- Paul Berkowitz
The protests in Tshwane last week tell us many things about the ANC, about its processes, and the desperation in the air at the moment, mainly because the economy is slowing. But it also tells us many things about our government, its inability to manage some of these situations, and the problems that arise when certain offices are used for political ends. We must now start to accept that the offices of our security agencies have become de-legitimised. This is going to be a major problem. And we have only our politicians, those currently in power, to blame. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
With only 37 days until the local government elections, the Democratic Alliance believes its election campaign, the biggest in the party’s history, means it has a realistic shot at taking another metropolitan municipality. For the party, which has been working for years to position itself for these elections, the chaos in Tshwane helps reiterate its core message. By GREG NICOLSON.
If you want to talk to your constituency MP, make sure you’re armed with plenty of airtime, data and a generous dose of patience. Parliament at the end of May officially went on “constituency period” (not a recess for electioneering) until well after the 3 August municipal poll. That means MPs should be easily spotted in their constituencies rather than at the national legislature in Cape Town. But neither Parliament, nor political parties, make it easy to find the public elected representative for your area. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
Deinstitutionalisation. It sounds good: taking mentally ill people out of psychiatric institutions and putting them into community homes or back with their families. But when governments do it to save money, the outcome is seldom positive, as Gauteng patients have discovered. KERRY CULLINAN reports for HEALTH-E NEWS.
Ultimately, a decisive share of British voters heard the mock siren call of the final chorus of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “HMS Pinafore”(and the sneering of Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson) rather more than they listened to David Cameron and a virtual boatload of the country’s economists and doomsayers. An extremely surprised J. BROOKS SPECTOR woke up early on Friday to gaze on the results of the Brexit vote with a sense of astonishment – and not a little bit of horror at the outcome.
After days of violence and looting in South Africa’s capital city, there are no clear answers as to what caused the chaos and why there was a violent reaction to the announcement of Thoko Didiza as the ANC’s mayoral candidate in Tshwane. There is also no coherent strategy by the ANC to deal with the upheaval, with the matter being left to the police to handle. On Wednesday the ANC was meant to have a meeting with its 107 branches in Tshwane but this did not happen. On Thursday, Gauteng’s 11 ANC mayoral candidates were introduced at a festive media lunch in Johannesburg as the death toll in Tshwane climbed to five. There is clearly more at play than what meets the eye. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
For a party fond of periodically dusting off and paying lip service to the Freedom Charter at mass rallies, the ANC is often not so keen on realising the rights, freedoms and democratic ethos enshrined in the Constitution and the country’s laws. In government, the ANC has challenged, delayed or simply ignored various court verdicts. This week it was SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s turn. But where a state does not lead by example, as Judge Thokozile Mapisa warned last year, soon ordinary people too will disobey the law. By MARIANNE THAMM.
This week, the proverbial chickens came home to roost for the SABC. The public broadcaster faces an Icasa hearing for its decision to stop broadcasting violent protests, the DA threatened to take action for “disproportionate election coverage”, and Right2Know began the week picketing outside the SABC building. Amandla.mobi joined the protesting later in the week and the broadcaster came under fire from various quarters for its coverage – or lack thereof – of the deadly unrest in Tshwane, which by Thursday morning had cost at least five people their lives and ended in about 200 arrests. Was the public broadcaster abashed? Apparently not. By the end of the day, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi had stepped in to rescue COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng – again. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
While the unrest in Tshwane has begun to subside, the provincial ANC on Thursday tried to show it now has control over the conflict and is ready to move towards the elections. Despite the violence, mayoral candidate Thoko Didiza maintained that she is ready to lead and feels as loved by the community as ever. By GREG NICOLSON.
Parliament’s labour relations have gone pear-shaped again. On Thursday hundreds of members of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) walked out of a meeting called by Secretary to Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana, the second in two days for his management team, to present quarterly institutional reports. After Tuesday’s abandoned meeting four Nehawu members, including two union officials, were charged with gross insubordination and/or gross conduct. The union says all it did was raise concerns about how this meeting was conducted and the institutional failure to resolve outstanding collective bargaining matters. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
Every now and then a society has to make a decision that will be felt for 50 years or more. These decisions don’t happen often or come easy. Technology moves so quickly, some societies are able to reach consensus quickly, some are not. Nothing proves how complicated we are a society like the saga over digital terrestrial television. It is a real saga, with elements of comedy and tragedy, heroes and villains. Now, two of the main players, DStv and the Communications Ministry, have filed an application for leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court, after the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) overturned a new policy that is being implemented by Communications Minister Faith Muthambi. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is again nominated for the post although she is not eligible because the Constitution limits the term of office to a non-renewable seven years. Chairperson of Parliament’s ad hoc committee to find the next Public Protector, ANC MP Makhosi Khoza, on Wednesday said she was happy with the number and quality of nominations: “Most of them are fundis in law.” MPs have until 31 August to nominate the new Public Protector who, after approval by the National Assembly, is appointed by President Jacob Zuma. Madonsela leaves office on 14 October. The Public Protector is one of the few public institutions not held by an incumbent considered pliant to the Zuma administration. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
Three people have been killed and at least 54 arrested in Tshwane after unrest resulting from the ANC’s appointment of Thoko Didiza as its mayoral candidate. As the ANC scrambles to end the violence, there are growing calls to hold the responsible to account and worries about increasing political violence ahead of the local government elections. By GREG NICOLSON.
Last week, six Kenyan members of parliament were chucked in a Nairobi prison for four days after being accused of hate speech. This is the political equivalent of being sent to the naughty corner, but it seems to have worked: the “Pangani Six” have now promised to travel the country preaching forgiveness and conciliation. By NJERI KIMANI.
It is a paradox that the question of the irreversibility or otherwise of the democratic gains made in 1994 should need to be raised again more than 20 years after the first democratic elections. If we ask whether the gains are reversible one may need to reply that the intention of those who pose a danger is not in the first place to attack democratic rule. There is no direct attack on the right to vote, a universal achievement which represented an historic victory. But those who are elected now have access to public funds, are able to determine who gets state contracts and how they are implemented or whether they are executed at all, and these influences undermine the power of that very vote. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
The ANC's decision to name Thoko Didiza as its Tshwane mayoral candidate has sparked protests, but the real cause is local factionalism, plaguing the region for years. Choosing between the region's recommended candidates or the incumbent necessitated a third option, with protests likely for every choice. By GREG NICOLSON.