“Accountability is a central value of the Constitution. This judgment is the judicial part of that accounting.” Friday’s Constitutional Court judgment not only rescued South Africa’s grant beneficiaries and put Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) in its place, it opened a new avenue for political accountability. The court had to push “at its limits” of its powers due to the “exceptional circumstances” and “a national crisis”. It found Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini “responsible for the crisis”, but did not refer her to President Jacob Zuma or Parliament to be held accountable. Dlamini is effectively under supervision of the Constitutional Court while Zuma is suddenly intervening – after another non apology. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Following perhaps the strangest media invite of the year, Lieutenant-General Mthandazo ‘Berning’ Ntlemeza made a first public appearance since Friday’s disastrous Gauteng High Court ruling regarding his legitimacy as head of the Hawks. (As in, he has none). The venue was the Incredible Happenings Church, pastored by the celebrity prophet, Mboro. There were no apologies, no acknowledgement of the damage done. Just assurances from God, via Mboro, that the General was in very good standing. And if anyone was going to be blessed by a cleansing faceful of Doom, it was members of the media. By RICHARD POPLAK.
To rob the office of a Chief Justice is not to commit a simple criminal act. It is to commit an atrocity against our democracy. It is an act which looks designed to strike fear at the heart of the country’s final authority to interpret the Constitution. It is designed to break, tear, damage the very fabric of that document itself. But it also must have been deliberately designed to cause damage to our society as a whole. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
On Friday, the North Gauteng High Court found that Hawks head Lieutenant-General Mthandazo Ntlemeza “lacks the requisite honesty, integrity and conscientiousness to occupy a position of public office... not to mention an office as important of that of National Head of the DPCI”. The judgment was damning too of Police Minister Nathi Nhleko who the court said had simply brushed aside the earlier findings that Ntlemeza is dishonest. The common thread among all those shifted by President Zuma into strategic positions and who find themselves in court, is they are either wilfully ignorant or grossly incompetent when it comes to understanding their constitutional mandate – just like their boss. By MARIANNE THAMM.
If in doubt, haul out the big numbers to emphasis delivery – and add another inter-ministerial committee (IMC) into the mix. At last count there were about 12 such committees, excluding those established for short-term projects, for a Cabinet of 35 ministers already organised into ministerial clusters on, for example, justice, crime prevention and security, governance or the economy. As governance appears a lot more like peeling back the skins of an onion, who exactly takes decisions? By MARIANNE MERTEN.
The Higher Education National Convention was a gamble. To solve the crisis at universities, it planned to bring different student groups together with civil society, the state and varsity leaders. The same groups have been fighting each other for two years. The gamble turned into a brawl. By GREG NICOLSON.
The supportive howling and catcalls from the ANC back benches during the SONA debate could be described as an act of compurgation for a president who is so compromised and conflicted that he has been credibly dubbed a “constitutional delinquent” by the opposition. Compurgation has medieval roots and its revival in modern politics is not necessarily a sign of progress. By CHRIS SHONE.
As communities across the world prepare to accommodate more than 65-million refugees fleeing communities decimated by war and poverty, we need new ways of responding to the associated mental health challenges in order to prevent traumatic memory from crippling families and communities in decades to come. By FRIEDERIKE BUBENZER.
South Africa did what they do best in the second Test against New Zealand in Wellington: they clawed their way out of a hole. But they did so with three central figures who paint an interesting picture of the future trajectory of this team. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
The popular “three gates” test of communication refers to a triple test that any statement must pass before it should be uttered. One, is it true? Two, is it kind? Three, is it necessary? I’d add a fourth, and say pick any three: does it build or destroy?
It is a well-known fact that any government tender awarded in South Africa carries a heavy weighting towards black economic empowerment. The most important criterion taken into account is black ownership. No exceptions... except for Net1, it appears.
The disruptions at the National Education Crisis Convention, convened by a group of civil society leaders led by Justice Dikgang Moseneke, show just how close to a social explosion we are in our country. Along with millions of South Africans, I harbour a horrible sense of déjà vu. I feel we’re slipping back to the trenches of our past, standing at the edge of the precipice once again.
On Thursday, Mmusi Maimane, usually silent on a racial diatribe by Helen Zille, was forced to respond. Looking at him muttering something about colonialism but not about its praiser, he grew small before my eyes, weak and very sad. Yes, there may be mutual respect, there may have been mutual sacrifices for each other, there may even be affection, but as long as one group can occasionally say the rawest things about people who could easily be your brothers, about you, only shows that we remain strangers in their eyes, sojourners, as were all our fathers.