You may think the announcement by former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema this week that he is undertaking a consultation process on his economic freedom campaign was months in the making, a political strategy devised in smoke-filled rooms by shadowy political heavyweights behind him. Turns out Malema and his sidekick Floyd Shivambu, together with a few of their mates, decided on it without consulting anyone. Malema revealed this, his intentions for a “revolution” in South Africa, his impressions watching from the sidelines as Jacob Zuma won a second term at Mangaung and his life outside the ANC in an interview with RANJENI MUNUSAMY. GREG NICOLSON took the pictures.
Western Cape ANC leader Marius Fransman called on “all our people” to join a march to the DA-controlled provincial legislature on Thursday. Poor turnout and a refusal by any DA bigwigs to collect a memorandum of demands rendered the march a bit of a damp squib. No faeces was flung – other than verbally. But with the elections a full ten months away, Western Cape opposition politics are looking increasingly like – if you’ll pardon our language – a shit-show. By REBECCA DAVIS.
In 1976, I was a young American diplomat who had been assigned to Johannesburg the year before, following an assignment in Southeast Asia. Trying to understand Johannesburg, and South Africa, meant trying to come to grips with the country’s myriad of racially defined laws – as well as all the other things not actually enshrined in law but deeply woven into the fabric of this society. All of this became like a series of slaps across the face, even though America’s own experiences with racial segregation were still relatively fresh in the Washington, DC area and could have been a partial roadmap. By J BROOKS SPECTOR.
There could have been no better way for President Jacob Zuma to begin a speech than to announce that former president Nelson Mandela was “responding better to treatment” after five days in hospital. But then he had to get down to the serious business of what his presidency was doing to lead the country through troubled economic times. The opposition parties also paused to salute Madiba, and then took the opportunity to rip into Zuma’s leadership. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
On Tuesday, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane spoke at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), outlining her view of the province’s future prospects and problems; its challenges and chances; highlighting her “Vision 2055” for the province. The premier’s audience was in her corner right from the start – considering that it was a gathering of people committed to the province’s success, urging her on in her optimism. Nonetheless, despite all this good feeling, it is also clear many of Gauteng Province’s biggest, most fundamental challenges may well remain effectively beyond the power of the premier’s government to alter fundamentally – at least in the short to medium term. Instead, national, regional and global circumstances are more likely to dictate the province’s success. By J BROOKS SPECTOR.
South Africans pay some of the most expensive rates in the world for cellphone and data charges. Now a civil society group is taking on the big cellphone companies. The Right2Know organisation says that exorbitant cellphone charges are barring many South Africans from accessing their basic right to communicate – and that companies like MTN and Vodacom are needlessly exploiting the South African public. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The Democratic Alliance led media through a Soweto hostel on Wednesday to highlight the water and sanitation issues in the area. Little has been done to improve the plight of residents, for whom the most basic service, sanitation, is an everyday struggle. After years of failed promises from the ANC, there is little hope another party would improve the situation. Still, the DA gave it a shot. By JESSICA EATON, BHEKI C SIMELANE & GREG NICOLSON.
Nine months ago, former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema faded off the political radar, only sporadically appearing in the news during his court appearances and the auctioning of his properties to pay his debts. Now he has re-invented himself as a freedom fighter outside the ANC, and is embarking on the en vogue countrywide tour to “consult” supporters on the best way to achieve economic freedom. So Malema wants to form a political party, but wants to build popular support for it first. And while he is severely damaged by his corruption charges and in the political wilderness now, it is worth remembering that so was one Jacob Zuma a few years ago. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
As the nation awaits news of its Madiba, an inevitable debate has sprung up around the coverage of his stay in hospital. It's being claimed that it's ghoulish to sit outside an institution, waiting for someone to die. It was also suggested that it somehow lessens the dignity of the former president. As with most debates around the media, it's actually a debate about our society, and what is acceptable and what is not. I'm a reporter, a journalist, a radio presenter and a current affairs addict. So I have an opinion. And if we are going to have this debate, allow me to humbly give the case of the news media. Or at least, my version of that case. By STEPHEN GROOTES, writing, unashamedly, with an agenda.
“A new policy will come into effect in 2014 mandating the learning of an African language in all schools,” announced Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga just over three weeks ago, upon delivering her department’s budget speech. Since then, details of what this might look like have been scant. On Tuesday, however, the parliamentary portfolio committee on education heard a little more about it – and it sounds like the policy may simultaneously be too much (in terms of timeframes and teachers) and too little (in terms of the intended effects). By REBECCA DAVIS.
Shipping is one of the fastest growing sources of pollution in the world. But some research units and companies are waking up to the fact that the ships which plough the world’s oceans every day, carrying goods between continents, may also be ideally placed to carry out research into the planet’s changing climate. REBECCA DAVIS had a look at one such ship, Maersk’s Lars Maersk, which docked in Cape Town on Monday.
Seven of the ANC Youth League’s provincial structures and over half of its regions are without elected leaders after the League’s national task team met this weekend. The organisation is “a shadow of its former self” and its national executive committee was disbanded earlier this year. The slogans will stay the same while everything else is set to change. By GREG NICOLSON.
The Ministry of Health is often cited as one of the government departments where effective leadership in recent years has made a real, positive impact. But in a public discussion on Sunday evening in Cape Town, a number of South African health experts made it clear that South Africa’s successful tradition of health activism still had a vital role to play in order to protect hard-fought rights. By REBECCA DAVIS.
On Friday, the DA announced it was giving a million rands to the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance, to ensure that it now has enough money to go ahead with its legal bid to stop the tolling of Gauteng's highways. It's been warmly welcomed by OUTA, received a back-handed compliment from Cosatu, and met with thunderous silence from the ANC. It is now official: tolling is an election issue. And the Alliance will have to re-think its own faultlines, again. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
The ANC issued a strongly worded statement this weekend, saying it was “baseless and deliberate fabrication” that President Jacob Zuma’s foes within the organisation were being purged. The party claimed the newspaper which reported on anti-Zuma ANC members being marginalised was on “a campaign of misinformation and distortion” in an effort “to create a spectacle of disunity”. Trouble is, in two months begins the great race to get onto the ANC election list, and as high up as possible. This is what the tensions and battles raging in the provinces are all about – despite Luthuli House’s attempts to have us believe it’s all sunshine and butterflies in the ANC. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
It’s a tough time to be a leader of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL). The national task team appointed to rebuild the league after Julius Malema and Co’s meteoric fall met this weekend and looks set to disband a number of provincial leaderships. Things always get worse before they get better, and right now the ANCYL is leaderless, broke, and hardly functioning. By GREG NICOLSON.
In the platinum province, tripartite-alliance politics is being characterised by the threat of assassination, political murders, bloody brawls at ruling party meetings and union rivalries that claim their own body count. But it is not just the partisan who are perishing, democracy’s dying too. By MANDY DE WAAL and THAPELO LEKGOWA.
The stage has been set for another strike on the North West platinum belt, this time at Lonmin, the very scene of August 2012’s bloody Marikana massacre that claimed 34 lives. After Lonmin and majority union AMCU were unable to reach consensus on a recognition agreement, the strike looks like a natural next step. By MANDY DE WAAL and THAPELO LEKGOWA.