Is lawfare the path for political losers?

Posted 25 July 2018

During the last few months, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille has been in and out of court, facing off against her own political party, the Democratic Alliance, which has been moving heaven and earth to get rid of her. Something similar may be on the cards in Knysna and George as well, where the DA is at loggerheads with the mayors that represent it in those municipalities. The SA Catholic Bishops' Conference Parliamentary Liaison Office looks at the growing number of "lawfare" cases - which are argued through the courts rather than in the political arena - and asks whether this beneficial for our democracy.

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EFF's racist remarks reflect panic among its leaders

Posted 07 June 2018

Recent racist remarks by EFF MP Floyd Shivambu suggest panic in the party leadership over the possible return of tax investigators to EFF supremo Julius Malema's door, and the leadership's interesting association with cigarette smugglers. 

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Does SA need 35 ministers, 9 provinces and 263 municipalities?

Posted 20 May 2018

SA is over-governed. We have 35 ministers, 37 deputy ministers, and 9 provinces each with their own ministers and administrations. Then there are the 263 municipalities, operating another layer of bureaucracy. Perhaps government should set the pace by scaling back on this boondoggle.

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Let's not get too excited about Ramaphosa

Posted 04 May 2018

Political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi says we should not get too excited about President Ramaphosa. He has a year to run the country before the next election. This is a long time in politics, and his “collateral beauty” – as Matshiqi puts it, when stacked against the ugly administration of his predecessor – may be exhausted by then. He is hailed as a great negotiator, but is also seen as a serial compromiser. Which interests will he serve most loyally? There is a chance the country will tire of Ramaphosa rather quickly. That said, the job of the Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Alliance, which feasted on the corruption and incompetence of former President Zuma’s government, will be made so much harder under Ramaphosa, who simply doesn’t present that easy a target.

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Winnie Mandela and apartheid's hidden history

Posted 25 April 2018

A new documentary on Winne Mandela – called simply Winnie – is fascinating both for what it reveals about the hidden history of South Africa’s transition away from apartheid and for its relevance to other, current struggles. Jonathan Cook, writing in Dissident Voice, suggests the documentary shows how history has been manipulated to paint Nelson Mandela as a saint and Winnie as a rogue. We need to develop the critical intelligence to prevent ourselves being manipulated and set one against the other. Otherwise, those who seek to challenge the current order will either be tamed, like Nelson Mandela, or destroyed, like Winnie Mandela.

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26 changes to the cabinet - some good, some awful

Posted 28 February 2018

Perhaps the best news in the cabinet reshuffle announced on Monday by President Cyril Ramaphosa is that Nhlanhla Nene is back at the finance ministry, and Pravin Gordhan gets to run public enterprises. Zwane is gone as mining minister, replaced by fiery trade unionist Gwede Mantashe. Most of those ministers with links to the Guptas are gone, except Gigaba - who has been moved from finance to his old portfolio of home affairs (where he famously imposed new visa rules, causing a slump in tourism and a loss of billions to the economy). You have to scratch your head at some of the appointments, which suggest there is still a Zuma gun pointed at Ramaphosa's head. City Press looks at the reshuffle.

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Ramaphosa to be elected president on Thursday - if chief justice is available

Posted 14 February 2018

It seems the knives are out for outgoing President Jacob Zuma. His own party will join the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in a vote of no confidence in their leader, according to Business Day. If all this goes as planned, and the chief justice is available for the swearing in, tomorrow will see the first day in office of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

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Zuma reaches his Rubicon

Posted 04 February 2018

President Jacob Zuma could trigger a Constitutional crisis this week should he proceed with his plans to deliver the state of the nation (Sona) address to parliament. Opposition parties are united in their call for a postponement of Sona, while prosecutors and police prepare for a trial which may see Zuma face 783 charges of fraud, money laundering and racketeering.

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Zuma deserves humiliation

Posted 29 January 2018

In his first major interview as leader of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa was at pains to emphasise that President Jacob Zuma’s early exit should not be a humiliating experience. But that is exactly what he deserves, says Mondi Makhanya, writing in City Press.

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Balance of power has shifted in the ANC as Zuma consents to state capture inquiry

Posted 10 January 2018

With the axe of a recall by the ANC hanging over his head, President Jacob Zuma has capitulated and allowed Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to select a judge to head a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture.

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Cyril leads a house divided after a deal with the devil

Posted 19 December 2017

The rand strengthened on news that Cyril Ramaphosa had been elected leader of the ANC. But with that came some cruel baggage, including individuals who have been compromised by the state capture scandal, who now join Cyril at the top table, writes Carol Paton.

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The choice that could save SA, or wreck it

Posted 08 December 2017

Frankly, it's not a great choice: Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma or Cyril Ramaphosa as the next leader of the ANC and possibly the country. Dlamini-Zuma will be hell-bent on protecting her ex-husband Jacob Zuma against 783 charges of corruption. Ramaphosa, a former trade union leader turned billionaire, is seen as friendlier to business and likely to return the ANC to its Freedom Charter roots. As The Economist argues, opposition parties hoping for a wrecking ball like Dlamini-Zuma to win the election race are playing a dangerous game. She might just win, and then we face the prospect of a hereditary kleptocracy.

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Ramaphosa must fire Jacob Zuma, says Gordhan

Posted 12 October 2017

Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan has called on Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to sack President Jacob Zuma in January, and warned South Africans to be vigilant against state capture of institutions now under threat, such as the Reserve Bank, Treasury and the Public Investment Corporation.

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Ramaphosa claims leaked emails of extra-marital affairs a "smear campaign"

Posted 04 September 2017

The Sunday Independent reported it was in possession of leaked emails that purport to show deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa was involved in multiple extra-marital affairs. But is this part of a campaign to stifle his challenge against President Jacob Zuma and put an end to his presidential ambitions? And if so, who is behind the leaks?

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Three scenarios facing SA - the best involves paying Zuma R2bn to get the hell out of Dodge

Posted 27 July 2017

There are reports that President Zuma has been offered R2bn to resign immediately as president. That's the best scenario facing the country. It would kill any hopes of handing the keys to the kleptocracy to his former wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. The other scenarios range from a Mugabe-style rule-by-thuggery to a split in the ANC and the possibility the ruling party may not gain 50% of the vote in the next election, writes Theuns Eloff, executive director at the FW de Klerk Foundation.

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Anybody's fault but Zuma's

Posted 04 July 2017

President Jacob Zuma has taken the ANC from a shoe-in at elections to an electoral liability. His reign as president has spawned two break-away parties, and a gaping credibility problem. Could the 2019 elections bring electoral disaster for the ruling party? At last week's ANC national policy conference, Zuma looked to point the finger for the party's problems anywhere but at himself. 

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Truth be told, opposition parties pray that Zuma stays in power till 2019

Posted 03 May 2017

Be careful what you wish for. SA's opposition parties want Jacob Zuma dislodged as president, but keeping him in power for as long as possible may suit their electoral chances come 2019. The ANC members are having to read the weather vane: if Zuma goes then many jobs are on the line, but if he stays, party loyalists will be roasted for protecting a fatally compromised man. So long as Zuma remains in power, the opposition can mine his failing presidency for all it is worth, reminding voters for the next two years how seriously he has damaged this country. Bloomberg explores how this could play out.

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Tens of thousands of protesters take to the streets to denounce Zuma

Posted 09 April 2017

Tens of thousands of South Africans took to the streets in major cities across the country last week, calling for President Zuma's removal. This follows Zuma's dismissal of finance minister Pravin Gordhan as part of a cabinet reshuffle that resulted in SA's credit being downgraded the junk by credit ratings agencies. 

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ANC allies turn on Zuma - call for his resignation

Posted 05 April 2017

The SA Communist Party, trade union federation Cosatu and leading ANC figures have called for President Zuma to resign following his firing of Pravin Gordhan as finance minister last week. This comes as S&P announced a credit-rating downgrade that left SA on junk status with a negative outlook. Zuma removed Gordhan using a bogus intelligence report to justify the move to ANC officials. He is now appealing to provincial ANC leaders to buttress his support, but the tide has turned against the president, who appears to have grossly misread the public outrage triggered by last week's cabinet reshuffle. 

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Zuma goes for the nuclear option

Posted 31 March 2017

To hell with the rand, the ratings agencies, the people of South Africa. President Zuma is a desperate man with bills to pay trying to stay out of jail. His cabinet "reshuffle" has the fingerprints of the Guptas all over it. He sacked finance minister Pravin Gordhan and put a dandy in his place. No matter that the rand lost 6% this week. Zuma wants a finance minister who will sign the nuclear power stations cheques and green-light all manner of suspect deals. This is now an open declaration of war, and the fight back has begun. 

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Rand tumbles on fears that Zuma will replace Gordhan as finance minister

Posted 27 March 2017

After a strong surge in recent weeks, the rand reversed some of its gains as speculation spread that President Zuma intended replacing finance minister Pravin Gordhan. This time, the economic fundamentals for South Africa are on a firmer footing, but the president seems oblivious of the damage his arbitrary policy making causes to the country.

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Zuma's love affair with alternative facts

Posted 14 February 2017

Wits University academic Patrick Bond takes a look at President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation address and then proceeds to separate fact from fiction. The outcome is a president who makes all the right noises, but fails to deliver in the key areas.

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What has happened to the rainbow nation?

Posted 19 January 2017

Race baiting is the default political tool of dishonourable politicians seeking short-term goals. Detailed studies by the Institute of Race Relations shows ordinary South Africans of every colour are less concerned with the issue, and believe merit should be the basis for job selection. When Julius Malema says he is not calling for whites to be slaughtered (just yet?), are we to believe whites are here under sufferance? Rex van Schalkwyk, a former judge of the Supreme Court of SA, looks at what has become of the rainbow nation and whether we should believe politicians who cry racism as the source of all evil.

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Mugabe withdraws $6m for 30 day holiday while most struggle to withdraw $100

Posted 03 January 2017

While Zimbabwe's banks lower their daily cash withdrawal limits to between $100 and $200 a day, an increasingly frail President Robert Mugabe withdrew US$6m for a 30 day holiday in Singapore, giving him petty cash of $200,000 a day. Opposition member of parliament Eddie Cross reports on the bleak outlook for the country in 2017, a situation mirrored south of the Limpopo in South Africa.

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SA may be better off under Zuma than those who want to unseat him

Posted 13 December 2016

Frans Cronje of the Institute of Race Relations makes the case that we are probably better off under President Zuma than the destructive communists on the one hand who want to unseat him, and the corrupt cronies on the other. In the middle are the pragmatic reformers who, if they are able to prevail, will have pulled off a remarkable feat.

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