Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Tuesday spoke of the “higher good” and reassured Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts that government had money to pay social grants from April 1 and that the last hurdle would be who would be legally appointed to do so. But MPs struck another vein in the SassaGate saga which explains, in part, how the crisis came about. Treasury on Tuesday confirmed that it had not approved R45-million ultimately spent on “work streams” headed up by some members of an earlier advisory committee, hand-picked by Minster Bathabile Dlamini to recommend a future payment system. These work streams ran a parallel process to work done by Sassa officials in preparation to take grant payments “in-house” and appear to have been key in negotiating with CPS for a new contract. By MARIANNE THAMM.
We appear to be living in a time in which the predictions that people had made about our politics are coming to pass faster than anyone could have thought. A few years ago there was a perception the ANC could become vulnerable in the 2014 elections, that the alliance with the SACP and Cosatu could only break up at around the same time (if ever) and that the DA should prepare itself for a long period in opposition. Now, since the local elections, all of those have sped up. Cosatu has itself started to split, people talk about the 2019 elections as being the watershed. And, it seems, the SACP could soon be starting the process of leaving the alliance and contesting elections on its own. The shake-up to come could be sooner and more momentous than we could have ever thought. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini found herself in the hot seat on Tuesday in Parliament, as members of the National Assembly debated the ongoing social grant crisis. The consensus from all opposition parties was the same: Dlamini must go. But the minister and her supporters remained defiant – largely ignoring the contentious contract with grant distributors CPS and schooling the House on the history and utility of social grants instead. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Op-ed: When the State fails to act, the Constitutional Court will be called upon to make decisions of great political significance
With the Sassa scandal being heard in the Constitutional Court this week, the court seems likely, once again, to make a judicial finding with significant political implications. When all opportunities for political solutions to the Nkandla scandal were closed the court was approached. It then made findings that significantly weakened the standing of President Jacob Zuma and the National Assembly, both of which were found to have acted contrary to their constitutional obligations. Again, with Sassa the court confronts government’s dereliction of duties and failure to conform to the law. The ANC and government may complain that the judiciary enters the political domain. But it is their actions - instances of irregularity, misusing the public purse and undermining the interests of the poor - that have necessitated the entry of the courts in ways that have political after-effects. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
South African ‘Serial’ podcast continues – with a panga fight, a paralysing shootout and talk of a movie (Episode 2)
The second episode of the eight-part podcast series, Alibi, which explores whether double murder, double attempted murder and robbery convict Anthony De Vries is innocent as he claims or guilty as the state found, starts as the search for Anthony’s paperwork, but evolves into a tender exploration of torture and movie stardom. By PAUL McNALLY.
Struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada once said: “The fight for non-racialism, equity and equality is not short-term work, but generational work. It requires united effort, and a lifetime of commitment…” It is this type of commitment, which Kathrada and his generation displayed, that we require today to remove the vestiges of apartheid – institutional and attitudinal racism. By DEREK HANEKOM.
With one simple question, parliamentary veteran Joan Fubbs, chair of the trade and industry committee, cut through the sunshine spin of the banking sector. What are the assumptions underlying the figures on, for example, black ownership and value of assets, she asked, because those numbers do not add up. Before Fubbs’s intervention during Tuesday’s public hearings on financial sector transformation, it had been the EFF that had questioned the presentations by the South African Banking Association (Basa) and three of the commercial banks, describing these as “extremely dishonest”. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
Not only could those briefing the media on Durban’s withdrawal as 2022 Commonwealth Games host not be bothered to show up on time, there was not an ounce of accountability to be found for the millions wasted on a bid that many believe never should have happened. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
Only one university in the Western Cape has brought all workers onto its payroll, despite all four universities beginning debates on “insourcing” in 2015, one of the rallying cries during the #FeesMustFall protests. By Ashleigh Furlong for GROUNDUP.
On March 13, 2013, the world watched an unknown Argentinian emerge on the balcony at St Peter’s in Rome. Jorge Mario Bergoglio (who chose the name Francis) had been elected pope after Benedict XVI unexpectedly resigned weeks earlier. From that moment, it was clear something was different. By RUSSELL POLLITT.
“Speaking truth to power” is how many journalists describe their role in society. It’s a bold claim and serves a clear purpose: to occupy the moral high ground, especially in relation to politicians who are often depicted as bottom-feeders in the algae of political pond-slime.