- National government becomes more antagonistic to the court system and proposes limiting some of it’s powers over blocking legislature. The relationship does not get better during the year.
- The High Court takes press freedom back to the Apartheid era by pre-emptively blocking the publication of cartoons depicting Muhammad, claiming that the cartoons were hate speech (when they were nothing of the sort) and that the ‘right to dignity’ trumps the ‘right to free speech’.
- In the week before local elections take place Cape Town, which is facing up for a battle between the DA and ANC, suffers rolling blackouts thanks to someone dropping a bolt in the reactor of Eskom’s Koeberg nuclear power plant.
- In one of the worst cases of foot in mouth disease Minister of Public Enterprises Alec Erwin claims that Koeberg shutdown was an act of sabotage. When he tries to claim he never said that radio stations have a field day repeatedly playing back Erwin’s own statements to him.
- The 2006 local elections go off without a hitch. The focus of the elections is Cape Town, where the DA narrowly beat the ANC and both parties begin a frenzied attempt to put together coalitions that will give them a majority of votes. The ID, who are expected to be the ‘king makers’, are rumoured to be in talks with the ANC.
- In a tense vote the DA’s mayoral candidate Helen Zille is elected as Mayor of Cape Town. The DA build a coalition of minority parties to give them a slim lead. Despite my beliefs at the time that the coalition wouldn’t last very long it seems to be rock solid.
- The ID finds itself in a party revolt as members and councillors voice their displeasure in the ID’s backing of the ANC in the mayoral elections. The ID, who had been expecting to use their swing vote to attain some power find themselves shut out in Cape Town.
- In a foreshadowing of what may be still to come, Mayor Zille freezes the construction of World Cup stadium in Cape Town until it is known who is responsible for the (rapidly ballooning) cost.
- The ongoing Zuma rape trial produces some of the most cringe inducing quotes ever attributed to a major SA politician.
- The Dept of Home Affairs, proving themselves possibly the worst run department in government, manage in one month to get temporary SA passports declared invalid by the UK and then to run out of paper for normal passports later on.
- Thabo Mbeki declares he believes the next president of South Africa should be a woman
- The rape case against Zuma collapses and he is reinstated as Deputy President of the ANC putting him back in the succession battle.
- The SACP continue with their almost endless hand wringing over whether to leave the tri-partite alliance but decide not to.
- Tension remains high in the ANC as the ANC leadership try and handle Zuma’s return into the ANC leadership.
- COSATU decide they might want to split from the tri-partite alliance. To date they’re still in it.
- The SABC cancel the screening of a documentary that dared to be slightly critical of Thabo Mbeki.
- Later it is revealed the SABC Head of News Snuki Zikalala has a blacklist of commentators and freelance journalist who are not allowed on SABC news and current affairs programs.
- China and South Africa come to an agreement to limit Chinese clothing imports. A little too late though as China has already decimated SA’s textile industry by then.
- Auditor-General Shauket Fakie hands in his notice after a two year career involving almost nothing more than filling government departmental accounting books with red ink.
- ANC Secretary General Smuts Ngonyama all but says that the coloured population is not really a high priority for the ANC.
- Some members in the ANC debate whether or not the rampant centralisation that has occurred under the Mbeki administration was really such a good thing.
- The ANC believes it might have to start limiting it’s member’s business interests and deals. Some of the recipient’s of those deals make up stupid excuses as to why they’re using their government position to get rich.
- The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, who oversee one of the most important areas in a developing economy – telecommunications, become one of the most toothless, ineffective watchdogs in the country.
- Former ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni finally goes to jail. Four months later he’ll be released on weekend parole.
- Cape Town city manager Wallace Mgoqi is finally fired following a court battle over an employment contract signed the day before the local elections in March.
- The ANC reveals plans to reduce service delivery holdups by totally restructuring the provincial government system. Proposals include either scrapping some of the provinces entirely or changing provincial government to be little more than a provincial administration.
- South Africa is given a seat on the UN Security Council.
- Moeletsi Mbeki, brother of President Thabo Mbeki, unleashes a torrent of criticism on Jacob Zuma and his supporters (COSATU,SACP), accusing them of being more interested in power than helping the poor.
- Stories circulate Western Cape MEC for Local Government Richard Diyanti will use his power to restructure the Cape Town local government into an executive committee based system, effectively making the position of mayor powerless and giving the ANC seats on the executive committee. A week later the stories are confirmed when Diyanti notifies Mayor Zille of his intention to begin the restructuring.
- Jacob Zuma’s corruption trial is struck off the court roll (but not dismissed) as the prosecution is forced to wait for a separate appeal over some evidence to be concluded first.
- Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni and Minister of Safety and Security Charles Nqakula are identified as possible presidential contenders.
- The DA retains control of the Cape Town council following the intervention of Minister for Provincial and Local Government Sydney Mufamadi.
- Same sex civil unions are made legal.
- Proving their incompetence once more the Dept of Home Affairs deports a South African to Zimbabwe by mistake.
- Glenn Agliotti is arrested for the murder of Brett Kebble as well as being a suspect in a major drug/cigarette trafficking operation. National Police Commissioner Jacki Selebi calls Agliotti ‘My friend, finish and klaar’.
- The SABC pays R123 000 to have SABC CEO Dali Mpofu put on the cover of Leadership magazine.
- DA leader Tony Leon announces his intention to vacate his DA leadership position by May 2007.
- The Western Cape branch of the ANC continues to fight internally with Premier Ebrahim Rasool facing increasing pressure to reshuffle his provincial cabinet to bring members of ANC Provincial Chairman Mcebisi Skwatsha’s faction into more power.
- The Chinese community of South Africa apply to be reclassified as black in order to be fully allowed to take part in BEE.
After it seemed that Thabo Mbeki got his kooky quadi-denialist AIDS theories after trawling the internet, you would think that the ANC would have educated it’s MPs on the fact that the internet is not exactly a source of scholarly excellence. You’d think so, but you’d be wrong.So why is it that at a seminar on Religious Thoughts in Socio-Cultural Development held at UNISA (and somehow fittingly sponsored by the Iranian Embassy), following the presentation by Claudia Braude, who is Jewish, on SA’s role as a Mid-East ‘reconciler’ ANC MP Farida Mahomed posed the queston:
Are the protocols still relevant to you in today’s time? How do we apply this balanced approach to reconciliation when we read them and they are totally the opposite?
The protocols she mentions are of course a reference to the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion a hoax dreamed up by the Tsarist Russian police in the early 1900’s and one of the most famous pieces of anti-Semitic propaganda ever made.
That’s right folks we actually have an MP in parliament who for who knows how many years know has been in the belief that the “International Jew” is out to control the world. What’s going to happen when she finds out they don’t have horns and hooves? Her world view will be shattered!Asked about her question later:
Mahomed said that she had read the protocols on the internet but had not researched them.
If she had she had taken the 30 seconds to plug “Protocols of The Elders of Zion” into Google the WikiPedia link would have been the first result where she would’ve learned that said protocols were debunked back in 1921.
I know in a democracy we’re supposed to get the government we deserve but what did we ever do to deserve this idiot?
A recent poll has found that Thabo Mbeki’s popularity has dropped to a 53% approval rating, 8% lower than when it was six months ago. Now while such a statistic is almost useless as we don’t directly elect the President it is interesting to note that despite the decline in Mbeki’s rating, the ANC’s popularity only dropped a minuscule 1.7% to 66.3%.
This highlights the fact that the majority of voters still see the ANC as the only viable option for government, despite the sheer volume of bad press over leadership squabbles, scandals and bad governance that seems to emanate from them. Opposition parties, particularly the DA (down 1.1%, which hurts a lot more when you only had 10% popularity), the ACDP and IFP (remaining constant at 3.3% and 2.4% respectively) have so far failed to capitalise on any voter dissatisfaction with the ANC.
Read the following quotes from this article (no peeking) and try and guess who is the subject.
Western Cape municipalities should be cautious when changing the political leadership of their councils.
“Service delivery is very important. A previous mayor may have had a particular leadership style or set a specific tone, but, if that person leaves, the council could immediately lose momentum when someone else comes with a new approach.”
If you guessed Richard Diyanti, who had previously tried to “stabilise” the Cape Town DA led coalition by changing the form of municipal government and removing Mayor Helen Zille from any practical power, then give yourself a round of applause.
And to add insult to injury read this final quote:
If we did not have provincial government supporting municipalities, intervening and monitoring them, you would have a mess.
Why those municipalities are like little kids totally unable to control themselves. If it wasn’t for us responsible parents here at provincial government it would be chaos! CHAOS!
Has there been a congress by a member of the tripartite alliance that has not ended in bickering and threats of total collapse? If not then the the ANC Youth League congress is going exactly as expected. Nothing says ‘well run organisation’ than the threat of having to shut down one of your key provincial branches for ‘weak leadership’. That’s the official line, their support for Thabo Mbeki might have been a bit more relevant.
Despite sharing a similar economic situation, a rich minority with an extremely poor majority, as countries like Mexico, Columbia and Russia, South Africa has not suffered the upsurge in ‘for profit’ kidnappings that have plagued those countries and earned millions of dollars for organised crime.
So I’m hoping that the kidnapping of the 19 year old Sisanda Ngcauzele, daughter of well known Gugulethu restaurant owner Mzoli Ngcauzele, is just a once off occurrence and not the start of a new crime wave. The amount demanded, R300 000, seems rather small but then again Ngcauzele is no Tokyo Sexwale. The only other publicised kidnapping I am aware of in SA was the Leigh Matthews kidnapping which ended in her death and jail for her abductor. Hopefully this time things will end on a better note for Sisanda.
I can still recall when I was shocked by the new crime of cash-in-transit heists before they were reduced to something that only warrants a report on page 4 of the morning paper. I don’t want kidnappings to become like that.
If there’s one thing I wish the ANC government had not done when it came into power was to persist the system of racial classification, even if they had good intentions in order to redress imbalances in our society. If they did so we wouldn’t have stories like this:Chinese fight to be black
After years of waging a low-key campaign to be recognised as black under South Africa’s laws of redress, local Chinese are squaring up to the government in the High Court.
The Chinese Association of South Africa (Casa) wants to seek a declaratory order for South African Chinese to be treated as coloured and benefit from the Employment Equity Act and the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act.
Failing that, they will ask the court to declare the definition of “black” in the two laws unconstitutional because it excludes local Chinese.
The government has been deeply reluctant to clarify whether the Chinese are included in the definition of “black”
- African, coloured and Indian -under the legislation.
I hope they win, as a victory on their part will do quite a bit to weaken the current laws about racial classifcation and economic empowerment.
The new Integrated Coastal Management Bill that is about to be passed will place some restriction on foreign ownership of coastal land. Of course does anyone else think it’s a bit convenient that the law will only be coming into affect after the sale by Transnet of probably the most expensive piece of coastal land in SA to a foreign consortium?
The split in the ANC in the Western Cape between current Provincial Premier Ebrahim Rasool and ANC Provincial Secretary Mcebisi Skwatsha seems to be coming to a head (again). Rasool has admitted that there is a pressure within the ANC for him to reshuffle his cabinet. Doing so would probably make Rasool even more of a lame duck then he currently is.
The Skwatsha camp is denying that they are putting Rasool under pressure although his admittance of the fact and that he is now “reluctant to get into this discussion because I have bound myself to discipline on this matter” probably means that there are very heated discussions happening at Western Cape ANC meetings.
I am still unsure why the Skwatsha camp is not happy with Rasool, or why in fact there is a split. Skwatsha is supposedly the head of an ‘Africanist’ faction but if you consider that the proposed names on the new cabinet list include names like Max Ozinsky and Yousuf Gabru that doesn’t seem to be the reason for the reshuffle. Perhaps Skwatsha is unhappy with Rasool not being more vigorous in attempting to remove Helen Zille as Cape Town Mayor, he was awfully quiet during the entire affair.
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba wrote an op-ed piece in the Sunday Times basically apologising for complete shambles in the department and promising changes for the better in the near future. Personally I’ll believe it when I see it. To turn around that department will require a top to bottom overhaul that will take years to complete.
That being said it’s refreshing to hear a cabinet level official admit their department has major problems, something that is a bit of a change from the ‘never say sorry’ philosophy that permeates other departments.