Waiting to exhale

Thank God the African National Congress’s Polokwane conference is upon us. The endless venal politicking, horse-trading and back-scratching is beginning to wear a bit thin, but hey, it’s not just another day in South African politics, after all.

If you’ve at all been watching the run-up to the conference, you would not have failed to see that event seems to have run away from President Thabo Mbeki.
In his book, it seems, everyone would have kept shtum until the day the conference opened, which would have been followed by dignified rounds of voting.

This, however, has played out a little differently, which is largely Mbeki’s fault.

There are plenty of ambitious men and women (though it does seem to be mostly men) in the party, all of whom have been jockeying for position. Cyril Ramaphosa’s name was mentioned—as was Tokyo Sexwale, who this week threw his weight behind Jacob Zuma.

Zuma seems truly unstoppable now, but it’s disturbing how little he’s let slip on how he plans to govern. There’s been plenty of talk of “duty”, and submitting to the will of the party, but very little talk of nuts and bolts.

Even the normally docile Public Service Accountability Monitor was moved to say this week that neither Mbeki nor Zuma had demonstrated consistent commitment to South African’s civil, political, social and economic rights.

The body charged them with “pursuing a macro-economic planning agenda which enriched a small elite at the expense of the poor” as well as “endorsing and pursuing the ‘wasteful’ application of public resources”.

Zuma and Mbeki also had presided over the creation of a centralised state apparatus, which had stifled debate of policy objectives and eroded public accountability.

Enough said, let the voting begin.

Let’s throw away the key
Convicted serial rapist Mongezi Jinxela claimed during his mitigation of sentence this week that women misled men and then cried rape to the courts. This is the man—South Africa’s worst serial rapist—who has been found guilty of violating 60 women. Altogether he was found guilty on 219 charges of rape, kidnapping, robbery and assault.

Jinxela said his victims had defied their parents’ orders and teachings by lying that they were at school while going around looking for work.

His lawyer, the unfortunately named Harold Knobb, requested that Jinxela should receive a minimal sentence, not life imprisonment, for the multiple rapes. He said Jinxela’s victims had not contracted HIV from him and some had not suffered any physical injuries. Knobb said the victims were not virgins but young women.

However, the state requested that Jinxela be sentenced to life imprisonment for rape, 15 years for robbery and two to five years for assault and indecent assault.

“He is a serial rapist who committed this crime for a long time. The community must be protected from him. If he gets out, he will do it again,” said state prosecutor Louisa Loot.

Mongezi Jinxela
This convicted serial rapist claimed during testimony in mitigation of sentence this week that women misled men and then cried rape to the courts. Altogether he was found guilty on 219 charges of rape, kidnapping, robbery and assault. May he rot in jail and, afterwards, in hell.
DJ Sbu
Popular Ukhozi FM DJ Sbusiso Leope was caught doing 257km/h in his silver Audi TT—this in a month when road deaths soar as holidaymakers take to the roads throughout South Africa. The R7 000 fine he received is but a slap on the wrist. Someone who wields such influence among young South Africans should know better.

Most-read stories
December 6 to 12

1. Zuma 10, Moleketi 0
About 50 ANC members had gathered after hearing senior ANC leaders, Defence Minister Mosioua Lekota and Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, were to address ‘delegates to Polokwane” as part of a nationwide campaign to drum up support for President Thabo Mbeki through exposing ‘lies and disinformation” by ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma. It backfired miserably.

2. Hints, allegations and hefty hotel bills
Lobbyists for African National Congress president Thabo Mbeki (ANC) stand accused of using increasingly sleazy tactics in a frenzied drive to win over delegates in the run-up to the ANC conference in Polokwane, which starts in nine days.

3. Key ANC figures may face cold shoulder
Some of the most respected figures in the African National Congress (ANC) could be excluded from the party’s national executive committee (NEC) should deputy president Jacob Zuma win the race for the ANC presidency, the Financial Mail reported on Thursday.

4. Writing’s on the wall for Selebi
Police National Commissioner Jackie Selebi will be charged as early as next week should the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) have its way.

5. Merkel attacks Mugabe at Lisbon
German Chancellor Angela Merkel directly confronted Robert Mugabe over human rights abuses in front of European and African leaders in Portugal on Saturday, putting the Zimbabwean leader under the spotlight at a summit that has been overshadowed by the despot’s presence.

6. ANC: ‘A potential for crisis’
With little more than a few days to go before the ANC conference, the cleft in the party appears to be deepening and sniping between factions more acrimonious and personal. After interviews with party ‘elders’ last week, the Mail & Guardian asked four more senior leaders to reflect on the state of the ANC and its clouded future.

7. Sexwale surfs ‘Zuma tsunami’
Tycoon Tokyo Sexwale has thrown his weight behind African National Congress (ANC) deputy president Jacob Zuma as both men cemented support in the most powerful voting bloc to go to the party’s crucial Polokwane national conference.

8. ANC releases consolidated nominations list
Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has declined a nomination as African National Congress ANC) chairperson but has accepted a nomination for deputy president.

9. Zuma: I won’t be a sore loser
African National Congress (ANC) presidential hopeful Jacob Zuma has assured South Africa he would not be a sore loser if he were not elected leader of the ruling party, a newspaper reported on Monday.

10. South African politics are a joke, seriously
As the African National Congress prepares for its elective conference in Polokwane on December 16, satirists have not run short of gags designed to cut the party’s members down to size.

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