- Jared Sacks
Nelson Mandela, as many have pointed out, had a complicated relationship with Cape Town. This weekend, mourners gathered to grieve and celebrate. The City of Cape Town’s response to Mandela’s death has been swift and efficient, with a reported operating budget of R72 million set aside for the days of mourning. But particularly at events held at the city’s Grand Parade, the turnout of people has perhaps not been in the numbers expected thus far. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The death of Nelson Mandela has put our everyday concerns to one side. No one right now is living in the political present, we are living in the political past, those moments during the Rivonia Trial, the State of Emergency, FW de Klerk’s 1990 speech, Madiba’s release, the talks and the talks about talks, the Chris Hani assassination, and that moment in 1994 when we realised that we really are free at last. Politically at least. But, it cannot be denied that we are now in a completely different political zone. Politics as we know it has been suspended. People who were professionally not speaking to each find themselves united, perhaps just briefly. This means that some processes are going to be simply paused, others changed, and some, possibly derailed. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
The memorial events and funeral of former president Nelson Mandela is of “unprecedented magnitude”, the South African government said on Saturday. From security to logistics, a massive planning operation involving multiple state departments is unfolding. With the world’s attention on South Africa, government has to ensure the smooth running of all the events where thousands of people, foreign dignitaries and a massive media contingent will gather over the next week to bid farewell to Madiba. So far, it is off to a bumpy start. Meanwhile, ordinary people are flocking to sites associated with Mandela to mourn and pay tribute. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
The media demand for comment on the death of Nelson Mandela from former South African president FW de Klerk and Archbishop Desmond Tutu has been so intense that in both cases it was judged wise to hold press conferences in Cape Town. De Klerk declined to use the opportunity for attacks on the South African status quo, as he’s often wont to. And gone were Tutu’s characteristic wisecracks: the Arch did not try to hide his visible distress at the passing of his old friend. By REBECCA DAVIS.
If there was any doubt about who really runs South Africa, it became patently obvious this week. On Tuesday, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe made a public call for the full report of the inter-ministerial task team investigation on Nkandla to be released. On Wednesday Cabinet decided to do exactly that. So the top-secret classification and supposed security concerns evaporated once Mantashe spoke. Then on Thursday, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela announced damning findings against three government departments and one serving and one former Cabinet minister. What does this say about the state of political leadership in South Africa? Lies, deceit, unethical conduct, nepotism, unlawfulness and maladministration are infested at the highest levels of government. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Social and Economic Rights Institute (SERI) lawyer Nomzamo Zondo was arrested on Thursday as she was assisting informal traders in Johannesburg's inner-city. While informal traders are still fighting Mayor Parks Tau's Operation Clean Sweep, battling for the right to make a living and have their rights protected, Zondo's arrest shows just how far the police are willing to go. As it turns out, very far. By THAPELO LEKGOWA & GREG NICOLSON.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has been busy. Her investigation into Jacob Zuma's Nkandla home has created a headache for the president's allies and on Thursday she released three new reports, slamming both former Communication Minister Dina Pule and Agriculture, Forestries and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson. If Thursday was any indication of how she will treat the Nkandla report, Madonsela won't pull any punches. By GREG NICOLSON.
Fifty years ago Martin Luther King called out in hope, “Let freedom ring”. “Freedom” answered his call by walking out of Victor Verster Prison 27 years later - and the world embraced the human embodiment of that elusive concept in Nelson Mandela. The body that nurtured the concept is no more, and now the world again cries out, “Let freedom ring”, this time in tribute. Hamba kahle, Tata Madiba, your long walk is done. By KEVIN BLOOM.
Cope’s announcement on Thursday that they would be merging with another party was greeted with excited anticipation by – well, very few people probably. As it turned out, the big reveal was barely worth sending out a press release for: beleaguered Cope will be merging with the National Republican Party. Who? A religious conservative group with barely any web presence, calling for “Godly governance”, who will surely rake them in only a handful of votes. What on earth is the point? By REBECCA DAVIS.
In the wake of the release of this year’s Reconciliation Barometer, an annual survey of South African attitudes now in its tenth year, you’re likely to see a number of headlines proclaiming that class, rather than race, is now the most divisive social issue in South Africa. But don’t misunderstand: the Barometer’s findings clearly state that race and class are still intimately interlinked. The other headline finding of the survey is a significant drop over the past year in confidence in government institutions and politicians. But guess who’s top of the pops in the public opinion? Why, it’s Thuli Madonsela. By REBECCA DAVIS.
On Tuesday, at what the ANC called an “urgent press conference”, it spat fire at the Public Protectors, claiming Thuli Madonsela had admitted her office was responsible for the leak of her provisional Nkandla report, and saying that she was “playing political games” with the document. On Wednesday, as was predictable, Madonsela shot back. To us, one case is clearly stronger than the other. But as always, in our politics, who you choose to believe depends entirely, as one prominent politician might put it, on where you sit. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
The sound of drones isn’t usually welcomed. But that could be changing. in addition to their use as weapon delivery platforms, the US military is rumoured to be contemplating developing drones that can deliver urgent medical supplies in difficult battlefield circumstances. Drones are also being used as surveillance platforms for the military - and even some local police forces. Not to mention their commercial use to distribute much-anticipated antiretrovirals where they are needed most. Someone please phone Amazon's Jeff Bezos? By J BROOKS SPECTOR.
Take one flaming hot potato and throw it back at public protector Thuli Madonsela. That appears to be the sum total of the ANC’s response to dealing with the raging controversy around the upgrade of President Jacob Zuma’s private estate at Nkandla. The ANC is desperate to communicate that it is not party to any cover-up on the Nkandla matter and has therefore called for the speedy release of Madonsela’s investigation report as well as government’s full task team report on the security upgrades. But when it comes to demanding answers from the one person who can provide his organisation with all the details of the renovations at his Nkandla home, the ANC is rather coy. Deliberately so. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
The “Know Your Constitution” Campaign* is a campaign that advocates for the right to constitutional literacy, including the right to access physical copies of our Constitution. The Campaign culminates on 10 December – the 17th anniversary of the official adoption of the Constitution. This week’s focus is on rights of people with disabilities - a group of South Africans that face human rights violations as a matter, of course, on a daily basis. Beyond blind beggars at traffic lights, and a handful of exceptional public figures with disabilities, the relative invisibility of disabled people in our society belies the fact that up to 15% of our population may have a disabling impairment of some kind. The work of SECTION27 and Afrika Tikkun proves that constitutional literacy is a tool for amplifying the quiet voices of the most marginalised, and provides an example of what those voices can achieve, given access to and the understanding of our Constitution. By MUHAMMAD ZAKARIA SULEMAN and JEAN ELPHICK.
After years of resistance, e-tolling began on Tuesday on highways that have been upgraded by the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project. The South African National Roads Agency Limited's (Sanral) lawyers were right, the world did not come to an end. But neither has the fight. Despite government's continued assurances that tolling is necessary and above board, anti-tolling activists are as determined as ever to fight the power. By GREG NICOLSON, THAPELO LEKGOWA & BHEKI SIMELANE.
Expelled ANC councillor Andile Lili was at the helm of the October protests in Cape Town which led to violence and looting. Two further protests scheduled for the last few days were cancelled following the refusal of the City of Cape Town to grant permits, and the intervention of religious leaders. Lili now says that if they don’t reach an agreement with Western Cape Premier Helen Zille by the end of January on issues like housing and sanitation, she can expect a “radical” march in February. There’s no love lost between Lili and the ANC, so who is he representing? By REBECCA DAVIS.
The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) has raised concerns over what they call “an attempt to harass and intimidate” the editor of a small community newspaper in the Eastern Cape who blew the whistle on allegedly irregular expenditure by a senior manager in Matatiele municipality. Editor of The Informer, Andile Nomabhunga, was arrested by police and has been charged with trespassing, together with a DA councillor, some days after they visited the home of the manager to investigate the allegations. The DA claims the saga has echoes of Nkandla on a tiny (tiny) scale. By REBECCA DAVIS.