- Jared Sacks
Nkandla. Oscar Pistorius. Elections 2014. Julius Malema. Pansy Tlakula. Mamphela Ramphele. Zwelinzima Vavi. Hlaudi Motsoeneng. #PayBackTheMoney. Senzo Meyiwa. Eskom. Shrien Dewani. Cosatu. And always, Jacob Zuma. They occupied the news and our minds, and defined the world we live in. It was a never-ending big news year that shone the spotlight on the ethics of our president, examined whether our star athlete, and onetime idol, was a cold-blooded killer, and saw a significant shift in South African politics, with the Economic Freedom Fighters now firmly ensconced in the milieu. We may be a grown up 20-year-old democracy, but this year, we reached the furthest point away from the nation we were meant to be. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
The EFF’s long weekend swung from a peaceful love-in to angry hate-fest to smiling hug-a-thon. Disgruntled delegates were no longer burning apparel, and exhausted Fighters filled the hall to get a classic dose of Juju. They weren’t disappointed. He’s after the mines, and he’s after the banks—and he’s coming for them in 2015. By RICHARD POPLAK.
Cyril Ramaphosa had the one thing nobody else in the world could ever claim – Nelson Mandela’s endorsement to be president of South Africa. He has never used this to further his political ambitions. But in a morass of multiple leadership failures, he is finding his place and making the right moves – all very subtly. This week he delivered a memorial lecture on Mandela, which hit all the right notes and presented the message a scandal-fatigued country needed to hear. Is it finally Cyril’s time to shine? By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Over the course of 2014, the EFF has become, in their own words, 'a vanguard movement' — largely because they’re the only game in town when it comes to an organised, boisterous left. But how can the party grow in the next four years to challenge the ANC in 2019, painting the entire country Red? Meet one of the Fighters who plans on taking the party from Marxist sloganeering to the State Presidency. By RICHARD POPLAK.
A South African political party’s leadership vote is a ritualised process. It’s seemingly arbitrary, and simultaneously democratic. At any rate, it’s one way to do things—and as far as democracy goes, it’s the best worst of a best worst system. And this is how it played out for the EFF, on the second day of its First National People’s Assembly. By RICHARD POPLAK.
Who knows why both the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the United Front both decided to call their conferences “people’s assembly”, but there were massive differences between the two. Granted, the EFF is 18 months ahead in the game, but Julius Malema knew from the outset exactly what he wanted to do – contest for political power. The United Front was a gathering of leftist activists of yesteryear, civil society campaigners, academics and people disgruntled with the ANC, all rallying under Numsa’s banner to chart a new political course. Brilliant minds, yes, but no apparent leader, and no firm trajectory about where the United Front is headed. Numsa, in particular, needs to tread cautiously now. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
The EFF’s first national conference kicked off on Sunday morning as the party prepared to elect its top six leaders. High security greeted the delegates and great excitement was reserved for the MPs as they entered the hall at the University of the Free State. GREG NICOLSON was there with his camera.
South African-born actress, Janet Suzman, unleashed storm of global protest and was branded racist when she remarked that theatre was “a white invention, a European invention and white people go it”. Her comments were made in world where black people - from the US to South Africa and in the wake of the Ferguson protests, the controversy surrounding Brett Bailey’s “Exhibit B” as well as racist remarks by singer Steve Hofmeyr - are wrestling the narrative about black lives away from a dominant, white media. This week Suzman made an apology from her hospital bed. We print it in its entirety.
On the day the World Social Forum on Migration (WSFM) ended The Times reported South African authorities had released, for comment, a document that would require asylum seekers to reveal personal details such as bank balances and academic qualifications. Many of the questions are irrelevant for asylum seekers and merely place another obstacle in an already complicated and frustrating process. Ironically, the Forum itself was also a disappointment. It was the first time it had been hosted on the African continent and now it seems as if justice for migrants will continue being an uphill battle because even the WSFM let them down – monumentally. By RUSSELL POLLITT.
He might not yet be president but Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has certainly become the go-to guy for just about everything that goes wrong in the ANC, government and even on continental affairs. From mediating the troubles in South Sudan and Lesotho, to the fallout in Cosatu, and even trying to keep Mmusi Maimane and Julius Malema in check in Parliament, Ramaphosa is the superhero to the rescue. On Thursday, Cabinet announced that the Deputy President would oversee the turnaround at three besieged state-owned entities – South African Airways (SAA), the SA Post Office and Eskom. If he wants to be a president South Africa will have faith in, Ramaphosa had better get this right. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Earlier this month, Daily Maverick reported on a series of problems occurring in the Mogalakwena Municipality around the time of its by-elections. According to columnist Niki Moore’s sources, residents were facing potential water shortages because of a new mine development in the area. In the interests of free debate, here follows IVANPLATS’ response to the article in full.
What was unthinkable 20 years ago has happened in 2014. In 1994 it seemed impossible for the party of Nelson Mandela to be defeated and any split in the tripartite alliance seemed far-fetched. The ANC-led alliance is now hanging together by a thread, with all three of its components facing declining legitimacy and support and, in the case of COSATU, possible implosion. What happened? By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
South Africa has a pretty difficult history when it comes to the formation of new political parties. Since 1994, no new party has been formed that has managed to have a big impact on our politics for more than a five-year stretch. At the moment, the ANC and the DA still dominate. Julius Malema wants to change this. Radically. This weekend’s conference at which he plans to have the Economic Freedom Fighter’s first elective gathering is probably going to be his biggest political test yet. He needs to do two major things: create leadership around him and find something to stand for, rather than against. The omens are not particularly good. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
A statement by the ANC on Tuesday was instructive as to what can be done to relieve the electricity crisis: better communications of load shedding schedules to minimise inconvenience. So the best-case scenario is not that the lights stay on. That would to be the good old days, when electricity was available at the flick of a switch. The best-case scenario now is that load shedding takes place according to schedule so that South Africans can prepare and adapt. A difficult 18 months lie ahead as the electricity supply will remain precarious, and that will take us to a big event on the South African political calendar: local government elections 2016. In the meantime the bad news will keep coming. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
The Daily Maverick’s Person of the Year, decided on annually by Daily Maverick staff, does not constitute an endorsement of the individuals in question. It reflects those who have dominated headlines during the year and cast some kind of spotlight on an aspect of South African society or public life. In 2014, our second runner-ups are Oscar Pistorius and Shrien Dewani. By REBECCA DAVIS.
While murder accused Shrien Dewani spent his first moments of freedom in the cells below the court reportedly taking selfies with the official who stood watch over him in the dock, the NPA’s Nathi Ncube was furiously spinning in the midday heat on the steps of the High Court in Cape Town. While it was “unfortunate” that Dewani had been acquitted, said the NPA’s spokesperson, they still believed he was involved in the killing of his wife Anni. By MARIANNE THAMM.
Poor Eskom. The electricity parastatal is once again in the firing line as load shedding affects households and businesses across the country. Defending the organisation on Monday, Eskom leaders suggested it's not all their fault, government sets the policies. The current policies have us in a situation where load shedding is the new normal. You don't want to imagine what a crisis looks like. By GREG NICOLSON.
Cheap and abundant supplies of electricity, all of it provided by state-owned Eskom. That has been the underlying assumption of almost all South Africans for over a generation. This assumption, over the long term, is a faulty one, and if South Africa is to get through its present crisis, then we will have to preserve and build our country’s economy using an entirely different foundation. It won’t be easy – for anyone. Cherished policies about our economy will not survive, and the way our country is managed will have to change too. By DIRK DE VOS.
In politics, it seems every year turns out to be a year of living dangerously. But with the fifth democratic elections, 2014 was always going to be a big year in South African politics. It was the year the ANC got a big fright with the possibility of losing control of Gauteng. It was also the year that the Economic Freedom Fighters altered the dynamics in South African politics, particularly in Parliament. Mamphela Ramphele kissed and said goodbye and Cosatu fell apart. And for one more year, President Jacob Zuma was a dividing force and Nkandla loomed large in the national discourse. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Cape Town is currently playing host to “the largest global gathering of trade unions ever to take place in Africa”. There was something slightly surreal about the opening ceremony of the UNI Global Union’s World Congress on Sunday, where glowing tributes to the history of South Africa’s labour movement conveniently omitted the current state of chaos within Cosatu. By REBECCA DAVIS.