An emergency evacuation drill in the National Assembly. Possible legal action by at least two opposition parties, the EFF and the United Democratic Movement, to push for a postponement of Thursday’s State of the Nation Address – if President Jacob Zuma is at the podium. And as firm a word as any from the EFF on Monday that “there will be no SONA” without its no confidence motion happening first. All this as the ANC is chewing over Zuma’s future as South Africa’s president in what the governing party calls the “transition”, with a special urgent meeting of its highest decision-making body between national conferences, the National Executive Committee (NEC), on Wednesday. By MARIANNE MERTEN.
The political conflict between President Jacob Zuma and the party he professed undying love for is reaching new levels of confusion. While the National Working Committee spent Monday afternoon discussing what to do next, two different groups protested over his future. Meanwhile, both sides, Zuma and Luthuli House, are showing through their tactics that they are now reaching out for help from people and bodies outside the ANC. This is something new in our politics. It demonstrates the seriousness of the stakes involved, and how desperate they are both becoming. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
SassaGate: Bathabile Dlamini attacks officials on Twitter while experts suggest Sassa be barred from paying grants
The Constitutional Court Section 38 Inquiry mandated to probe whether Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini should be held personally liable for the SassaGate scandal last year has highlighted serious dysfunction within Sassa, an agency tasked with the critical job of paying social grants worth R10-billion a month. At the inquiry last week an impetuous and evasive Dlamini denied running parallel structures in Sassa and blamed officials for her agency’s failure to take the process in-house. Meanwhile, the AG and the Panel of Experts filed a third scathing report to the ConCourt suggesting that, in future, National Treasury assume the responsibility of paying social grants, and not Sassa. By MARIANNE THAMM.
People’s Tribunal on Economic Crime: Former French presidents Sarkozy and Chirac implicated in evidence
It was a bruising day for many significant reputations at the People’s Tribunal on Economic Crime in Johannesburg on Monday. Lawyer Ajay Sooklal, formerly known as Witness X, took to the stand and implicated two former French Presidents, President Jacob Zuma and a range of notable politicians in the infamous Arms Deal. But he didn’t get off that lightly himself, either. Which raises a couple of uncomfortable questions. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
While the country has been debating when will Jacob Zuma will go, Parliament’s Rules Committee has been hard at work making sure the impeachment option is ready if it’s needed. While most members were on holiday, this committee showed what can be done when it is urgent. Is impeachment going to work as a fall-back option if needed? By MIKE LAW.
Tensions in the South African mining industry? What tensions? This was the outlook presented by Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane on Monday at the beginning of the 2018 Mining Indaba. In his keynote address Zwane made no mention of the controversial Mining Charter, currently the subject of a legal challenge by the Chamber of Mines, and in a Q&A session later on Monday he sought to downplay any conflict between industry and government. This transpired in the context of industry leaders saying their relations with Zwane’s department had reached an all-time low. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The election of ANC leadership in the December conference was depicted as branches voting for “unity”. In fact, the composition of the leadership derives from deals that have been struck between individuals from different camps, supporting different leaders within the organisation. This makes for instability, as is demonstrated by new Secretary-General. Ace Magashule, apparently defying leadership decisions and also launching veiled attack on new ANC president, Cyril Ramaphosa. This is not simply a low-level conflict between individuals but relates to whether or not the ANC will be able to renew itself, free itself from graft and violence. This issue is of concern not only for the ANC, but the future of the country. The signs are not good. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
In the face of slow moving state institutions, politically compromised investigative agencies, and obstructive politicians, South African citizens are exercising their power to challenge the corrupt directly. The first hearings of the People’s Tribunal on Economic Crime in South Africa commenced on Saturday 3 February at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg. Running until 7 February, the tribunal is a statement: We will no longer wait in vain for state action. We will gather, hear and publicise the evidence of economic crimes from South Africa’s past and present. By OPEN SECRETS.
It is no accident that around 1,200 people on the Mpumalanga Highveld die from Eskom’s emissions every year. It is the result of more than 50 years of bad decisions: ignoring the most basic facts about the risks of air pollution in the area, lax air quality regulation by both the apartheid and the present government, and a stubborn refusal by big polluters such as Eskom to submit to new air quality legislation. While Eskom is being called to account in State Capture investigations, it is also time to look at the immense environmental and health costs it continues to impose on the Mpumalanga Highveld and its people. By VICTOR MUNNIK.
Cape Town’s deputy mayor Ian Nielson announced on Monday afternoon that Day Zero has been pushed back to mid-May from the earlier estimated date of 16 April. Earlier in the day, Cape Town residents were urged to adhere to basic hygiene rules to prevent a spread of summer-months illnesses which can be aggravated amid water restrictions. By SUNE PAYNE.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show where the standing ovation begins a couple of songs before the story has ended. But when the incredible Didintle Khunou belts out I’m Here in The Color Purple, the audience is right there with her, on its feet and wiping away tears above the smiles. Goosebumps abound. By LESLEY STONES.
Buoyed by Cyril Ramaphosa's win at the ANC's elective conference, a growing negative perception and a series of damning court judgments against President Jacob Zuma, a group calling themselves Defend Luthuli House gathered at the ANC headquarters in the Johannesburg city centre to stop pro-Zuma supporters from handing over a memorandum at the offices. By PUSELETSO NTHATE, NKATEKO MABASA, BHEKI SIMELANE and ORATENG LEPODISE.
South Africa’s position is complicated. Representing less than 1% of the world population and around 0.5% of the global GDP, it cannot influence international trade heavily, neither does it have many companies being global players able to influence new regulations. However, being in this in-between position between high and low income economies, it still means it should make its share. By ERWAN MALARY.
It is not known whether the former Public Protector considered any comparative law when formulating her remedial action in the State of Capture report. The report is silent on this topic. Had she done so, she may have hesitated in acting as she did after pondering the Privy Council decision in Rajah Ratnagopal v Attorney General, Ceylon, delivered on 30 June 1969.
As I watched and listened to a string of poets and performers and musicians, young and old, well known, lesser known and unknown, during an intimate memorial at the Market Theatre for Keorapetse “Bra Willie” Kgositsile, the identity of my county was banging in my ears, demanding attention.
Day Zero is fast approaching in Cape Town and the people of Cape Town are angry. Outraged even. Had I not witnessed what I had in the Eastern Cape last week, I may be outraged too. Instead, I reflect that outrage is yet another form of privilege. In order to rant and rage, you must have some kind of benchmark for injustice – a point of comparison – to understand a situation with and without water.
Too much of the current commentary is what in America has come to be called horserace political reporting. But there are issues and policies to debate and a future to consider for anyone who would be in charge.
Presumably dismayed that polar bear populations are not declining, even though Arctic sea ice extent is lower than it was some decades ago, scientists keep publishing studies that somehow justify alarmism in mainstream media, like National Geographic. Let me dissect one such study.
With all the coverage of Day Zero and Patricia de Lille the DA has to resist being distracted from its biggest challenge, the political El Niño of 2019. But how can the DA focus on an election 15 months away, when they daily have to manage an ongoing and unfolding natural disaster? Keep it simple. Keep it separate.