week they did what was hitherto unheard of: they allowed a variety of strangers to traipse around the home of a head of state, in his absence, to assess how he lives. It was a grim spectacle and a cringe fest. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Remember when all your friends had a great dot.org idea, all of which were one click away from transforming the world into a rainbow-tinged Utopia? Me neither. But then my circle doesn’t include an Oxford/Harvard/Kennedy School Brahman like Ricken Patel, founder of Avaaz. The site focuses on change through online petitioning, and it is currently “helping” concerned South Africans battle the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) draconian proposed internet regulations. But middle-class South Africans don’t need help to not leave the house for a good cause. RICHARD POPLAK wonders if Avaaz hasn’t finally perfected the art of whining from behind electrified walls.
After years of challenging the leadership of Cosatu, leaders of metalworkers union Numsa have finally said it's time to start a new federation. Numsa and its allies appear ready to leave Cosatu and wait for direction from members. A new federation must, of course, first start with a summit. By GREG NICOLSON.
If there is any institution that embodies the way that President Jacob Zuma has abused some of his powers to protect himself, it is the National Prosecuting Authority. From his first appointment of Menzi Simelane as its head to the dismissal (or resignation with costs, as the legal fraternity might like to call it) of its latest former head, Mxolisi Nxasana, it is difficult to make the case that he has acted ethically, or in the best interests of the country. But now he might be forced to finally do something about Nomgcobo Jiba. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
SARS unveiled its second high-tech cargo container scanner in Cape Town on Wednesday. The scanner, says SARS, will enable far more accurate and efficient scanning of goods coming into the country, and forms part of its ambitious Container Cargo Scanner Initiative initiative. But now that the project’s controversies, tender cancellations and other speed bumps are over, and the security features are falling into place where they are most needed, it’s time to ask: just what are we up against in terms of illicit trade? By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.