Former Provincial Commissioner Arno Lamoer was found not guilty in the Western Cape High Court on Monday on charges of money laundering and racketeering – a charge that carries massive fines and even life imprisonment – but guilty on a charge of corruption. Lamoer, after first pleading not guilty, later changed his plea, admitting that he received financial gratification from Cape Town businessman Salim Dawjee between December 2011 and September 2013 amounting to around R75,000. Lamoer was tipped off thrice by former National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega that he was being investigated by the Hawks. We may never know why. The conviction marks the end of a sorry saga of need, greed and high-level corruption. By MARIANNE THAMM.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s to-do list just got longer. Monday’s parliamentary debate on the State of the Nation Address delivered demands from opposition parties and his own ANC – more money for municipalities, reining in the State Security Agency (SSA), a Cabinet reshuffle to shed State Capture-linked ministers and, depending on the opposition seat, either the speedy implementation or ditching of land expropriation without compensation. But for the first time in years the parliamentary debate focus was on national – not personality – issues. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
With the first voter registration weekend for the 2019 general elections less than three weeks away, the ANC faces the prospect of uniting in the aftermath of the recall of former president Jacob Zuma, but at the same time it also has to save face after a decade of defending him. By CARIEN DU PLESSIS.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s personal intervention in the current impasse around the controversial Mining Charter has been greeted with relief and optimism by industry players. One of Ramaphosa’s first presidential moves was to negotiate the postponement of court action, slated to start on Monday, aimed at setting aside the charter. But members of community groups directly affected by mining say that – as has become the norm – their views on the matter were ignored. By REBECCA DAVIS.
In the wake of China’s apoplexy regarding the recent visit to South Africa of a vocal Tibetan leader, our new president faces a question of major moral and economic import: will Beijing make good on its threat to disinvest if we don’t toe the line? Put another way, does South Africa need China more than China needs South Africa? And to add to that, what about the recent embarrassing, insulting and illegal behaviour of Pretoria’s new best friend? KEVIN BLOOM wonders whether these are quandaries that even Ramaphosa can’t “negotiate”.
Hugh Masekela had hardly left this mortal coil when he returned to feature centre-stage as newly ensconced President Cyril Ramaphosa referenced, in his inaugural State of the Nation Address, Thuma Mina (Send Me), a song about solidarity, compassion and renewal, composed by Masekela, Sello Twala and gospel star Peter Mokoena. Bra Hugh was wary of politics and politicians and if we are in any way to celebrate this dearly departed colossus, it would be to honour the catalytic effect of his life, his work and the Afro-centric consciousness, healing and wisdom it offers. By MARIANNE THAMM.
In removing Jacob Zuma, it is important to identify his legacies. While he is obviously identified with corruption and State Capture, Zuma also represented a form of warrior masculinity that was conducive to violence. Socially, he actively advanced static, patriarchal cultural positions. Renewed commitment to gender equality and dynamic and emancipatory social visions is needed. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
The surge in works that explore “what went wrong” in the state of Western democracy leads me to wonder what the late British historian Tony Judt would make of our current state of affairs. The question is more than simply an exercise in postulating what a great thinker would make of a chaotic world. By TODD JOHNSON.
There is much merit to Refiloe Nt’sekhe’s column on prioritising early childhood development. Quality early childhood development is important and has a lifelong impact; pre-schools are valuable and need to be grown and supported. Two years of Grade R should be integrated into the school system. However, what Nt’sekhe’s article fails to include is the essential role of primary caregivers, a role often overlooked when government refers to education. By DAVID JEFFERY.
By their own admission, the wage bill across the various Gupta companies stood at more than R160-million in late 2017. With big brother Ajay Gupta now a fugitive from justice in South Africa, the empire isn’t short of cash – it’s just having a mother of a cash-flow problem. By JESSICA BEZUIDENHOUT for SCORPIO.
On 15 February 2018, the Hawks confirmed that a warrant for the arrest of Ajay Gupta had been issued. Reports circulated that Ajay Gupta has fled South Africa, or at least is evading justice. Subsequently it was suggested that if he has fled to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, surrendering him in order to extradite him from Dubai to South Africa to stand trial for corruption will not be possible or feasible – because no bilateral extradition treaty is in force between SA and the UAE. But that is not correct. Extradition between the UAE and SA may not only be possible but compulsory for corruption-related matters. By ANTON KATZ and ESHED COHEN.
“Communication is the vessel we receive our leadership in,” a speaker commented at a civil society-led Water Solutions Summit on Saturday. If this is true, leadership was under the microscope. Because though the discussions were diverse, a theme emerged: a call for clear, transparent crisis communication. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
It is a well-known fact that under the presidency of Jacob Zuma, state spies ran amok. More than enough evidence has come to light that the spy agencies became a praetorian guard of sorts for Zuma and his corrupt friends. So, what does Cyril Ramaphosa need to do to pull the spies straight? JANE DUNCAN answers this question in a series of articles based on her latest book, which includes interviews with key players in the surveillance space.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s maiden State of the Nation Address was designed to give heart to a nation that had been thoroughly pistol-whipped by his predecessor’s excesses and daily embarrassments. To read or listen to reaction, in this he largely succeeded. There was one fascinating exclusion from the speech – and that was virtually any sense of South Africa’s foreign relation. And this seems to have been a calculation by the new president that he will be judged, not by his pronouncements on this or that international issue, but by his success or failure at reinvigorating the nation’s economic circumstances. J. BROOKS SPECTOR takes a look.
Branches of the ANC over the weekend got to grips with life after Jacob Zuma, as national leaders fanned out to regions to explain their decision to recall the former president. While it might seem like mustard after the meal, it’s an important exercise in unity as the 2019 elections campaign kicks off – but not everyone is happy. By CARIEN DU PLESSIS.
The short-term consequences of Cyril Ramaphosa’s ascension to the presidency are to many exciting and enlivening. It’s well known that a major Cabinet reshuffle is imminent; it should signal the end of people like Mosebenzi Zwane, Bathabile Dlamini, Des van Rooyen, Faith Muthambi, Lynne Brown, and possibly more. The first short-term policy changes are likely to be around the economy, with Ramaphosa’s promise of several summits, and processes designed to bring different constituencies together. These processes could see people being locked into processes and thus their outcomes. But the longer-term changes in our politics could turn out to be more important in the longer run. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s promises to shake up government to improve service delivery and to sweep out corruption were amongst the most detailed ever given by a president. The circumstances in which he did so were, however, unique, but expect to see some kind of shuffling of the deck soon. By CARIEN DU PLESSIS.
Even for the deepest cynics among us, it would be hard to dispute that something rather special was in the air at the 2018 State of the Nation Address. An annual occasion which has become a yearly site of conflict and disappointment was transformed for one night into something which felt different. Both inside and outside the National Assembly, Parliament seemed to hum with a new energy. By REBECCA DAVIS.
It was always going to be a tricky mix of manoeuvring in a tight national and party-political space, showing government’s commitment to repair public trust while tackling socio-economic challenges and hitting the right tone. And so when President Cyril Ramaphosa stepped up to the podium in Parliament to deliver his maiden State of the Nation Address on Friday evening, there was the promise to “turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions”, a sharp focus on the economy and youth amid an emphasis on South Africa’s unity in diversity. It was welcomed, but not without qualifications. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
Under President Jacob Zuma the bar for a successful State of the Nation Address had become painfully low. If he was able to complete it without any violence on the floor of the National Assembly, the evening was judged a success. There had been no substantial policy for some time, and the entire adress had come to the point where you almost wondered whether it was necessary. But there was a time when it was worthwhile, when it was the big policy speech of the year, when policy debates were triggered, and when the nation’s different constituencies were united in the same chamber. And during that time, the SONA was an opportunity for leadership, for a person to mediate and lead discussions and help our society to come to a decision. The good news is, those times are back. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Newly elected President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered his maiden State of the Nation Address (SONA) with an appeal to South Africa to leave behind “the era of diminishing trust in public institutions and weakened confidence in leaders” and “all the negativity that has dogged our country”. But there were some concrete announcements regarding governance clean-up, and “turning the tide on corruption in our public institutions”. New dawn. Renewal. It’s a thing now. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
Cape Town gets more rain than it can use – but at the moment it doesn’t have capacity to clean or store all this water. Late in 2017, a UCT researcher said using treated stormwater to recharge the Cape Flats Aquifer – “if we can get it right” – could potentially relieve the city of the need to supply 33-million kilolitres of potable water per year. But can they get it right? MARELISE VAN DER MERWE spoke to John Okedi, a civil engineer applying his mind to the stormwater problem.
The election and swearing in of Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa as South Africa’s fifth president on Thursday marked the end of a bruising 11 days in the politics of the governing ANC that reverberated around the country. It has also ended the dominance of ANC exiles in the highest office of government, shifting the political culture firmly to those anti-apartheid activists who learnt their skills inside South Africa, organising at grassroots level within – and with – communities. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
Jacob Zuma’s last-minute resignation from the country’s presidency left ANC parliamentarians with a palpable sense of relief after the caucus convinced him they would vote with the Economic Freedom Fighters, led by his nemesis, Julius Malema, to oust him if he didn’t leave. Now some are saying that they called his bluff – and that Zuma blinked first. By CARIEN DU PLESSIS.
Patricia de Lille survived a motion of no confidence by one vote on Thursday in Cape Town, but her worries are far from over. Barely had the vote gone through when the DA leadership sent out a terse reminder that the charges against her stood. Meanwhile, the same opposition parties that saved her today may turn against her yet. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
When the first eight suspects in the Hawks’ Vrede Dairy Farm investigation appeared in the Bloemfontein magistrates court on Thursday morning, the Gupta brothers were not among them. It is believed that Atul, Ajay and Tony Gupta are still being sought by the Hawks, as police indicated that a further five warrants are out. But the suspects in court included some big fish regardless: local media veteran Nazeem Howa was among them, as was a top mineral resources official closely allied to Mining Minister Mosebenzi Zwane. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Give of your personal wealth to those who lost their loved ones. Open and reveal to all the inner workings that led to the Marikana atrocity, the twisted mindset of the Lonmin management and board, the evil cruelty and impunity of the security forces. By SAHRA RYKLIEF, General Secretary of the International Federation of Workers' Education Associations.
By the time ANC Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte was praising former president Jacob Zuma for his role in the Struggle and as president, nobody was feeling her any more. When power starts shifting, it moves pretty quickly – as Cyril Ramaphosa’s swearing-in as president in the next day or two will prove. By CARIEN DU PLESSIS.
It took less than six hours on Wednesday for a final strategy to be mapped out in Parliament to end the political debacle over President Jacob Zuma’s exit from the Union Buildings. The national legislature and the political parties represented there took the high ground. In some ways the ANC’s hand was forced, but rather than a backroom political deal by Luthuli House, Parliament as the institution which elects the president was also the place to remove him. And it worked. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
And so it came to pass that the process which started the moment Mr Jacob Zuma fired Nhlanhla Nene as Finance Minister on 9 December 2015 culminated in a speech that saw him fulminate and fume, and lie and distort the truth once more. And then, at the end of an angry and defiant presentation, he resigned as president, “with immediate effect”. Finally. Our long national nightmare is over. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
History will not be kind to Jacob Zuma’s nine-year tenure as president of South Africa. His rule has been bookended by scandal, capable of summary in a litany of damning nouns: Khwezi. Marikana. Nkandla. Eskom. The Guptas. And many more. As the country bids Zuma goodbye, the hope will be that his presidency marks the low watermark of post-apartheid South Africa. By REBECCA DAVIS.
President Jacob Zuma will not resign. If the ANC had hoped to force his hand by announcing that the party will support a motion of no confidence against Zuma in Parliament tomorrow, the party underestimated the intransigence of Number One. In a sometimes bizarre, rambling interview with the SABC on Wednesday afternoon, Zuma repeated his new rallying cry: “What have I done wrong?”. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The ANC parliamentary caucus drew the line in the sand on Wednesday, closing down options for defiance by President Jacob Zuma after his party’s decision to recall him from the Union Buildings. If Zuma does not tender his resignation sometime on Wednesday, a sitting of the House on Thursday will debate the EFF motion of no confidence – amended by the ANC to make it its own – and with no opposition to such a motion expected, directly move on to elect a new president. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
Wednesday was supposed to be D-Day for President Jacob Zuma, but thus far it’s also shaping up to be a day of reckoning for his friends. The Hawks have confirmed that they have raided Gupta-linked properties around Gauteng and arrested three people with further arrests planned. Much information circulating is speculative and the operation is described as “ongoing” – but here’s what we know so far. By REBECCA DAVIS.
If President Jacob Zuma doesn’t take the political route and resign, the ANC’s political shambles hit Parliament. And at the national legislature, there are no good options for the governing party. Wednesday’s urgent ANC parliamentary caucus to be addressed by its officials was called in the early hours of Monday morning after the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) decided on Zuma’s recall. For the second time in seven days Parliament cleared its schedule for the political debacle. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
There was no way that a week’s worth of playing see-saw with South Africans’ feelings was ever going to culminate in something as polite as a pre-planned morning briefing by President Jacob Zuma to announce his resignation. Zuma’s response to the ANC’s call for him to step down is still anybody’s guess. By CARIEN DU PLESSIS.
To the great relief of most South Africans, Cyril Ramaphosa emerged victorious in a very tight-run battle for the presidency of the ANC. Of course, there are widely divergent views on Ramaphosa himself but even those who are critical of him have to acknowledge that he is in another universe compared to what we have had to put up with since 2009 when Jacob Zuma became President. By DIRK DE VOS.
This Thursday, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille faces a vote of no confidence brought by the DA caucus of the City of Cape Town council. It may well end her mayoral career. At the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday, however, De Lille brought out the last card up her sleeve: an urgent application to have the vote undertaken by secret ballot. And she chose a leading EFF figure to argue her case. By REBECCA DAVIS and APHIWE NGALO.
President Jacob Zuma had agreed to step down after meeting ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday night, only to back-track on Monday, demanding that the NEC write him a letter that he will personally respond to. Meanwhile it is believed that the ANC will call for its own motion of no confidence in the President and will ask opposition parties to support this. Over and above this, the ANC hopes to invoke its own constitution to recall the President. By MARIANNE THAMM.
On Monday night, according to every available report, the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) finally took the decision to recall Jacob Zuma from the South African Presidency. It’s understood that he has already been informed of this. But so far, no resignation has been forthcoming, with various reports suggesting he wanted a “three-month notice” period before resigning. It now appears the ANC might have to live the nightmare option, and that this will go straight through Parliament. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Malawi’s attorney-general – the government’s legal adviser and representative in all court cases against the state – improperly acted for a multinational company embroiled in a long-running legal dispute, the Centre for Investigative Journalism Malawi (CIJM) can reveal. By THOKOZANI CHENJEZI and COLLINS MTIKA for AMABHUNGANE.
By early on Tuesday morning, as ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa’s promises of some kind of closure to the “transition” issue started to look old, rumours again did the rounds that President Jacob Zuma had agreed to demands from the national executive committee to resign. Sources from the inside said he would be given 48 hours to do so, or face a recall. By CARIEN DU PLESSIS.
Cyril Ramaphosa has – for some weeks – engaged Jacob Zuma regarding his vacating the State Presidency. It is important that Zuma leaves and it may be necessary to compromise in order to achieve that. It is delicate to secure his departure without infringing constitutionalism or funding items which he should pay from his own resources, from monies needed for transformatory goals. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
Opposition parties said on Monday that South Africa could not be held hostage by ANC factional battles – and that fresh elections must be called urgently. Speaking as the NEC was meeting to decide on President Jacob Zuma’s future, opposition leaders insisted there could be no ANC “elitist arrangement” and the EFF motion of no confidence in Zuma must be debated this week, followed by the dissolution of Parliament. By MARIANNE MERTEN.