This was the second week of by-elections in a general election year. It was another tough night for the African National Congress (ANC) as they lost their second ward of the year, but it was also a mixed bag for the governing party in the Western Cape as the Democratic Alliance (DA) won back a ward from the ANC which they lost to them in a 2017 by-election, but they also lost support to the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) in a DA stronghold on the Cape Flats in Cape Town.
Since the start of the year, with the release of the 2018 matric results through to the opening of private schools on Wednesday, there have been several stories about schools and education. This is an annual occurrence but the developments seen this year are a powerful reflection of certain dynamics and trends within our society. Sometimes, events in one particular sector demonstrate how a whole society operates, what the levers of power are, and who controls them. The start of the 2019 school year is a reflection of the dynamics driving political behaviour in South Africa.
As the African Transformation Movement continues to attract hundreds of thousands of people and is making its presence felt, there are unfortunately some mischievous, unfounded and incorrect media reports aimed at discrediting the party.
As fresh leaders rise to power resulting from civic movements’ demand for change, it seems that the new lot pays only lip-service to better governance. According to a Human Rights Watch report, human rights abuses continue even after electing new public officials.
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme received almost half a million applications for the funding of higher education in 2019. Among those who need not bother applying, however, are students who do not have a South African ID book. The idea that financial aid should be reserved for South African citizens might seem fair enough on paper — but when you consider the case of refugees or asylum seekers, everything starts to look more morally complicated.
Four months after Parliament passed the National Minimum Wage Bill – it was signed into law by the President in late November 2018 to be effective from New Year’s Day 2019 – there must be an amendment bill to correct what ANC lawmakers on Wednesday said was “a mishap”, the wrong sequential cross-referencing of clauses. But the bottom line is those who make the law didn’t do their jobs properly, and not for the first time, as 2019 electioneering and politicking upped the pressure.
State failure has become a 21st century analytical preoccupation. It is traditionally defined by the inability of key state institutions to deliver public goods to their citizens because they cannot ensure physical safety nor offer productive economic environments.