- Khadija Patel
“This is a deliberate act of defiance on my part.” This was Zwelinzima Vavi essentially requesting that the trade union federation Cosatu fire him. At a melodramatic media briefing on Sunday afternoon, the soon-to-be sacked Cosatu general secretary made the rather bizarre, somewhat contradictory announcement that he had “reached the end of the road” but was not resigning from the federation. He then proceeded to air Cosatu’s dirty laundry, including its financial troubles, all in the presence of a throng of Numsa members – the union expelled from the very building he was speaking at. In his head, Vavi’s strategy makes perfect sense. To the rest of the world, not so much. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
On Sunday, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi essentially dared the dominant faction within the federation, and more particularly, its Central Executive Committee, to fire him. His explanation is that he can no longer make any progress using traditional - i.e. boardroom - means. It is an admission that he simply doesn’t have the numbers within the CEC to push any decisions through, that the CEC wants him out, and that he will, in the end, have no choice but to leave. It is clear Vavi wants to go out in a blaze of glory and be able to claim that he tried every possible option before exiting Cosatu. But, because of his weakness in terms of numbers, his opponents have a few options. And plenty of cards. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
When Democratic Alliance Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane made the case for a vote of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma earlier this month, he said Zuma had become “President I did not know”. He said Zuma denies knowledge and complicity in anything that goes wrong. In an interview with the SABC this week, Zuma indicated that he knew a whole lot on the two issues topping the news agenda – Eskom and the battles in the criminal justice sector. Perhaps even more than he is letting on. Does he have a hand in the wrangling? Reading between the lines, probably. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Over the last two decades, the City of Johannesburg has regularly embarked on big operations, directed against apparent spaces of vice. While these operations are intended to show the authorities’ zero tolerance stance to crime, they are often characterised by an iron fist approach against minor misdemeanours. By conflating diverse issues under an anti-crime umbrella, the local state criminalises poverty, obscuring and obliterating reasonable economic activity in its sweeping campaign against by-law infringements. By CHRISTOPHER MCMICHAEL, MARGOT RUBIN & SARAH CHARLTON.
After a shambolic lead-up and a chaotic and marathon inaugural consultative conference, elections for the historic Creative and Cultural Industries Federation of South Africa (CCIFSA) ended this week with a measure of calm restored when those with political ambitions were thwarted and a new board was nominated to represent the interests of the creative sector. As the week drew to a close there was even better news, when the acting DG for The Department of Arts and Culture agreed to scrap entirely the controversial White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage. By MARIANNE THAMM.
This week has seen the NPA claiming that its deputy head, Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba, is “avoiding” police; the police saying that the NPA is “jumping the gun” to issue her with a summons; and Jiba herself saying that she’ll “discuss it all” with her boss when she gets to see him. Head spinning? Ours too. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
President Jacob Zuma spoke this week about rapidly increasing the amount of black industrialists in the country, which he hopes can boost the manufacturing sector, promote economic transformation and increase growth throughout the economy. Essential to economic growth, however, is the small business sector. GREG NICOLSON looks at the situation.
Over the past three days, stakeholders with interests in rhino conservation have had the unenviable task of presenting their views on the “feasibility, or not, of a rhino horn trade” to the Committee of Inquiry set up to investigate exactly that. The Committees’ eventual conclusion will determine whether South Africa calls for legalisation at the next meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 2016. By ANDREA TEAGLE.
On Thursday, hundreds of supporters of social movement Ses’khona People’s Rights – the original poo-chuckers – marched to the Western Cape provincial legislature. The ANC Western Cape had put out a statement announcing that they would meet them there in support. Many Ses’khona members wore T-shirts stating “Ses’khona endorses ANC”. And yet when ANC provincial leader Marius Fransman tried to address the crowd, he was booed away. Politics is a bloodsport. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa believes now is the time to combat SA's biggest killer, tuberculosis. The state is embarking on the largest screening campaign seen in South Africa and Ramaphosa, like activists and patients, wants to see the same efforts applied in fighting HIV/Aids. But the challenges are vast. By GREG NICOLSON.
The second (and final) day of Parliament’s gun conference saw more drama offstage than on it. According to the programme, the speaker following Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega on to the podium was supposed to be the IPID head, one Robert McBride. Unsurprisingly, the suspended McBride was nowhere to be seen, and his absence never formally acknowledged. Later, DA representatives walked out after claiming they were deliberately being sidelined. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The conviction of former tennis icon, Bob Hewitt, on two counts of rape and one of indecent assault, vindicates the experiences of many women who grew up in the claustrophobic and deeply patriarchal 1960s, 70s and 80s and who were victims of the unquestioned toxic power and privilege bestowed on men during this epoch. It might be difficult for younger women to imagine just how silencing and oppressive a time it was. By MARIANNE THAMM.
On Tuesday, the democratically elected President of the Republic of South Africa, speaking to the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) in Midrand, cracked open his consciousness and allowed his true dreamscape to envelop another bemused audience. It turns out that in the endlessly looped, Beyonce-style video album running in his head, he’s playing Robert Mugabe in rhinestones, running the country from Nkandla/Neverland with the wave of a bedazzled wand. RICHARD POPLAK delves into the Dream.
Allegations of corruption, political interference and a lack of transparency as well as death threats, walk-outs and boycotts formed the dramatic and sometimes chaotic backdrop to what should have been an historic consultative and elective conference for the newly-established Cultural and Creative Industries Federation of South Africa (CCIFSA) in Bloemfontein this week. By MARIANNE THAMM.
At a local government summit in Midrand on Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma said government should have in its employ people with high skills and capacity to improve efficiency. “Don’t employ people because you feel for them or they are your friend or cousin. Employ people to do work,” Zuma said. Yet from the police to Eskom to the National Prosecuting Authority, it would seem that those in power want to develop a loyalist cult in the bureaucracy rather than having a skilled, capable state. What is happening is in fact the sabotage of the ANC’s own policy of cadre deployment with internal wrangling, court battles and power struggles impairing the functionality of the state. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
While the country was inundated by the usual sport and political stories on Tuesday, South Africa's worst killer continued. Tuberculosis isn't as sexy as other issues on the agenda, but unless it gets more attention, people will keep on dying of something that's both preventable and treatable. By GREG NICOLSON.
Sometimes, politics and law are farcical. That may be true for many places; Greece’s new government is certainly has aspects of pantomime. But even for us, the National Prosecuting Authority has sunk to a new low, something that simply could not be made up, and which no good editor would even consider a true story. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Late last week, Eskom announced the termination, with effect from 17 April 2015, of the approximately approximately R1-billion control and instrumentation (C&I) works contract placed with Alstom in 2011 for its 4,800 MW Kusile power station, which is currently under construction near eMalahleni, Mpumalanga. Shortly thereafter, Eskom announced that it had appointed ABB South Africa instead. By CHRIS YELLAND.
One of the fiercest ongoing debates in this country is around gun control, and yet you often wouldn’t know it was happening unless you were a member of the pro- or anti-gun lobbies. This week Parliament is hosting the National Firearms Summit, dedicated to measures to control the proliferation of guns in South Africa, which follows the recent release of the draft Firearms Control Amendment Bill. So far, the dialogue is playing out in a fairly predictable way: gun-owners want them guns. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Criticism and condemnation of those in high office have become somewhat standard in our political life; even, the president does it sometimes. But it is, still, rare for a judge sitting in a high court to call a senior police officer a liar. Rarer still to say that officer is “without honour”. And even rarer to add that he “lacks integrity”. When the subject of this stinging public crucifixion is a police officer who was put in charge of the top investigative unit in the service under questionable circumstances, it suddenly throws into relief what most of us guessed all along. The bid to remove Shadrack Sibiya as Gauteng head of the Hawks, and Anwa Dramat as national head of the Hawks, has been political, underhanded, and altogether wrong. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
For those who watch these kinds of things, the Civic Protest Barometer, issued last month by the Multi-level Government Initiative at the Community Law Centre of the University of the Western Cape, held few surprises. According to this report, public protests in South Africa have reached an all-time high, and have become increasingly violent. Anyone who reads the newspapers (or has had their morning commute interrupted) would already know this. But finding a context for these protests does deliver some surprises. NIKI MOORE takes a closer look at this strange animal called public protest.
Cape Town has just announced the launch of its ‘Inclusive City’ campaign, aimed at combating incidents of racism. It’s an apparent change of tack, after multiple denials from the Western Cape’s leaders that Cape Town has a particular racism problem - but it follows several months in which racist incidents involving individuals have regularly made headlines. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The current angry scuffle, over whether or not the University of Cape Town should continue to be host to a statue of Cecil Rhodes in light of his less than salubrious life, encourages J. BROOKS SPECTOR to contemplate how such a question has come up in other times and places – like Richmond, Virginia; the central Afghanistan region of Bamiyan; and the archaeological treasures of Iraq.