In 2017, the horrifying extent of State Capture finally became clearer to the South African public. And we would still be languishing in the dark were it not for the whistle-blowers: the handful of courageous South African men and women who did not remain silent in the face of wrongdoing, but stood up and spoke out. From the anonymous figures who risked everything to expose the #GuptaLeaks emails, to the workers who blew the whistle on misdeeds in big corporates and State-owned Enterprises: South Africa owes you a great debt. By JESSICA BEZUIDENHOUT and REBECCA DAVIS.
Jacob Zuma once swore that the ANC would “rule until Jesus comes”. Well, according to the mainstream press, Jesus has indeed returned for a threequel in the person of Cyril Ramaphosa, the African National Congress’s newly anointed president. And so here we are, at the counter-intuitive moment of inflection: as the Magi of White Monopoly Capital lay gifts at Ramaphosa’s feet, the ANC is about to go the way of the second temple. Apologies to the faithful across all denominations, but this is not a revival. It’s a ravaging. By RICHARD POPLAK.
Amid the slime of corruption and abuse of power that flowed through 2017 were those who had the courage to speak up. These weren’t always whistle-blowers. Sometimes they were just people who had had enough. People who had the nerve to take on their comrades, colleagues, peers or seniors. They deserve a salute. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
2017 Daily Maverick International Persons of the Year runners-up: Axis of Reason – Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron
The “Persons of the Year” title has been awarded to the “Silence Breakers/Me Too” women who have handed out a whole pack of red cards to men in politics, the arts, entertainment, and news and communications who have made use of their power and positions to inflict sexual predation upon women, “because I can”, as Donald Trump has said. Nonetheless, J. BROOKS SPECTOR also makes a case for applauding two critically important people on the world stage – Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron – who, collectively, are offering a larger, more expansive vision, rather than the crabbed, cramped one being purveyed by too many others now on the global scene.
Within two weeks Grace Mugabe went from being on a seemingly unstoppable trajectory to becoming president of Zimbabwe to being expelled from Zanu-PF and her husband removed as party leader. And in that time the First Lady Dr Amai Grace Mugabe was finally recast in the ignominious role of the crude secretary-mistress whose Lady Macbeth-level ambition brought to an end one of the longest running presidencies on the continent. By KRISTEN VAN SCHIE.
Caster Semenya embodies all the values “good” South Africans strive for. Full of grace, successful in all her pursuits and a fine example of what a good human being should be. Semenya is Daily Maverick Sports Person of the Year. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
Power, when it moves, moves fast, and just after midnight on Wednesday the first stirrings were apparent as newly-elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa addressed President Jacob Zuma from the stage. In the next few days, veterans from the ANC are set to approach Zuma, asking him to step down as President, but with a fairly even balance of forces in the national executive committee, it’s not sure which way these forces will move. By CARIEN DU PLESSIS.
Desperate for solutions, medical graduates – due to start work on 1 Jan 2018 but who were still without placements at the end of November – turned to social media, campaigning with the hashtag #unemployeddoctors. In the interim, the Department of Health says it has placed all South African citizens. But troubled graduates say the problem is far from solved – and that in a country facing a critical shortage of doctors, the long-term ramifications could be serious. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
In November, the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI) launched its report on police brutality during the 2015 and 2016 #FeesMustFall (FMF) protests, titled A Double Harm: Police Misuse of Force and Barriers to Necessary Health Care Services. The report documents use of force by police during the FMF protests at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits). It reveals that police used excessive force during the protests which resulted in varyingly serious injuries. By SUMEYA GASA.
The Press Ombudsman Johan Retief in his ruling delivered on 9 December 2017 found that Daily Maverick and Marianne Merten published an article on 12 October 2017 of critical reportage to me without affording me an opportunity to state my views. This was an article that Merten wrote having only interviewed Ms Zelda Holtzman who had just been dismissed by Parliament. By GENGEZI MGIDLANA.
Over the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, an intensive campaign run by veteran child protection activist Luke Lamprecht called #BabiesMatter provoked the rather depressing conclusion that not all babies do matter. Perhaps the most significant questions are “why”, and what do countless births not celebrated, and deaths not mourned say about us as a society?