by Jerome CARTILLIER US President Donald Trump sparked another political firestorm Tuesday when he doubled down on his initial response to the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville that ended in bloodshed, saying there was "blame on both sides."
There had been persistent unease about whether the public protector, advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, was the fit and proper person to fill Thuli Madonsela’s shoes. After yesterday’s damning court ruling in the SA Reserve Bank case and amid the Zumafication of the country, can we afford to continue to give her the benefit of the doubt? By JANET HEARD.
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal is the boss, but of late it’s had the need to feel out some possible allies very publicly. Its message has been unity instead of battle ahead of the party’s elective conference in December, but this week’s court case on who should be in charge of the province could yet throw all this in disarray. By CARIEN DU PLESSIS.
While Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini skipped a Sassa presentation to Scopa on Tuesday to attend, instead, the launch at Constitutional Hill of a mobile app, new acting interim CEO, Pearl Bhengu, braved a barrage of tough questions from sceptical and crabby committee members. While Bhengu held her ground admirably, chair Themba Godi said Scopa was concerned that offcials were not serious about using SAPO to pay grants and were deliberately dragging out the process so that CPS would have to once again come to the rescue. By MARIANNE THAMM.
In the aftermath of the no confidence vote of last week the ANC is shaken. President Jacob Zuma and some of his allies are calling for disciplinary action for ANC members who voted for the motion, describing this as “counter-revolutionary” and contrary to their duties under the Constitution. The organisation is less united than ever. But is the opposition ready to take advantage of this disarray? The DA call for new elections took its own caucus and all other opposition parties by surprise. There is some way to go before the opposition can ready itself to win broad confidence for itself as a united force, should the ANC fall below 50% in the 2019 elections. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
The claws came out across the parliamentary precinct on Tuesday. SAPS and Hawks generals received a snotklap from the police committee, which sent the SAPS packing for not submitting anti-gang strategy documents in good time and then stopped the acting, acting Hawks head’s presentation after he said: “We are not winning the war (against crime).” And the ANC proved it was at war with itself when five of its MPs boycotted the public services and administration committee, demanding action against its outspoken chairperson, Makhosi Khoza, for conduct unbecoming, as the minister, Faith Muthambi, snubbed MPs. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
Asking politicians to decide whether political party funding should be regulated might seem a bit like inviting turkeys to vote for Christmas. But this is the task currently before Parliament, where MPs this week will hear submissions on the funding of political parties. On Tuesday, strong arguments were presented on the need for greater transparency about where political parties get their money. In the past, resistance to this idea has been strong – and united across the political board. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The Southern Cape wildfires have died down, but for someone, the burn is just beginning. Following the release of a forensic report into what may have caused the inferno, officials say the search is on for the culprits, who will face the full might of the law. Meanwhile, Knysna needs to find R4-billion to R5-billion to fix the damage. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
The Canadian government’s ability to integrate immigrants was the result of the generosity and welcoming spirit of Canadian people. Ahmed Hussen knows this all too well. He now heads the very department that welcomed him and integrated him into Canada as a refugee from war-torn Somalia 24 years ago. By PETER FABRICIUS.
Zimbabwean First Lady Grace Mugabe was due to appear in court on Tuesday facing assault charges. She would have followed the appearance of South Africa’s deputy minister of Higher Education, Mduduzi Manana, in the same court, for similar charges. Instead, Mugabe vanished, making a farce of South Africa’s law enforcement. By BHEKI C. SIMELANE.
President Jacob Zuma has regularly told church leaders that they “must mind their own business” and rather “pray for their leaders to do better”. BJ Vorster and PW Botha did the same. Zuma’s latest comments were made after, among others, the South African Council of Churches urged ANC MPs to remove Zuma by voting him out in last week’s no-confidence vote. Zuma claimed that such sentiments were “un-Christian” and that “believers should pray for their leaders to do better”. He said this again last weekend when addressing St John’s Apostolic Faith Mission Church in Evaton, south of Johannesburg. Just like church leaders ignored Vorster and Botha, they will, no doubt, ignore Zuma. By RUSSELL POLLITT.
Reserve Bank and Parliament trump Public Protector as court sets aside remedial action to change Constitution
The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday set aside Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report that sought to change the constitutional mandate of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). And the Public Protector has been ordered to pay costs in a scathing judgment that raised questions over why the scope of the initial investigation was extended without explanation, whose comments were actually included in the final report, and what appeared to be the Public Protector’s “somewhat unrepentant alignment with one side of the public debate”. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
South Africa’s medal haul at the IAAF World Championship was their best ever. But the six medals tell just half the success story. There’s so much more talent lying in wait, if only the sporting administrators would do their bit. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
Illegal miners, organised under the banner of Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA), took to the streets of Pretoria on Tuesday and marched on the Department of Minerals Resources to deliver a memorandum demanding the scrapping of the Mineral And Petroleum Resources Development Act and to decriminalise zama zamas. By ORATENG LEPODISE.
Gauteng Transport MEC, Ismail Vadi has lifted his imposed shut-down of five taxi ranks in Soweto following an agreement between two rival taxi associations in the area. It now remains to be seen whether this agreement will provide a lasting end to the violence that has claimed no fewer than 13 lives over the past year. By PUSELETSO NTHATE.
One of the safest herbicides on the market, glyphosate, now carries a warning label in California saying it can cause cancer. Some countries have banned it altogether. In Europe, neonicotinoids, some of the safest pesticides on the market, have been banned. In both cases, activists gamed the system to advance their own interests, while harming both people and the environment.
Journalists should not only be investigating the criminal capture of the institutions we need for economic governance, such as the SA Revenue Service and Eskom, but also study what is going on in a plethora of public institutions that are crucial for social and rights governance – for the realisation of constitutional rights to health or education.
President Jacob Zuma and his allies have called for disciplinary action to be taken against ANC MPs who supported a vote of no confidence in Zuma. Calling these MPs “traitors”, “Askaris”, or (the slightly less incendiary) “ill-disciplined”, they have argued that MPs are only elected to the National Assembly because of their membership of their party and must at all times obey instructions from their party. This view ignores the precedent set by the recent Constitutional Court judgment on the vote of no confidence. It also fails to consider the possibility that provisions in political party constitutions that allow parties to expel MPs who vote against the party line might themselves be unconstitutional.