First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

We'd like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick

More specifically, we'd like those who can afford to pay to start paying. What it comes down to is whether or not you value Daily Maverick. Think of us in terms of your daily cappuccino from your favourite coffee shop. It costs around R35. That’s R1,050 per month on frothy milk. Don’t get us wrong, we’re almost exclusively fuelled by coffee. BUT maybe R200 of that R1,050 could go to the journalism that’s fighting for the country?

We don’t dictate how much we’d like our readers to contribute. After all, how much you value our work is subjective (and frankly, every amount helps). At R200, you get it back in Uber Eats and ride vouchers every month, but that’s just a suggestion. A little less than a week’s worth of cappuccinos.

We can't survive on hope and our own determination. Our country is going to be considerably worse off if we don’t have a strong, sustainable news media. If you’re rejigging your budgets, and it comes to choosing between frothy milk and Daily Maverick, we hope you might reconsider that cappuccino.

We need your help. And we’re not ashamed to ask for it.

Our mission is to Defend Truth. Join Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Every day I’m reshuffling: The SA Implosion Quotathon

South Africa

South Africa

Every day I’m reshuffling: The SA Implosion Quotathon

March came to an end with events no April Fool’s prank could have rivalled. Here are some of the strangest, most outrageous and most inspiring things from the mouths of key players. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.

Well, that clears that up

We have a way we do things. We have a culture. We have meetings. There are things we don’t do but we will discuss those things in the meeting. – Speaker Baleka Mbete addresses media after cutting short an overseas trip to deliver some clarity

A recent report (which has been shelved by mainstream media) tells us that forex traders and major banks have the power to collude and devaluate the Rand as they please. The ANCYL would like to issue a stern warning that it will continue its campaign against those who are involved in corrupt activities of devaluing the Rand and there will be consequences. We reiterate our stance that President Zuma must be given space to operate as per the Constitution of the Republic which gives him the powers to appoint, direct and remove Ministers and the country should never be held at ransom. – Press statement by ANC Youth League Secretary General  Njabulo Nzuza

Atul of the state?

They [young people] are taking this freedom for granted. They look at us and they think we’ve just arrived. We were there in the trenches when this freedom was fought for. We fought and defeated apartheid. We will fight and defeat the Guptas. We will fight and defeat Zuma and his cronies. – Sipho Pityana, Save South Africa address at Treasury

By the end of this week, I want Church Square to look like Tahrir Square in Egypt. I want it to be full of people from South Africa who come here because [Treasury] controls R1-trillion. That is people’s money, not the Guptas’ money. – Mark Heywood, Section27

Unintelligent report

There is no intelligence in this report. – EFF’s Julius Malema on the intelligence report that allegedly sparked Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas’ abrupt call back to South Africa from an international roadshow

President Jacob Zuma and his inner circle of securocrats are so prone to conspiracy and so clueless about international finance that we cannot be sure, mad as it may seem, that the bizarre instruction was not based on a fake intelligence report about a fake intelligence operation, comically called “Operation Check Mate”. – DA Press Statement

You have a deputy president saying, clearly and forthrightly today, that the removal of the finance minister and his deputy was based on a dubious intelligence report. – Barbara Hogan, speaking at spouse Ahmed Kathrada’s funeral

This is the mysterious text, this big text. This is the so-called intelligence report which says [we were] involved in some massive conspiracy to undermine the economy. It is absolute nonsense. – Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan

[The firing of Gordhan] was part of a package of issues that the president touched on as a background. We did not discuss the intelligence report. There was no question of agreeing or not agreeing on it. We did not see it. – Speaker Baleka Mbete on the reasons for firing Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. What’s that sound? Oh, it seems to be a tune changing…

Nice Gig(aba) if you can get it

As government, our focus is now very much on the radical transformation of our economy so that all who live in South Africa can benefit from the economy. Tough and unpopular choices will have to be made to ensure such a vision. – New Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba

We indicated to the ratings agencies that there will be no change in our fiscal stance. We are the same government. – Gigaba, shortly before a downgrade to junk status by S&P

Cyril: Stuck in the middle with…

Be in support of those who will be leading that charge because a moment of great renewal is upon us, so let’s act together in unity. – Cyril Ramaphosa goes off script during an address in KZN

I raised my concern and objection on the removal of the Minister of Finance, largely because he was being removed based on an intelligence report that I believe had unsubstantiated allegations. – Ramaphosa

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose

I can’t use the word “consulted”. – ANC SG Gwede Mantashe

Queries about emigrating from South Africa have increased in the past week as a result of ‘the Pravin effect’. Stuart James, the owner of Intergate emigration agency, said that since Thursday people had been phoning his offices non-stop. – News report in The Times, 3 April

If one is told services are not required any longer‚ that is the end of one chapter and the opening of a new chapter. We go on asking the question‚ how can I continue contributing to a better South Africa? – Gordhan

[T]he removal of a Finance Minister  in this manner may be viewed as a deterioration in South African structures and questions the institution’s ability to stay on the course of fiscal consolidation while delivering on the reform agenda. This unfortunately is another blow to the country and comes at a time when we are in need of tackling the uncomfortably high unemployment rate, which can only be done through creation of jobs. Jobs can only be created in an economy that is thriving and attracting investment and this move may be a deterrent. As I write, the local unit is trading above R13.70, while the yield on the S.A 10 year is at 9.1%. – Tumisho Grater, economic strategist at Novare, following the S&P downgrade

If you don’t have anything nice to say… grab a mic

Plain rubbish. – Jackson Mthembu on allegations that Gordhan and Jonas were plotting with foreign forces

It is really pathetic. – SACP’s Solly Mapaila chimes in

Parasites and vultures. – Mapaila

We don’t have MPs of the SACP. We have MPs of the ANC. Nobody is in Parliament as SACP. – ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa, dismissing the SACP’s rejection of the reshuffle

He [Zuma] is now micromanaging every small Cabinet committee. Yet he fails miserably to manage even the Cabinet itself. – Pakes Dikgetsi, COPE

The African National Congress Women’s League is disappointed but not surprised by hasty the [sic] decision taken by Standard and Poor (S&P) to downgrade South Africa into junk status. SA must not be held at ransom by rating agencies that are serving a certain political agenda. S&P is not an apolitical institution and has interests on who has to be a Cabinet member. The ANCWL reiterates that S&P as an institution undermines the constitutional right of the State President to appoint his Cabinet and make changes when he deems necessary.  The ANCWL calls for the ANC government to persuade its BRICS partners to speedily establish the BRICS rating agency. Corrupt rating agencies like S & P should not be allowed in the country. – Meokgo Matuba, Secretary General, ANCWL

Zuma is on a path of destruction, and must be stopped. – DA’s Mmusi Maimane

‘Talk’ is just a four-letter word

Areas where ministers do not perform have not been touched. Ministers have been moved and the majority of them were good performing ministers. I’m very much uncomfortable with it. – ANC SG Gwede Mantashe

It was a process of informing us of his [Zuma’s] decision. It was not a consultation, because he came with a ready-made list. – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa

It is not like there is a rule that he [Zuma] should come and have a big discussion. – Mbete to media

Mission: divide and conquer

Once that process is started‚ we parliamentarians will remove Zuma through a vote of no confidence as is our duty. Parliament is captured by the Guptas and now needs to be uncaptured. We hope the court will look at our application favourably. – Malema

The tripartite alliance of the ANC, Cosatu and SACP has been the bedrock of the ANC’s history. The ruling party is expected to consult the other two partners when decisions are set to be taken. Generally, both Cosatu and SACP back the ANC’s decisions and do not overtly speak out publicly; over the last few years though, that has slowly been changing. Zuma and his Cabinet are the reason for that. – Columnist Nic Andersen

I don’t think they [those in the top six who are objecting] are setting a good example. We are working hard on the ground here to unite the ANC and I can see they are working to divide the ANC. – David Mabuza

The President cannot use outside intelligence information for any action he wishes to exercise … We have state organs that occupy themselves with irrelevant things. Where were these security state organs when 20 schools burned down in Vuyani? It is these rogue elements we want to remove. – Mapaila

Rage in peace

On a day like this we should not mince words. We should say it like it is. We are pained, saddened and sorrowful. We are a nation in mourning… Each day of the enjoyment of freedom for all of us is the ultimate expression of gratitude to comrade Kathy and all those who like him fought to a standstill against human oppression articulated in the discourse of racialisation. It would be disingenuous to pay tribute to the life of comrade Ahmed Kathrada and pretend that he was not deeply disturbed by the current post-apartheid failure of politics. – Kgalema Mothlanthe’s eulogy at Ahmed Kathrada’s funeral, shortly before he began reading Kathrada’s request for Zuma to step down

We welcomed a commemoration service hosted by the Presidency because that is what is befitting of a giant of our country. But let me say that last night, when the news began to filter through, about the dastardly deeds that were being done in dark corners, many of us in the family began to have doubts whether we would want a commemoration under the auspices of a president who has clearly gone rogue. – Barbara Hogan at husband Kathrada’s funeral

His [Zuma’s] own party rejects what he has done. If this is not a defining moment in our country, nothing will ever be a defining moment. – Hogan

Mr President, if you had ears to hear and eyes to see you would step down as Kathy would want. – Hogan

My observations about the messages that came out today is that citizens are speaking. – Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

Let me say very publicly and openly that postponing the official memorial was petty and spiteful. – Gordhan

President Zuma was not involved in the planning of the memorial service and in the cancellation thereof. Any impression created that the president cancelled or ordered the cancellation is erroneous and unfortunate. – Presidential spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga

President Jacob Zuma has declared a Special Official Funeral for the late Rivonia Treason Trialist and stalwart of the liberation struggle for a free and democratic South Africa, Mr Ahmed “Kathy” Kathrada, who sadly passed away in hospital this morning. – Ngqulunga a few days earlier

An astounding political activist, a servant of the people and an agitator of injustice…. The life of Cde Kathy will remain an inspiration to numerous generations of South Africans who will draw strength from his legacy in tackling triple challenges faced by our people – inequality, unemployment and poverty. We are eternally indebted to him… – Bathabile Dlamini, ANCWL President, some days before tensions arose between the family and President Zuma

You spin me right round, baby, right round

We will continue to argue in court for this unnecessary application, which is a waste of taxpayers’ money and the court’s time, to be dismissed. As the architect of the application and the campaign to smear Oakbay, if anyone is to withdraw it should be the Minister. – Press statement by APO on behalf of Oakbay Investments Ltd

It is plain to see that a transformational deal for black South Africans is being stalled by the Finance Minister. What is his motive? Is he just protecting his friends and colleagues in South Africa’s major banks in which he owns shares? We have been left with no alternative but to take this to court. – APO on behalf of Vardospan

ANN(7) another one bites the dust

These allegations sicken me… Both of us had been activists in the struggle from a young age, why would we now do something to undermine this government? It cannot be logically explained. Except of course analysts at a particular television station who manufacture stuff. – Gordhan

They attacked us, maligned us, disgraced us. They certainly had a lot to say . . . where are they? Don’t they have a question to ask? No, it’s not unfair, do you want to be the subject of daily and nightly attacks? – Gordhan about ANN7

Accept the things you cannot change. – ANN7’s thought for the day on 1 April.

– ANN7 political correspondent Chelsea Lotz on Twitter

In tweets we trust

In response to the above

Bye bye bye bye bye twitter see you sooooon bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye.

– Former Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile ‘Razzmatazz’ Mbalula upon finding out he was the minister of police. As one does, he took to Twitter

Meanwhile, back at the President’s Press Office

Silence speaks volumes. Over the past week, the office of the Presidency issued numerous press releases, following a brief announcement on the recall of ministers Gordhan and Jonas, which despite regular and diligent communication on all other matters went unexplained. There was no shortage of communication – it was just… not what everyone was asking. A sample:

PRESIDENT ZUMA TO PARTICIPATE IN VARIOUS PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT ACTIVITIES. President Jacob Zuma will officiate in public engagements in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces as part of government’s programme of promoting radical socio-economic transformation, enhance service delivery and promote social cohesion. (Several statements followed expanding on the above appearances, and remarks made by the President.)

President Jacob Zuma will on … officially launch the Trans African Locomotive in Pretoria. (Similar.)

The Westgate Social Housing project expected to provide decent and affordable accommodation to more than three thousand people is a direct positive response to the housing needs of those who neither qualify for the fully subsidised housing programme nor qualify for the bonded houses affectionately known as “gap market”. (This was covered at length and in detail.)

The issue of tax is a confidential matter between the South African Revenue Services and the taxpayer. (This was issued in response to a Parliamentary question on whether the President declared fringe benefits accrued to him as a result of the State-funded upgrades to his Nkandla home to the SA Revenue Services. It was not covered at length or in detail.) DM

Photo: South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma reacts during a discussion titled ‘The Future of Africa’s Democracies’ at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 07 May 2010, on the last day of the 3-day meeting. EPA/DAI KUROKAWA


Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted