- Greg Nicolson
In June this year, four months after Al-Shabaab militants massacred 148 people at Garissa, South African safari-operator Steve Fitzgerald welcomed the first guests to Angama Mara in Kenya. Fitzgerald maintains there’s simply no comparable super-luxury lodge in the Mara. ‘If Angama is successful, it could do the same for Kenya as the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge did for Tanzania,’ he says. It’s certainly a vote of confidence in the future of the Kenyan tourism industry. By CAROLYN RAPHAELY.
On Saturday 29 August, an exhibition entitled Karoo Disclosure opened at the Iziko South African Museum. Part art exhibition, part scientific discussion, part economic analysis, it was a unique and sobering look at the problem of fracking from various angles. MARELISE VAN DER MERWE left deeply concerned.
Almost two weeks after the documentary Luister exposed ongoing racism and discrimination at Stellenbosch University, students will march on Tuesday to submit a memorandum of demands while the university's management answers to Parliament. GREG NICOLSON asks how the documentary was made and what Open Stellenbosch members think.
South Africa’s beleaguered mining industry is in danger of losing almost 12,000 jobs: an employment vacuum the country can ill afford. As of Monday, a new plan signed by the industry, government and the unions won’t guarantee that the jobs will be saved. If further retrenchments are inevitable, however, the plan may ensure that life is a little easier for laid-off mineworkers. But is it enough to solve the problems of an industry in crisis? By REBECCA DAVIS.
Calls for greater transparency over the funding of political parties in South Africa are growing, with the ANC itself highlighting ‘money politics’ as one of the key drivers of factionalism and corruption in the ruling party. The Constitutional Court too has been asked to rule on the issue, while last week former Constitutional Court Judge Kate O'Regan explored some of the constitutional gaps in relation to regulating political parties in South Africa. By MARIANNE THAMM.
What happens if you try to oppose some of South Africa’s biggest mining houses? Civil society organisations found out last week in the South Gauteng High Court. They were trying to join the potential class action against gold mining companies demanding compensation for contracting silicosis. The nongovernmental organisations won this round. Next round: October. By GREG NICOLSON.
‘Soon, soon’ – the complexity of radically transforming the health system underlies the snail’s pace of the National Health Insurance White Paper’s development, but a lot is happening to improve the quality of public health in preparation for one universal health system. By KERRY CULLINAN for HEALTH-E NEWS.
At the end of an unprecedented closed meeting between the judiciary and executive on Thursday, President Jacob Zuma and Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng shared a stage to outline 10 commitments to address their challenges. Some were straightforward. Others were not. For Zuma it was the best possible outcome, while the judges are playing a different game to the politicians. The future of the relationship is by no means certain. By GREG NICOLSON.
The post-1994 era has been accompanied by a shift in overall national income share on a per capita basis for the better. Statistics show the national income share has grown, so how do you explain the high inequality even though we have relied on both state and market mechanisms for redistribution? By SALIEM FAKIR.
At its height, the Apartheid government was running one of the most expensive international propaganda campaigns the world has ever known. Pivotal to this were a number of black Americans, paid by the South African government to lobby in the US to try to win support for Apartheid. Journalist Ron Nixon’s new book Selling Apartheid: South Africa’s Global Propaganda War tells the fascinating story of a regime desperate to get the international community on side. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Judge Fikile Mokgohloa’s recent decision in the Durban High Court has confirmed shack dwellers’ certainty that the state’s habitual use of legal loopholes to evict land occupiers from their homes is unconstitutional. What’s more, his decision has finally shown up the courts as sharing responsibility for allowing these evictions to go on unchecked. By DANEEL KNOETZE for GROUNDUP.
Many believe it’s a failing of South African politics that a relatively tiny portion of the population gets to elect the leaders of our political parties – and, by extension, the president of the country. Now the Congress of the People (Cope) is taking a stand. The latest iteration of the party’s constitution has announced that in future, the ‘rank and file’ membership of Cope will directly elect the party’s president. By REBECCA DAVIS.
In this strange 'twilight zone' in which the power of one African National Congress (ANC) leader is slowly beginning to wane, while the next leader has not yet been identified, space exists in which to think again about certain policies and practices of the organisation. In just a few short months, the race for the next leader will have well and truly begun, with its strange sort of 'politics by subtext'. That the ANC is a grand old organisation is not in doubt. That it has brought democracy to South Africa is beyond question. But it also needs to change, to bring itself up to date with the times. It's time for the ANC to change the way it manages its leadership elections, and to usher in a new age of transparency. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
A study by University of Cape Town economist Arden Finn to determine the wage level at which a worker and his or her family could be brought up to the poverty line found R4,125 was the carefully qualified answer. Unsurprisingly, 95% of those employed in domestic services and 90% of those in agriculture earn less than this. About half of those employed in manufacturing and transport also earn below the working-poor line. By GILAD ISAACS for GROUNDUP.
While the cost of sending money across borders is plummeting, sending money from South Africa to neighbouring countries appears to incur the highest costs. One of the most popular remittance corridors in the region is from South Africa to Zimbabwe, and new money-sending agents are making this corridor cheaper and easier. GROUNDUP tested three of these services. By BEN STANWIX and TARIRO WASHINYIR.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is not one for brevity. Her latest report into malfeasance at parastatal the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, runs to 391 pages. But who can blame her: if experience with her past reports is anything to go by, Madonsela needs her findings to be expressed in a watertight manner to have any hope of her recommendations being taken seriously. Of concern is the fact that Madonsela’s report records (again) how difficult it was to get the necessary information from the agency in order to complete her investigation. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Mining boss Roger Kebble, who for years insisted his son Brett did not orchestrate his own suicide, killed himself in his car in the upmarket suburb of Bishopscourt in Cape Town yesterday. The 78-year-old, who was found with a gunshot wound to the head, leaves an incredibly complex legacy. By MANDY WIENER.
Farm attacks continue to be a dividing issue. After yet another report released by the South African Human Rights Commission last week after the Hearing into Safety and Security Challenges in Farming Communities, it's clear the attacks are not motivated by race. But there's no easy solution to tackling the underlying causes. By GREG NICOLSON.
South Africa has no legislation regulating private donations to political parties private individuals and companies are able to donate as much in secret as they wish leaving the door wide open for corruption and the buying of influence. In a country already divided by high levels of inequality, wealthy individuals are able to influence policy in myriad ways thus ‘drowning out’ the voices of the already poor and marginalised. Yet, legislation cannot be the panacea for all ills, and it is also crucial that political parties are able to raise money for much-needed activities from building research capacity to electioneering. Yet, the missing link in the present laissez faire situation is transparency. By JUDITH FEBRUARY and LINDSAY FERRIS.
On Monday, the rand sank to its lowest ever level against the US dollar. As this was happening, union leaders, factory owners and the government were meeting to try to save jobs in the steel sector. Our mining sector is in the doldrums since the platinum price has tanked. At the same time, the African National Congress is planning its national general council, amid suggestions that it could be about to change its policy. As all of the indicators head south, this is still a terrible crisis to waste. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Our politics at the moment is in a twilight zone, where one leader is still at the height of power, and his successor hasn't yet been identified. This means there's a small window to think out of the box, to ponder what could be done differently. So we seriously propose that the best possible outcome for the African National Congress is for Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to join forces. Right now. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
The current serious illnesses of both former US President Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and the way they have carried out their respective public roles since retirement should urge us to consider deeply their impact on their two nations – and the world. J BROOKS SPECTOR takes a look.
There are three components to land reform, a key political issue in South Africa: redistribution, tenure reform and restitution. While redistribution and tenure reform remain sluggish and controversial, the 2014/15 annual report of the Commission on Restitution of Land rights shows much has been accomplished with regard to the R2-billion spent settling 428 claims. The symbolic value of these successes should not be underestimated. By MARIANNE THAMM.