- Rebecca Davis & Kate Stegemann
It's now official: the ANC and the communications minister the ruling party deployed to the Cabinet are at war. There can be no other interpretation of the events of the last 24 hours. At issue is the decision on the type of digital terrestrial television we will use. It's a decision that will have implications for South Africa for a long time, possibly the next 50 years. At its heart is a choice between a system that will allow for strong, sustainable, independent television stations, and an SABC that will be able to broadcast in high definition, while protecting their content, and a system that will result in lower-quality broadcasts, make it impossible to prevent piracy, and help only MultiChoice/DStv. Now the battle is out in the open. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
The African National Congress's intention to withdraw South Africa from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court is both retrogressive and shows a lack of respect for human rights, the rule of law and the need to fight impunity. The call for withdrawal is particularly disturbing when one considers South Africa’s history and sensitivity to international crimes like apartheid, crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes. By ANGELA MUDUKUTI.
Remember when President Jacob Zuma got booed at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service? The ANC claimed those were not ANC members. Could it be that they were among the 37% of ANC members who did not renew their membership? Whatever spin the ANC puts on it, system glitches cannot account for 450,187 members falling off in three years. The commission reports of the ANC national general council (NGC) show the ANC is desperate to win members back, with even a gap opened on e-tolls. And there’s no more “innocent until proven guilty” to protect compromised ANC leaders. But is it too little too late? By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
There is an overwhelming consensus that South Africa's cities need to change to become the engines of economic growth and opportunity. We need to integrate housing and public transport, maximise returns on investments in infrastructure, address energy issues and promote economic growth within our large cities. However, this calls for integrated planning and powers at a city level but the powers and incentives to do this are not there. By DIRK DE VOS.
The Economic Freedom Fighters has understood the significance and power of imagery in a country where colours, dress and forms of address and self-representation, especially those conveying military power, carry meanings with which people align themselves and which may repulse others. The party has made an impact through deploying imagery that resonates as well as a defiant language and a discourse of solidarity with the poor. But there is an ambiguity in these manifestations. The power of the militaristic imagery may resonate, but it is both anachronistic and dangerous in a democratic order. To celebrate military discourse in a time of peace is not conducive to democratic debate. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma may well be South Africa’s next president. As the succession battle heats up, it has become the norm for analysts to describe Dlamini-Zuma’s time in the South African government in glowing terms, without giving much detail as to why her work there should be held in high esteem. REBECCA DAVIS takes a look.
I love the Eastern Cape – I grew up there and have so many fond memories of its beautiful beaches, winding rivers and rolling uplands clothed in impenetrable thicket vegetation. The hills and rivers and beaches are still there, but sadly only patches of thicket remain, a great deal of it lost to changing land use, mostly farming. By PETER BORCHERT for UNTOLD AFRICA.
The Daily Maverick hauls out its trusty crystal ball, that old Ouija board, and a well-used pack of tarot cards, once more time, to consider what might happen if South Africa suddenly had to confront a great flood of refugees similar to those waves of thousands upon thousands of desperate people attempting to enter Western Europe from Syria and North Africa. J BROOKS SPECTOR filed this report from the future.
A South African team of researchers has been working diligently on a research route laying the groundwork for an HIV vaccine, and a breakthrough study led by a University of the Witwatersrand PhD student was recently published in the prestigious journal Nature Medicine. So how far are we, really, from a vaccine? By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
Emerging from the African National Congress’s national general council, the news that the ruling party is considering implementing a ‘wealth tax’ is certain to set some moneyed hearts a-flutter. It’s not a new idea, but it seems it might be being taken more seriously now than previously. REBECCA DAVIS considers the notion with some help from financial minds.
After the African National Congress (ANC) resolved this past weekend at its national general council that the government “should fast-track the implementation of the Presidential Commission review of provinces”. the question of whether it would be wise (and constitutionally possible) to change the powers or the boundaries of provinces has again becoming a political talking point. While the system of provincial government is not working as well as it should, it is far from clear that it will be either politically or constitutionally possible to change the system. By PIERRE DE VOS.
The landmark silicosis class action lawsuit in South Africa has thrown up some similarities between the history of the country's gold mines and the violent history of the rubber trade in the Congo. Over decades, South Africa's gold mines systematically exposed their mostly poor and black workers to dangerous levels of silica dust knowing it would kill them. By MARCUS LOW for GROUNDUP.
South Africa needs less talk of reducing migration, of associating migrants with negative outcomes, or of sending illegal migrants home. Instead it requires a better informed, cohesive and regionally responsive labour migration policy framework that recognises the country's socio-economic challenges and develops provisions that will ensure migrant workers contribute to, rather than work on the periphery of, national economic and labour objectives. By ZAHEERA JINNAH.
Between taking selfies with a cardboard cut-out of Boer hero and president of the Transvaal Republic Paul Kruger, listening to bible readings, singing along to Sarie Marais and eating champion koeksisters, the 2,770 delegates who attended the Solidarity Movement's Toekomsberaad – Helpmekaar 2020 summit in Centurion at the weekend approved a five-year plan, which includes the establishment of a private Afrikaans university to ensure the survival of the Afrikaner in democratic South Africa. The summit was a strange blend of ethnic mobilisation and past rhetoric folded into a future vision for Afrikaners as an autonomous rather than independent cultural grouping. By MARIANNE THAMM.
What the ANC needs to do to show it means business is to wield the hatchet against one of its own. Otherwise three days of big talk and introspection at its national general council (NGC) will come to naught. President Jacob Zuma hit the panic button on Friday – the ANC had lost over a third of its members in three years, traditional supporters were turning away and corruption had severely damaged the party’s image. The NGC’s comeback strategy includes giving a group of veterans the mammoth responsibility of doing what the current leadership cannot do – clean out the rot. And from the ICC to the media, the ANC is on the attack. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
The ANC really does want to change the country. It makes no bones about it. The problem has always been into what, and how. ANC conferences such as its National General Council are about just that. This time, the changes the ANC wants to make are massive. It wants a wealth tax to be considered, for South Africa to leave the International Criminal Court, and, more complex than all of that, it wants accountability at the SABC! By STEPHEN GROOTES.
If the first day of the ANC's NGC was dominated by issues around corruption, the "Premier League", and what President Jacob Zuma said was a massive decline in membership figures, Day Two saw a return to the ANC's past form. The economy is "white-owned", some of our members are corrupt because they "inherited a corrupt system", the membership debate is "hysterical" and the West is, of course, against us; nothing we haven't heard before. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
On Friday both President Jacob Zuma and ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe outlined some of the major problems facing the ANC. Issues around gate-keeping, the loss of members, the rise of the "Premier League", all of them confronted, with the kind of honesty that the party often displays during its conferences. But, talking about the problems isn't going to necessarily fix them. The real problem facing the ANC now is one of structure, and the problem of a party that has its origins in a racial struggle. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
The ruling party has recorded a massive and unprecedented plummet in membership. President Jacob Zuma told the opening of the ANC’s national general council (NGC) in Midrand on Friday that a frank assessment was needed as the party’s traditional support base were unhappy and choosing to abstain during elections. The president revealed that the ANC’s membership had dropped to 769,870, a drop of 450,187 members. In his organisational report, secretary general Gwede Mantashe told delegates that ANC branches were “polluted” by factional politics and the party was at risk of “being sold to the highest bidder”. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
As the African National Congress starts is national general council (NGC) on Friday morning, a strange air of the unpredictable has arrived to break the baking Gauteng heat. What just two days ago looked like a pretty boring event has suddenly taken on a strange twist, which just may turn out to be a significant one. At the same time, it appears that at least one party veteran is worried enough to confirm in public that he has produced a document showing what the party should do to regain the trust of South Africans, and to avoid losing elections. And Gauteng province is being troublesome. Suddenly this NGC is looking just a little more interesting. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Appeal handed down a long-awaited judgment on whether the SABC was within its rights to ignore the public protector’s finding that chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng should be suspended. The public broadcaster is left with egg on its face, while there must have been corks popping in Thuli Madonsela’s office. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The Democratic Alliance was engulfed in scandal last week, but on Thursday party leader Mmusi Maimane led a spirited attack on the African National Congress and its funding company, Chancellor House. The World Bank has joined the list of those looking into the company's deal with Hitachi and for Maimane it couldn't have come at a better time. By GREG NICOLSON.
Almost everything and everyone, it turns out. If last week's anti-corruption march had a vague focus, Cosatu's national strike on Wednesday included something for everyone. The demands however aren't the point. It was an attempt to foster unity while the federation is fractured, a search for relevance while Cosatu is under unprecedented pressure. By BHEKI C. SIMELANE & GREG NICOLSON.