On Thursday, President Jacob Zuma finally spoke out against the abuse of his name “to flout procedures and secure privileges” in order to land the Gupta jet at the Waterkloof Air Force Base. It’s a little late but kudos to him for finally breaking his silence on the issue. However the statement is weak and is hardly likely to stop the name-droppers in their tracks. If Zuma really wanted to deal with the issue decisively and presidentially, the opportunity presented itself on Wednesday during the parliamentary debate on Guptagate. Here is the speech he should’ve delivered. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
The release of the Guptagate report by the task team charged with investigating it clearly states that the Waterkloof Air Force Base, contrary to widespread public belief, is not a National Key Point. As a “strategic military base”, the report states, it has “even more stringent security measures” than a National Key Point. This rare piece of official clarification on the security status of a public installation only increases the mystery around National Key Points: if a military air base isn’t one, what is? By REBECCA DAVIS.
The report from the justice, crime prevention and security cluster of government departments has identified the chief of state protocol at the Department of International Relations and Co-Operation (Dirco), Bruce Koloane, and the commanding officer of movement control at Waterkloof, Lieutenant Colonel Christine Anderson, as the main culprits in the facilitation of the landing of the Jet Airways owned aircraft at the military airbase. And while President Zuma insists he had nothing to do with it, Anderson feels hard done by. By KHADIJA PATEL.
In the recently released government report detailing the specifics of the so-called Guptagate scandal, one of the suggestions was that “Government… should develop and implement a public service awareness campaign to discourage the negative culture of name-dropping.” The Daily Maverick has secured a secret memo that is currently doing the governmental rounds. RICHARD POPLAK believes that it will have the necessary effect.
On Wednesday, the government team tasked with investigating the circumstances under which the Guptas were able to land an aircraft at the Waterkloof air force base released their report. Their investigation points the finger of blame squarely at the Guptas, two state officials, and individuals in the Indian High Commission. Zuma, it says, is innocent in the matter. But absolutely none of the opposition MPs who addressed a fiery debate in the National Assembly on Wednesday afternoon were buying that. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The National Prosecuting Authority is in crisis. Crisis is, in fact, the wrong word. The right word may well be tatters. No capacity. No political will. No credibility. The failures can sear one's retina: J. Arthur Brown. Andries Tatane. Anene Booysen. A list of damning mistakes, disasters and possibly deliberate missteps. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
The clock is ticking down to the implementation of e-tolls and Cosatu is raising the stakes. Highways will be blocked in Johannesburg on Friday and a stay-away is planned for June. E-toll-bashing is almost a national pastime, but so far the outrage has failed to translate into action. Cosatu’s trying to change that and show government it’s not about to give up the fight. By GREG NICOLSON.
“Did the president take us into his confidence about the relationship between [him] and the Gupta family? I’m not sure if that is necessary,” ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe told a media briefing on Monday. So, no then. The last time the ANC decided not to ask questions of its presidential deployee, and allowed him not to account to the party for his actions, it ended up recalling him from office. The ANC seems not to learn from its past mistakes; quite the opposite: it keeps repeating them – even when it contravenes its own resolutions. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
On Tuesday, the state announced that it would be dropping all charges against Jonathan Davids, one of the two Bredasdorp men accused of raping and killing Anene Booysen. The NPA said it simply didn’t have enough evidence to secure a conviction. We at the Daily Maverick are trying hard to keep faith in our already strained justice system, because the alternative is too dark to contemplate. When it comes to the release of a man Anene Booysen allegedly managed to name two or three times from her deathbed, we’re hoping desperately it’s motivated by sound principles. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Just when you thought the e-tolling argument was over, another new major player has entered the ring. It's big, it wears robes, and it's got God on its side. Ladies and gentlemen, the Catholic Church has fixed its dog collar, removed the clerical glasses, put aside the incense burner, and told government exactly where to get off. In short, it's said toll roads are wrong, possibly corrupt, and certainly not transparent. SANRAL, of course, has a response. It's not as strong as it could be. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
President Jacob Zuma doesn’t need to explain who his friends are. South Africans have a bias against facts and the Waterkloof scandal, or Guptnkandla, has united the ANC. So said the party’s Secretary General Gwede Mantashe on Monday. Ahead of the 2014 elections, he tried to shield the president from criticism and cast doubt on divisions within the party, but it won’t be easy to conceal the Gupta in the room. By GREG NICOLSON.
Since January 2013 when the Eastern Cape Department of Health decided to move the Lusikisiki Clinic to new premises without proper planning, patients and health care workers have been seriously compromised by the new, make-shift facility. The ‘clinic’ is so bad that it violates workers and patient’s basic rights and is a health hazard. But despite promises of change from EC health MEC, Sicelo Gqobana, the appalling conditions remain. By MANDY DE WAAL.
The worst-kept secret in South Africa has now been confirmed by government: the Guptas drop President Jacob Zuma’s name to wrangle special privileges in the state. So where is the statement from the presidency expressing Zuma’s outrage (apparently he did not know this up to now) and distancing him from all the acts the Guptas committed in his name? In future, name-dropping in government will be considered to be gross misconduct (good luck policing that). The sound you are hearing is the Guptas laughing as they walk away unscathed, ready to continue with their marauding ways. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Early in May, the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster promised an investigation into the scandal around the Gupta wedding guests arriving in a private plane at Waterkloof Air Force Base. The cluster delivered in time and indicated that prosecutions would result. According to the justice minister, there’s a problem with “name-dropping”, a rogue worker at the Indian High Commission and middle-level government officials. The Guptas, president, and ministers, however, seem to have been cleared of wrongdoing. Anyone surprised? Anyone? By GREG NICOLSON.
When Cyril Karabus left South Africa in August 2012, he was a well-respected paediatric oncologist. By the time he returned in May 2013, Karabus had become a household name: a 78- year-old poster-boy for the risks medics face when working in the Emirates. His arrival at Cape Town International on Friday, 17 May after nine months of detention in Abu Dhabi marked a happy ending to a distressing case. REBECCA DAVIS reflects on some of the lessons learned.
As lawyers consolidate the biggest silicosis class action suit Africa has seen, pioneering work by women’s rights activists investigates how to change policy and law for caregivers of sick or dying miners. Historically the wives and daughters of miners affected by silicosis have had no recourse in terms of compensation for the care and support work they do, but rights workers want to change this. By MANDY DE WAAL.
The South African Army can only cope with so many demands with the resources it currently has. Obvious as it sounds, this comment from the chief of the army is a sharp reminder to government, which is poised to deploy soldiers to the DRC, of the challenges facing the South African National Defence Force. Our soldiers can no longer do more with less. By GREG NICOLSON.
After its first reported losses, the world’s biggest producer of platinum, Anglo American Platinum, wants to close shafts and retrench, so as to spare shareholders more pain. After months of negotiations between the Department of Mineral Resources and unions, 6,000 jobs are still on the line. In response, Amplats workers declared they would down tools unless the mining giant put people before profits. By MANDY DE WAAL.
South Africa is rapidly urbanising, and in many cases infrastructure and municipal services are struggling to keep up. In the Western Cape, a private group of urban designers and developers think they have a solution. They want to build a new city 25km north of Cape Town’s city centre called Wescape, and so far they have the land, the plan, and seemingly the City of Cape Town’s blessing. But not everyone is convinced that the development is a very good idea. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Ahead of the tripartite alliance summit in June and October, the South African Communist Party has commented at length on the National Development Plan. It’s a well thought-out critique that rejects the ‘yes/no’ paradigm sought by NUMSA, while honing in on the plan’s weaknesses, like the inconsistencies and ‘broad consensus’ on which the document is supposedly built. By SIPHO HLONGWANE.