Remember the days when, as inaugural transport minister, Mac Maharaj insisted that he would continue to drive his beat-up old Jetta? It struck a chord, for it spoke of a government that would live comfortably yet simply. Those days died quickly as the new democrats dusted off old protocol books designed for a venal order.
The thought of South African Communist Party (SACP) leader Blade Nzimande as minister of finance sends shivers down my spine. Not because I fear a Red Fiscus (provided it stays in the black). What concerns me is the cavalier absence of thought and analysis that characterises critiques of the ruling party by the central leaders of the SACP and trade union federation Cosatu.
In 23 days, the Jacob Zuma rape trial has shaken our world. Regardless of the outcome, we are in an altered state. The political damage is incalculable, with the ruling African National Congress now an openly divided and faltering movement. This has had a domino effect on the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions.
"The <i>Mail & Guardian</i> is a muckraking newspaper. Ours is not a sober newspaper like the <i>Financial Times</i> (though I wish we could occasionally imitate its sobriety) or a paper of record like the <i>Washington Post</i>," writes Ferial Haffajee. Muckraking requires running those articles that stir debate and in the past year we have whet the appetite (and often the ire) of readers -- most recently with Malegapuru Makgoba's article.
The SABC's newsreader purred like a pussycat when she announced last year that the government was giving itself a Christmas present: nine military transport Airbuses at a cost of R1-billion each. The tone of the report was celebratory. The soundbite was from the contracting minister, public enterprise's Alec Erwin, who praised the deal.
Schabir Shaik will tell the Durban High Court next week that there was nothing improper in his relationship with Deputy President Jacob Zuma, but that they were bound together by deeply personal ties of family and political struggle. Central to the fraud and corruption charges Shaik faces is the allegation that he had a corrupt relationship with Zuma, who facilitated contracts for Shaik's company in return for bribes. Both Zuma and Shaik have disputed this.
<li><a class='standardtextsmall' href="http://www.mg.co.za/Content/l3.asp?cg=Insight-National&ao=123337">Politics of patronage</a>
<li><a class='standardtextsmall' href="http://www.mg.co.za/Content/l3.asp?cg=Insight-National&ao=123340">Zuma's popularity undented</a>
A ground-breaking study by the United Nations Development Programme has sought to predict what life in Africa could be like by 2025. Contributions to the study came from more than 1 000 African thinkers. Their prognosis: four scenarios ranging from imminent doom to rapid modernisation and heightened prosperity.