- Greg Nicolson
Until this week, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the holder of all power at the public broadcaster, was being written off as a megalomaniac on his own frolic at the SABC. But the ANC has now shown its hand, coming out in defence of Motsoeneng’s total onslaught. Motsoeneng is moulding his own brand of political indoctrination out of the worst models of propaganda in history and taking media freedom hostage as he does so. This is no longer a laughing matter and society should not be looking away any more. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Forensic Investigator Paul O’Sullivan, who was dragged off a London-bound plane in front of his two young daughters by a posse of the Hawks officers in April, is due to face charges under the Citizenship Act in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s court on Monday. O’Sullivan is the first South African to be arrested and hauled off a plane in this dramatic fashion on these relatively minor charges. If this was the real reason the Hawks used their strong-arm tactics on this occasion, the outcome of the case will certainly affect thousands of South Africans who are entitled to dual citizenship. If not, the Hawks might find themselves in a spot of bother. By MARIANNE THAMM.
On Thursday, President Jacob Zuma took it upon himself to campaign in the maligned Democratic Alliance stronghold of Eldorado Park, Soweto. He walked around, popped into shacks, hit a frail care centre, and then hit a community meeting — which wasn’t a meeting so much as a Zuma praise session. This is the ANC: selling itself to itself inside a powerful feedback loop that is presided over by the most huggable president in the not-so-free world. By RICHARD POPLAK.
Local government is set to join national and provincial departments on the e-tender portal site from Friday 1 July as plans forge forward to clean up the country’s R500-billion procurement spend. This online tender system, with government’s central database of 149,000 verified suppliers, is the outcome of three years’ work by the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer in the National Treasury. The aim: To deal with the potential hotbed of corruption, overcharging and shoddy products and to bring transparency to supply chain management, the government jargon for the procurement of goods and services. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
Another state-owned entity is going down the rabbit hole. This time it’s the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), where long-serving chief executive Sibusiso Sibisi can’t decide if he is Lewis Carroll’s Alice or Franz Kafka’s Josef K., but either way he wants out. And Sibisi has delivered a devastating parting shot, effectively accusing science and technology minister Naledi Pandor and director-general Phil Mjwara of trying to “capture” the CSIR and meddling in a R116-million tender, allegedly at the behest of ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize. By amaBhungane’s CRAIG MCKUNE and SAM SOLE.
New Year 2016 saw South Africa waking up to a racist rant from now-household name Penny Sparrow. The next few months would become all the more explosive, down to a church minister labelling black people lazy (and charging R25 for the privilege of listening to the sermon online). Now, post-Brexit, the UK has experienced a wave of racist incidents, ranging from verbal abuse to physical violence and full-blown terror – with Tuesday closing on at least one petrol bombing. Above the chaos, SABC management is singing the same old song: good news stories must reign supreme. Don’t fan the flames. Don’t give the bad guys airtime. Especially if the bad guys are us. But what’s the cost? By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
Over the last few days the sorrow that is the SABC and the noise that is Nkandla have tended to exorcise the most important political story of the year from the headlines. We are just five weeks away from a set of elections that could fundamentally alter the politics of this country. Up until now it has been clear that the battleground is the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro. Suddenly, last week, Tshwane was thrust into the spotlight, as the ANC appeared to turn on itself. But, almost unnoticed, something could be shifting in Joburg. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
June 26 marked International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, to commemorate the United Nations ratification of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 1987. In South Africa this day passed as imperceptibly as the government’s practical implementation of its commitment to end this cruelty. By Vanessa Burger for AMABHUNGANE.
Just weeks before 3 August, new data from the Gauteng City-Region Observatory showed that the lion’s share of voters in the province had shifted towards uncertainty. The voters are undecided at the peak of election season, which means battleground Gauteng is wide open. MARELISE VAN DER MERWE spoke to the observatory’s researcher, Christina Culwick.
In what could be an inadvertent subversion of democracy of major proportions, the wishes of thousands, if not millions, of voters in KwaZulu-Natal will count for nothing on August 3 because the Independent Electoral Commission has disqualified the National Freedom Party for missing the deadline to pay its registration fee. The scale of this mishap is unimaginable. By CYRIL MADLALA.
President Zuma’s senior counsel in the ConCourt Nkandla matter, Jeremy Gauntlett, comes with a rumoured R50,000+ a-day price tag. For that the man gives exceptionally good courtroom, often with a happy ending for his clients. This week Treasury suggested President Zuma personally repay R7.8-million, regarded as a “reasonable cost” or portion of the splurge on features at Nkandla that could be considered as “non-security” . But did Zuma’s legal team and office carefully craft a narrative around the exact number of these features in the PP’s report and that eventually found its way into the final court order? By MARIANNE THAMM.
The policy put forward by the Economic Freedom Fighters on land would see it all transferred to the state. The current owners, regardless of who they are, would not be compensated for their loss. Then, the state would issue 25-year, renewable land-use licences to those who apply and have a plan to use the land productively, presumably in exchange for a management fee. By T.O. MOLEFE.
In the past six months, great instability and conflict have emerged within the ANC, leading even to murders. There are apparently irreconcilable differences between winners and losers in some provincial and local elections. What has become clear is that the organisation does not enjoy authority. It may have power as the government of the day insofar as that can be wielded, but it does not have the authority that comes with trust. The ANC is now divided into warring groups fighting over loot. No one trusts anyone else. There is no overriding binding set of values that can be invoked to call anyone to order. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
As the fallout over SABC acting CEO Jimi Matthews’ resignation continues, the public broadcaster has named a new boss: James Aguma. Government, Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the ANC have questioned the timing of Matthews' decision, while opposition parties claim Aguma will continue to take the SABC down the wrong path. By GREG NICOLSON.
A strike is looming at Parliament following the suspension of at least two National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) senior members late on Tuesday. If it goes ahead, the work stoppage would be the second in eight months amid a tense labour relations environment, with unresolved matters outstanding from last year’s unprotected strike – and a stand-off to see who blinks first. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
There’s just over a week for public comments on the 59 nominations for the next Public Protector to reach the parliamentary committee heading the process. On Tuesday committee chairwoman Makhosi Khoza said next week Friday (8 July) was the last day for public comment. Then a committee short-listing process would lead to interviews after the 3 August local government elections. It’s a determination that has not always been in action for other public appointments dependent on MPs involvement, be it the SABC board, the inspector-general of intelligence or the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). By MARIANNE MERTEN.
SABC acting CEO Jimi Matthews' resignation on Monday was hailed as a stance against censorship. While Matthews was part of the public broadcaster's recent decisions, he and other SABC staffers who are speaking out might start to turn around SABC policies that have been regressing for years. By GREG NICOLSON.