Former Eskom Chief Executive Brian Molefe “retired” with a pension of around R95,000 a month, and approximately R7.9-million cash, on the back of a letter by then board chairperson Ben Ngubane. That’s because Eskom bought its chief executive another 13 years of theoretical service – Molefe had worked at Eskom for 16 months – and paid the penalties normally applicable. What emerged before Parliament’s Eskom inquiry on Friday highlighted the manipulation of rules of the power utility’s pension fund whose managers simply crunched the numbers following Ngubane’s instruction. But questions emerged as to whether Molefe ever was entitled to an Eskom pension in the first place. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Thursday morning started with rumours doing the rounds that he’d be axed and replaced by ANC MP Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma before the week is out. His performance in the National Assembly later in the day, however, showed why it would be a bad idea for President Jacob Zuma to touch him. For now, Ramaphosa appears to be sitting pretty. By CARIEN DU PLESSIS.
Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane says he’s confident that Cape Town won’t run out of water. In an interview with Daily Maverick on Thursday, however, Maimane admitted that the Western Cape’s water crisis should have been handled better. But he also said the situation has been exacerbated by factors ranging from the national government’s lack of support to alleged collusion among those providing new water technology to drive up prices. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Spare a thought for Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who on Thursday found himself having to come up with slick verbal contortions while juggling loyalty to state office and an ANC party-presidential campaign as Mr Clean. His question time in the House was an aching, muscle-spraining display of sending a resolute anti-corruption and anti-State Capture message in the face of prevailing lack of action by the government he is part as billions of rand due are haemorrhaging from its coffers. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
The Durban council’s repeated failure to award a R50-million a month security contract over more than a decade has suffered yet another setback, with the latest tender process foundering amid court action and the axing of a senior official on allegations of corruption. By Zanele Mji for AMABHUNGANE.
On Thursday, Labour peer Lord Peter Hain of Neath tabled a question in the British House of Lords asking Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, to ensure that UK law enforcement agencies, including the Serious Fraud Office, investigate HBSC, Standard Chartered and Baroda Banks for possibly acting as conduits for the allegedly corrupt proceeds amassed by the Gupta family in their business dealings in South Africa. Hain has listed 27 individuals including 11 members of the Gupta family and their associates as well as President Jacob Zuma and 11 members of his family. By MARIANNE THAMM.
Cape Town is well into Phase One of its Water Resilience Plan with dam levels at 35% and usable, safe drinking dam water sitting at around 25%. By comparison, dam levels were 62% this time in 2016. Despite critical dam levels, collective consumption is still over 600-million litres of water per day. Water-wise domestic users are turning their attention to groundwater to reduce some of the pressure on municipal water sources – but what are the options and how deep into their pockets do consumers have to dig for boreholes and well points? By Leila Dougan for CHRONICLE.
Developing countries are increasingly pushing back against the intellectual property regime foisted on them by advanced economies over the last 30 years. They are right to do so, because what matters is not only the production of knowledge, but also that it is used in ways that put the health and well-being of people ahead of corporate profits. By JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ, DEAN BAKER and ARJUN JAYADEV.
ANC top brass and the State Security Agency have been reciting identical and alarming anti-protest rhetoric. They’re uncomfortable with marches, such as those carried out this week by the Fees Must Fall movement; they suspect foreign influences of using NGOs and citizens to destabilise the ANC government. What should be making South Africans uncomfortable, is the SSA’s interception of telecommunications to keep an eye on protesters, and increased calls for the use of social media surveillance. By HEIDI SWART.
Rumour has it that SAPS crime statistics will be released next week. For the first time in 15 years this is later than the usual September release. However, when it is released the reader and user of the crime statistics should beware of the following suspicious methods that are used, especially since the 2011/2012 crime statistics releases. In March 2017 the last quarterly crime statistics in the form of a Trimester Presentation were released on the SAPS website. This will be used to illustrate the methods. By CHRIS DE KOCK.
The deployment of a regional peacekeeping force to Lesotho has been further delayed, even as the need for it seems to be growing after the arrest and detention on a murder charge of former military commander Tlali Kamoli. Kamoli, who is widely suspected to be behind much of the instability in the country, appeared in the Maseru magistrates’ court this week where he was charged with the murder of Police Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko. By PETER FABRICIUS.
As annual government audits show increases in irregular and wasteful expenditure, an alarming phenomenon has emerged known as “contestation” in which departments or their projects or entities that are at risk of a questionable audit outcome challenge and even clash with the teams from the office of the Auditor General, threatening litigation or even personal intimidation. Scopa Chairperson Themba Godi insists strong action must be taken to halt this. By MOIRA LEVY.
A sub-lease under which Lesotho’s Chief Justice, Nthomeng Majara, occupied a lavish Maseru mansion belonging to High Court judge Teboho Moiloa continues to be in force despite a draft government audit report that condemned the arrangement six months ago. By Billy Ntaote for MNN CENTRE for INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM.
Pura Vida! Costa Rica’s cry of “Pure Life” booms a greeting from locals to visitors from abroad. Best known for its rich biodiversity and ecotourism, Costa Rica is also ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world. It boasts some of the finest coffee money can buy and is the investment destination of choice for services in Central America. For South Africans, Costa Rica offers one of the more interesting models for African countries seeking a workable balance between development and the environment. By LYAL WHITE.
After some initial delays, the disciplinary hearing of suspended head of generation and former acting CEO at Eskom, Matshela Koko, got off to a rocky start at about 5pm on Wednesday 18 October 2017 in the Franklin Auditorium at Eskom Megawatt Park, Johannesburg. By CHRIS YELLAND, investigative editor, EE Publishers.
The African National Congress (ANC) had to defend six safe seats in an October 18 by-election. These included three seats in southern KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), and one each in the “Premier League” provinces of Mpumalanga, Free State and the North West. The ANC lost a seat in Mpumalanga to a former ANC councillor who ran as an independent. The ANC also lost some ground in the only Metro by-election of the night in Mangaung. It was still a very good night for them in KZN and the North West. By WAYNE SUSSMAN.
In the wake of the renewed disarray caused by President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle, that may have major impacts on investor confidence and impact further on the country’s investment status, it is clear that the President has no concern for the interests of the country. He acts in a manner that will benefit himself. This raises broader questions of what we require from leadership and especially, the much-used concept of “ethical leadership”. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
While much of the political intrigue of the last few days after President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle has focused on the removal of the SACP’s Blade Nzimande, the focus now moves to David Mahlobo’s new job. He is the new Minister of Energy, a portfolio that appears tasked with pushing through a deal that would see us spending around a trillion rand we don't have (that is R1,000,000,000,000) on nuclear power stations we don’t need. If ever there was an appointment that suggests the ANC is about to fall over through the sheer weight of corruption, this is it. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
The City of Cape Town is looking for alternative sources of water to get through the current drought. They’re desperate to find as much as 500 megalitres of water per day from alternative sources including groundwater, desalination and the use of waste water. The Ground Water Division of the Geological Society of South Africa is hosting a conference in Stellenbosch looking particularly at water supply in times of water scarcity. And although the conference is packed with underground water specialists, it seems the City has been slow to tap into this precious resource. By Leila Dougan for CHRONICLE.
In which J. BROOKS SPECTOR notes Donald Trump’s slithering around the truth in the self-made controversy over his condolence call to a widow of a US soldier killed in an ambush in Niger. In this case, Spector finds that the president has failed a test first set out by Abraham Lincoln in 1864. (And in discussing this first controversy, we’ll just have to postpone a planned exploration of a White House document circulated by the president and prepared by senior trade adviser Peter Navarro that alleged a weakened manufacturing sector leads to an increase in abortion, spousal abuse, divorce and infertility. Too many stories, so little time.)
Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane on Wednesday made it clear he took exception to facing questions on State Capture, rather than “real issues that affect our people” and his department’s “many positives… nobody knows about because we are seized with this (State Capture) matter”. He expressed surprised at MPs’ invitation as State Capture was before the courts – the legal review of the public protector’s commission of inquiry brought by President Jacob Zuma starts next week – and “legal platforms” like the public protector, police and Parliament’s registrar of interests. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
Inspired by a social media campaign encouraging women to share their experiences of sexual assault, singer and former ANC MP Jennifer Ferguson came forward on Wednesday to claim that she was raped by current South African Football Association boss Danny Jordaan in 1993. Ferguson says she can no longer keep silent about the abuses of power by influential men. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Anticipation is mounting in relation to an oral question that Labour peer, Lord Peter Hain of Neath, is due to table in the House of Lords on Thursday about the role of UK and European Union-based financial institutions in facilitating a transnational money laundering network that helped prop up the Gupta family empire. By MARIANNE THAMM.
The first report to the Constitutional Court by the Auditor-General and a panel of experts appointed by the court to oversee the transition of payments of social grants by CPS to Sassa has revealed shocking ineptitude and obstruction that is compromising and jeopardising the vital project of a new payment system for social grants to some 17-million recipients after March 2018 when the current extended contract with CPS expires. On Wednesday Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini as well as South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) officials failed to pitch for a parliamentary portfolio committee report-back. By MARIANNE THAMM.
In one fell swoop President Jacob Zuma rid himself of a political critic and appointed a close ally to a key portfolio in Tuesday’s Cabinet reshuffle. From across the political spectrum, organised labour and business, came sharp criticism that this latest change, some seven months after the previous reshuffle, in no way contributed to better governance in these troubled economic times dominated by State Capture. But there’s a crucial ANC national elective conference in less than 60 days and Zuma, a shrewd political operator, is playing the long game. And he’s proven in the past that he doesn’t care about anyone else. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
President Jacob Zuma has shuffled the deckchairs for a twelfth time in a move that seems to have been aimed at dealing with political weaknesses as well as strengthening his hand in government and the ANC’s succession race. The real buzz in ANC circles, however, is on how he cunningly left the door ajar for a 13th reshuffle in the not-too-distant future. By CARIEN DU PLESSIS.
McKinsey’s “investigation” found nothing more to say about its dealings with Eskom and the Gupta-linked company Trillian than what the firm has already admitted to. Or what South Africans pieced together months ago thanks to whistle-blowers, civil society and journalists. In fact, neither the word “fees” nor the figure “R9.4-billion” in projected work for Eskom were mentioned in the global consulting giant’s lengthy statement on Tuesday. And yet, McKinsey said – they’ll pay back the money. By PAULI VAN WYK.
An early warning that something was about to happen with regard to President Zuma and the government’s bid to ram through a cripplingly costly nuclear procurement programme became evident last week, when the Department of Environmental Affairs granted a nuclear site permit to Eskom to build a new nuclear plant in the Western Cape. The shuffling of former Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo – a frequent flier to Moscow – into the key post of Minister of Energy has confirmed fears that President Zuma and the shadow state is desperate to clinch the nuclear deal. The plans will meet massive resistance from across South African society. By MARIANNE THAMM.
President Jacob Zuma’s latest Cabinet reshuffle announced on Tuesday morning raised hackles across the political landscape, with the South African Communist Party (SACP) proclaiming the death throes of its alliance with the ANC and labour federation Cosatu. Reaction was fast and furious, largely describing the moves in the National Executive as a Presidential high stakes chess manoeuvre to strengthen his hand and to, as South African Federation of Trade Union (SAFTU) leader Zwelinzima Vavi put it, strengthen South Africa’s “kleptocratic democracy”. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
South African Communist Party (SACP) leader Blade Nzimande, who recently emerged as a strong critic of President Jacob Zuma’s administration, has lost his Cabinet post. In a Cabinet reshuffle announced by the Presidency on Tuesday morning – speculation has been rife for weeks now – six changes have been made that seem to strengthen the President’s hand by moving those regarded as close to him to key portfolios. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
If one is foolish enough to try to determine certain outcomes from our current political equations, a number of important variables will become apparent. There are so many moving parts that it is difficult to assign values to any of these variables. But one of the most important questions that could answer what will happen over the next five years revolves around a sort of “missing” constituency in our politics. These are people who used to vote, but have stopped casting their ballot. If one can identify these people, and work out what their interests are, it may be possible to determine how the country will swing in 2019 and beyond. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
If the ANC’s Integrity Commission had any lingering doubts, Friday’s Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment confirming the reinstatement of 18 charges of 783 counts against President Jacob Zuma should have cleared it all up. Precedents have been set. Former Minister of Communications Dina Pule resigned in 2013 after an investigation by Parliament’s ethics committee; in 2014 the Integrity Commission asked Northern Cape ANC Chair John Block – later sentenced (in 2016) to a 15-year jail term – to resign, and in 2016 Western Cape Chair Marius Fransman was asked to step away pending charges of sexual assault. Will the Integrity Commission bare its fangs when it comes to Zuma? By MARIANNE THAMM.
Every time South Africa suffers a serious drought, it doesn’t take long for someone to suggest that an iceberg should be towed from Antarctica to be tapped as a water source. It sounds laughably outlandish, but a company in the United Arab Emirates claims that it is undertaking the task in 2018 in order to alleviate the UAE’s water shortages. Could the same thing work for South Africa? By REBECCA DAVIS.
The Life Esidimeni arbitration, aimed at promoting restorative justice for relatives of the 141 mentally ill patients who died, entered its second week on Monday. Families have had to relive the gruesome details of how their loved ones died, but if former Deputy Chief Justice is to get to the bottom of what happened, former MEC Qedani Mahlangu must be found and put on the stand. By GREG NICOLSON.
Welcome to the 12th article in the series, “Declassified: Apartheid Profits”. While researching the recently published book Apartheid Guns and Money: A Tale of Profit, Open Secrets collected approximately 40,000 archival documents from 25 archives in seven countries. This treasure trove contains damning details of the individuals and corporations that propped up apartheid and profited in return. Many of these documents were kept secret until now. Most remain hidden despite South Africa’s transition to democracy. OPEN SECRETS believes that it is vital to allow the public to scrutinise the primary evidence. This week we turn to British businessman Tiny Rowland, and another of Pretoria’s international allies: Margaret Thatcher’s United Kingdom.
ANC presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma took the battle to her opponent Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s home ground in Limpopo this weekend, where she preached unity and non-tribalism while striking at the heart of his support base. She also met with traditional leaders and got a warmer reception there than Ramaphosa’s camp might have liked. By CARIEN DU PLESSIS.
Sixty-five percent of municipal officials would be encouraged to quit their jobs as a result of direct threats of violence, South African Local Government Association CEO Xolile George revealed last week, adding that the degree of vulnerability of municipal officials was a matter for great concern. The association has done a preliminary investigation into the threats and deaths and has subsequently called for, among other things, the development of a safety and security manual for councillors. But will it have any effect? By BHEKI C. SIMELANE.
Forget the national obsession with matric. Over three-quarters of South African kids under the age of two don’t get the right nutrition – and this puts them on the back foot developmentally for the rest of their lives. If we want to be a successful nation, we need to invest in support for the poorest kids as early as possible. By KERRY CULLINAN.
The start of 2017 saw concern over a sharp increase in the rise of drug- resistant TB in South Africa. TB is killing millions each year. Last week, Médecins Sans Frontières published promising early data on the use of two new TB drugs, delamanid and bedaquiline, among patients living with drug-resistant TB in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. But availability remains the biggest concern. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
The road to the ANC’s December conference appears to be lined with court cases. Hardly a day goes by without the news that someone or other has lawyered up and taken someone else in the party to court on some technicality or other. In the end, these cases are usually about using legal means to limit someone else’s exercise of political power. So far, those who have taken the legal route have had some success, albeit at the expense of the political legitimacy of those in power, in various places, and in various ways. From a certain angle, the timing of all of these cases, and the answer to the question of “who benefits”, may have the consequence of making them look almost orchestrated to help Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Gun Free South Africa staffers Peter Storey and Adele Kirsten recently published a short op-ed in Daily Maverick bemoaning the recent killings involving firearms in Marikana in Philippi East and in Las Vegas. While it is true that these were both heinous crimes, I take umbrage at almost everything else they wrote in their op-ed as they went off on an emotional tangent making all sorts of misguided claims and statements in a continued effort to sell their gun-free agenda, writes JONATHAN WRIGHT.
Handing down judgment in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein on Friday reinstating 18 charges amounting to 783 counts against President Jacob Zuma, Judge Lorimer Leach expressed the court's doubts that this would be the end of the 15-year saga. President Zuma had every intention, the court said, to continue to use whatever means possible to resist prosecution. In eye of the storm, the President's next move, and the ANC's reaction: will the party stick to its earlier resolution that members facing criminal charges should step aside? By MARIANNE THAMM.
Shaun Abrahams, head of the country’s beleaguered National Prosecution Authority will find himself in the spotlight on Friday when the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein hands down judgment in President Jacob Zuma and the NPA’s appeal against a High Court order for the reinstatement of 783 charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering against the President. It is clear from September representations made to the SCA that Abrahams is a worried man. Will he finally find his spine and honour his oath of office and the rule of law? By MARIANNE THAMM.
This is the moment to restore the Sovereignty of the Citizenry over its Servant – the Government. Let the people organise themselves in their provinces and their organised structures to reimagine the South Africa of their dreams, the South Africa we pray for. This is the Moment. By BISHOP MALUSI MPUMLWANA.
Only if the alliance is seen to be rising above factionalism and attending to the real needs of its core constituencies can it hope to remain something workers support. The alliance cannot be something that comes into being at election time or when a crisis emerges that has to be addressed to avoid a strike. It has to have content and meaning. By SILUMKO NONDWANGU, TEBELLO MOKOENA, RICHARD JEWISON and MOLEFINYANE PHERA.
Professor Belinda Bozzoli got it wrong in her opinion piece, misleadingly titled New assault on academic excellence – research grants cut amid funding shortage. The piece disingenuously focused only on one funding instrument that is aimed at incentivising researchers and ignored the main instruments for funding research and human capacity development used by the National Research Foundation, says DR MOLAPO QHOBELA.
South Africa is in the midst of a hunger crisis affecting millions – and a group of activists think they have a solution. Thursday saw members of the South African Food Sovereignty Campaign march to six government departments to try to persuade officials to take seriously a “People’s Food Sovereignty Act” drawn up on behalf of small-scale farmers, communities, the hungry and the landless. The suggestions are radical. Will anyone in power listen? By REBECCA DAVIS.
With ANC branches preparing to nominate candidates for the party’s elective conference in December, watch the campaigns spring into full gear. Demonstrating that he is a player in the game, ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe has this week properly nailed his colours to the mast of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who this weekend is set to go boldly into KwaZulu-Natal, the mighty home province of his rival in the presidential race, ANC MP Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. She, in turn, will be addressing a crowd on Ramaphosa’s home turf, Limopopo, on Sunday. ANC Treasurer-General Zweli Mkhize is also humming along. By CARIEN DU PLESSIS.
Africa is a mining continent. Minerals represent over 60% of the continent’s exports. There is a persistent outcry within the continent that African people are being dispossessed of their resources. It is a fact that the current model characterised by the externalisation of mining (for most countries concepts/philosophy on mineral governance are conceptualised and designed by outsiders; rent-seeking approach and export of minerals that benefit outside players more) is not working for the continent. By CLAUDE KABEMBA.
Thursday’s judgment ruling anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol’s 1971 death a murder at the hands of the Security Branch was a historic moment for the country. Already there are calls to hold more apartheid killers accountable, but, as history has shown, finding justice in the past is a long and difficult road. By GREG NICOLSON.
Zelda Holtzman is contesting her dismissal as head of Parliament’s protection services (PPS), it was announced this week after an over two-year disciplinary process. “It’s a natural response because of the injustices I have suffered,” she told Daily Maverick on Thursday, saying the charges were “trumped up”. And the issues she regards central to her removal, the Secretary to Parliament’s use of blue lights and recruitment of SAPS members into the PPS, remain unresolved. Her comments come as the Labour Court is set to hear PPS staff grievances over preferential salary and employment conditions afforded to those recruited from the SAPS. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
Anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol was murdered, ruled the Pretoria High Court in a unique inquest on Thursday, overturning a 1972 ruling that he committed suicide while in detention in 1971. The Security Branch officers who could face charges for pushing him from the police’s John Vorster Square, however, have died. By GREG NICOLSON.
Both South Africa and the United States experienced mass shootings recently. Eleven young black men were shot and killed in Marikana, Phillipi East, an informal settlement 25km from Cape Town on Friday 29 September; on Sunday 1 October 59 concert-goers attending a country music festival in Las Vegas were gunned down. While worlds apart, in more ways than one, both mass-shootings have three things in common. By PETER STOREY and ADELE KIRSTEN.
South Africa has been avidly watching one of the world’s strangest political campaigns ever to grip a democratic country. People have been criss-crossing the land, making strange claims and suggesting that the sky will fall in (or worse … remain as it is) should someone else get elected. And yet some of the arguments advanced are specious. One of the most heard is that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa must become the new leader of the ANC “because it is ANC tradition” that the deputy becomes the leader. In a campaign of weak arguments, this is surely one of the weakest. Yet, that it is made at all illustrates the strange world inhabited by the ANC’s candidates. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Acting Chief Procurement Officer Willie Mathebula proclaimed his office’s automated supplier register as “quite an achievement”, but was evasive regarding the review of contracts at SAA. The official list of reviews of contracts worth more than R10-million presented to finance committee MPs included troubled state-owned entities Eskom and Prasa alongside the SABC. SAA slipped in during questions by Parliament’s finance committee. That’s not unsurprising as the national airline received R5.2-billion in government bailouts in the past three months. By MARIANNE MERTEN.