Here are the only two government press releases for today, which basically sums up the state of the nation at the moment.
01 Jan 2008 National Prosecuting Authority on prosecution of J Zuma: The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has reached the decision to prosecute Mr Jacob Zuma, Thint Holdings (Southern Africa) (Pty) Ltd and Thint (Pty) Ltd, after careful consideration of the facts and evidence. This decision was further reinforced by th…
31 Dec 2007 T Mbeki New Year message: Let us begin the New Year committed to the objective of national unity, with renewed confidence in our collective strength to ensure that our democracy will continue to serve all our citizens, determined to accelerate our progress towards the realisation …
A day after Minister of Sport and Recreation Makhenkesi Stofile said that racial quotas would be scrapped for sports teams, President Mbeki has confirmed it, racial quotas for sport are no more.
Consider that not even 5 months ago SARU Deputy President Mike Stofile (Makhenkesi’s brother) was calling for quotas to ensure that at least 7 black players (excluding coloured players) were in every Springbok starting side.
This is quite a big turnaround, I guess having a team being able to focus on winning without constant (and often incompetent) administrators intervening to get the right ‘balance’ is a better incentive to get people to play the game. It’s also seems to be a reluctant confession that so far government’s transformation plans for sport have not produced the goods.
Thabo Mbeki has a history of using commissions as a political tool. It was barely three years ago that he convened the Hefer Commission to decide whether Bulelani Ngcuka (also head of the NPA at the time) was a spy for the Nationalist government. That commission ended in exoneration for Ngcuka and humiliation for Mo Shaik and Mac Maharaj who had made the accusations. It strengthened the case against Mo’s brother Schabir Shaik and by imlpication against Jacob Zuma as well.
This time however we have a new commission headed up by former Speaker of Parliament Frene Ginwala and instead of looking to exonerate NPA chief Vusi Pikoli it will be looking to decide whether he was abusing his role and had become a ‘rogue agent’ of sorts.
It’s interesting to note the tactic that government is taking in going after Pikoli. They are accusing him of abusing his “discretion in the decision to prosecute offenders or grant immunity from prosecution to suspects allegedly involved in organised crime”. From all the rumours going around it seems Pikoli has offered Brett Kebble murder suspect Glenn Agliotti some kind of deal in exchange for some juicy goods on Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi, his (ex?) friend “finish and klaar”.
This will allow government to show some righteous moral indignation that Pikoli was consorting with an accused murderer to go after a government official. I predict lots of statements talking about how justice in the Kebble case was being subverted for other aims and how Agliotti is not to be trusted. Any deals that were in the works will be quietly scuppered and Agliotti will receive the full weight of the law and be shuffled off to C-Max never to be heard from again.
This interview in the Sunday Times with Communications Director-General Lyndall Shope-Mafole is pretty much indicative of why the state of telecommunications in SA is so dire and why the DoC tries to prevent South African and international companies from investing in telecommunications.
“Part of that promotion is to say, ‘Okay guys, you people want to come and invest here. All we are saying is that you have got to have South African private sector involvement’.”
But isn’t there already local involvement, including by Telkom and MTN, in the Eassy cable?
“Yes, but I mean African private sector involvement as well. We are saying that we want to support our continental, as well as our South African, private companies in investing in the submarine cable.
“And here we have difficulties. Because, you know, the globe is basically based on a capitalist system. Those who have more money are able to make more money.”She embarked on a rambling and not-to- be-interrupted economics lecture, but, to cut a very long story short, her objections boiled down to South African companies doing better out of Eassy cable than other African companies.
You know last time I checked she was the DG of Communications for South Africa, not for Ethiopia. Why would any SA based telecoms company do any business with the DoC if they don’t have the best interests for SA companies at the fore.As to why Shope-Mafole hasn’t been fired/reprimanded for the terrible job she’s doing, well I believe this excerpt from the interview might explain that:
Current reading: Busy with a third reading of ‘Fit to Govern’ by Ronald Suresh Roberts
No doubt it’s an autographed copy (both Roberts and The Chief).
Update: No need to worry about the rest of Africa Lyndall, they’re doing just fine without you.
The firing of Deputy Health Minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge will be remembered as another short-sighted blunder by the Mbeki administration. The pretext for the firing was Madlala-Routledge’s unauthorised trip to an AIDS conference in Spain. Her party left OR Tambo international airport under the (false) assumption that the President’s Office had authorised the trip and when they arrived in Spain and found this was not the case, they headed straight back home. The entire affair cost R161 000.
That’s the pretext. Everyone with two brain cells to rub together knows that she was fired because of the statements she made about government’s AIDS policy while she was acting minister during Health Minister Manto Tshabalal-Msimang’s long illness (and subsequent liver transplant). Let’s just say her views on AIDS treatment (using anti-retrovirals and medical research) clashed with Mbeki and Msimang’s (garlic, beetroot and whatever Thabo found on the internet the previous night).
This is all indicative of the level of paranoia and control that rules Mbeki’s administration. Why does a deputy minister have to get permission from the president’s office to travel overseas officially? And why are other cabinet ministers who have cost South Africa untold billions of Rands in bungled policy and administration allowed to continue in their posts?
With Tokyo Sexwale’s campaign to be the next president rapidly heating up I can’t help but wonder if the emergence of a ‘business friendly’ candidate like Tokyo means that any hope for Trevor Manuel to enter the presidential race is rapidly diminishing?
Jonny Steinberg (author of the most excellent SA prison gang treatise ‘The Number’) has a rather scathing editorial in today’s Business Day comparing presidential hopeful Tokyo Sexwale to Italian Prime Minister (and media mogul) Silvio Berlusconi.
Steinberg all but accuses Sexwale of buying his current support and claims Sexwale will have to keep on paying his supporters should he come to power.
There is a polite silence about this matter, a discreet aversion of the eyes from Sexwale’s way of conducting politics. And yet if there was ever a spade that asked to be called by its name it is this one. A man has just thrown his hat into the race for this country’s presidency. He has also just given various members of parliament, cabinet ministers, the spouses of cabinet ministers, at least one judge and one public commentator — and who knows who else, it isn’t all out yet — sizeable nest eggs. Could the character of a Sexwale presidency ever be written out more clearly?
I do think Steinberg is being a bit harsh. While it’s true both Berlusconi and Sexwale are wealthy, Sexwale at least does have considerable political experience being a past premier of Gauteng.
That being said I tend to not like politics where the size of the campaigners chequebook is an indicator of whether they will win or not, but it’s better than the hush hush positioning and manoeuvring we would otherwise have with the ANC.
With the ongoing strike President Mbeki has wisely decided to send his recommended +50% hike in salaray back to the * deep breath * Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers. I guess it’s hard to justify offering workers a 7.25% raise when you’re giving yourself an extra 500K a year.
Once the strike is over I assume the offer (or one close to it) will be sneaked back in quietly.
And speaking of strikes it seems workers at Eskom may soon be going on strike as well. But that is alright because Eskom has been running so smooth lately that I’m sure it will have no effect. Right? Right
Remember that documentary about Thabo Mbeki that was pre-emptively yanked off the airwaves in June last year? Well it seems the thought police at the SABC have decided that we are now sufficiently worthy of watching it.
However there will be a few “minor edits”. Purely for clarity of course. Although I think it took this long because they struggled to find someone who could overdub Tony Leon’s voice.
Tony Leon: We find Mbeki to be quite * crackle * delightful.
Update: Looks like they’ve changed their minds.
The ANC has often treated the DA (and other political parties) as if they barely existed in parliament let alone were the official opposition. Which is why it’s nice to see that Thabo Mbeki has finally met Tony Leon in his official capacity as Leader of the Opposition™. Although if you consider the fact that Leon will only be in that position till Sunday then it seems like it’s little more than a final act of contempt between from the ANC to Leon.