Editorial: Keep fighting the good fight

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies takes the South African Human Rights Commission to court over a report it says was tampered with in order to exonerate former Western Cape ANC leader Marius Fransman, now suspended (over a matter of sexual harassment), for making allegedly anti-Semitic comments back in 2013.

A team of 40 energy experts, commissioned by the department of energy to report on South Africa’s energy future and the best options available, complain they were subject to artificial constraints, including distorted information, that ended up with nuclear power looking like a feasible option in the Integrated Resource Plan 2016 and downgrading renewable solutions.

The head of the Hawks, a group meant to fight corruption and other crimes, is having his appointment questioned in court. The appointment was “irrational”, argue the organisations that brought the case, because Lieutenant General Berning Ntlemeza has been pronounced a liar by a judge.

At the same time, police minister “Nutty” Nhleko (remember the fire pool video?) is still trying to get Robert McBride out of his position as head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, a position to which he was recently reinstated by the Constitutional Court, after his 2015 suspension was found to have been illegal. Nhleko would like the parliamentary committee to which he reports to investigate McBride and hopefully fire him, but his rationale for that argument was fuzzy.

The key thing to note, though, is that even after a defeat in the Constitutional Court Nhleko is persisting in his aim of getting rid of an overly independent police investigator. The background to this also features – as with the Fransman issue – a report that was allegedly tampered with, and the effort to get rid of former Hawks head Anwa Dramat.

The ordinary citizen, trying to keep track of all this lawfare, might be forgiven for thinking it’s all too much to untangle and give up. But we have to keep trying, because after all these battles are to do with political power and people in public office who are making important decisions about the nation’s future, for instance when it comes to the nuclear deal. Citizens have to protect themselves from bad governance.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

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