South Africa, World

While you were sleeping: 18 December 2017

By John Stupart 18 December 2017

ANC voting begins, party acknowledges fissures, and Star Wars starts with Force in box office.

Monday, 18 December 2017

“All political parties die at last of swallowing their own lies.” 
John Arbuthnot

 

On Sunday, ANC chair Gwede Mantashe presented the party’s Nasrec conference with its organisational report. This document, ostensibly authored by Mantashe, is supposed to provide a key to the state of play of the ANC at this time and in its recent past. It covers the way the ANC has worked in the period between the last elective conference – Mangaung 2012 – and this one. But for those hoping for the renewal of the ANC, the report will make for alarming reading. It has distinct echoes of President Jacob Zuma’s final address – criticising alliance partners and playing down State Capture. At the same time, it paints a bleak picture of a party in crisis. 

 
 
 

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

ANC’s voting begins

It would not be normal business at Nasrec if massive, teeth-gnashing delays were absent. Sunday was no exception, with voting due to start at 10pm. This only began after midnight, spanning many hours into the early morning today. Thousands of votes, voting in batches, means that most of Monday will probably be consumed with the tedium of vote-casting and subsequent counting. Something like a result may arise today, however.

 

ANC report paints bleak future for party

Aside from the voting shenanigans, an organisational report published by the party and introduced by Gwede Mantashe illustrated seismic cracks within the ruling party. Irrespective of who wins the vote this week, the report acknowledges that factional fighting and major issues with alliance partners could see the ANC go below 50% in 2019’s elections. It’s a remarkably honest report for a party that would deny the sun was rising if they thought it damaging to themselves.

 

The Last Jedi soars in box office sales

The latest Star Wars movie has seen the second highest opening in North America ever. Dwarfed only by The Force Unleashed, The Last Jedi has been praised by critics and fans alike. The distinct lack of Jar Jar Binks may well have something to do with it.

 

McCain to miss crucial tax vote

Republican senator John McCain will miss President Donald Trump’s crucial tax bill vote. McCain is suffering from a viral infection and won’t return to the Senate until January. This cuts down the Republican majority to just a single vote, meaning any dissenters on the tax vote will scupper Trump’s tax bill. This will be Trump’s last and only significant policy act in his first year of office, assuming he has all his Republicans whipped in line.

IN NUMBERS

24

The number of hours a lion can sleep for after eating a large meal.

 

FACTS OF THE DAY

Today in 1916 the Battle of Verdun ends. Over 700,000 casualties were inflicted in total.

Star Wars was the first major film to be dubbed in Navajo.

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