- Paul Berkowitz
Right when South Africa was set to have its own YouTube video of Members of Parliament coming to blows and the police treating elected leaders like violent protestors, calm was restored. Almost. GREG NICOLSON looks at the charges that were laid after Thursday’s parliamentary protest by the Economic Freedom Fighters.
Of course it was destined to happen. The moment Julius Malema tackled President Jacob Zuma on the Nkandla issue was always going to cause pandemonium. But when it did, a constellation of shame followed. A president who shows disdain for parliamentary accountability, a Speaker who abuses her powers, Members of Parliament who have no respect for that hallowed institution, a state which deploys heavily armed riot police to fight political battles. On this same day, one of South Africa’s last surviving political icons Ahmed Kathrada turned 85. It was also the day he got to watch footage of the democratic Parliament that he, Nelson Mandela and others dedicated their lives to building being turned into a farce and a disgrace. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
After Llewellyn Smith was brutally assaulted, stripped naked, electro-shocked and tortured in the Leeuwkop Max C prison showers last week, his wife Malanie brought an urgent application in the South Gauteng High Court requesting that her husband was granted permission to see a private medical practitioner, that he was x-rayed and permitted to lay charges with the SAPS. By CAROLYN RAPHAELY.
Much argument over South African democracy revolves around the electoral dominance of the ANC and its repeated re-election as ruling party. Ten years ago I argued that there was nothing about ANC electoral dominance, in itself, that was necessarily antagonistic to constitutionalism. This was shown in political history, amongst other places in Sweden, where stable democracy coexisted with decades-long electoral dominance of the Social Democrats. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
On Thursday, the EFF have stepped up their parliamentary-insurrectionist campaign, baiting President Zuma over the upgrades to his presidential palace in Nkandla. When the smoke finally cleared, and the riot cops had holstered their Glocks, South Africa had entered the Age of Rage. In the Big House, chaos now rules. By RICHARD POPLAK.
While the Western Cape High court was hearing an application initiated by the DA for an urgent interdict to have SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s permanent appointment set aside and for him to be suspended immediately, the Public Protector and the Communications Minister met in Pretoria and agreed to co-operate on the matter. So where does that leave the DA? Or Hlaudi? Or the SABC, for that matter? By MARIANNE THAMM.
The ANC Youth League’s national task team has been quiet of late and it appears to have done little apart from disbanding just about everything. On Wednesday, the administrators of the Young Lions released a handy document that could pave the way for regeneration or degeneration. The Youth League’s demolishers could yet be seen as its builders. By GREG NICOLSON.
Since being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in April last year, Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini has suffered immensely, and in the early hours of Saturday morning, could endure the agony no more. He took his own life, bringing to an end a colourful career. A myriad of tributes poured in, praising his life’s work. But Oriani-Ambrosini was also a controversial character in South African politics, which many people prefer not to speak of now. The passage of time can purify many political legacies but it can also destroy outstanding careers. With the ageing of a generation of eminent political leaders, how will and how should they be remembered? By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
While counsel for embattled SABC COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, argued that an application in the Cape High Court to have him immediately suspended was “politically opportunistic”, an affidavit by Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, warned that the decision by the SABC Board and the Communications Minister to disregard her February report “has significant implications for the workings of our democracy and the independence and effectiveness of the institution of the Public Protector.” By MARIANNE THAMM.
The ANC Youth league is now just five weeks away from holding its first national congress since its formal leadership was disbanded by the ANC’s National Executive Committee in March 2013. At that congress it’s due to reconstitute itself, and be welcome once more into the ANC family. However, it’s going to be a long hard slog for the League to try to live up to the history it has so gloriously painted for itself. And its first big test is whether the young lions are going to choose the right lion to lead their pride. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
If you are reading this, you are among the ever-smaller band of people who still read stories about Marikana in Daily Maverick. Most people prefer not to. Most people choose to think of the Marikana massacre as a terrible thing that happened to other people, a world away from their own lives. By turning away from their suffering, we perpetuate the prejudice against the people of Marikana. Just because those in power treat the people of Marikana like children of a lesser God, does not mean we should too. In the US city of Ferguson in Missouri, a state of emergency was declared this weekend as protests intensified over the killing of an unarmed teenager by a police officer. We know who Mike Brown is because his community is demanding justice. Why are WE not? By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
On Friday President Jacob Zuma’s lawyers admitted in the Supreme Court of Appeal that they were conceding the appeal by the DA for access to what has become known in our political culture as the 'Zuma Spy Tapes'. In other words, the tapes are now going to be handed over. And one can safely presume that it will be a hop, skip and a jump for them to be made public by the DA pretty quickly after that. But just this concession leads automatically to the question of why Zuma has resisted for so long the publication of these recordings. And if this really the beginning of the end of one of the “sagas” that have come to define the Zuma era. And many, many more questions. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
President Jacob Zuma had 14 days to respond to Public Protector’s report on the security upgrades at his Nkandla residence. It took him 148 days to do so. Despite having an extra 134 days to read, digest and respond to the report, one would swear that neither the President nor whomever it was who wrote his response had actually read Thuli Madonsela’s report. Either that, or Zuma is deliberately choosing to ignore the key findings and recommendations. Spare a thought though for the new Minister of Police Nkosinathi Nhleko, who had a blazing hot potato dropped in his lap. Nhleko must determine how much, if anything, his boss must pay back to the state. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Forensic expert Dr David Klatzow has been one of the most vocal and consistent critics of South African police handling of crime scenes and evidence. Speaking on Wednesday about his new book, ‘Justice Denied’, Klatzow wasn’t mincing his words about the quality of local forensic investigations. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The collective pain was overwhelming at the Marikana Commission on Wednesday. Two years after the killings, the relatives of the victims took the floor and spoke of good men, justice, and finding a substitute for the unique. They spoke of men with names, faces and families, what they left behind, what can’t be replaced. By GREG NICOLSON.
Just days after a national newspaper exposed his academic qualifications as a lie, Pallo Jordan apologised to the ANC and to South Africa, and stepped down from his public positions. This week, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa finally appeared before the Marikana Commission of Inquiry to explain his role in events preceding the massacre of 34 mineworkers two years ago, an appearance during which 'sorry' seemed to be the hardest word for him. He still remains the most likely candidate to be the next President of South Africa. Jordan, on the other hand, is headed into the political wilderness. What does this mean for the ANC and for South Africa? By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
12 August is World Elephant Day. In Cape Town this year, conservationists gathered to mark the day by paying tribute to the Kenyan government’s burning of 12 tons of seized elephant tusks in 1989, a move which garnered attention worldwide and led to an international ivory trade ban. The “tusks” burnt by Cape Town conservationists were fake – but the message was very real. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The drama between Advocate Dali Mpofu and Cyril Ramaphosa took precedence on the Deputy President’s second day of testifying at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry. Mpofu wants Ramaphosa, who has become a symbol of the violent collusion between Lonmin, the state and police, charged with murder. GREG NICOLSON reports from the Commission and wonders whether the charges will stick.
As the Oscar Pistorius trial winds to a close, a Special Assignment documentary on Sunday night was a reminder of another South African murder case involving a high-profile man which has consistently failed to win a similar degree of media attention – or outrage. When artist Zwelethu Mthethwa goes to trial in November, will we see crowds, cameras and the ANC Women’s League? Or does nobody care very much when the accused is an artist – and the victim is a sex-worker? By REBECCA DAVIS.
On Monday DA leader Helen Zille released her weekly online newsletter, in which she claimed that it may no longer be possible to trust the Independent Electoral Commission and the Electoral Court. She joins several other opposition parties who have made the same claim. While part of this claim is about the conduct of IEC Chair Advocate Pansy Tlakula, it is also about the ANC. Whatever the facts, what is frightening is that we appear to be heading towards a situation where we have the ANC and the IEC on one side, and almost everyone else on the other. Which cannot be described as very good for our democracy. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Two years ago on Monday, Lonmin workers marched on the NUM and were fired upon by union members, starting a spiral of violence that ended in the Marikana massacre. On Monday, NUM founding general secretary and current Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa testified on his role in the murky collaboration between Lonmin and politicians. The 'buffalo prince' survived, steadfast and resolute, but human after all. By GREG NICOLSON.
Residents of Ward 44 in Gugulethu have taken matters in their own hands to combat crime in the area. About 122 volunteers have signed up to do community policing work, which encompasses patrolling the area 24 hours a day, checking sewage problems and collecting rubbish material. The group has divided itself into three shifts, working around the clock from 7am. By Johnnie Isaacs for GROUNDUP.
What on earth is going on with our land reform process? Recently, South Africa has experienced another of its periodic spasms of concern about the ‘land question’ – this time brought about by the unveiling of a sheaf of controversial new legislation and proposals by the Minister of Land Reform and Rural Development (DRDLR 2014b). After a year or two of relative quiet, we at the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies are once again besieged by journalists seeking comment from experts who can help them make sense of the new proposals. The experts, it has seemed, are as stumped as the rest of us – or even more so. By ANDRIES DU TOIT.