- Daily Maverick Staff Reporter
On Saturday the conference of the ANC’s biggest region - eThekwini around Durban - had to be abandoned, after the gathering descended into chaos before elections could be held. While it’s become common for the political gatherings in this country, regardless of the parties involved, to end in disruption, this is different. eThekwini is the ANC’s biggest region, so what it decides is what the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal decides. And, in case you’ve forgotten, the ANC in KZN is why Jacob Zuma is president of the country. That this is occurring in this region is deeply instructive about the ANC in general – and about how all difficult it is for all Gwede’s nous and all Gwede’s acumen to put the party back together again. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
In the wake of South Africa’s xenophobic violence in 2008, prominent civil society organisations demanded an inquiry into the United Nations refugee body’s response. They said the UNHCR failed to fulfill its mandate, sided with government at the expense of displaced persons, and even treated those affected by the violence with contempt. This time around, have things been different? The agency insists that it can’t resettle refugees in a hurry – so it may be a case of reintegrate or bust. By REBECCA DAVIS.
That should be the question uppermost in the minds of the 1,426 voting delegates who will chose the new leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) next weekend. There has been much focus on Mmusi Maimane being the first black leader of the DA and whether he or his contender Wilmot James better represent the party’s liberal value set. But the DA is not merely choosing a replacement for Helen Zille, who would also be confined to governing the Western Cape. Nor are they voting to endorse the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament. What they are in fact doing is choosing the DA’s candidate for president in 2019. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
For over five years, the Social Justice Coalition in Cape Town has called for expanding access to safe and clean sanitation facilities in Khayelitsha and other townships in the city. Despite the overwhelming need for such services, the municipal government has yet to fulfill its duties to provide them at the requisite scale. By GREGG GONSALVES, EDWARD KAPLAN and DAVID PALTIEL for GROUNDUP.
Public protector Thuli Madonsela is used to hostility when she appears in Parliament but Wednesday’s portfolio committee meeting reached a new low. While African National Congress MPs tried to reduce her credibility, Madonsela fought back and clearly remains steadfast on the real issue: her Nkandla report. By GREG NICOLSON.
Mac Maharaj, a man who has dominated so many of the high places in our politics, is stepping down from his job this week. He’s just turned 80. And the job he is leaving has to be one of the toughest, hardest, most fraught in any democracy anywhere. As spokesperson for President Jacob Zuma, he has shown himself to be literally the country’s Number One spinner. No matter what you think about Mac, we will not see his like again. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
A document released by Right2Know on Tuesday alleges activists and community organisations are routinely monitored and harassed by the intelligence agencies, the State Security Agency and Crime Intelligence. The incidences are an abuse of power, but given elected leaders' responses to almost anything that challenges their reputation or power are no surprise. By GREG NICOLSON.
It took a while but the South African government is firmly in control after the spate of xenophobic violence that rocked the country – thanks in part to a jackboot clampdown on migrants. It is difficult not to be cynical about government’s jacked up response to the attacks on foreign nationals after being in denial for so long. But now ministers actually say the X word and are on the ball in releasing information to the media and stakeholder engagements. Even President Jacob Zuma has found his game face, and swung back against a volley of criticism coming South Africa’s way. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
In South Africa, press freedom, our freedom of expression rights, and communications rights, are suffering from a disease. There are a number of obvious symptoms of this illness. We need to take a look at these to determine what they are a symptom of, what is causing them, perform a diagnosis, and then work out the cure for the disease. But, part of the ‘cure’ means changing our understanding of the term ‘press freedom’, writes JULIE REID.
While ministers in Pretoria were announcing the launch of Operation Fiela, Parliament was playing host to a meeting bringing together officials from the South African Police Service as well as the departments of home affairs and small business. MPs got some much-needed facts and figures about foreign nationals in South Africa, the numbers of those being repatriated after the recent violence, and whether it’s true that nobody ever gets prosecuted for xenophobic violence. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Monday was, in a sense, South Africa’s 21st birthday - by one measure, the day in which we became a new nation. It’s worth, then, examining not necessarily how we’ve done, or how we are doing, but how we are doing compared to how we should have been doing. In other words, is the ANC living up to its claim of a “good story to tell? And if not, why not - and will it correct its mistakes, or continue on a problematic course? By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Many in South Africa are aware of the RhodesMustFall movement at UCT, and the problems of institutional racism it has highlighted. These problems are deeply entrenched at Stellenbosch University, where Open Stellenbosch was created to challenge the hegemony of white Afrikaans culture and the exclusion of black students and staff. Open Stellenbosch is a movement of predominantly black students and staff at the University who refuse to accept the current pace of transformation. By the OPEN STELLENBOSCH COLLECTIVE.
There are several significant shifts about to hit the good ship DA now that Captain Zille has stepped away from the wheel. Apart from the two contenders for the top slot wanting to take the fight outside of party structures and into the public realm, the country’s official opposition is also recalibrating its vision, traditions and branding. And then there’s “first black” issue should frontrunner Mmusi Maimane capture enough hearts and minds before May 10. By MARIANNE THAMM.
Months before Rhodes fell, there was an outpouring of outrage about another Cape Town sculpture – albeit a substantially younger one. ‘Perceiving Freedom’, a giant pair of sunglasses erected on the Sea Point promenade as a tribute to Nelson Mandela, was vandalised within days and denounced as shallow and opportunistic. On Freedom Day, artist Michael Elion gave the Ray-Bans a makeover. This time around, they’re about xenophobia. By REBECCA DAVIS.
First, the army was sent to the hostels. Now they're on the streets conducting stop and search operations. When xenophobic violence started to damage South Africa's international reputation, the state took action. Now, the state's using the army to sort out local concerns on immigration and clamp down on migrant communities. By GREG NICOLSON.
In the strongest diplomatic language possible, Nigeria has rebuked South Africa for the recent spate of xenophobic violence by recalling the Nigerian ambassador to Pretoria. It’s no secret that Africa’s would-be superpowers don’t like each other very much, but how and why did things get this bad? By SIMON ALLISON.
Blockade a road or burn down a building and those in authority will pay attention to your grievances. Throw faeces and a colonial statue gets removed. Assault and kill foreign nationals and government, political leaders and civil society start working like we have never seen them doing. This is by no means a silver lining to the xenophobic attacks. It is an indication of what it takes to get heard and for action to be taken in South Africa. What will happen when the violence abates? Does everyone go back to resting on their laurels? The more terrifying question to contemplate is what will it take next to draw attention to a nation in crisis? By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Advocate GEORGE BIZOS SC on Thursday said it was unfathomable to him how South Africans could show such unimaginable cruelty to people from other parts of the continent. Speaking at a Mail & Guardian and University of South Africa Critical Thinking Forum in Pretoria, Bizos said he thought the word ‘xenophobia’ was misplaced. “This isn’t about fear of foreigners. This is far more malevolent than that: rather, we are dealing here with the hatred of foreigners...” he said. This is the full text of his speech.
Even before the current outbreak of xenophobic violence, South Africa wasn’t the most popular kid in the African bloc. In its wake, however, our image lies in tatters and there are continent-wide protests outside our embassies (the likes of which have not been seen since the international anti-apartheid movement targeted the regime’s diplomats). Even though President Jacob Zuma has moved swiftly to mollify angry African governments, the damage has already been done – and there will be a price to pay. By SIMON ALLISON.
Cape Town has been less affected by the current outburst of xenophobic violence than Durban and Johannesburg, but past events have proved that xenophobic currents are alive and well in the city. On Thursday, business people from across the African continent came together to talk about the challenges and frustrations of commerce in a country that sometimes seems to hate them. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Thousands of people marched through the streets of Johannesburg on Thursday against the spate of xenophobic attacks in KwaZulu-Natal and Johannesburg. The crowd comprised a cross section of society, including different political groups, classes, both locals and migrants. While attacks on foreigners have only occurred in select areas, the march proved that many believe foreign lives matter. GREG NICOLSON brings you the pictures.
Last week, the Sunday Times caused shockwaves when it published photographer James Oatway’s pictures of an apparently xenophobic murder on the front page. Responses have been mixed, with some hailing Oatway’s work for bringing the reality of xenophobia to light, and others saying the pictures should never have been published. Does a picture sometimes say more than a thousand words – and is this ever too much? By GREG MARINOVICH.
The first group of 390 Malawians repatriated after the recent wave of xenophobic attacks in South Africa arrived in Malawi on Monday 20th April. According the Malawian Government, another 3200 Malawians are waiting in South Africa to do the same. Two Malawians are confirmed to have been killed in the attacks on foreigners that broke out in townships of Durban and Johannesburg. UNICEF met some of the young people that had made the unplanned journey.
Over the last decade, Ethiopia has emerged as one of the fastest-growing – perhaps THE fastest-growing – economies in Africa. Even though “double-digit” growth has become something of an official mantra, independent appraisals still put it at over 10 percent from 2003-13, double the sub-Saharan average. Growth is driven by a determined government policy of creating the conditions for development, notably through a massive level of infrastructural investment. By CHRISTOPHER CLAPHAM and GREG MILLS.