- AFRICA CHECK
There are moments when those in our political classes seem to lose their marbles. When they just lose all sight of rationality, when the verbiage that comes out makes no sense: full of emotion, and quite frankly, a little scary. This is one of those times. Somehow just one act of defiance against a parliamentary rule, and one letter from the head of a Chapter 9 institution, has led to some of the strongest language heard in our country since 1994. It doesn’t have to be like this. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Dysfunctional and collapsing municipalities are the inevitable outcome of rampant politicisation of the process of service delivery. The most unfortunate thing is that it does not have to be that way. Take away the politics, and service delivery is actually not that difficult. If one needs a case study, the Hibiscus Coast local municipality on the KZN South Coast is a good place to start. By NIKI MOORE.
The beef between the ANC and EFF is getting absurd. The ANC say the EFF are fascist rebels. The EFF is not going to back down and Julius Malema has even mentioned the chance of a military wing. Some say it's opposition politics at its best, but there's so much fuel that when the fire lights, the two parties are going to burn. By GREG NICOLSON.
To deal with mounting unrest, tough measures are being ordered to “restore and maintain law and order”. “Appropriate steps” cannot be disclosed but they are strong and uncompromising. Not only the rule of law but also the fate of the nation is at stake in the growing unrest. “I am committed to maintaining law, order and stability in our society.” You might think these are the words of one of the security cluster ministers speaking at a media briefing at Parliament on Tuesday. Actually, this was the former Apartheid president PW Botha speaking in Parliament in March 1985. Remarkably similar, isn’t it? Terrifyingly so. Welcome to the reinvention of ‘Kragdadigheid’. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
In 2012, Susan Shabangu was Minister of Mineral Resources. Appearing at the Commission on Tuesday, the current Minister of Women was dismal. She was caught in her own contradictions, rarely made sense, and was hostile. Once again the state's actions to end the strike have been shown to be inadequate and an opportunity to avoid the massacre was missed. Shabangu, however, didn't roll on her co-accused and held firm that she didn't do anything illegal. By GREG NICOLSON.
Last week, Julius Malema’s EFF wanted President Zuma to #PayBackTheMoney for his Nkandla renovations, and all was chaos. This week, the ANC have responded by ensuring that the security cluster has an “overall kind of contingency plan” to deal with outbursts in the National Assembly. Will opposition members of Parliament be waterboarded every time they mention the president’s homestead? Will Mmusi Maimane be dumped from an Apache chopper into the Indian Ocean? What is certain is that the ANC has decided to answer questions in Parliament with heavy weaponry. Welcome to the beginning of the beginning of a police state. By RICHARD POPLAK.
Even by the standards of our rough, hurly-burly politics, the tit-for-tat statements from the Public Protector and the ANC on Monday were pretty brutal. At one point it even seemed that those in charge of their Twitter accounts were about to come to blows. Through the day there had been accusation, denial, counter-accusation - with a hefty dose of “you don’t respect the Constitution” from both sides. What is clear is that the battle brewing between Luthuli House and Advocate Thuli Madonsela has now broken into all-out warfare. The verbal push and shove is now moving into a full-scale bar fight. And, amazingly, Julius Malema hasn’t been involved in the slightest. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
There have been so many media statements issued and news conferences held around the Nkandla scandal that nobody can keep count any more. But over the past 24 hours, the office of the Public Protector and the ANC have been bunkered down, exchanging an astonishing amount of accusations and insults. ALEX ELISEEV believes it’s time they got a courtroom.
For now, Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema is on track to settle his tax debts, allowing him to continue badgering the ANC in Parliament. His comments on Monday, however, were about Parliament and how the ruling party has lost the plot after a bunch of MPs refused to stop singing and dancing last week. By GREG NICOLSON.
Since Thursday’s dramatic events in the National Assembly, when the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) introduced “pay back the money” into the political lexicon, the ANC said repeatedly there should have been active intervention by the state to stop the disorder in the House. This means they wanted those demanding that Zuma “pay back the money” to be arrested. The ANC has also attacked the Public Protector for writing to President Jacob Zuma to explain to him that he cannot opt not to “pay back the money”. The ANC has gone into full assault mode to protect the president, and it seems logic and the Constitution will not stand in their way. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
For so long President Jacob Zuma has been the MacDaddy of our politics: unbeaten, unbowed, unrepentant. Now, after a process lasting over a year, we are suddenly at the sharp end of one of the biggest scandals of our adolescent democracy. It’s always seemed that it would be the Public Protector’s investigation into Nkandla that would lead to the most heat, and shed the most light on Zuma’s political personality. It would answer whether Zuma really meant it when he swore to “obey, observe, uphold and maintain the Constitution”. Now we know that Madonsela, the one person who could make a finding on this question, believes he did not. And this is likely to divide our society into two sides: those who support Zuma, and those who do not. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Something is amiss with the DA’s youth. Earlier this year, Lindiwe Mazibuko left her position as a Democratic Alliance (DA) leader. Now, one of the party's other most promising young leaders has resigned from her top post. GREG NICOLSON looks at the DA, its ability to promote talented young politicians, and its apparent struggle to keep them there.
Right when South Africa was set to have its own YouTube video of Members of Parliament coming to blows and the police treating elected leaders like violent protestors, calm was restored. Almost. GREG NICOLSON looks at the charges that were laid after Thursday’s parliamentary protest by the Economic Freedom Fighters.
Of course it was destined to happen. The moment Julius Malema tackled President Jacob Zuma on the Nkandla issue was always going to cause pandemonium. But when it did, a constellation of shame followed. A president who shows disdain for parliamentary accountability, a Speaker who abuses her powers, Members of Parliament who have no respect for that hallowed institution, a state which deploys heavily armed riot police to fight political battles. On this same day, one of South Africa’s last surviving political icons Ahmed Kathrada turned 85. It was also the day he got to watch footage of the democratic Parliament that he, Nelson Mandela and others dedicated their lives to building being turned into a farce and a disgrace. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
After Llewellyn Smith was brutally assaulted, stripped naked, electro-shocked and tortured in the Leeuwkop Max C prison showers last week, his wife Malanie brought an urgent application in the South Gauteng High Court requesting that her husband was granted permission to see a private medical practitioner, that he was x-rayed and permitted to lay charges with the SAPS. By CAROLYN RAPHAELY.
Much argument over South African democracy revolves around the electoral dominance of the ANC and its repeated re-election as ruling party. Ten years ago I argued that there was nothing about ANC electoral dominance, in itself, that was necessarily antagonistic to constitutionalism. This was shown in political history, amongst other places in Sweden, where stable democracy coexisted with decades-long electoral dominance of the Social Democrats. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
On Thursday, the EFF have stepped up their parliamentary-insurrectionist campaign, baiting President Zuma over the upgrades to his presidential palace in Nkandla. When the smoke finally cleared, and the riot cops had holstered their Glocks, South Africa had entered the Age of Rage. In the Big House, chaos now rules. By RICHARD POPLAK.
While the Western Cape High court was hearing an application initiated by the DA for an urgent interdict to have SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s permanent appointment set aside and for him to be suspended immediately, the Public Protector and the Communications Minister met in Pretoria and agreed to co-operate on the matter. So where does that leave the DA? Or Hlaudi? Or the SABC, for that matter? By MARIANNE THAMM.
The ANC Youth League’s national task team has been quiet of late and it appears to have done little apart from disbanding just about everything. On Wednesday, the administrators of the Young Lions released a handy document that could pave the way for regeneration or degeneration. The Youth League’s demolishers could yet be seen as its builders. By GREG NICOLSON.
Since being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in April last year, Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini has suffered immensely, and in the early hours of Saturday morning, could endure the agony no more. He took his own life, bringing to an end a colourful career. A myriad of tributes poured in, praising his life’s work. But Oriani-Ambrosini was also a controversial character in South African politics, which many people prefer not to speak of now. The passage of time can purify many political legacies but it can also destroy outstanding careers. With the ageing of a generation of eminent political leaders, how will and how should they be remembered? By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
While counsel for embattled SABC COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, argued that an application in the Cape High Court to have him immediately suspended was “politically opportunistic”, an affidavit by Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, warned that the decision by the SABC Board and the Communications Minister to disregard her February report “has significant implications for the workings of our democracy and the independence and effectiveness of the institution of the Public Protector.” By MARIANNE THAMM.
The ANC Youth league is now just five weeks away from holding its first national congress since its formal leadership was disbanded by the ANC’s National Executive Committee in March 2013. At that congress it’s due to reconstitute itself, and be welcome once more into the ANC family. However, it’s going to be a long hard slog for the League to try to live up to the history it has so gloriously painted for itself. And its first big test is whether the young lions are going to choose the right lion to lead their pride. By STEPHEN GROOTES.