- Sipho Hlongwane
This week, South Africa was in desperate need for leadership, for someone in a position of authority to soothe a troubled and hurting nation. The presidency issued statements on the deaths of three of South African sporting heroes but President Jacob Zuma did not make any public appearances. The leaders of the ruling alliance were speaking on a public platform together but, as usual, were preoccupied with their own problems. It was up to other sporting personalities to impart some words of wisdom at a time of national grief. But South Africa’s problems are now far beyond what nation-building sport can bring, and through the latest Oxfam report, the whole world knows it. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Hlaudi Motsoeneng is a big fish. He's said to lead the SABC's “good story to tell” slant and has won one of the most influential jobs in South African media, plus some pay rises when he got there, despite his lack of formal qualifications. President Jacob Zuma is a much, much bigger fish, which is why last week's Western Cape High Court ruling is essentially about Number One. It sets a high bar for the president to escape remedial action on Nkandla. But, as usual, we await further clarity from the courts. By GREG NICOLSON.
Government seems to have a laudable intention to reach out to poor communities, the latest evidence being the relocation of informal settlements by the Department of Human Settlements. Unfortunately, however, it did not work out as planned. The relocations are riddled with errors and uncertainty. Erratic, cruel and often failing dismally to yield anything but a horribly disruptive effect on the communities in question, they are fast turning into a travesty. Residents opened up to BHEKI SIMELANE about their experiences.
In a modern democracy, communication matters. If you are running a government, you need to be able to communicate effectively and quickly with citizens. Sometimes you need to explain what is being done to help those who’ve lost relatives in Nigeria. Sometimes it’s a request to switch off your geysers in the evening, and sometimes it’s to warn of impending natural disasters. For all of this, credibility is of the essence. It matters more than anything. If you get communication right as a government, it can make life much easier for you. Which is why it’s so odd that it is neglected by this government to such a great extent – and it appears that neglect is only going to deepen. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
From the outset it has been unclear precisely what NUMSA envisages from its call for a united front and how this relates to the establishment of a workers’ party and a movement for socialism. Is the front merely of instrumental significance, a stepping-stone leading to that which really matters, the Workers’ Party, or is the United Front important in itself? By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
Why would shuttle operator Zola Tongo, currently serving 18 years for his role in the murder of Anni Dewani in 2010, not recognise her as the same woman he had picked up with her husband Shrien the previous night? Was he too preoccupied trying to hustle for business, did she simply not make enough of an impression in her casual clothes or is it all part of an elaborate and convoluted lie? By MARIANNE THAMM.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) will hold its first National People's Assembly in December under the banner “People's power for economic freedom”. In policy documents to be discussed, the party says the ANC is lost and disintegrating. GREG NICOLSON ponders five points the Fighters could look at.
“Isn’t it high time we introduce the Senzo Meyiwa gun law?” South African Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan asked the day after the Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates captain was shot dead. Jordaan, like the rest of us, was searching for some positive derivative from the utterly appalling incident that robbed South Africa of one of its brightest sports stars. The SABC television bulletin on Monday night showed an old man sobbing in the street nearby where Meyiwa was killed. “I don’t know what’s happening with this country,” he said through his tears. The shock and despair that has swept the nation has brought to the surface what we all know: Something has gone horribly wrong with South Africa. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Events leading up to and immediately after the murder of Anni Dewani in November 2010 were all captured by various CCTV cameras positioned at the hotel the couple was staying at, as well as the restaurant where the newlyweds ate their last meal. But is what we see really what is going on? By MARIANNE THAMM.
A year ago, Cosatu was lurching from crisis to crisis and the fate of general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and metalworkers union Numsa hung in the balance. Twelve months later, the crisis has deepened, Vavi and Numsa are still halfway out the door, and the same ‘Apocalypse Now’ stories are being written. There is one thing that all the protagonists in the great Cosatu power divide should consider: Has South Africa fallen apart due to the paralysis in the federation? The answer is a resounding ‘No!’ The longer Cosatu remains in its dysfunctional holding pattern, the more it becomes irrelevant. Everyone is fatigued by the endless attempts to break up. Seriously, just get it over with now. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
On Sunday the Presidency was forced to issue a statement denying that President Jacob Zuma had decided to cancel his planned trip to the UK because of a perceived snub by British Prime Minister David Cameron. Both the Sunday Times and the City Press had front page stories claiming Cameron had refused to meet with Zuma, and Zuma, partly in a huff and partly for logistical reasons (i.e. who pays for security when a visit is not “official”) had decided not to go. While both the Presidency and International Relations are going to deny there was any snub, it is clear the official relationship between our government and that of the UK has been cooling for some time. Now it’s officially frosty, and we have mostly ourselves to blame. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
While a few physical manifestations of the past discreetly keep watch over proceedings at the Dewani murder trial, inside Court 2 at the Cape High Court, from the judge to her assessors, the diversity of the South African media on the press bench to the demeanour of the security and court staff and even their manner of dress, there is thrilling evidence of a society transformed. By MARIANNE THAMM.
Residents of Joe Slovo informal settlement, Langa, have been left homeless after they started demolishing their shacks under the impression that keys to new housing units would be handed over to them. The MEC for Human Settlements, Bonginkosi Madikizela, has said that the shack demolitions were premature and that many of the beneficiaries are “too young” to be prioritised for housing. By Daneel Knoetze for GROUND UP.
For leadership to be respected there must be trust. Quite clearly across a wide spectrum of government, that trust has disappeared. It will take great efforts for it to be restored. But unless we have ethical leadership, especially in law enforcement, how can citizens be taught to respect the law? By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
The day before double amputee Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison for culpable homicide, Eric Viljoen, a one-legged prosthesis-wearing convicted rapist was preparing to leave Pretoria’s Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre, where he has been incarcerated since January this year. According to Viljoen, he has spent the past year fighting prison authorities and begging for a transfer from what he describes as the “worst of the… prisons in which he has done time”. By CAROLYN RAPHAELY.
Day two of week three of the Shrien Dewani trial in the Cape High court revealed how language is essentially a code. Where some see a ruthless killer, others might observe a grieving albeit conflicted widower. The filters we bring to what we perceive influence our choice of language and unconsciously what we possibly want others to believe. In the Shrien Dewani case the prosecution and the defence speak different languages. By MARIANNE THAMM.
In the brand-spanking new building that is Cosatu House in Braamfontein, the federation’s Central Executive Committee is considering the federation’s future. While the main agenda items are the report by the ANC’s Task Team into Cosatu, the real issue is whether or not the CEC will suspend, or possibly expel, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA. Should that happen, the federation’s split will move from “imminent” to “actually happening”. Our union landscape will probably never be the same again. But, perhaps more importantly, what will such a split mean for the ANC? By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Unlike the Oscar Pistorius hearing, cameras have been barred from recording the Shrien Dewani murder trial currently being heard in the Cape High Court. The only visual link to what is going on inside the courtroom is being captured by Cape Town artist Pete Woodbridge, who is keeping alive an old tradition in the electronic age. By MARIANNE THAMM.
Murder accused Shrien Dewani planned his wife’s funeral almost as meticulously as he had the wedding, setting out in a spreadsheet a list of songs, where everyone would sit or stand and even who was allowed to accompany the body. Anni’s cousin and confidante, Sneha Mashru, also told the court yesterday that Dewani had manhandled Anni’s body in the funeral parlour, trying to force gold bangles onto her lifeless wrist. By MARIANNE THAMM.