2017 will be deadly dull if festive period is a portent
The 2015 festive season ushered in a year of political despair, in contrast to the one just past that offered up nothing of particular note. Instead of Nenegate and a shock wave through the economy — a precursor to many other intrigues linked to President Jacob Zuma and his protectors — there was a little trip to Taiwan and a squabble over liquor.
Here is what happened in the past few weeks.
Solly Msimanga’s Taiwan visit
A diplomatic row over the Tshwane mayor’s trip to Taiwan erupted after Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je posted on Twitter a picture of himself and Solly Msimanga and “Honored to receive @SollyMsimanga ... who’s also willing to transcend politics and strive for improving citizens’ lives”.
That got up the Chinese embassy’s nose. Its statement condemning the visit as a violation of the One China policy — China’s position that there is only one China and that Taiwan is a part of it. (This dates back to 1949 when the communists defeated the nationalists, who fled to Taiwan.) The international relations department issued a similar statement and Number One hinted that he may confront Msimanga. But the mayor has stood firm.
Foreign diplomacy analysts suggest the outrage is exaggerated.
Did the Guptas try to bribe the Black Business Council?
The Sunday Times’s last edition of 2016 carried a story that the Guptas had sought to have Oakbay Resources and Energy endorsed by the Black Business Council at its general meeting in November. In exchange the council would receive a once-off R5-million donation and a R1-million monthly payment.
The Gupta’s “offer” was rejected by the council, and its vice-president of business, Gilbert Mosena, sought to distance the organisation from the controversial family.
The Tweede Nuwe Jaar parade splits over Cape Town politics
For the first time since slaves in the Western Cape were set free, the annual Cape Minstrel parade took place at two venues because of a public spat over who was allowed to organise the event.
The largest group of troupes, led by the Cape Town Minstrels Carnival Association, held a parade at the Athlone stadium, and the newly formed Kaapse Klopse Karnival Assosiasie took over the usual march route through the city centre.
The division was sparked by the City of Cape Town’s decision to award organising rights to the Kaapse Klopse instead of the Minstrels Carnival, which has been accused of having links to gangsterism and drug smuggling.
ANC prepares for January 8
President Jacob Zuma hasn’t even started reading his speech for the ANC’s 105th anniversary and there have already been two fumbles.
First its #WeAreANC campaign was, predictably, hijacked by gatvol internet users on Twitter.
Then the Gauteng Liquor Board announced that bars could stay open late for the ANC’s birthday bash (it was founded on January 8 1912).
After an outcry from the public and the ANC’s national and provincial leaders, the plan was scrapped.