The Western Cape province is a victim of its own success. Blessed with scenic beauty and an upwardly mobile economy (the growth rate last year was 5,3% compared to the national average of 4,5%), it is perceived as a ”rich province” and is a drawcard for many. But infrastructure and services are being stretched.
Max Ozinsky, widely credited with being the strategic mastermind behind the Western Cape African National Congress, is weary of attracting attention. The provincial party’s only white ANC office-bearer, he prefers the shield of collective leadership. The Mail & Guardian spoke to the man who has often been described as an intractable revolutionary.
The Western Cape African National Congress is pushing for a greater say in the provincial government in a direct challenge to Premier Ebrahim Rasool. This could rekindle chronic party tensions. According to a resolution adopted at its general council, the party is to build ”closer links” between party and government to ensure ”greater accountability”.
Small-scale black farmers in the southern Cape are locked in battles over access to municipal commonage as councils fetch top prices for land amid the local golf and luxury-estate development boom. ”The municipality has no land for us, the poor of the poorest, but the municipality has land for the rich,” says Lucas Lebenya, secretary of the Siyazama Emergent Farmers.
Uncertainty continues to shroud the motives of the killers of actor Brett Goldin and designer Richard Bloom — but experts doubt that it was part of a straightforward robbery. They point to the ritualistic aspect of the killings — both men were found lying face down, almost naked, with bullet wounds to the back of the head.
The Western Cape government is taking seriously a request by African National Congress councillors to have Cape Town placed under provincial government administration and is forcing Democratic Alliance mayor Helen Zille to account for the continuing political strife in the council.
He may have been the boss of a powerful street gang, but Gavin Atkins was buried like a community leader. Scores of residents stood in hymn-singing tribute outside the council flat where his family wept. ”Dis mooi [Itâ€™s beautiful],” said more than one onlooker as the long white hearse cruised by
Inkatha Freedom Party president Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s decision to subject his leadership to scrutiny, at a hastily convened special conference on Saturday, amounts to little more than a tactical move to entrench his position until the 2009 election. Any challenge to his presidency has been widely dismissed.
Cape Town mayor Helen Zille believes she canâ€™t afford to be a shrinking violet. She has sought to stamp her authority on a precariously balanced council in which a Democratic Alliance forum with six small parties holds sway, but she will have to fast-track her plans for the city as the African National Congress hopes to oust her during next yearâ€™s floor-crossing.
South Africaâ€™s ability to fight coastal oil spills has been compromised by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourismâ€™s failure to renew a marine pollution-fighting contract before its expiry. No private pollution-abatement vessels are currently under contract to the department.