Former president Jacob Zuma's criminal case might take up to two years, but the Teflon Man has almost no options to slip out of this one. If he tries to avoid the reinstated charges announced by NPA boss Shaun Abrahams on Friday, the same opposition parties who have been the bane of his presidency will act. By GREG NICOLSON.
Jonas Makwakwa resigned on Wednesday after a series of stories published by Scorpio on the cooked Hogan Lovells investigation and disciplinary hearing that cleared him of “all charges” as well as news that he sat on the SARS panel that signed off on the appointment of a debt collector linked to Makwakwa and a possible money laundering ring. The resignation was hastily pushed through amid Cabinet considering tax boss Tom Moyane’s “imminent” departure. We analyse Moyane’s misleading public statement about Makwakwa’s departure and find many holes. By PAULI VAN WYK for Scorpio.
Former president Jacob Zuma will go to court for 18 criminal charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering and money laundering, NPA boss Shaun Abrahams announced on Friday afternoon. More than 10 years after Zuma was first served the indictment, related to arms deal bribes, he will finally get his day in court, just as he's always pretended he wanted. By GREG NICOLSON.
Like sunburn after a sick day, the High Level Panel report is stubbornly continuing to show up delivery failures on land reform. On Wednesday, Dr Aninka Claassens, director of the Land and Accountability Research Centre at UCT, addressed the Land Reform Portfolio Committee at Parliament. The news wasn’t good. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
Around the world, activists, movement leaders and the scientifically literate are organising against the traitorous climate policies of the ruling elite. Now, a groundbreaking local book, The Climate Crisis, exposes the deep hypocrisies in the system, laying out how bottom-up, earth-centric approaches are our only chance to get out alive. KEVIN BLOOM speaks to the book’s editor and compiler, Vishwas Satgar, and finds out why South Africa’s most powerful trade union is on board.
Former spooks boss turned energy tsar David Mahlobo already traded his front row parliament bench seat held as a Cabinet minister for one further back, but now must get to grips with a new portfolio – trade and industry. That’s the committee he’s been assigned to by the ANC in Parliament, in a reshuffle of committee membership to take in those who lost their jobs in the recent executive re-organisation. It’s an interesting allocation that emerged from Thursday’s Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports (ATC), or Parliament’s record of work. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
On 12 March 2018 Numsa, with Transform RSA, approached the High Court in a late-night interdict to prevent the Minister of Energy from signing 27 Independent Power Producers’ contracts on 13 March 2018. There has been some hysteria in response and Numsa’s position has been wildly distorted. This requires us to set the record straight. By KARL CLOETE.
Parliament is considering amendments to legislation that will give more powers to the Auditor-General. This is to be welcomed after the Auditor-General reported more than R45-billion of state funds lost last year on irregular and unauthorised expenditure by organs of state and State-owned Enterprises (of which only five out of 19 obtained clean audits). By Mike Law for NOTES FROM THE HOUSE.
Some of the best brains in Africa started it as a means of finding African solutions to African problems, and after flagging for a few years, the African Peer Review Mechanism is back. Some, however, reckon this instrument – meant to help African governments rate one anothers’ performance – is biting off more than it can chew. By CARIEN DU PLESSIS.
Yonelo Diko’s article on The Enduring Curiosity About Black Manhood raises some interesting points about the reason so many black people feel uncomfortable about the film Inxeba. But his argument rests on an assumption about masculinity that is exactly what the film seeks to question, proving that discomfort is no reason to shut down debate. The role of artists is to provoke, to make us question our culture and become more mindful of what our customs do to people. By ALISTAIR MACKAY.
On 21 February, the Moerane Commission of Inquiry into KwaZulu-Natal’s political killings presented six members of the SAPS provincial management with Exhibit DD – 31 pages of allegations against its members made by those who had testified prior to 16 August 2017. Since then, the police have been legally represented at the commission. In line with its terms of reference, the commission provided the police with an opportunity to respond, but what followed was a depressing parade of denials, obfuscation and lies as senior law enforcement sought to deflect the heat and perjured themselves in the process. By VANESSA BURGER.
Now that Day Zero has been pushed back to 2019, it is possible to take a step back, draw breath, and consider Cape Town’s water crisis anew. In particular: what was the Day Zero messaging actually about? What role did Tony Leon’s communications agency play in the end? And what does the City of Cape Town wish it had done differently in trying to get Capetonians to get on board? (Spoiler alert: nothing.) By REBECCA DAVIS.
J. BROOKS SPECTOR keeps shaking his head in astonishment at the goings-on in Washington, as Donald Trump continues to see chaos as his modus operandi as he makes his way through the thickets of foreign policy. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is out, Mike Pompeo is in, and Gina Haspel may be the new CIA director. But there has been so much more.
The ANC was criticised in December for electing only one woman to its Top Six officials. On Wednesday the party announced two female premiers-elect, in Free State and Mpumalanga. The opposition says the ANC made poor choices, while the appointments once again highlight the party’s problems in the provinces. By GREG NICOLSON.
Dulcie September was a schoolteacher. She didn’t approve of those who didn’t finish their homework. In many ways, activist and investigative journalist Evelyn Groenink’s detailed quest to find the truth behind the assassination in 1988 of Dulcie September, the then banned ANC’s representative in Paris, SWAPO activist Anton Lubowski in 1989 and MK commander Chris Hani in 1993, is a bid to complete a task she set out to accomplish almost 30 years ago. Groenink, once a member of the influential Dutch Anti-Apartheid Movement and the Dutch Communist party, is married to former deputy SARS Commissioner Ivan Pillay, who is currently being targetted by the NPA. By MARIANNE THAMM.
President Cyril Ramaphosa determinedly stays presidentially magnanimous, as his performance showed during the first parliamentary Q&A as head of state on Wednesday. But translating his new dawn and social compact rhetoric into action faces its first real test. Parliament effectively has just one month to enact legislation so that Ramaphosa’s long-standing project, the national minimum wage, is implemented as planned on 1 May. On Wednesday he again styled it as reducing income inequality. There are many who disagree – and Human Rights Day will see Numsa spearhead a protest march. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
When a person leaves power, power leaves them. It leaves them different, weakened, often a shrivelled person. In some cases, they define a particular era. In modern democracies, there is often a discussion about their legacy and how their decisions influenced the country in the present. With President Jacob Zuma, it is surely undeniable that his own actions will define his time in office and in the Age of Gedleyihlekisa. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
If Numsa is genuinely interested in protecting the very real interests of its members, it would be advisable for them join forces with the renewables sector in exploring how best to maximise job creation, economic development, progressive environmental standards, and ethical business practices. By DAVID MASUREIK.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), an independent federal government agency aimed at protecting investors and maintaining fair, orderly and efficient markets, has charged KPMG SA, Deloitte & Touche and BDO for their involvement in audit work that circumvented the full oversight of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. All three firms submitted offers of settlement. By MARIANNE THAMM.
Some vendors have raised concerns about how they are to prevent the spread of listeriosis with limited access to water in a time of drought. This follows a visit by MEC for Health in the Western Cape, Nomafrench Mbombo to the Wynberg Taxi Rank to raise awareness about the disease to commuters, food vendors and food shop personnel. By HLUMELA DYANTYI.
Justice Minister Michael Masthua’s team buckled in the Constitutional Court on Tuesday and made concessions to the case pushing political parties to disclose private donations. As Parliament continues to pursue legislation on the issue, the court’s ruling will be crucial in describing what we should know and how. By GREG NICOLSON.
After a two-year delay, contracts with 27 independent power producers that the government has said will create 61,600 jobs and inject R56-billion into the economy were due to be signed on Tuesday. The signing was postponed at the 11th hour following a court application to be considered in two weeks’ time. By MELANIE GOSLING.
It’s “Kafkaesque” for MPs to be refused reports – already in the public domain – regarding the disciplinary acquittal of Jonas Makwakwa, the tax collector’s Business and Individual Tax Chief Officer. He returned to work on 1 November 2017, following a year on paid suspension after the watchdog of dodgy financial transactions, the Financial Intelligence Centre, raised the red flag over mysterious payments into his bank accounts. After months of playing kick for touch with Parliament’s finance committee, SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane on Tuesday was instructed to hand over those reports on Friday morning, and to answer questions next week. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
Two blunders within the last week from the Democratic Alliance tell the story of an opposition party struggling to communicate a coherent message on the country’s most charged issue: land. This would be a problem for any party at any time, but it is doubly so given that the 2019 general elections are just over 13 months away – and even more acute in the context of the DA’s bruising run in recent months. By REBECCA DAVIS.
On Friday, SARS appointed a debt collector fingered in an alleged money laundering ring linked to Chief Officer Jonas Makwakwa. New Integrated Credit Solutions is now contracted to help the struggling revenue service to collect R16.6-billion. But the Pretoria-based company was mentioned in the damning investigative report that accused Makwakwa of stuffing hundreds of thousands of rand into ATMs and living far beyond his means, compiled by the Financial Intelligence Centre. By PAULI VAN WYK for SCORPIO.
The Mount Toba catastrophe is one of the world’s most notorious: it caused a six- to 10-year volcanic winter and a 1,000-year cooling period, and has been blamed for the near-extinction of humans. A new study finds that at least one population of humans survived on the coast of South Africa. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
Paul Mosaka Primary School pupils displayed a good understanding of racism and what it entails at Monday’s launch of the #RootOutRacism Week Schools’ Programme ahead of Anti-Racism Week which kicks off on 14 March. Their labelling of Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom as “pink” underscored the main theme (racism), revealed their honesty, exposed their understanding of the issue, and set the tone for the week ahead. By BHEKI SIMELANE.
“The ANC will manage the land question sensibly,” ran the headline to an interesting piece by the Deputy Secretary-General of the ANC last week (Daily Maverick, 4 March). As her party prepares to introduce a regime of expropriation without compensation – with all the risks that it entails – whether this assurance is to be taken seriously or not is probably more important now than ever. By TERENCE CORRIGAN.
Cyril Ramaphosa has a great deal to fix in the state spy agencies, as explained in my previous articles. But what if he doesn’t? Then we’ll have to rely on activists to push for the necessary changes. This article looks at what type of activism works and what doesn’t in relation to state surveillance, drawing on international examples from the UK, South Africa and Mauritius. By JANE DUNCAN.
Under increasing pressure to provide water to drought-weary citizens, officials in the Western Cape have begun drilling for groundwater. But speeding ahead with the drilling has already had concerning environmental consequences, including spilling sludge into river water, foreign algae blooms and the threatening of critically endangered fynbos that grows nowhere else in the world. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
If African countries are to take advantage of the enormous number of young people who will be entering the job markets with great energy and entrepreneurial talent at a time when the rest of the world will be getting older, they must create healthier economies that can produce far more growth and jobs. By JEFFREY HERBST and GREG MILLS.
The Cyril Ramaphosa Presidency has been marked by ambiguities, sometimes evoking enthusiasm, sometimes disappointment. Blockages are encountered by government in removing the legacies of the Zuma period. Citizens have a role to play in removing these impediments. If citizens seek an emancipatory outcome, they need to actively work for this, wherever they are, and not simply look to government. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
It is widely seen as the Malawi presidency’s sweetheart contractor. And a leaked official report lends weight to this perception, showing that Portuguese-based multinational engineering firm Mota-Engil has almost 10 times the value of government road-building contracts as its nearest rival. By GREGORY GONDWE.
The North Gauteng High Court threw out an application on Monday by companies linked to the Gupta family to force the Bank of Baroda to continue doing business in South Africa. The Gupta brothers, who are now effectively without a South African bank, were called to appear in Parliament on Tuesday. That's not going to happen. By GREG NICOLSON.
Perplexed by the peculiarities of politicians, the egregiousness of experts and the effrontery of the economic elites, over-anxious cartoonist N.D. MAZIN gives up trying to gain meaningful insights from human sources, and instead turns to the water molecule itself in his quest for answers to the enigma of Day Zero.
It is known the world over that politicians, in democracies and other forms of government, are going to be hypocritical from time to time. Expediency, putting personal interest above principle, comes with the job. But at no time is this more evident than during times of great political change, and the one such event is unfolding right in front of our very eyes. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Captured institutions rely on senior officials to facilitate such capture, be it in State-owned Enterprises such as Eskom or institutions such as the tax and prosecution services and elsewhere. But every so often such officials are linked to serious misconduct, while others blow the whistle, upsetting institutional arrangements. The result? The rise of “fake” disciplinary proceedings, the suspension of some, but not others, amid a toxic mix of politics, power and competing factional interests. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
So much has happened in land reform in South Africa, since 1994. Those calling for war, should instead be spending their efforts on listening to land reform activists, rural residents and aligning the aims and the objectives of the Ingonyama Trust with the Constitution and applicable national legislation. By MUSA XULU.
The recipes for successful regional trade integration are well known. The challenge for policy makers lies in implementation, including accepting that the benefits are rarely instantaneous, showing a willingness to challenge special interests, and making a genuine commitment to pan-African development rather than narrow national definitions of success. By TODD M. JOHNSON.
Activists from the NGO Not In My Name were joined by hundreds of drivers from e-hailing services such as Uber and Taxify as they took to the streets of Pretoria in protest on Friday. Demonstrators demanded justice and accountability for the brutal murder of 21-year-old taxify driver, Siyabonga Ngcobo. By DAILY MAVERICK STAFF REPORTER.
South Africa is a water scarce country, with disasters declared in several provinces due to drought. Yet ecologists are concerned that an over-emphasis on built infrastructure means any short-term water augmentation plans put into place now will be just that – short term, leaving the critical environmental support structure that ensures sustainable water supply threatened. And if you think this problem is unique to the Western Cape’s much-publicised water crisis, think again. Just 8% of South Africa’s land supplies 50% of its water. And that land is threatened. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
Ivan Pillay, Johann van Loggerenberg and Andries “Skollie” Janse van Rensburg have been charged anew for their alleged involvement in a decade old SARS intelligence exercise code named “Project Sunday Evenings”. Newly appointed minister of public enterprises, Pravin Gordhan is not off the hook either. This is what we know so far. By PAULI VAN WYK for SCORPIO.
Did a Constitutional Court decision earlier this week to reserve judgment in the urgent application by Sassa to extend CPS’s unlawful contract for a further six months serve to shock the habitually tardy agency out of its torpor? On Thursday Sassa and SAPO called a press conference and did a Gigaba, telling the nation “we gon’ be alright” come 1 April. By MARIANNE THAMM.
The 2018 Fiscal Framework and Revenue Proposals along with the Report of the Standing Committee on Finance was adopted in Parliament on Tuesday 7 March by a hefty 191 ayes to 81 nays, confirming yet again how the mood in Parliament so often fails to reflect the feelings of those citizens outside the precinct. By Moira Levy for NOTES FROM THE HOUSE.
In no nation is the question posed by Mosiuoa Lekota entirely settled. Most societies get rattled by it from time to time. But rarely is it expressed so fearlessly. Last month in Parliament, above the puerile cackle that has become its soundtrack, the leader of the Congress of the People (COPE) party thundered rhetorically: “Who is our people, who is not our people?” That question will be hard to avoid in 2018, writes TERENCE McNAMEE.
The commission of inquiry into State Capture is officially a reality. Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo announced this week that a team of six commissioners and additional investigators have already begun their work probing allegations of State Capture. Thus far, the commission’s composition has been greeted with cautious optimism – but some fairly significant concerns remain. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Martine Visser and Johanna Bruhl’s op-ed about Capetonians’ response to the water crisis (2 March) does provide some indications regarding the triumph of reciprocity over selfishness. But the evidence and explanation given for the changes reflected on the maps and charts is not completely satisfying. By LARRY KIRSCH.