Ahead of the tripartite alliance summit in June and October, the South African Communist Party has commented at length on the National Development Plan. It’s a well thought-out critique that rejects the ‘yes/no’ paradigm sought by NUMSA, while honing in on the plan’s weaknesses, like the inconsistencies and ‘broad consensus’ on which the document is supposedly built. By SIPHO HLONGWANE.
The South African Army can only cope with so many demands with the resources it currently has. Obvious as it sounds, this comment from the chief of the army is a sharp reminder to government, which is poised to deploy soldiers to the DRC, of the challenges facing the South African National Defence Force. Our soldiers can no longer do more with less. By GREG NICOLSON.
Despite its German ownership, Bentley remains the epitome of British automotive craftsmanship, inexorably linked to very real dynamic talents. The new-generation Flying Spur may place a greater emphasis on comfort than its predecessor, but the majestic sedan’s athletic prowess remains undiminished – even on China’s twisty, crowded roads, as DEON SCHOEMAN finds out.
South Africa is rapidly urbanising, and in many cases infrastructure and municipal services are struggling to keep up. In the Western Cape, a private group of urban designers and developers think they have a solution. They want to build a new city 25km north of Cape Town’s city centre called Wescape, and so far they have the land, the plan, and seemingly the City of Cape Town’s blessing. But not everyone is convinced that the development is a very good idea. By REBECCA DAVIS.
After its first reported losses, the world’s biggest producer of platinum, Anglo American Platinum, wants to close shafts and retrench, so as to spare shareholders more pain. After months of negotiations between the Department of Mineral Resources and unions, 6,000 jobs are still on the line. In response, Amplats workers declared they would down tools unless the mining giant put people before profits. By MANDY DE WAAL.
After an astounding run of some really bad news, the White House seems to be pulling up its socks – picking up some presidential cudgels and beginning its “push-back” against its current political tormenters. In the process, after taking three shots to the solar political plexus right in a row, the Obama administration is now trying to project the image of an activist president rightly angry about what has happened while he was busy on other important things, but who is, nevertheless, moving resolutely to staunch the flow of blood and sort things out properly. By J BROOKS SPECTOR.
It’s scandal time all over again after three IPL players were arrested on Thursday on suspicion of spot-fixing. Delhi police have said that there will be more arrests, with as many as 12 matches reportedly under scrutiny. While it’s no surprise, the incident has once again highlighted the need for a more stringent anti-corruption unit across the board. By ANT SIMS.
Three IPL players were arrested on allegations of spot-fixing on Thursday and, if the allegations are true, one of the most nagging questions will be ‘why’? Why would somebody deliberately risk their reputation and compromise their craft? ANT SIMS spoke to sports psychologist Greg Wilmot to get some insight.
The proposed Licensing of Business Bill has been lambasted by critics as draconian and impossible to implement successfully. These concerns are not limited to big business alone. On Thursday, the Free Market Foundation (FMF) presented two traders who warned that it could lead to unprecedented corruption and abuse of power. Luckily for us all, it is so badly written that it will never pass constitutional muster in its current state. By SIPHO HLONGWANE.
The Millenium Development Goals are the 21st century benchmark for almost all poverty and development policy. However, with only 32 months until the MDG targets are meant to be achieved, we’ve still got no idea how much money is being spent towards achieving them and where it’s all going. A new database on government plugs this gap, revealing a few disturbing truths along the way. By SIMON ALLISON.
More than 20 boys died at Mpumalanga initiation schools in the last week. This follows the death of almost 50 young men in only three weeks at the schools last July. There are examples of the practice improving and becoming more regulated. But with oversight shunted to provinces, local government and traditional authorities, there are schools operating with little accountability under a confused mixture of different authorities. By GREG NICOLSON.
The Northern Cape Afrikaner enclave of Orania is a topic much beloved by documentary-makers and journalists. This is for one good reason: however much you might deplore the principle of cultural self-determination, Orania is fascinating. The volkstaat has its own currency – the Ora – and the streets appear to be lined with North Korea-style billboards urging self-sufficiency. But a recent documentary, “Orania”, neither satirises nor explicitly judges the Orania community. Primarily, it reveals what appears to be a suffocating sense of boredom hanging over the town. By REBECCA DAVIS.
This week, Gauteng Commissioner of Police Mzwandile Petros announced that 560 protests had taken place in Gauteng between 1 April and 10 May this year. Petros warned that his charges did not have the resources to adequately police these protests. State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele has also been talking about the issue in Parliament – he’s vowed to stamp out the incidence of violent protest. By KHADIJA PATEL.
The NUM has lost thousands of its members, mining bosses are under the profit cosh and the mining minster is under the job loss whip. However, it is Joseph Mathunjwa, the leader of AMCU, a union that has had only one leadership conference in its 12 year existence, who is the focal point of this year’s wage negotiating season. And he is the guy who has to deliver – despite AMCU’s non-existent track record. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
The Democratic Alliance’s “Know Your DA” campaign, launched a month ago, has attracted criticism from those who accuse the opposition of airbrushing its history and attempting to co-opt ownership of the struggle against Apartheid from the ANC. But the DA is unbowed. On Monday, the party launched a video to accompany the campaign which it intends to show to one million South Africans, and leaders insisted that the campaign is working exactly as they had hoped. By REBECCA DAVIS.
If you were hoping the Department of Public Works task team on the upgrades to President Zuma’s Nkandla residence would shed some light on who’s responsible for the R206 million spend, don’t hold your breath. The president’s house is a national key point so his allies can “justifiably” say releasing the juicy details of the report might compromise national security. By GREG NICOLSON.
The Department of Communications called a press conference on Monday to encourage the Sunday Times to stop publishing investigative stories into the minister Dina Pule. This is after it issued a statement on Friday to say that she would not apologise to the paper for attacks she launched against it and its journalists at the end of April. This is all just a curtain-raiser for the hearings before the joint committee on ethics and members’ interests, which were sparked by the ST reports. By SIPHO HLONGWANE.
It hasn’t been long since Kenyan voters transformed Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto from nasty politicians into the country’s leading statesmen, nevermind that both have been charged with crimes against humanity. But as their trials loom larger, so do the dirty tactics. It’s a fight the International Criminal Court will struggle to win. By SIMON ALLISON.
Many readers will probably remember the old Hans Christian Anderson children’s tale of the poverty-stricken match seller who, starving, stares through a window at a restaurant banquet table overflowing with food as she lights one match after another of the ones she is supposed to sell so as to keep warm enough to stay alive. This 170- year-old cautionary tale, along with the Charles Dickens story of the nearly as unfortunate Little Nell, another hungry Victorian Age waif, swam into mind while attending the recent World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town. By J BROOKS SPECTOR.
Negotiations between the M23 rebel group and the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo have stalled in Uganda. With neither side willing to compromise, a push for a political solution to the conflict appears doomed to fail. And as South African boots ready themselves for combat against M23, the warning of sexual violence in war – and as a tactic of war – is being brought into sharp focus. By KHADIJA PATEL.
In a significant escalation, mineworkers in the Marikana area are blaming the NUM for the murder of an AMCU member who was due to appear at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into last year’s massacre. Under pressure to protect its members and fight to retain its position as mining’s leading union, it appears the NUM is becoming more militant. By GREG NICOLSON.
“I’m not a card-carrying member of any political party. I have over the years voted for the ANC, but I would very sadly not be able to vote for them after the way things have gone.” These are the words of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who wrote last week that it was “a very huge ache” to see South Africa deteriorating the way it is. It is no secret that Tutu is angry and disenchanted with the ANC. His is no ordinary voice, but does what the elders say matter, and do they impact on the mindset of South Africans? By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
For arguably the first time ever, Cricket South Africa has acted quickly and decisively. Just a few hours after Gary Kirsten announced that he would not be renewing his contract as national coach, his deputy, Russell Domingo, was announced as successor - and it’s the best thing CSA could’ve done. By ANT SIMS.
The police’s specialised unit, Crimes Against the State (CATS) and the State Security Agency (SSA) have been monitoring the training of al-Qaeda terrorists in South Africa for several years, without taking any action. A year-long investigation by the Daily Maverick’s DE WET POTGIETER has revealed surprising inaction by police despite incriminating evidence about secret military training camps and sophisticated sniper training at three well-documented locations as well as several others across South Africa. These subversive activities have taken place at a farm near the notorious Apartheid police hit squad camp at Vlakplaas outside Pretoria, as well as a secluded farm in the mountains of the Klein Karoo.
Exactly why the World Economic Forum on Africa invited King Mswati III of Swaziland to sit on a panel is a slight mystery. Throughout the WEF, the values of transparency, accountability, good governance and anti-corruption have been highlighted over and over again as essential to Africa’s growth. These values are the antithesis of what King Mswati’s rule has meant to Swaziland. But he insisted on Thursday that the Swazi people are very happy with their feudal status quo. By REBECCA DAVIS.
A point frequently returned to throughout the World Economic Forum on Africa has been the inescapability of the fact that Africa’s economy will be shaped by its reserves of natural resources for the foreseeable future. Introducing the 2013 Africa Progress Report on Friday, Kofi Annan and his colleagues said that Africa’s mineral wealth has the potential to transform the continent, but resource-rich countries are leaving their poor behind. He also hit out at “shady deals” between mining houses and countries. By REBECCA DAVIS.
“This is a moment of renewal,” President Jacob Zuma said at his inauguration as South Africa’s fourth democratically elected president. Following an incredible political comeback after being fired as deputy president and two turbulent court trials, Zuma looked ready to lead the country into a new era. It was the age of innocence: Julius Malema was still en vogue, Zwelinzima Vavi and Blade Nzimande still liked each other, Kgalema Motlanthe still had a political future and we had never even heard of Riah Phiyega. Or Waka Waka. Lonmin was just a platinum company and Dina Pule was wearing normal shoes. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Former ANC soldier and soccer star-cum-community paralegal Bricks Mokolo is furious after he spent some six hours trying to access Baragwanath Hospital’s x-ray department with an injured employee. Mokolo says Gauteng’s public health system is a disaster that violates basic human rights; civic research backs this up. Now the human rights activist want to make politicians give up private health care, and to start using the system they brought to its knees. By MANDY DE WAAL.
Day one of the World Economic Forum on Africa was a day for “C” words – from cross-border trade to call centres, competitiveness, commodities, commuters, common markets, consumer loans, capitalisation, Cape Town-to-Cairo, current demographics, conurbations, community commissions and communism – all of which combined appeared to cast conferees onto a wave of currently uncommon confidence in the continent. China and corruption were the conspicuous elephants in the room. By J BROOKS SPECTOR.
City of Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau delivered his state of the city address on Thursday, making big promises to spend on infrastructure and economic development whilst fighting crime and corruption. Skeptics are not convinced, claiming there is not enough acknowledgement of just how bad things are in the city. By SIPHO HLONGWANE.
It’s been a bad few months for gay rights in Zambia, with virulent anti-gay rhetoric from public figures being matched by the arrests of a gay rights activist and two men accused of “unnatural” and illegal sex. Ironically, the negative international headlines generated by all this might force the Zambian government to rethink its views. By SIMON ALLISON.
It’s taken as axiomatic that Africa cannot prosper without good governance. At a panel discussion held to round off Thursday’s sitting of the World Economic Forum on Africa, certain key themes were returned to repeatedly: the need to stamp out corruption; the need for greater openness about the disposal of a country’s natural resources; the role of civil society and the private sector; and the importance of transparency. But as several speakers made clear, the beloved buzzword “transparency” is nowhere near sufficient on its own. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Despite coach Naka Drotske talking up the attacking prowess of unlikely Conference candidates the Cheetahs, this vital result will be decided by the extent to which their defence can frustrate the Hurricanes into making mistakes. For the Stormers, already trailing the Bulls by eight points, a loss to the Waratahs in Sydney could sink their season. And at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, the Kings will have to summon the sort of early-season chutzpah and resilience that has kept them above Saturday’s bottom-of-the-log opponents, the Highlanders. By KEN BORLAND.
At a small discussion at Thursday’s World Economic Forum on Africa, the issue of gender equality in African politics took centre stage. While all panelists agreed on the need for more women in positions of leadership, Malawian President Joyce Banda was on hand to remind the audience that sometimes getting to the top is just the beginning of the struggle. By REBECCA DAVIS.
President Jacob Zuma took the stage at the World Economic Forum on Africa on Thursday to participate in a panel discussion on the relationship between Brics and Africa. Zuma strongly stressed that a Brics bank is necessary to deal with African financing challenges that the “older” financial institutions have been too slow to deal with. But, as has been the case with all previous discussions of the bank, details of what it would look like were in short supply. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The Africa Competitiveness Report, released annually by the World Economic Forum, the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the Denmark Foreign Affairs Ministry, reflects both good and bad news. For South Africa, things are looking relatively peachy: we’re one of only two African countries sitting in the top half of the Global Competitiveness Index. But the report also shows that 14 out of 20 of the world’s least competitive economies are in Africa, and the continent remains the lowest-performing region globally. By REBECCA DAVIS at the World Economic Forum (Africa).
City of Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau is due to deliver the state of the city address for 2013/2014 on Thursday, and as usual the official opposition party the Democratic Alliance presented its notes first. It wants the city to focus on crime, housing delivery, infrastructure spend, the billing crisis, corruption and growing the city economy and its equitable share. By SIPHO HLONGWANE.
It was always an awkward marriage, and never a permanent solution, but Zimbabwe’s government of national unity has just about managed to keep the peace and revive the country’s moribund economy. But with its mandate set to expire in just two months, the unity government is looking as divided as ever, and no one can agree on what comes next. By SIMON ALLISON.
South African media have been filled with reports, analyses and commentary on the implications of the Gupta aircraft’s landing at the Waterkloof military airbase in Pretoria, leading some South Africans to question whether the entire saga has been blown out of proportion. KHADIJA PATEL and THAPELO LEKGOWA hit the streets of Johannesburg to find out what people made of the situation.
The number of unemployed people increased by 100,000 to 4.6 million in the first quarter of this year, StatsSA announced this week. “This is preposterous!” screamed Cosatu. “A tragedy” and “simply unacceptable”, the Democratic Alliance said. Neither the ANC nor government bothered to react or even put a positive spin on figures in the survey which do indicate some employment growth. Eleven months before an election, these figures should be deadly to the governing party; luckily for the ANC, elections in South Africa are not yet fought on real issues. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
There is a sense of the confessional permeating the new show by Pieter-Dirk Uys. For all that he dresses up as different characters, it feels like his own personality is the character most laid bare. As if, after years of presenting his views through the mouths of others, it’s time to strip off the make-up and tell us more about himself. By LESLEY STONES.
The Constitutional Court will hear the Rivonia Primary School case today. The implications are far-reaching. The matter concerns the balance of power between a school governing body (SGB) and a provincial department of education. The court’s decision will answer crucial questions for South African education: can pupils be excluded according to SGB admission policies? What language will pupils be taught in and how many pupils can a school accommodate? By GREG NICOLSON.
Is this another cover-up by police bosses - this time trying to conceal their shameful role in Guptagate - or is somebody else lying about the blue-light gang that whisked Indian guests last week from Waterkloof air force base to Sun City? Were they real police squad cars, and were the fancy black BMWs with flashing blue lights official vehicles? That’s the burning question nobody’s answered yet, writes DE WET POTGIETER.
The Gupta jet scandal has certainly annoyed many people and, by the ANC’s own version, has embarrassed the party. It has also exposed the undesirable power and influence of the family over the state through their proximity to President Jacob Zuma. But the causal link between the scandal and the Gupta family’s relationship with Zuma does not equal another dramatic recall of a sitting South African president, as reports have suggested. It would take a whole lot more than a cross Gwede Mantashe, a perfunctory investigation by state officials and a churned-up peanut gallery to get rid of Zuma. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Earlier this week, Daily Maverick published a column by Jared Sacks on the evictions of several shack-dwellers in the Western Cape. Among other things, Sacks raised the question of whether the evictions were legal. This is the City’s response in full, which we publish in the interest of broader debate.
The newspaper built by the Guptas took a blow from the Press Ombudsman when the body that governs the newspaper industry ordered The New Age to make a front page apology to the DA’s Helen Zille. The Press Council found that the newspaper was unethical in its reporting on Zille’s withdrawal from The New Age’s business briefings (and the subsequent furore) earlier this year. By MANDY DE WAAL.
On Wednesday evening, the annual World Economic Forum – Africa (WEF-A) meeting kicks off in Cape Town. About a thousand government officials from across Africa, as well as senior officials from the United States and other Western nations, are being joined by hundreds of business leaders from Africa. Inevitably, too, there will be a host of representatives from major international corporations, the inevitable collection of representatives from international development agencies and advocacy NGOs, and a horde of journalists in attendance as well. By J BROOKS SPECTOR.
Over the last few days, the matter of Tim May’s ousting has become more and more hotly contested. May was removed as player representative from the ICC cricket committee, reportedly through some underhanded doings from the BCCI. The ICC hasn’t batted an eyelash and the International Cricketers Associations wants the matter investigated. By ANT SIMS.
The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) marched through Johannesburg CBD on Tuesday after almost three weeks of industrial action. The bus drivers’ strike has been making life difficult for commuters and things are about to get worse. Satawu is likely to demonstrate again on Friday, bringing the Johannesburg CBD to a standstill as it steps up its demands. By GREG NICOLSON & THAPELO LEKGOWA.