- Daily Maverick Staff Reporter
It’s probably going to take at least a year for the reputation of Communications Minister Faith Muthambi to recover. If you are appointed as a minister, and your first act is to anoint Hlaudi Motsoeneng at the SABC, despite the Public Protector’s findings, you are clearly a political masochist. That’s fine. You’re not alone. But it does mean that many of your decisions are going to be clouded by that one act. So, when you decide to appoint a National Communications Task Team, it is going to be evaluated through the prism that is your Motsoeneng appointment. Especially when he is part of it, even if the prism turns out to be imperfect. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Friday would have been the 96th birthday of Nelson Mandela. It was the first Nelson Mandela International Day since his passing in December, commemorated in 126 countries. According to the Nelson Mandela Foundation, 1,200 “positive deeds” had been registered on their website. Amid the 67 minutes of tree planting, cycling and picking up litter, all of which is supposed to demonstrate service to humanity, it sometimes is forgotten that Mandela was, first and foremost, a political figure. South Africa is now the custodian of his political philosophy. What is it doing with it? By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
When the Department of Arts & Culture tabled their budget in Parliament last week, it was announced that it would be spending R34 million to ensure that there was a South African flag in every school, and to teach citizens how to sing the national anthem. While this was widely reported as a new development, the ‘Flag In Every School’ project appears to have been running for the last nine years – with millions seemingly budgeted. By REBECCA DAVIS.
It is not an everyday occurrence for a person with the title “President” prefixed to their name to appear before a court or government inquiry. Nelson Mandela has so far been the only sitting head of state to testify in court. On Thursday, former President Thabo Mbeki appeared before the judicial commission of inquiry investigating the arms deal. In years to come, perhaps other incumbents might face a similar fate. The plethora of commissions and investigations goes to the heart of leadership and accountability in South Africa. And they do not reflect well on the state. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
This is the week where government ministers have been telling us all their plans for their money, but because they’ve all been doing it within the course of a few days, it’s very hard to keep up. Thursday was the last manic day for the week of budget vote debates and press briefings. REBECCA DAVIS takes you through the most interesting bits.
Parliament’s whirlwind week continues, stacking budget vote debates atop media briefings from morning till night. So many “good stories”, so little time to tell them in. We’re getting there, though: we’re now more than halfway through government ministries telling us about their plans for the year. To help you keep up, REBECCA DAVIS again summarises the choice bits from Wednesday’s Parliamentary frenzy.
As media we are so used to focusing on the short-term, the news story, that sometimes longer-term processes get missed. Which is a pity, because often those longer processes are the good news stories. It’s important to take a moment to celebrate how things are getting better. BDlive this week reported that children from homes which receive social grants are a full centimetre taller, and do better in school, than children from homes that don’t. This completely changes the arguments around social grants, and their long-term impacts. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Former Police minister Nathi Mthethwa appeared for his second and final day at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry on Tuesday. In the tense, frenetic-paced cross-examinations he was accused of exerting political influence on the operations of the police, lying to the Commission, and failing to provide leadership and accountability. Mthethwa, of course, denied the allegations. GREG NICOLSON reports.
Due to Parliament’s inexplicable decision to rush through multiple budget vote debates on the same day, we saw ministerial press briefings and debates stretch from early on Tuesday morning to late into the night. Given this state of affairs, we’re left with little choice but to summarise proceedings. Heavily. (Don’t worry – we’re not turning into Buzzfeed.) But REBECCA DAVIS takes you through the interesting bits from yesterday’s bumper Parliamentary session.
It is a busy week in Parliament as government departments are on a conveyor belt to present their budgets. The normal course of Parliamentary business was interrupted by the election and there is now a rush to get the budgets passed so the work of government can proceed. On Tuesday, there were nine budget debates and on Wednesday there will be 10. There are bucketloads of information being flung out, most of which will go unreported due to the sheer volume the media has to contend with. The congested schedule is also a baptism of fire for the new MPs. (Can you imagine the two unfortunate Agang MPs rushing around to attend nine debates?) This is apparently the start of the “information revolution”. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
While most debate around South Africa’s energy future tends to focus on the best source of new power generation (coal, gas, nuclear renewables), environmental issues and the role of Eskom, much less attention is given to how much generating capacity we are likely to need. But it’s a critical question that needs to be answered. By DIRK DE VOS.
Former police minister Nathi Mthethwa was confident on his first day at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry. His testimony is crucial in understanding whether political influence played a role in the deaths of 44 people. Mthethwa, now arts and culture minister, has been steadfast in his defence, but can he keep it up? By GREG NICOLSON.
As of this week, an inquiry is underway into the eviction of residents of Lwandle, in the Western Cape, at the beginning of June. The issue became a shameful political football, and the inquiry – ordered by Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu – aims to get to the bottom of exactly what happened. But if the inquiry is to have any meaningful impact, it must address far wider issues than who should take the blame. By REBECCA DAVIS.
In 1998 Nelson Mandela requested the South African Law Commission to present to government a proposal on assisted dying. Report 86, titled “Euthanasia and the artificial preservation of life” and which included a Draft Bill, the End of Life Decisions Act 1999, has since been quietly lost in the machinery. This weekend Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, regarded as one of the world’s most eminent religious leaders, provided groundbreaking ethical and moral leadership, announcing he backed the right of the terminally ill to choose to end their lives. By MARIANNE THAMM.
After a week in which it seemed the chaos at the SABC had reached its climax, Sunday brought news that matters were even worse than they first seemed. Not only is the COO someone who doesn’t have a matric, and lied about it. Now, according to the City Press, the chair also lied about her qualifications. Liars, it seems, stick together at the corporation. The Sunday Times also added fuel to the Mail & Guardian’s reports that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi was the driving force behind the COO appointment. The SACP is furious, the ANC is officially bemused, and Number One adds, in the immortal words of Shaggy, “It wasn’t me”. Is this really how we are governed? By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Two weeks into their strike, the country's biggest union, the National Union of Metalworkers SA (Numsa), has rejected the latest wage offer in the metals and engineering industry. On Sunday, it said its 220,000 striking members plan to intensify the industrial action, which is making a dent in the beleaguered economy. GREG NICOLSON breaks the situation down.
Residents of Manenberg in Cape Town are fed up with gang violence and are taking to the streets in a display of frustration and resistance. “Taking Back Our Streets” is an initiative organised by Glenda Gain of the Manenberg Community Work Programme (CWP) in partnership with the South African Police Service. Together they organise weekly marches through the most dangerous streets in Manenberg. By SHAUN SWINGLER.
Prime Evil is staying in jail. Justice Minister Michael Masutha, faced with making a thorny decision that his predecessor fudged, has said that Vlakplaas commander Eugene de Kock’s parole will not be granted due to a procedural error: the families of his victims have not been consulted. But De Kock’s application will be considered again in 12 months’ time, and Masutha seemed to hint that there was a good chance it will be approved then. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Spurred into action by the apparent impact e-tolls had on the elections in Gauteng, both government and the forces of opposition are ready for the latest battle. The opposition is flanking the gantries in the courts and Parliament. Premier David Makhura, meanwhile, has used the state's trump card – a task team – to acknowledge the outrage, without buckling to it. By GREG NICOLSON.
Building non-racialism is one of the values of South Africa’s democratic constitution. But it is not something that will be realised overnight, and what it means to build non-racialism may change under different conditions. It requires recognition and awareness that race remains both a social construction and part of the fundamental structural design of our society. It demands an awareness and sensitivity to the experiences of different sections of the population, particularly those who have suffered and continue to experience racism and resultant inequalities. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.