- Daily Maverick Staff Reporter
Last year, the eviction of hundreds of shack dwellers from Lwandle, Strand on the eve of a winter storm sparked a national outcry. Seven months later, construction of alternative accommodation has ceased, and yet dozens of evictees remain homeless - holed up in a temporary relief shelter at a nearby community hall. They have been all but forgotten. By Daneel Knoetze for GROUNDUP.
There is so much going wrong in South Africa that gets blamed on President Jacob Zuma. Sometimes the blame is warranted, sometimes it is not. Nelson Mandela’s former PA Zelda la Grange found out the hard way this weekend that she did not have a licence to behave badly just because the target of her tirade was Zuma, everybody’s favourite whipping boy. Zuma has a way of infuriating people, particularly with his off-the-cuff remarks, which usually has very little to do with the major problems besetting the country. And what South Africa needs him to talk about, he doesn’t. In a time when the fallacy of a rainbow nation is unravelling and tough moments lie ahead with the deepening power and economic crises, national dialogue is bound to get nasty. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
The Gauteng e-tolls review is a text for present and future South Africa. Wade through the detail – there's a lot – and it's thoughtful, about who we are as a country and where we are going. It's about democracy, apartheid, the poor, and realising South Africa's goals. It clearly doesn't limit itself to e-tolls. But you'll still have to pay, something. By GREG NICOLSON.
From Monday until at least the end of April, nationwide load-shedding is likely on a “planned, controlled and rotational” basis. If an “abnormal event” happens, perhaps an unseasonal cold spell or another silo falling down, load-shedding might not be as “planned” and “controlled”. Eskom chief executive Tshediso Matona said at a briefing on Thursday that in order to catch up with a severe maintenance backlog, load-shedding will now be part of our lives. It is not yet clear how Eskom is going to get out of its financial conundrum, but Matona says the lack of “cost-reflective tariffs” is part of the problem. So the prospect of paying more for electricity while periodically sitting in the dark is now a real possibility. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
The Democratic Alliance is gearing up for another parliamentary year after a slightly schizophrenic last term for the party’s parliamentary caucus, split between support for the Economic Freedom Front’s combative stance on the one hand, and a stated adherence to the rules of parliament on the other. On Thursday, parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane placed emphasis firmly on the latter position – but exactly what will happen at next month’s State of the Nation Address is anyone’s guess. By REBECCA DAVIS.
A plan on HIV in the sex work industry is due for release, and as stakeholders met this week to discuss issues affecting workers, the issue of legalisation was brought back on the agenda. For one Johannesburg sex worker, it's a crucial discussion, “because it's work, because we support families.” By GREG NICOLSON.
When a problem crops up that needs to be solved by a government in a democracy, usually it is in the direct interest of that government to ensure that it is solved. If it is not, or if some other person or agency cannot be blamed for the problem, that government runs the risk of being voted out of power. It would appear that our government doesn’t seem to be that worried about something that matters to all of us. Eskom is on the verge of a precipice. And government is not giving any indication that it is any closer to finding a solution. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
It’s a story that deserves to be told – and celebrated – more: the tale of a small group of impoverished, homeless women who grew tired of waiting for the government to build them houses, and did it themselves. A new book recounts the history of the Victoria Mxenge Housing Project, one of South Africa’s most remarkable and inspiring social movements. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema emerged back into public life at a media briefing on Tuesday after an eventful People’s Assembly in December, high security nuptials and then a top-secret honeymoon. Perhaps he might have mellowed. Perhaps his focus might have shifted from the hurly-burly of politics to keeping his new bride content. Not a chance. Malema is back with President Jacob Zuma and the ANC firmly in his sights. And while there seems to be a change in how the newly elected leadership of the EFF intends to steer the organisation, its game plan is sure to keep its domination of the national agenda. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Once a year, the ANC blows a big chunk of cash on its birthday celebrations. And then spends those same celebrations begging for cash. The country’s powerful/rich pay for proximity to the president, while democracy gets swept out with the broken champagne glasses and the canapé crumbs. By RICHARD POPLAK.
As the political year grinds into motion, it seems clear that Julius Malema is still in the driver’s seat. He has managed, already, to put the ANC and Parliament both on the back foot in one move. At the same time, he’s taken some of the attention away from what should have been the political story of the weekend, the ANC’s 8 January celebration in Cape Town. Considering he leads what is really quite a small party, that is no mean feat. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Last week, Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail published an extraordinary investigation by their South African correspondent, Geoffrey York, into the practices of Canadian mining company Ivanhoe in South Africa. The article paints an ugly picture of goings-on around the company’s Platreef mine in Limpopo, alleging that villagers were coerced into surrendering the use of agricultural land for drilling thanks to strategic gifts and stipends given to local leaders. REBECCA DAVIS takes a look.
Who’d have thunk it? The man who was, once upon a time, the most frustrating one-day bowler in South Africa’s team, currently seems to be at the wrong end of a frustrating decision himself. Out of all the peculiar World Cup squad selections, the exclusion of Lonwabo Tsotsobe remains the most baffling. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
There was a time when the ANC was an initiator of fresh ideas and had the ability to generate strategy and policy proposals to respond to current conditions. It had a legion of thinkers and strategists at all levels of the organisation that kept the ANC vibrant and dynamic. That time is long gone, as was evident at the weekend’s 103rd anniversary celebrations. The ANC is now in the business of recycling and presenting old proposals, which they previously failed to implement, as the pressure of a full-blown economic crisis in the country looms. Even President Jacob Zuma’s anecdotes are old and tired. The ANC is in desperate need of a breath of fresh air, but it looks unlikely for a while yet. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
In the difficult, distracted, discombobulating discussion that is our society, how you speak is sometimes overlooked. In an age where the media focuses on sound bite, on the headline grabbers rather than the speech itself, often it seems the idea is all that matters. If only that were so. As Kalim Rajab reminded us last week, how you say it matters too. Here, we have a variety of leaders, chasing different constituencies, that offer us a wide palette of speaking patterns to examine. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Anger over the pace of transformation, the rise of the Economic Freedom Fighters and the fracturing of the trade union movement put leftist policies back on the agenda in 2014. As the ANC looks set to catch up with the rhetoric, GREG NICOLSON asks how the new radicals will respond and what they have planned for the year ahead.
On Saturday the African National Congress will throw what it hopes will be the biggest political party of the year, it’s annual January 8th Statement, at the Cape Town Stadium. It’s the party’s bid to set the tone for the political year, to set out its stall of what it will achieve in 2015, and a chance to get a few quick political hits in nice and early. But it’s also about policy, with priorities outlined during the set piece speech by the leader expected to reflect in the State of the Nation Address, and then the budget. As a result, the best way to make predictions about 2015 is to closely watch the ANC this weekend. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Top-achieving Matrics smiling shyly, school principals beaming, government officials shaking hands. These are scenes that have played out across the country over the past days – but with a few subtle differences at a hall in Cape Town on Wednesday. On this occasion, the Matrics grinning for the cameras were wearing prison overalls. By REBECCA DAVIS.
At 103 the ANC, the oldest liberation movement on the continent, has much to celebrate but in this crucial year - with declining support, cracks in the alliance and a president seemingly perpetually ducking dark clouds of alleged impropriety - the ruling party is strategically going backwards in order to go forwards. On Wednesday, Secretary General Gwede Mantashe announced that 2015 would be the year of “reclaiming” the Freedom Charter. Um, okay, but what about 2030 and the NDP? By MARIANNE THAMM.
For a decade, Johannesburg Central Methodist Church has been well known by its residents – the marginalised, particularly migrants from Zimbabwe, seeking refuge. It has been seen as a crime-ridden slum with health risks as well a sanctuary for those in need, fleeing violence and looking for a better life. As the church closes its doors to residents, GREG NICOLSON looks at what Central represents and what's next.