Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 14th of July 2005 at 21:56
Entries are going to be quite limited for a few weeks due to some upcoming PC shuffling and assorted technical difficulties. Should be back within a month and a bit.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 14th of July 2005 at 21:56
Entries are going to be quite limited for a few weeks due to some upcoming PC shuffling and assorted technical difficulties. Should be back within a month and a bit.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 11th of July 2005 at 12:01
Brace yourselves. I actually agree with the ANC Youth League on an issue, that being whether Thabo Mbeki should be allowed to be ANC President after his two terms as SA President are up. Granted Mbeki has indicated that he has no intention of doing so, so the ANCYL may be barking up a non-existent tree.
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 10th of July 2005 at 22:46
In today's Sunday Times there was an article about the Deputy Secretaty General of the ANC stating that delegates to the ANC NGC were
about the Jacob Zuma situation and that they are unaware of the fact Zuma asked to step down due to his upcoming trial. This seems to me like there might be a bit of
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 3rd of July 2005 at 19:30
Well the ANC National General Conference has produced some twists and turns and it seems that Jacob Zuma will be retaining his position of power within the ANC. He had initially volunteered to reduce his role in ANC affairs (believing he had little support) but seven of the nine ANC provincial delegations voted to re-instate him.
All of which puts Mbeki under a bit of pressure. This, along with the rejection of certain policy decisions at the NGC, has put the ANC into a position of almost open leadership struggle. At least for now. It will be interesting to see what kind of actions Mbeki will carry out in response to the NGC. Let's not forget that the Zuma supporters are putting their decisions and support out in public while Mbeki performs best and behind closed doors. Zuma should not get too confident as he might wake up and find the support he has now disappear overnight.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 22nd of June 2005 at 21:52
Well the new vice president is Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka who, as it just so happens, is the wife of deposed NPA head Bulelani Ngcuka who was was the one to first state that there was a prima facie case against Jacob Zuma. To quote Star Wars
...the circle is complete...
Now personally I don't think she will be our next president. I think Mbeki has chosen her to be a caretaker, someone who is agreeable to almost everyone and who is there to smooth things over until the choosing of the next ANC leadership. If she does want to be president she has got a bit of work to do considering she was 12th on the list in the last ANC NEC elections and with a new NEC being elected in 2007 she will have to use her new position and stature to get up there into at least the top four to have a chance.
The ANC leadership struggle is far from over.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 20th of June 2005 at 19:04
The NPA have just announced that they will be charging Jacob Zuma with two counts of corruption and he will have to appear in court soon. Now the more conspiratorial minded of you out there might be seeing more of Mbeki's handiwork behind this because if Zuma is found guilty (and with a previous guilty conviction on Shaik the odds are good for one) he will totally be out of the ANC thereby ensuring no public messy succession battles.
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 19th of June 2005 at 12:14
Still no word on who is to be Thabo's choice for his second in command.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 14th of June 2005 at 14:51
Sun Tzu entered the court of the Emperor and demanded to be given control of the Emperor's army. The Emperor laughed and asked why Sun Tzu should be made general in command of all his men? Sun Tzu stated calmly that such was his skill that he could make an army of the Emperors harem of concubines. Intrigued the Emperor had his concubines assemble in the courtyard. Sun Tzu lined them up and gave the order to march. The concubines giggled and tittered but didn't move. Again Sun Tzu gave the order to march, and in response the giggling and fidgeting of the concubines increased. Calmly Sun Tzu walked over to the concubine closest to him and in one fluid movement cut off her head with his sword. He walked back to his position and once again gave the order to march. The concubines marched. In perfect lockstep and complete silence.
Now how does this little fable relate to Mbeki axing Zuma? Well I don't believe that what Mbeki did ends with Zuma. Mbeki is sending a clear message to the ANC membership.
Undermine me, and there will be consequences
. In the past few weeks Mbeki has been under fire from the more leftist factions in the tri-partite alliance. There have been protests over service delivery, provincial ANC membership have defied national directives (witness Ebrahim Rasool being voted out of the ANC chairmanship in the Western Cape) and COSATU and other intra-ANC factions have thrown their support behind Jacob Zuma after he was implicated in a corruption scandal all of which potentially make Mbeki look quite bad and as if he is losing control. Which is probably the best way to piss off an authoritarian such as Mbeki.
Now Mbeki would not do this unless he was sure he could command enough support within the ANC to quell any protests. He is not so stupid as to fire Zuma knowing that doing so would cause an even bigger fight. All those who publicly supported Zuma must have near fainted when he axed him and I would wager quite a bit that they realise they are now in Mbeki's crosshairs and are all trying as quickly as possible to have their turn to prostrate themselves before Mbeki and pledge their undying devotion. If anyone does try and publicly protest Mbeki's decision Mbeki has the finest offence for once - the moral high ground.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 13th of June 2005 at 21:43
Well tomorrow is the day of reckoning for Jacob Zuma . Pres. Mbeki has called a special session of parliament for both houses (I guess to remind us that we do in fact have two houses of parliament) to announce his decision on Zuma's fate.
My prediction? I think Zuma is going to survive for now. He seems to have rustled up enough intra-ANC support that if he is dismissed as VP of the Republic while still retaining his high up position in the ANC he can make life very difficult for Mbeki. However I do think that Mbeki will be working behind the scenes (where he does his best work) to get Zuma's role in the party diminished in the next few years so that someone else will eventually get the number one spot on the ANC electoral list.
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 12th of June 2005 at 21:09
Whoa! Seems everything wasn't so smoothed out in the Western Cape ANC branch as we thought. First Premier (and at the time ANC Western Cape Chairman) Ebrahim Rasool fends off an attempt by ANC Western Cape Secretary Mcebisi Skwatsha in his attempt to run for Chairmanship of the party in the region. He did so successfully only to get completely side swiped by James Ngculu , an ANC MP. And to add insult to injury, Skwatsha was re-elected as Secretary making Rasool nothing more than your run of the mill on the street ANC member for the moment.
So what does this mean for Rasool? Well for the meantime he is still Premier of the Western Cape and he says he is happy to be just a plain old member of the ANC but you know that he really wanted to carry on as being Chairman as seen by his public squelching of Skwatsha's attempty to run. He's got to be pissed off.And while he is Premier now his position is nowhere near safe.
This might also have an effect on the coloured Cape Flats communities who saw Rasool as their one trump card in the ANC. This coupled with the recent riots over lack of housing and service delivery in the Western Cape might threaten the ANC's position in the province.
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 5th of June 2005 at 10:14
Headline on the front page of the Sunday Times :
Zuma: Quit or be fired!
Headline on the front page of the Sunday Times web site
Zuma's political Waterloo likely to be slow
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 3rd of June 2005 at 18:12
Now that Schabir Shaik has been found guilty of corruption, the heat is now placed on the
(to borrow a Watergate term seeing it's back in the news) in the matter, none other than our own Deputy President Jacob Zuma . The question is how hot is the actual heat? Without being actually put on trial, he can claim his innocence. And the majority (if not all) of the public calls for him to step down are coming from the opposition who, lets not forget, are a powerless minority in government. Indeed the only people who will have any say in his fate are the ANC , specifically the various factions that do battle within that political behemoth. So what options do they have before the next meeting of the ANC high ups?
The first is to simply ignore the calls. After all Zuma was not on trial was he? It was all simply the act of an overzealous and deluded financial adviser! The ANC could simply dismiss all calls for Zuma's resignation and carry on as per usual and there's not much anyone else could do about it. The allegations of corruption will hang over any future administration but given enough time, serious service delivery and poverty alleviation that will all fade. Zuma will carry on to be president.
The could also publicly dismiss the calls, while privately trying to find a way to sideline Zuma to stop him from being President. This all depends on the various factions in the ANC and the exact size of the support for Zuma within in the ANC. There are those who have their eyes on the presidency and they might use this as an opportunity to leap frog Zuma into the top spot. The ANC did indicate a while ago that they might consider seperating the role of ANC Chairman and ANC presidential candidate. This might allow for them to rebuff all claims for Zuma to resign now, place him as ANC chairman and then before the elections select a different ANC presidential candidate.
So, what will the ANC do? The whole thing has the potential to be very embarassing for the Mbeki administration and if there's one thing Mbeki hates it's being made to look like an idiot. It's all going to be very interesting.
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 29th of May 2005 at 21:04
I'm getting a very uneasy feeling about the government's use of the NIA to investigate the recent protests against government's lack of delivery around the country that have (unfortunately) turned violent. Specifically I'm wary of the government claiming to be looking for
of violence which echoes the Apartheid government's constant search for the
who supposedly were responsible for political violence in the 80's.
Now I'm not condoning violent protest, but I fail to see why the NIA (who tend to not work in public view) should be involved in what would normally be a local policing matter. Also the blaming of the violence by the government on some unseen malicous plot instead of on perhaps the real frustrations felt by township and squatter camp residents who have been promised quite a bit (in return for their vote) with not much to show for it just reeks ever so slightly of a search for a scapegoat.
Farrel Lifson on Saturday, 28th of May 2005 at 13:51
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 20th of May 2005 at 11:16
This is why we need more transparent political party funding laws.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 17th of May 2005 at 13:02
As Wayne at Commentary has noted there seems to be some ominous rumbling coming from the ANC's economic planners about modifying the countries labour laws. And Business Day also reports that the ANC is reconsidering it's current approach to BEE as it's placing a drain on the economy.
Now any SA politics watcher knows that for the ANC to admit that not one, but two of it's economic policies aren't turning out so well is a very big change. It's also important to note that of the two changes that might be made in the ANC economic policy, one will piss off COSATU/SACP (relaxing of labour laws) and the other (changing BEE strategy) will make them happy. What's a union to do?
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 15th of May 2005 at 22:22
The ANC in the Western Cape has been going through a bit of infighting recently with one of the criticism being thrown at both warring parties (Ebrahim Rasool vs Mcebisi Skwatsha) their usage of puff piece advertising to make themselves look good (Skwatsha going so far as to make a TV advertisement apologising for closing taxi ranks in Cape Town I kid you not). So you'd think the astute politician would hang back on the ads for a while. Well never let astuteness stop the Cape Town mayoral executive as they took an almost half page ad in the Sunday Times lining up as if they were in their primary school hockey picture.
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 15th of May 2005 at 22:12
Okay what's the deal with the executive of the government and shady financial advisers? Is there a clause in the contract when you become President or Vice Pres that says
...and will employ a dodgy financial adviser to mislead me, solicit bribes on my behalf and attempt to take control of my estate on my death...
? I would think that right about now Thabo is getting chief spook Ronnie Kasrils to investigate every insurance rep, stock broker and used car dealer who has ever talked to an ANC official higher local party organiser.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 12th of May 2005 at 12:35
The SA government has been lobbying quite hard for two permanent seats on the UN Security Council for African countries. Obviously they would like one of those seats to go to South Africa but it's good to know that they have decided not to badmouth other African nations who are also lobbying... in public that is.
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 24th of April 2005 at 23:59
The unity of the ANC is once again being tested in a internal squabble amongst senior ANC members. This time it seems there is a fight brewing between Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and Finance Minister Trevor Manuel. Manto would like to introduce a compulsory 5% tax on income to try and force people to join medical aid, thereby reducing the burden on state hospitals. Trevor is of course quite pissed because lowering taxes has been a cornerstone of his tenure as Finance Minister. To have Manto come in and wipe out a chunk of goodwill he has earned by juggling the budget successfully, whipping SARS into shape and lowering income taxes year after year is not going to make him happy.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 20th of April 2005 at 22:08
IDASA have lost their attempt in the Cape High Court to get political parties to disclose who donates to their parties and how much they donate. This is a bit disappointing as it makes it much harder to monitor transparency and accountability in the various parties. The ANC was against the attempt and suprisingly so was the DA, who opposed it as it would allow the ANC or government to discriminate against their donors.I hope there is an appeal here and I hope it is successful.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 20th of April 2005 at 21:28
'm glad that Tony Leon believes that not all media appearances are to ones advantage. I'm glad he'd never think of appearing in a fictionalised drama chronicling a local newspaper. I'm glad he'd outright refuse to go on such a show if instead of talking about policy all he was required to do was be the punchline in a subplot where he is confused with Tom Hanks. I'm also relieved to know that if he ever did make such an apperance, which he won't, he'll make sure to go for a quick acting lesson so that he doesn't appear to be a wooden plank wearing a suit.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 19th of April 2005 at 22:36
Sorry for the lack of posts lately but work has been quite busy at the moment. Regular programming will resume in a few days.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 11th of April 2005 at 20:59
Patrice Motsepe clapping along to anti-capitalist songs at the SACP executive meeting.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 7th of April 2005 at 17:21
The SACP will soon be deciding on whether to go it alone (although I highly, highly doubt they will). Mzansi Afrika has more info and commentary.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 7th of April 2005 at 17:07
Or at least I will be. Once Zulu King Goodwill Zwelethini manages to get KZN reclassified a kingdom (with himself as king naturally reigning over everyone both Zulua and non-Zulu) the precedent will be set and I shall ascend the the throne of Milnerton. Except for Montague Gardens... that wasteland shall be cast out of my kingdom.
But seriously. While the ANC has tolerated traditional leaders, going so far as to create a government sanctioned House of Tradtional Leaders, they will never ever give them any real power. To do so would break the centralised power structure that the ANC loves and well we can't have that can we?
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 30th of March 2005 at 21:57
I've gone through a mini SA book reading spree this past month. I recently finished Jonny Steinberg's The Number which is really excellent (for a sneak preview on the book read this report Steinberg wrote for the Centre For The Study of Violence and Reconciliation: Nongoloza's Children ) and I'm really looking forward to William Gumede's Thabo Mbeki And The Battle For The Soul Of The ANC which I'm sure will have some revealing facts and show some strategies the various contenders for the crown might use in the next few years as they vie for top spot.
Farrel Lifson on Saturday, 26th of March 2005 at 10:22
Tony Leon has thrown his hat into the ANC succession debate by stating that he would like Trevor Manuel to be president. He also says that Manuel has no chance because he is not
. Frankly I hope this is not the case (my preference for Manuel as next prez is well documented here), but I can't help feeling uneasily that perhaps Tony might be right. If the
La Xhosa Nostra
does exist within the ANC (and I've heard a rumour that the reason Tokyo Sexwale left politics was because of his non-Xhosa ancestry) then neither Manuel or Jacob Zuma (who is Zulu) stand a chance.
Now given that Trevor is still first on the ANC NEC list (although he was fifth on their electoral list) I think he has enough popularity to do it. Tony Leon believes that Manuel's recent
is an indication that Manuel has realised he will never get the top spot. Or maybe it's because Maria (Ramos, Trev's main squeeze) made him bad coffee that morning.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 24th of March 2005 at 20:31
Let's pretend, for a moment, that the current Shaik shenanigans were never uncovered and it's 2009 with the ANC fresh off another electoral victory and President-Elect Jacob Zuma is busy drawing up lists for his cabinet and other high ranking advisers in the executive. None of us would be suprised if Schabir Shaik was to receive a position quite close to the President (not cabinet level as I don't think Shaik has enough within the ANC proper but definitely in some advisory role), after all they've known each other for years, worked together in MK intelligence and Shaik is now a successful businessman.
Or could it have been that for years Shaik has been Zuma's personal bank, lending him millions of Rands, paying for his house, car and children's school fees. The fact is even without the bribe accusation (an accusation I have to admit that I do not feel will be turned into conviction, while there is evidence I don't think a single poorly worded fax is enough) Zuma has been shown to be in a compromising position where he might have to
a loan in some other way. As Schabir Shaik's father-in-law wrote to him
When your friend becomes deputy president -- you will be in the pound seat!
, and what of when he becomes President?
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 21st of March 2005 at 16:44
Do my eyes deceive me? Is a government department (besides SARS ) actually trying to be more efficient ?
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 16th of March 2005 at 21:22
I saw on the evening news that the SACP is deciding whether to go it alone in the next election. I'm sure the ANC will miss those 10 000 votes.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 15th of March 2005 at 14:32
Vice Pres Zuma will be hosting his counterpart from North Korea from tomorrow till Sunday. Supposedly Zuma will brief the NK vice pres on our peace keeping activities in Africa and he will tour some museums, mines and the CSIR. In return the NK vice pres will explain how he keeps his population in a state of virtual slavery, and the expertise needed to continually monitor over a quarter of the population so they don't say bad things about the government or risk being shot.
(I refer you to this thread to see what I think of North Korea)
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 15th of March 2005 at 13:45
Looks like the ANC and Arhbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu are still having a bit of a spat . I do love how the ANC regards getting rid of tokenism (and let's be clear tokenism is not transformation) in sport as a
position. I guess that Minister of Defence Mosiuoa Lekota is a rightwinger as well ?
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 15th of March 2005 at 07:55
It seems the ANC have decided to split the responsibilities of Chairman of the ANC and being the candidate for State President (ie being number one on it's electoral list). The new Chairman will be elected at the ANC National Executive Committee meeting in 2007 but the presidential candidate will only be elected shortly before the next elections in 2009. This seems like it could be a way for the ANC to maneuver round the Jacob Zuma affair by appointing him chairman, but choosing someone elese to be numero uno on the ANC list. It'll be interesting to see what powers the Chairman will now have? Will he be in charge of the general running of the party and being it's representative (if so the ANC Secretary General is going to be pissed off) or will it be merely a figurehead position.
This looks almost like a shift to American style party politics where the chair of either the Democratic or Republican National Committee is not the actual presidential candidate. I've mentioned before how I thought one day we might see something like party primary elections within the ANC and this makes it seem like it could maybe, just maybe, happen. The various contenders for number on the ANC list will now no longer have to worry about the 2007 NEC elections (although a high up placing will definitely help them). Might we even see some actual debate amongst who gets chosen with criticism from the contenders themselves about the failings of their competitors? It's all (potentially) very exciting!
Note: We should not forget that if Zuma is elected ANC chair he could use the position to keep himself in the number one spot. While in the US the Democratic National Committee chair is not allowed to run for president, he does wield quite a bit of clout on who gets selected. Terry McAuliffe (a member of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council faction within the Democrats) helped Clinton get elected but failed to get Al Gore or John Kerry elected and was booted out in favour of firebrand ex-governor Howard Dean.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 8th of March 2005 at 08:10
In this mornings Cape Times COSATU secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi said that trying to prevent Zuma becoming president would be like
trying to fight against the big wave of a tsunami
, which kinda sounds that COSATU supports Zuma except later on Vavi said that COSATU will
support the majority view of the ANC
so if the ANC decided in the coming leadership battle that Zuma is in the top spot, then COSATU will support Zuma. If they choose Trevor Manuel, then COSATU will support Manuel. Hell if the ANC chose me, the next day I can expect a cordial phone call from Vavi pledging his undying loyalty.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 7th of March 2005 at 21:10
COSATU are, and always will be, the subservient ones in their rocky relationship with the ANC. Firstly they have no where else to go, there is no other political party which has seats to spare for COSATU such as the ANC does. This also means that if the ANC ever lose seats COSATU will still lose out. If the day ever occurs where the ANC gets 51% of the vote they will be less inclined to give seats to COSATU (who might be looking out for COSATU first, ANC second) than loyal ANC party members who don't threaten to split every time they have a disagreement. Secondly, union membership is on the decline and with less members they have less influence. Do you think the ANC really listens to the SACP these days?
However I don't think the ANC/COSATU relationship will always be set in stone. All it will take is some mass crackdown on a COSATU led strike for some reason by the ANC government and I'm sure plenty of nastiness will come to the fore.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 4th of March 2005 at 22:37
People often see the transition to democracy in South Africa as nothing short of a miracle, and marvel at the lack of violence during that period. But the fact is there was political violence and in KwaZulu-Natal that violence continues today . At least six killings in the past six months. Politicians are scared to hold an inquest because they fear they might have to lay some blame and that could spark even further violence but something needs to be done. Using violence for political goals, especially by formally recognised political entities, is no longer acceptable and the point needs to be made cleary and loudly that it will not be tolerated.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 4th of March 2005 at 22:32
Well we knew they were already an ANC franchise but the NNP have decided to disband .
As you're reading this, somewhere in George, the Groot Krokodil sits alone, silently weeping.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 2nd of March 2005 at 20:52
Well I thought we were back on the 10th of January and I was proven a bit wrong due to some technical obstructions. Hopefully from now on this page should be updated 3 times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 10th of January 2005 at 17:48
And.... we're back. The big South African political story during my absence was the ANC claiming they will reform the judiciary to be more in line with the
of the masses of the country. The ANC is obviously of course in tune with the inner workings of the teeming millions in our fair country so much so that they would never even think of even attempting to re-introduce the death penalty because they know the electorate would never ever vote for it to be brought back so why bother with a referendum.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 21st of December 2004 at 17:15
I will be going on leave/holiday till the 10th of Jan 2005. See you next year!
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 17th of December 2004 at 12:06
Apologies for the downtime recently. It seems sometimes striped RAID arrays just aren't enough. Anyway I need to move this website off of UCT and will do so in the new year. Anyone know any cheap hosting?
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 13th of December 2004 at 16:28
Damn! Minister of Arts and Culture Pallo Jordan is kicking ass and taking names at the National Arts Council. After his 'cabinet exile' he's come back firing on all cylinders. Let's hope more Ministers start taking service delivery to heart.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 7th of December 2004 at 12:14
Did anyone else watch Judge For Yourself last night and think they had somehow been transported back to the mid-80's? Because that's the only reason why I can think that former (Apartheid era) Foreign Minister Pik Botha was on discussing SA government foreign policy. That he was mostly defending the ANC was even more surreal.
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 5th of December 2004 at 22:06
Over the weekend I attended a talk given by TAC chair Zackie Achmat and it was quite enlightening not only in terms of the work that the TAC is doing, but also in terms of it's many dealings with the government. That Achmat is not a fan of the current government's anti-retroviral rollout program is pretty much well known although Achmat made an interesting comment when I asked him about the ANC's attitude towards HIV/AIDS treatment in the next administration. He said that the ANC has a decent treatment program on paper but it is currently only the reluctance of Thabo Mbeki to take really drastic and pro-active steps in the fight against HIV/AIDS that is really slowing down the rollout of treatments.
He did however seem confident whoever does take over as head of state will have a more positive attitude in the fight against AIDS that is more in line as to what is actually written in the ANC's postion on HIV.
As to who Zackie Achmat thinks might be taking over after Thabo Mbeki? He says watch out for Patrice Motsepe .
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 1st of December 2004 at 18:00
I'm quite excited by the continuing spat between the ANC , COSATU and Archbishop Emeritus Tutu . No, not because I want to see the decline of the ANC's power but rather because it seems to be the first heated political debate in South Africa that has been framed purely in terms of ideological and political differences. Whenever the DA criticises the government, the ANC is always very quick to hint to the racial makeup of those doing the criticising so as to imply they are nothing more than a bunch of whiny conservatives yearning for the apartheid years.
But the ANC can not do so with COSATU and Tutu and have had to resort to attempting to merely brushing off any criticism. Now it would be interesting to find out what the typical ANC voter thinks of the criticism of their party's policies so far. If it comes to light that they agree with the need for there to be more vigorous criticism outside of closed door ANC leadership meetings then I do believe that these public pronouncements could be a weapon used in the upcoming ANC leaderhip fight with those competing for the top spot becoming vocal in their criticism of their opponents policies and failings in office.
Perhaps we will see an ANC version of party primaries? It would be exciting, but with the ANC love of central planning it would take a real shift in the current workings of the ANC to allow senior ANC leaders to openly criticise other ANC leaders.
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 28th of November 2004 at 13:18
Looks like I was right ! Thabo Mbeki's responses to criticism are getting all to predictable.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 24th of November 2004 at 16:46
Thabo Mbeki is not having a good press week. First Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu called the ANC
unthinking, uncritical, kowtowing
in a very public address but then the Grey Lady herself, the New York Times, airs his public spat with journalist Charlene Smith to a much wider global audience.
I can't wait to read Thabo's response in his column this Friday where he calls Tutu a
crypto racist who thinks all africans are unthinking witbroodjies
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 18th of November 2004 at 10:09
Don't you just love it when COSATU tries to be challenge the ANC? It's like watching a battered wife that keeps on going back to an abusive husband. Take the latest Zimbabwe fracas. I can imagine the conversation between COSATU and the ANC went like this:
COSATU: You must do something about Zimbabwe!
ANC: Or what?
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 8th of November 2004 at 18:26
We all know the ANC is fond of a strong central government. But it's getting to the point where it's so strong that Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool , who is an ANC member, is complaining that he has little power and perhaps provincial government should be made into a
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 5th of November 2004 at 16:57
Here in South Africa we value our democracy. Which is why the draft KwaZulu provincial constitution recognises King Goodwill Zwelethini as monarch of the province. I'm looking forward to which Xhosa chieftan gets put in charge of the Eastern Cape. Perhaps King Letsie of Lesotho can lay claim over the Free State?
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 3rd of November 2004 at 11:58
Well it's all but official and it seems that George Bush is in the oval office for another 4 years. And even if Kerry had won I don't think it would have much of a difference for relations between the USA and SA. Despite the ANC probably secretly hoping for a Kerry win, and despite the SA objections to the Iraq invasion, the two governments are pretty cordial with each other and share good relations.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 29th of October 2004 at 14:46
A while ago we mentioned the story pitting residents in JHB who were erecting boom gates to control access into and out of their suburbs. A lot of people, including the Human Rights Commission, were against it. And yet suprisingly the ANC controlled city council is approving quite a few applications. Maybe it's because the mayor Amos Masondo lives in such a suburb?
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 27th of October 2004 at 12:16
Is anyone as suprised as me at Trevor Manuel and his seemingly rightward shift ever since he took over as Finance Minister? Just yesterday he told the unemployed to get a damn job already. Who does he think he is? Ronald Regan??
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 26th of October 2004 at 09:24
Last night on Judge For Yourself was quite interesting. It seemed quite clear to me that no major political party in South Africa is keen for the re-introduction of the death penalty. While the DA might allow it's members to vote individually in such matters, in the very hypothetical case where they might achieve power, I do not think they would ever re-introduce it if they could.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 18th of October 2004 at 16:40
The one thing I really admire about the UK House of Commons where every week where Tony Blair has to face a half hour of hard hitting questions from opposition MPs. Down south we're a little more laid back and for the first time in eleven months Thabo Mbeki will have to face the music.
If there's one thing I would like to see it's a more lively debate in parliament. Far too often when sessions have been televised do we either see MPs napping (if you're an ANC) or jovially chatting to your chief whip (Tony Leon, I'm looking at you) while parliament is in session.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 12th of October 2004 at 12:06
Usually it's the ANC Youth League who are notorious for making absurd statements, but no longer! COSATU have taken the crown (for the time being until the latest badly worded ANCYL press release).
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 4th of October 2004 at 17:37
If this is true then damn! If I recall correctly Frederick Van Zyl Slabbert who wrote the report, was quite in favour of putting some constitutecy based voting in national and provincial government rather than keeping it almost solely in local government.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 1st of October 2004 at 16:01
The corruption trial of Schabir Shaik is gearing up to begin soon and the documents released so far are going to make Vice Pres Jacob Zuma very uncomfortable. The prosecution is going to solely focus on Shaik's dealings with Zuma which means that if Shaik is found guilty, it will be because he is guilty of bribing Zuma and therefore Zuma, while not on trial, will implcitly be guilty of taking bribes.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 29th of September 2004 at 17:05
Following after yesterday's post, Pres. Thabo Mbeki has stated that he will not stand for a third term as required by the constitution.
Meanwhile Trevor Manuel is busy practicing in front of the mirror.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 27th of September 2004 at 12:50
The SA political blogosphere is all abuzz with the rumours of power shake ups at both the ANC and DA . I've spoken about the upcoming leadership struggle in the ANC before (I can very well see it coming down to Trevor Manuel vs. Nkosasa Dlamini-Zuma vs. Jacob Zuma in a steel cage match) but I've never really thought much about who will take over from Tony Leon mainly because while there is a limit on how many terms one can be State President, there is no limit on how long you can be leader of the official opposition and Leon is still relatively young.
So who then are the contenders for the leadership of anklebiter-in-chief? The press was speculating about Helen Zille, but she has stated that she will not be challenging him at the upcoming DA federal congress. But what about Joe Seremane ?
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 23rd of September 2004 at 15:09
One interesting side effect of the last 10 years has been the increased activity of traditionally white labour unions such as Solidarity . In the apartheid days most white unions were little more than extensions of government, filled with broederbond members and other layabouts siphoning off union dues for holidays to Margate.
Now with the state no longer covering their backs, these unions have to actually do some work. Before if a company was going to cut jobs, the white labourers were pretty much content their jobs wouldn't be cut. Today, no such luck.
This was recently highlighted by the public sector strike last week where Solidarity teamed up with COSATU . While I don't think Solidarity shares COSATU's vision of a Marxist utopia, it's a good thing to see that they can put that aside and focus on getting a better deal for their members.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 20th of September 2004 at 17:52
The floor crossing period has come to an end and everyone hates it except the ANC whose ranks swelled. The DA is having second thoughts even though the floor crossing legislation would not be needed if it wasn't for their botched alliance with the NNP.
And for some the aftermath was bloody indeed. It seems that in Natal certain political parties (if this was a politically motivated act) need to learn to control their members actions.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 15th of September 2004 at 14:50
I have another 6 GMail accounts to give away:
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 14th of September 2004 at 12:11
When I think of
needed to help in the rebuilding of Africa, I think of the USA, UK, France and other countries that either have the money to spare (like the US) or were actually involved in mucking up the continent in the first place (UK and France).
Jacob Zuma thinks of Poland
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 7th of September 2004 at 09:02
It can arguably be said that Beyers Naude was one of the greatest South Africans. I would venture to say that he was the bravest. Once a NG Kerk dominee (and member of the broederbond) he was one of the few Afrikaners to stand up and say that apartheid was at it's core an immoral and un-Christian construct. And to do this in the 60's under the political pressure that was permeating every single facet of Afrikaner life required superhuman courage.
Truly one of South Africa's greatest sons and a moral and ethical giant if ever there was one.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 1st of September 2004 at 15:51
The two week floor crossing window has just opened and as expected the flood of NNP politicians streaming over to the ANC is rivalling the great migrations of the Serengeti (or to put a local spin on things, the east coast sardine run). The usefulness of the floor crossing legislation has always been debated amongst us political watchers. It does seem rather out of place considering we do not vote for a person, but rather a political party and that politicians who do cross are seen as betraying the trust voters put in the party they purported to represent. I do love this quote from Cape Town Mayor Nomaindia Mfeketo referring to the 23 NNP councilors who jumped over to the ANC:
There are those who will say this is chequebook politics. We have not promised any chequebooks or positions. They came because they knew it was the right thing to do.
She forgot to add the following:
And because they know the NNP is in a death spiral and the odds of them keeping their seats in the next local election are close to zero, and none of them want to give up a cushy job.
Of course floor crossing does have some problems of it's own for instance the swelling of the ANC's ranks might only be temporary until the next local elections. During the floor crossing the councillors take the votes with them, but when an election does happen those votes that would have gone to the NNP might go somewhere else leaving those NNP councillors who did jump (and who are probably at the bottom of the ANC election list) out of a job anyway.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 31st of August 2004 at 16:04
I have 6 GMail accounts to give away. It's first come first serve. Just click any of the links below.
Remember to only use these accounts for good.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 30th of August 2004 at 12:58
Fresh from protesting the Israeli security fence, the SA govt (via the Human Rights Commission ) is turning it's barrier busting eye homewards. Yes that's right the day of reckoning for boom gates is at hand! No longer will the imperialist Sandtonians deny the Hyde Parkians free passage to Sandton City!
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 25th of August 2004 at 12:01
The Scorpions had better have a rock solid case in arresting Mark Thatcher , son of former British PM Margaret Thatcher, or there will be lots of egg on a lot of faces.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 23rd of August 2004 at 12:26
Was at the V&A Waterfront on Saturday afternoon enjoying lunch when Minister of Intelligence Ronnie Kasrils sat down at the table next to me for some sushi (he likes the hand rolls, couldn't tell what the filling was). I was expecting some fireworks or at least some mean stares when the Chairman of the Western Provice Zionist Council walked past but alas it was not to be.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 19th of August 2004 at 17:27
Tony Leon says the NNP has
it's supporters . I wonder if Tony and Helen Suzman are on speaking terms yet?
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 18th of August 2004 at 13:32
The ANC Youth League are claiming that large numbers of whites are joining the ANCYL. They also plan to stamp out
from their ranks. Somehow I don't see large numbers of whites joining for any other reason besides careerism and opportunism. Oh well someone tell Brett Kebble his days being pals with the ANCYL are over!
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 16th of August 2004 at 12:59
Former State President and NNP leader FW De Klerk has quit the NNP after their
decision to merge with the ANC. Considering that FW wrote a few opinion pieces before the 2004 national election supporting the NNP and their policy of working with the ANC government, his quitting of the NNP should give Marthinus Van Schalkwyk the hint maybe he took that cooperation concept a little too far .
On the radio this morning FW was also pretty tight lipped on what political party he will be supporting in the future. However he said that he hadn't yet chosen one and he was looking at all options from
liberal to Christian democrat
. Christian democrat , you say?
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 16th of August 2004 at 12:44
The Coalition for Change between the DA and the IFP is looking like it might not be viable in the future. The question of course is when did it??? From the start it has been nothing but bad publilicity for both parties, especially for the DA who have yet another failed alliance to notch onto their bedpost, with little more than newspaper articles about the arguing that resulted between both parties when they both decided to be official opposition in KZN.
I don't think the dissolution of the alliance will really hurt each party in the long run. The alliance was not going to help revive the IFP. I think Buthelezi needs to change his political direction pretty soon (and if Gatsha is reading everyone in the SA blogospehere has two words for you: AIDS crusader) or risk having the rest of the rural KZN vote cannibalised by the ANC. As for the DA, I don't think they'll mention their ill fated alliances once this one goes down the tubes.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 13th of August 2004 at 14:31
There was a letter in this morning's Cape Times from Western Cape COSATU leader Tony Erenreich where he wrote in his personal capacity (something he was keen to stress) that he believes that the MP's embroiled in the travel scam must resign. Now of the 26 MP's named, 19 are from the ANC who have refused to publicly release the names of the suspect MPs. If Erenreich wrote that letter in his personal capactity because he would be unable to do so as a leader of COSATU (without the ANC smacking him down officially) then I think he's pretty brave to do so publicly.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 9th of August 2004 at 20:42
Trust the NNP to announce their merger with the ANC during a long weekend when I have minimal access to the Internet. Well what can one say about this development? Just a few posts ago we were wondering whether the NNP would survive past the 2006 local elections and well I think that question has just been answered for us.
Like most other bloggers looking at the SA political scene, I believe there were few altruistic motives for this merger. It seems to be nothing else than Marthinus Van Schalkwyk and the rest of the top NNP politico's making sure they have a job after 2006. Van Schalkwyk claims that the only way for there to be an opposition is within the ANC but I think that's complete rubbish. From now on any statement, press release or document released by the NNP will be subject to higher up approval from the ANC. And yes while there might be various factions within the ANC who butt heads every now and then, the ANC can still put on a united front with the best of them and deny anything took place. So if that's the kind of opposition Van Schalkwyk wants to be - one where he can only bring up objections in closed door ANC meetings while maintaining unity with the ANC everywhere else - then good luck to him. I think now that the NNP is on it's way to dissolution he'll find that what little clout he has with the ANC, which is mainly tied in with the support he brings in the Western Cape, will be quickly reduced. Minister of Environmental Affairs today, tea boy tomorrow.
Oh how the mighty have fallen.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 5th of August 2004 at 13:47
Here's some reassuring news from parliament. ANC MP's are refusing to debate the Children's Bill because they want assurances from the (ANC led) government that it is actually able to implement the laws and regulations laid out in the bill. I guess Pres. Mbeki 's threats of weeding out government civil servants who don't deliver is lighting a fire under a few bottoms on the benches of parliament.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 4th of August 2004 at 12:38
Well the news broke that Al Qaeda (or someone affiliated to them) had their eyes on some targets in SA. I pretty much agree with Commentary and Fodder in that just because the SA government is critical of the US and Israel that it makes us somehow immune to attack.
The Dept of Foreign Affairs haven't exactly inspired confidence in the past in their dealings with terrorists, indeed they seem to buy into the whole
If you're South African, you're immune
ethos as witnessed by their idiotic declaration that SA foreign workers in Saudi Arabia wear South African flags to avoid attack. I think it's time they realised that Al Qaeda really don't give a crap that you disagreed with the war in Iraq or you're sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. If you don't subscribe to their extremist, fundamentalist point of view, you're a target.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 3rd of August 2004 at 13:07
For the vast majority of South Africans who don't have english as a first language, the SABC and the various non-english language radio stations it runs (such as Umhobo Wenene , Lesedi FM and Ukhozi FM ) are their primary source of new and information. While there are other radio stations catering to the black market (such as Yfm, Metro) they focus on music and not news.
Now while this is not something to get too concerned about (yet), and because I haven't heard these stations yet (not that I could understand them) I can't comment on their quality, I am a bit worried that if I am a non-English/Afrikaans speaker the only place to get information from is the government.
The same applies to television where once again SABC1/2 is your only source of news if you don't speak English. When we look at newspapers the situation is even worse. I don't think I know of a single non-English/Afrikaans newspaper published in South Africa. The Sowetan doesn't count as it's published in English.
So while we are dutifully proud of our media when they criticise the government or highlight corruption and wastage, I don't think we should be content untill all South Africans have access to indpendent media and information.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 2nd of August 2004 at 17:46
The masses cries have been heard! Inspired by President Mbeki's call for delivery we proudly present to you: RSS ! The struggle (against outdated websites) continues!
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 27th of July 2004 at 09:12
Well so long Bulelani Ngcuka we hardly knew you. So what can the former head of the NPA do now that he's resigned (whether voluntarily no one knows)?
One thing this whole affair has shown is that the ANC is not some massive unified blob. And I expect the cracks and divisions to grow as we move towards 2009 and the first true battle for the presidency emerges.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 21st of July 2004 at 16:59
While the past national elections were quite exciting, let's cast our eyes forward to the upcoming local elections, which are currently scheduled for February/March 2006 . I think they'll be quite important in re-defining the characters of a number of political parties. The IFP in particular will count in a strong showing in KZN to make sure they don't go the way of the NNP .
Speaking of the NNP I would wage the 2006 local elections will be their last. Granted I thought that the 2004 national elections would be their last, the fall out from after that makes their continuation look bleak.
The DA should be able to take control of the Cape Town city council and with that will at least have some ammunition going into the 2009 elections to show that transformation and delivery is not something the ANC has exclusive rights to transformation and delivery.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 15th of July 2004 at 18:27
The Office of the President has added a number of new personnel whose stated aim is to ensure that Thabo Mbeki receives proper audited data from the various governmental departments. I think this is a good move and I hope they are taken seriously and wield some clout in getting various ministers to produce the transformation goods.
And it should be noted of the new appointments there is one that is dedicated to helping Thabo's public image. My suggestion is that he lose that pipe.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 13th of July 2004 at 09:15
Personally I don't see why this comes as much of a suprise to many. I think we should've known the cosy relationship was happening. Also what kind of election strategists does the ANC have? I mean what do they do? How hard is it to come up with the
sit back and wait for people to vote on party loyalty
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 9th of July 2004 at 15:31
Supposedly 67% of senior public servants are refusing to disclose any assets and shares they own that might be in conflict with their employment. If anything this is disconcerting. Even more disconcerting is that Minister of Public Services Geraldine Frasier Moloketi believes that ethics officers are the answers to the problems. Somehow I don't think that's going to solve much except introduce even more corruption.
When it comes to government there can be only one way to combat corruption and that is through total transparency. Thabo Mbeki has said that government will be focusing on delivery over the next five years. But that will be hard to do when half the money earmarked for houses disappears into someone's back pocket.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 7th of July 2004 at 12:42
Despite the cricket and rugby authorites claiming that sports quotas have been dropped, ANC Secretary General Kgalema Motlanthe is claiming otherwise. This coupled with Defense Minister Mosioua Lekota previously publicised doubts over affirmative action, seems to indicate that there is some intnernal debate within the ANC over the whole issue. Frankly any debate is good in my eyes. I doubt we'll see the scrapping of AA, but I get the feeling it will be weakened in the future.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 6th of July 2004 at 15:11
The much talked about software upgrade has finally happened! Yes, we've finally moved into 2001 with permalinks ! User comments will be forthcoming in 2007...
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 30th of June 2004 at 16:23
The National Council of Provinces (you know the other house of parliament) is going to move away from legislation and focus on the overseeing of implementation. This is not a suprise what with the ANC's love for tightly controlled central political structures. If they sideline the NCOP any more than they have then any advantage a political party gains by doing particularly well in one or two provinces is diminished.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 30th of June 2004 at 16:15
Buthelezi to IFP leaders: It's your fault we lost the elections!
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 28th of June 2004 at 11:44
I had the opportunity this past weekend of hearing Tony Leon speak live and in person and it was quite enjoyable. It wasn't a full on political speech but rather an informal talk with plenty of anecdotes and mixed in some serious political statements. I didn't have a pen or paper handy so I'm unfortunately not able to give a detailed report but here are a few highlights. Firstly the direction the DA will be heading in the next few years seems to be that of left-wing libertarian. Leon stressed that the state will need to intervene in certain areas (poverty alleviation is one example) but he believes for the most part it should stay out of the way (and he pointed to the current certificate of need legislation for doctors as an example of needless govt intervention). Leon also stated very bluntly that black economic empowerment is not working and stated that of the R65 billion worth of BEE deals done so far R25 billion went to companies controlled by two people ( Tokyo Sexwale and Patrice Motsepe ) who have extremely high up ANC connections. He also said in the current direction it's heading it is becoming more and more of a hindrance to investment in SA and is not helping the poor. A suprising statement was that Leon believed that the SA media is practising self censorship when it comes to reporting about government, and that except for a minority, are not asking the pointed questions they should be. And lastly, Baroness Thatcher has no sense of humour.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 25th of June 2004 at 12:48
The ANC is shaking things up in parliament. First they appoint a new chief whip and then they give the DA (???) a snazzy parliamentary post . There's also rumours that Thabo Mbeki might have his first meeting with Tony Leon in their official roles as President/Leader of the Opposition pretty soon.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 24th of June 2004 at 11:06
Carrying on from yesterdays entry, there has also been an increased worldwide interest in hydrogen based fuel cells. And one of the metals that can possibly be used as a catalyst in these fuel cells is platinum. Which means that South Africa is sitting on 86% of the new energy source of the world according to Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils and why it is of utmost importance for the South African government to make sure that Southern Africa is as secure and stable as possible.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 23rd of June 2004 at 16:41
Here's something I agree wholeheartedly with the government on: Nuclear energy . Now before all the environmentalists start sending me hate mail, I'd just like to say that compared to the coal stations we currently have producing 95% of our power and belching smog non-stop into the atmosphere, a nuclear power reactor is as clean as solar energy. While in the long term I'd like to see government invest more in renewable energy sources (which by the way they're already doing) it would help for us to minimise the the current impact of our fossil fuel burning ways and that's where nuclear power can come in. And I say this as a person living down the road from Koeberg nuclear power station.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 21st of June 2004 at 17:09
The 2nd Afronaut is on his way to space! Mike Melvill, who is currently piloting SpaceShipOne to the 100km mark, was born and raised in Durban and emigrated inthe 70's with his family. Mark Shuttleworth was treated as a national hero by the SA governemnt. Will Mike get the same acclaim?
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 21st of June 2004 at 16:45
How can Thabo Mbeki be said to be micro-managing ? Don't you have to actually be in the country for that?
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 17th of June 2004 at 17:15
Will Zimbabwe 's purchase of Chinese fighter jets do anything to sour the relationship between the SA and Zim governments? SA expressly asked China to not sell arms to sub-Saharan Africa.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 15th of June 2004 at 16:01
Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang doing something constructive about HIV/AIDS? Did the temperature in Hell just drop?
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 11th of June 2004 at 10:30
The M&G has a good overview of the whole Ngcuka/Zuma/Shaik and now Mushwana affair for anyone who forgot how the whole thing started...
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 10th of June 2004 at 10:02
Thabo Mbeki wants all his cabinet ministers and director generals to submit reports every two months stating whether they are meeting delivery targets. Hopefully this will get some ministries who should be high up on the delivery list but who aren't performing (*cough*Stella Sigcau*cough*) into gear.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 7th of June 2004 at 10:52
Fodder has a good post on the NNP as it fades away . I have to a agree, come September and the opening of the floor crossing window they'll get heavily hit and again in two years time when local elections occur.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 4th of June 2004 at 13:09
South Africa Government Online has a new look. Nice and simple, although they are still testing it so it might change in the future.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 3rd of June 2004 at 13:04
Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma will be out the country over the next few days and who is being made acting president? Why none other than Minister of Mineral Affairs Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka who just so happens to be the wife of embattled Director of the National Prosecuting Authority Bulelani Ngcuka . Perhaps she'll use some of her new found executive powers and issue a presidential pardon for her battered husband!
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 2nd of June 2004 at 12:54
The ANC high ups are trying to get everyone involved in the latest Ngcuka / Zuma / Maduna / Mushwana flare up to shut the hell up .
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 2nd of June 2004 at 12:52
Whoa! Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota thinks that government affirmative action policy might be needing a rethink : I have to open this debate. How long can we go on with this thing?
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 2nd of June 2004 at 10:08
Big update on the list of SA blogs on the right. And I still haven't managed to look at all of the blogs hosted on MWeb but I will soon.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 1st of June 2004 at 14:36
Someone in the Dept. of Foreign Affairs is smoking a whole lotta crack . If they really think that wearing a t-shirt with the SA flag will stop a crazed fundamentalist terrorist from putting a bullet in you then I've got a bridge to sell them. I hate to be the one to tell them that it's not just Westerners who are being targetted. It's anybody who isn't a Muslim who happens to be in Saudi Arabia, which those nutty Al Qaeda fanatics want to make into an infidel free zo ne. I guess denial is not just a river in Egypt eh?
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 1st of June 2004 at 12:44
Thabo Mbeki has said that government is going to crack down on civil servants who don't start pulling their weight when it comes to delivery of services. If that's the case he might want to pick up the latest issue of Noseweek , which has a number of articles detailing some ANC politicians who have been taking the poor of Hout Bay for a multi million Rand ride.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 28th of May 2004 at 16:53
Raise your hand if you thought the Bulelani Ngcuka / Jacob Zuma affair was over? Well you thought wrong . Seems that Ngcuka did this when he claimed there was a prima facie case of corruption against Zuma but that he would not prosecute (which brings up the question of whether Zuma violated Ngcuka's rights when he accused him of being a Nat Spy). I guess this explains why Ngcuka left the NPA despite having three years on his contract.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 27th of May 2004 at 13:19
Why in the hell would Al-Qaeda try and disrupt the SA general elections held last month? If they were trying to reduce the ANC majority by scaring the voters to vote for another party (ala Spain) then the obvious is why? The ANC led government has been particularly opposed to the US invasion of Iraq and is not exactly the biggest ally of Israel either (witness the chilling of relations between Pretoria and Jerusalem over the past few years). If AQ were trying to increase the ANC majority then really, they are truly idiots because even without bombs going off at polling stations the ANC was easily heading for a 2/3 majority. But of course there is a third option and that is not to help or hinder the ANC but to disrupt the very process of Democracy (with a capital D) in Africa, something that is the opposite of the theocracy lovin' AQ. It is good to see that the arrests in SA led to further arrests in Syria and the UK and that even though the ANC led government might not agree with the invasion of Iraq, they do understand the threat of fundamentalist driven terrorism.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 25th of May 2004 at 12:59
King Goodwill Zwelethini is looking for official recognition by the KwaZulu legislature. I don't think the ANC has fully addressed the issue of traditional leaders yet, mainly because they have a bit of a disdain for them. Despite that there are vast numbers of South Africans who feel the need for traditional leaders, mainly in the rural areas.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 21st of May 2004 at 12:45
Thabo Mbeki 's State of the Nation address is available online .
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 21st of May 2004 at 12:44
Talk about having your cake and eating it too. The IFP is currently in a coalition with the ANC in Kwazulu, but still want to have the status of official opposition . Yeah... don't think that's going to work. The DA have received a ruling stating that they are the official opposition int he KZN legislature, which now the IFP is getting all pissy about. The coalition for change - solid as a rock!
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 19th of May 2004 at 12:11
The NNP used to be able to rely on the Free State to be a major contribution of support. Judging by their performance in the elections (around 8000 votes out of 1000000 cast) no more . And the NNP leadership in the Free State have called for the NNP to disband. I don't think Marthinus will do that as it would be the ultimate admission of defeat but it's got to hurt to have the leaders in your party so demoralised. But Kortbroek is doing his best though. With the limited potential NNP MP's have nowadays, Van Schalkwyk is busy staffing the Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Tourism with all the NNP players who couldn't get into parliament.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 14th of May 2004 at 11:11
Trevor Manuel was made acting president while Thabo Mbeki is at FIFA lobbying for the World Cup and Jacob Zuma is in Tanzania. Now that Trevor's had a taste, we'll see if this affects the upcoming political battle for #1 on the ANC electoral list...
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 10th of May 2004 at 09:42
The first story we ever wrote about on this blog, the parliamentary travel fraud affair, is going to finally be investigated , almost a year after the story broke.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 10th of May 2004 at 09:39
The elections are still not over for some. the ACDP and AZAPO are set to go to court over who will be given an extra set in parliament after AZAPO mistakenly received 2666 extra votes from the IEC (their only election accounting snafu we hope).
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 10th of May 2004 at 09:33
You just know that Tony Leon and Patricia De Lille are going to be going ape over this : Opposition dismay as ANC takes over control of Scopa (for you foreigners SCOPA is the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, the SA equivalent to the US Congress' General Accounting Office). While this does seem to make parliament less transparent, all hope is not lost. There are a number of NGO's who monitor parliament, such as IDASA , and the opposition parties should start strengthening their relationship with them.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 7th of May 2004 at 10:59
It seems Bulelani Ngcuka is leaving his position as National Director Position of Public Prosecutions (it seems voluntarily although his contract runs till 2008) and the lead contender to replace him is Ngoako Ramatlhodi , former premier of Limpopo Province, who himself is currently being investigated by the National Prosecuting Authority for corruption allegations. No conflict of interest there.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 6th of May 2004 at 13:56
Well with the IFP back in bed with the ANC the political scene is quite quiet at the moment. So I guess it's time for a little political speculation. With the success of the ANC at at the polls this past election day coupled with the fact that the DA has pretty much sown up the opposition vote (except for the ID ), where does Tony Leon steer the DA in order to increase their share of the vote in 5 years time. There are a number of options but all of them have a lot of risk. Firstly he can hope that in the next 5 years that some of poor who form the bulk of the ANC's votes finally get fed up and decide to vote for someone else. That's a risky move, seeing how well the ANC did at the polls in the last election, and not pro-active in any sense. He could decide to make the DA more left wing and go after the ANC's base but I don't think people's memories are short enough to believe that (witness the ass kicking the NNP received). He can't go any further to the right as the ANC would rip him to shreds and he'd lose the liberal vote to the ID. So has the DA been painted into a corner?
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 3rd of May 2004 at 14:58
Many have characterised the past ten years of ANC rule as being focused on transformation, with their coming reign being focused on delivery. And it seems that does seem to be the case with Thabo Mbeki telling public servants that their performance will be coming under scrutiny. I'm pretty glad about this as the last thing South Africa needs now is a lagging, unresponsive beauracracy but we'll have to see if Mbeki can walk the walk as well as he can talk the talk.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 29th of April 2004 at 15:55
It's been just over a day and already there's a cabinet shuffle . It seems the two IFP deputy ministers appointed yesterday, Musa Zondi and Vincent Ngema , refused to attend the cabinet swearing in until the conclusion of discussions between the ANC and IFP. Thabo Mbeki basically says tough tekkie and has decided to appoint two new candidates for the posts. I guess with the IFP's fizzled performance at the polls and with KZN in ANC hands without the IFP's help, Thabo can afford to play hardball.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 28th of April 2004 at 15:27
The cabinet list has been released and the list has some suprises. Firstly Mongesuthu Butelezi is out which is strange considering that the IFP withdrew their court case recently, which I thought was indicative of some kind of deal being reached. Obviously not, so expect politics in KZN to start hotting up (in a hopefully non-violent manner) as that is the only real playground the IFP can throw some weight around. NNP leader Marthinus Van Schalkwyk is Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, and is being nicely rewarded for the NNP helping the ANC keep the Western Cape and for giving up the Premiership to Ebrahim Rasool . Many thought he would only receive a deputy post but Thabo Mbeki knows how to keep the troops happy. One helluva weird appointment though is AZAPO leader Mosibudi Mangena to Minister of Science and Technology. I don't know what AZAPO have done for the ANC lately, they didn't exactly help the ANC in the past election nor were they in any coalition with the ANC such as the SACP and COSATU. I guess it's just Thabo Mbeki helping a socialist brother out.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 22nd of April 2004 at 18:15
One ANC politician who I'm sad to see get the axe is Frene Ginwala . She always brought a dignified air to parliament (if that's possible) and was extremely even handed in her handling of both ANC and opposition MP's. Her replacement Baleka Mbete has big shoes to fill.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 21st of April 2004 at 09:50
Well it seems that Tony Leon is going to get burned again (as the old saying goes 'fool me once...') by a coalition partner. This reversal happened in almost record time though, so I guess Mongesuthu Buthelezi was fond of his cabinet post.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 20th of April 2004 at 09:01
So much for the proposed IFP / ANC coalition in KZN. This court case is going to get quite ugly in my opinion with accusations and counter-accusations flying thick and fast. The Premiers of all the provinces are supposed to be announced this coming Monday, and I don't think the Premier of KZN will be an IFP member after this. There's also some talk that Vice President Jacob Zuma will be made KZN Premier. That's quite interesting in that it potentially shifts Zuma out of the picture for presidency in 5 years time.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 16th of April 2004 at 15:40
How long will the ANC govern South Africa? From their increase in support in the elections you could guess the answer is for a very long time. But no political party can rule for so long with little change and remain in power indefinitely. It took Zimbabwe 20 years before the MDC sprang up to take almost half the votes in their elections. I don't think that figure of 20 years is insignificant. Nearly half of the population of South Africa is younger than 18, and in 10 years time a significant proportion of those between the ages of 18-23 will have been born into a democratic South Africa ruled solely by the ANC. When they go to the polls in 2014 will they vote according to alleigance to the ANC for their role in the struggle or will they decide that the poverty they've continued to live in for the past 20 years is due to the governance of the ANC?
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 16th of April 2004 at 15:30
Commentary has a nice graph of the rise and fall of the various opposition parties over the last ten years. While the DA has had increasing support every election the magnitude of the increase has decreased as time goes on. While the DA has been able to sew up the minority vote, it is clear they still haven't been able to appeal to the poor black vote which constitutes the majority of voters in SA. While Tony Leon might be pleased with his party's performance I think he needs to realise that for the DA to appeal to this segment of voters they can not continue to run the 'opposition for democracy's sake' that Leon likes to use. Rather than pointing out how bad a job the ANC is doing, Leon will need to focus on how good a job the DA does. This, however, is going to be extremely tough with the DA not holding on to power anywhere and so they don't have much to point to as examples of their efforts in poverty alleviation etc etc.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 15th of April 2004 at 21:41
Wayne over at Commentary does a bit of pondering over the ANC 's great election performance. He notes that because the ANC is so large it contains within itself sub-parties which often don't have similar views (compare the neo-Capitalists of Sexwale, Manuel(maybe) and Rhamaposa with the old timer Socialists in the SACP and COSATU) and perhaps in the future one of these sub-parties might decide to break away taking a substantial chunk of votes. This, coupled with the war of succession for top spot in the ANC now that Thabo Mbeki is in his final term, means that there will be plenty of maneuvering within the ANC over the next 5 years. Interesting times await indeed.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 15th of April 2004 at 11:57
Only about 30% of the votes have been tallied so far. You can catch up to the minute results on the IEC Website . Official results are expected tomorrow. Just a few quick oberservations: The DA shot up to 18% of the national vote but are slowly sliding down as more rural stations send in their results. For the same reason I would expect the IFP to increase a bit more. The NNP looks to be finished as a party with national importance, however there has been some speculation that NNP leader Marthinus Van Schalkwyk will be offered a cabinet post (perhaps Home Affairs which will be vacated by IFP leader Mongesuthu Buthelezi ) in exchange for him giving up the premiership of the Western Cape to Ebrahim Rasool . We'll see how hardball Kortbroek can play. The ID are doing better than expected and is polling better than the NNP. My theorised 'black conservatives' seems to not have emerged this time around with the ACDP holding pretty much steady.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 14th of April 2004 at 22:35
Well I did my civic duty this morning and voted in the 3rd national and provincial elections. Everything went ultra smooth and kudos must be given to the IEC who seem to have everything under control around the country. Only minor problems (that every political party is trying to make into a major problem) so far. The polls closed a while ago and counting has begun with the final tallies expected to be finalised by 6am tomorrow morning.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 13th of April 2004 at 15:51
Taking my cue from Commentary here are my predictions for tomorrow. I should add that quite a few of my predictions go against current poll data, but in the slim chance I actually am right I will be proclaimed a political visionary and that outweighs the risk of being laughed at when all my predictions turn out to be wrong: ANC - 65, DA - 12, IFP - 8, ACDP - 5, NNP - 3, UDM - 2, PAC - 1, ID - 1, FF+ - 1. I'm probably overestimating the ACDP and underestimating the ID here but so be it.
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 11th of April 2004 at 22:34
So long Kortbroek ! Seems the ANC didn't even bother waiting for the elections to take place before kicking the NNP to the curb. If the NNP don't get the premiership of the Western Cape (that is if they win it) then there really is no point in an alliance. The ANC are confident they can get enough votes to win the province by themselves and that there really is no point in an alliance. Is this the final swirl around the drain for the NNP?
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 8th of April 2004 at 09:36
The guys at Southern Cross have cast their votes in the elections. They report a pretty poor turnout which was expected and some disappointing attitudes, not only in other voters but in the embassy staff as well.
The Indpendent Electoral Commission received a nice vote of confidence from the UN, EU and Commonwealth who have all decided to not send any election observers. The IEC have done a great job in the past two elections, and it's good to see people showing confidence in them. There will of course be local observers from various political parties and other organisations so all of you who suddenly had flashes of massive vote rigging and fraud running through your head can rest easy.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 6th of April 2004 at 17:17
The war of words between Thabo Mbeki and Mangosuthu Buthelezi has crossed over to the courtroom, despite the court case in question not having much to do with elections. Rather it would seem that the judge, who has to make a ruling by midnight tonight, is faced with the state president suing his own cabinet minister. South Africa's immigration policy has been a bit of a shambles the past few years and new legislation was in the works being drawn up by the Ministry of Home Affairs (of which Buthelezi is minister). With the deadline for the new regulations fast approaching, and no sign of these regulations forthcoming, Home Affairs was ordered to publish the regulations after a successful petition was brought against them by an immigration attorney. Problem is the regulations released by Buthelezi were not what the government really had in mind. So Thabo Mbeki (President) sued his own cabinet Minister (Buthelezi) to have the regulations removed. So now the judge on this case is stuck in a lose-lose situation. If he finds in favour of Buthelezi, immigration regulations will be counter to what the majority wants. If he finds in favour of Mbeki he sets a precedent where the 'independence' of Cabinet ministers is all declared null and void. And with a week and a bit before elections it's definitely increasing the animosity between the ANC and IFP.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 31st of March 2004 at 23:29
Before you cast a vote on April 14th (or April 7th if you're an expat who has been allowed to vote overseas) cast a thought for Roelf Meyer . Roelf was once the rising star in the NP leading it's delegation to CODESA and playing a pivotal role in the transition to a democratic government. Staying with the NP from 1994-1997, Roelf decided to take his surging popularity (are you reading this Ms De Lille ) and join forces with former homelands coup leader Bantu Holomisa to form the United Democratic Movement , combining Roelf's popularity with the new 'liberal' younger Afrikaners with Bantu's support in the Eastern Cape. Roelf's defection at the time pretty much gutted the NNP (as it was now known) leaving it in the sorry state it is today. On paper the UDM looked like a formidable contender ready to snatch the Eastern Cape and other Afrikaner heavy areas away from the ANC/NP. Instead the Afrikaners decided to jump to the DA and even Bantu's support failed to materialise. Roelf, left with a political career in tatters, retired from politics in 2000.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 29th of March 2004 at 17:35
Quite a few companies are jumping on the donate-to-political-parties bandwagon and what irks me most about it is their claims they are doing it to 'help entrench democracy' when it seems to me it's more about currying favour. I'm not to sure how I feel about corporate donations to political parties, although I would veer to not being in favour of it, especially with SA's murky election finance reforms. IDASA was planning on taking the political parties to court in order to get them to open their books but so far I haven't heard any news about whether they were successful. What I definitely am not in favour of is Uthingo (who operate out National Lottery) donating to politicial parties. Uthingo have come under a lot of fire for not distributing money to charities in a timely fashion, but they seem to be able to donate R3million to the parties with great efficiency. That's R3million rand that could've gone to something better than a new DA radio ad or ANC election poster.
Speaking of election posters the NNP have a new one which proclaims DP + Right Wing = DA . Now if you consider that not too long ago that would have read DP + NNP = DA , then one can come to the conclusion that NNP = Right Wing , which makes that particular poster one of the more truthful in this election race.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 25th of March 2004 at 15:54
Andrew at Southern Cross wondered why Patricia De Lille did not defect to the DA instead of starting up the ID . While I'm sure that ego is definitely a part of the equation (why be 3rd in the ladder at the DA when you just came from being 3rd in charge at the PAC), another reason possibly is to avoid any political mudslinging by the ANC . Had De Lille jumped to the DA she would no doubt have been labelled a racist by the ANC and branded a traitor to 'the cause' . By staying seperate (at least for the meantime), the only wrath she'll incur is from the PAC (who no doubt will be a bit cheesed off to see their media darling gone), and will avoid being a innocent bystander in the heated Leon / Mbeki electioneering war-of-words. After the elections of course I believe things will change, with the DA becoming much more open to the ID so as to get the 1 or 2 seats they control to block vote with the DA.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 24th of March 2004 at 16:50
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 19th of March 2004 at 12:17
The fight between the DA and the ID has escalated recently with the DA producing radio ads urging voters not to weaken the opposition and calling a vote for the ID a wasted vote. It is clear that the DA sees the ID as a possible threat that could potentially siphon votes, especially in the soon to be hotly contested Western Cape. It is quite ironic that Patricia De Lille finds herself in the unique position of trying to attract center-right white and coloured voters considering her rise to prominence in the PAC , a party with it's roots in the black conciousness movement, as well as some of her past comments suggesting whites should leave South Africa. And strangely enough she seems to be getting some support despite that, although I would think the strength of her support will not get her more than two seats in the National Assembly. I also don't think that De Lille will bring any PAC voters over to the DA and in her campaigning it's clear she's going after the white and coloured voters who are tired with the DA and NNP (especially women it would seem). During her time with the PAC she was undoubtedly their most well known MP easily eclipsing even the PAC leadership in media attention and popularity outside the party, something which I don't think endeared her to the PAC leadership and it's voters. After elections I do think the relationship between the ID and DA will be less hostile when most opposition parties will band together regardless of political ideal or pre-election slandering.
It seems that the ANC Youth League , when they aren't writing embarassingly bad letters and press releases, have decided to be a front for Brett and Roger Kebble . At least we know what the donor contributions to the ANC the Kebble's made a while ago got them.
A lot of the time people forget that the Parliament of SA is actually a two house system. Because of majority of the focus is on the National Assembly, we tend to forget the National Council of Provinces . The NCOP is supposed to be modelled on the US Senate where each province receives a fixed number of seats, an idea which should allow for minority parties to be better represented. However because of the focus on the NA and the fact that voters don't directly vote for NCOP members (they are appointed by the provincial assemblies) and that the NCOP can't introduce bills to parliament that do not affect the provinces in the past it has been pretty much ignored and due to the ANC majority is little more than a rubber stamping institution for the NA. Instead of the Senate we unfortunately have wound up with the House of Lords .
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 18th of March 2004 at 22:21
Apologies for the dates on the two entries below. It would seem my archaic home PC is having some problems keeping the correct date. Also apologies for the stop-start blogging but the software that generates this blog is only on my campus workstation (not for much longer I hope) and so my access to blogging is now only after hours... All will be resolved within the next 2 weeks, although I will try and blog as much as possible. Thanks for your patience.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 16th of September 2003 at 22:30
Is the DA appealing to black voters? According to the Sunday Times Tony Leon and the rest of the DA are receiving some increased black support, however it's unclear at the moment exactly how much. Some would say that the biggest reason preventing the poor black segment voting for the DA is Tony Leon himself. No doubt thanks to the extremely effective policy of labelling almost anything he says as racist the ANC has managed to keep the word associated with him. And unfortunately the DA does not do much to counter this image, which I feel could be countered in a few simple steps: 1) Please, please Tony learn an indigienous language already. I've mentioned this before but it bears repeating that in a country where 80% of the population have English as their second language, giving your speeches in Durban accented English isn't going to get the message across. George W. Bush can speak Spanish (which he put to good use during his tenure as Governor of Texas) so why can't you throw in a few Sotho phrases during your next speech? (Something it must be noted, Trevor Manuel did with great affect during his budget speech) 2) Get the black leadership of the DA out there in the media and keep them there. When I think of other DA politico's the only name that pops into my head is Douglas Gibson . That shouldn't be the case. 3) Carrying on from #2, your alliance partners more effectively. While the DA might not be in a tight alliance with the IFP you can still sponsor some posters together or have more joint photo-ops, or something, there's got to be something. Of these three points I consider #1 to be the most beneficial in the short term, with #2 helping out in the long term. Tony, young as he is, can't run the DA forever and he needs to start cultivating the next generation of (hopefully black) leadership to start taking more public roles for when they have to run the party themselves.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 12th of September 2003 at 22:22
Just a quick reply to Lawrence at Commentary : I don't think a combined ACDP and NNP is the party that will be able to gain the black conservative vote, I think the ACDP could do that by themselves if they could just get their attention. Hopefully this will be the last election for the NNP, but if they weren't tainted by Apartheid then in an ideal political system with no racial boundaries (something I doubt we'll see in SA for a long time) then a multiracial conservative party might pull some decent numbers. Even the DA, who are supposed to be liberal democrats, were forced to veer to the right to try and get the conservative white vote, and the ACDP seems to have a lock on the few black conservatives who don't vote ANC (as Lawrence also believes there's a substantial conservative black segment who vote ANC for little reason). I haven't seen much campaigning on the ACDP's part in Cape Town, but I did catch their leader Rev Kenneth Meshoe on the the tube a while ago and he was impressive. I don't agree with all their policies, but if there's one party who I feel could increase seats in the upcoming elections it's the ACDP. And a growing ACDP does mean more of a diversified black voter base, less dependent on racial boundaries, which is a good thing.
And the ACDP aren't the only ones going after the black conservative Christian vote, the ANC are appealing to all KZN residents to combat the 'demon' causing election violence through prayer. I always thought election violence was caused by wayward party members, guess they're going to have to update those Political Science textbooks.
A while ago Andew at Southern Cross found out the ANC really weren't going to let him vote, even though they said they were. Their excuse at the time was the manpower and logistics just wasn't available, which we now found out is because the IEC is too busy registering prisoners. I guess the Constitution applies to everyone except Rhodes Scholars eh?
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 10th of March 2004 at 22:17
If the DA put half as much effort into doing some actual electioneering as they do into opening frivolous lawsuits against the ANC , they might actually gain a few seats!
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 9th of March 2004 at 00:50
In the election campaign so far the two most media dominant parties, the ANC and DA , are taking markedly different approaches to their campaigns. The ANC have been carrying out quite a toned down campaign with there being very few campaign promises made. The ANC is secure in it's victory and polls show they might carry more than 67% of the vote without trying very hard. The DA on the otherhand have been throwing out campaign promises (Free AIDS treatment, 150 000 more police) quite freely. Of course they can do this because the chances of them winning this election is less than me winning the lottery, and so the chances of them actually have to provide what they promise is close to none. The DA also can't point to any major achievements in their history, as the only government they've controlled was the Western Cape in conjunction with the NNP and even that was for a short time. This reduces them to basically asking to be 'given a chance' to at least show what they can do. The DA also have tried to soften Tony Leon 's image. In the 1999 elections he was plastered all over election signs with his arms crossed, a dour look on his face, promising to get tough on crime. Not quite the image you'd expect from a liberal democrat is it? This time around the posters show him surrounded by township dwellers, as the DA decides to finally go after the poor black vote. Unfortunately for Tony, I think thae image from 1999 has persisted, due in small part to the ANC taking every opportunity to paint Tony as little more than a irritant who is looking out for the white minority.
Many have speculated that this election will be the last for the NNP . If they lose the Western Cape to the DA, the ANC will cut them loose. If the ANC gains the Cape, they can expect the same fate. They're stuck in the non-enviable position of having to go along with their alliance partners, but actively campaigning against them as well. If I was Marthinus Van Schalkwyk I would be quietly looking at my options post-election, and the party (either to go into alliance with, amalgamate with or heck even defect to) is the ACDP . The ACDP were one of the few first time political parties to actually gain a relatively decent number of seats. The NNP has long modelled itself after the Christian Democrats of Europe (specifically Germany) and they share a lot of common ground, at least in terms of base ideas, with the ACDP. An amalgamation between them would be an interesting combination of both black and white conservative ideals. While the ANC does enjoy the vast majority of popular support thus far, there are probably large segments of the population whose political and moral beliefs fall closer to the the conservative view point of the ACDP than the socialist ones of the ANC, and this segment, which could probably be described as the traditional christian black population segment, could boost the ACDP's numbers in the future. I believe that there is a significant black conservative population out there but that they feel they should vote ANC due to it's role in South Africa's history. The ANC believes it will maintain, if not increase, it's support in the upcoming elections, but has the increased political freedoms in the past ten years allowed any significant numbers of the black population to decide maybe their interests are best served voting for the ACDP? Or the DA?
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 7th of March 2004 at 14:26
As always election time brings petty election disputes. Whether it's the DA alleging the FF stole their posters, or the NNP complaining to the IEC , most of this is done, in my opinion, just to get publicity and their names on the radio. Such is politics though.
Tony Leon can sleep easy tonight: Thabo Mbeki says he won't stand for third term
DA Chief Whip Douglas Gibson and ID head Patricia De Lille are fighting over who would be the better opposition party.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 4th of March 2004 at 22:56
Apologies about the lack of updates recently, my only excuse is that I'm hardly on campus any more and my *cough*486*cough* at home isn't exactly condusive to websurfing... Updates will hopefully resume in a more timely manner in a few days.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 26th of February 2004 at 18:17
Archbishop of Cape Town Njongonkulu Ndungane is ' distressed ' at the levels of sniping between the political parties before the election. While the sniping is intensifying, this past afternoon I observed Minister of Education Kader Asmal and DA Chief Whip Douglas Gibson call each other 'pipsqueaks' in parliament, I'm not concerned. I doubt people decide their votes on the sound bites thrown out regularly by our top politicians and all the sniping does is teach them to believe what politicians say less and less. Which frankly is a good thing.
Dept Pres Jacob Zuma wants to propose that any parties guilty of intimidation will lose votes. I doubt it will come into effect but if it does how will they structure it? Caught tearing down your oppositions posters? -5000 votes. Protesting outside your oppositions political meeting? -20000 votes. Giving the opposition candidate a light roughing up? -50000 votes.
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 22nd of February 2004 at 23:22
You knew eventually that the Iraqi Oil Scandal would hit SA: Shady Iraq oil deals: The ANC connection . I doubt that this will hurt the ANC's election results but a few officials might be given the axe.
Farrel Lifson on Saturday, 21st of February 2004 at 11:11
Somehow I don't think Trevor Manuel can be compared to Che Guevara (M&G reg. required) when he believes that 'bigger grants would discourage job-seeking' . Frankly that's the most conservative sounding thing I've ever heard from a ANC politician.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 20th of February 2004 at 13:48
Well it looks like Election Day (April 14th) is now a public holiday despite the fact that it's also the day most schools in the country were supposed to start their second term. Not that the pupils are complaining... Anyway President Thabo Mbeki need not worry about missing a day of work, because no doubt he can afford it.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 18th of February 2004 at 17:21
Andrew over at Southern Cross is finding that the government might not have been so forthcoming when it allowed expats to vote in the elections.
I watched the budget speech this morning and was glad to see further personal income tax cuts (although they are decreasing every year). But damn! I'm glad I don't smoke . More details available in the full budget speech
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 17th of February 2004 at 22:12
Tomorrow Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel will be unveiling the 2004 budget in parliament. I don't think there will be any suprises, but I've been proven wrong before. I'm sure the Economic Whiz Kids at Souther Cross will be able to comment in greater detail than myself with my limited economic knowledge so check them out.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 16th of February 2004 at 19:43
With the elections just under 2 months away, Tony Leon is trying to take the fight to Thabo Mbeki . I don't think we'll be seeing any US style presidential debates, mainly due to the fact there is no way the ANC can lose this election, but it would be a hoot to see Tony going absolutely ballistic on live TV while Mbeki does his best to ignore him. Which is kinda like what's happening now anyway...
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 12th of February 2004 at 16:05
The upcoming election will most certainly have a heavy element of race politics involved. I don't think that aspect of politics will ever be totally removed, especially not in South Africa with some government legislation still being based on race (employment equity etc), however the article I linked to also touches on tribalism which I think is as big an issue. The ANC to many is just as much a Xhosa party as the IFP is a Zulu one. The rumoured 'La Xhosa Nostra' in the ANC is supposed to still wield a bit of clout, despite there being prominent members of the ANC who are not Xhosa, such as Vice President Jacob Zuma (although there were rumours the 'Nostra were involved in leaking documents fingering Zuma in the arms deal). On other local forums I've read ANC supporters say outright that they will not tolerate a non-Xhosa leader of the ANC. Considering the past political violence in KwaZulu (and the current tension there) it would seem to me that tribalism is as big, if not more, of a threat to democracy in South Africa than racism.
And on a lighter note, election day might be a holiday .
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 11th of February 2004 at 15:22
With the IFP deciding to take the ANC head on in the upcoming elections, it will probably mean that Home Affairs Minister (and leader of the IFP) Mongesuthu Buthelezi will be relinquishing his ministerial post as well. Oh well Gatsha, those brief tastes of Presidency you expreienced whenever both the President and Vice-President were out the country have come to an end.
Now that the National Prosecuting Authority has been put to the test in the Hefer Commission , it's director Bulelani Ngcuka reckons they are "a lot stronger after the Hefer Commission" . Strong enough to start looking at the arms deal again?
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 11th of February 2004 at 11:13
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 10th of February 2004 at 11:30
Mark your calendars! April 14th is election day.
Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has decided to delay the rollout of anti-retroviral drugs to combat HIV/AIDS . Could there have been a worse time for her to make this announcement? There is literally two months to go before the elections and the ANC is not exactly giving off the "we-care-about-the-poor" message here.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 9th of February 2004 at 10:10
The State of the Nation in full.
More reports of election violence in KZN are coming through. I really hope that this gets under control. I doubt any violence is authroised by the leadership of the ANC and IFP (at least I hope it isn't), but they really need to put and end to this. Make it clear to their organisers at the local level that any violence will not be tolerated.
Thabo Mbeki and AIDS . It's like oil and water, they just don't mix...
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 6th of February 2004 at 15:09
Well the expected showdown between doctors and the ANC fizzled out. Only a handful of ANC supporters bothered to show up. Which is probably a good thing I suppose.
Our country is on the right track , says Thabo Mbeki .
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 5th of February 2004 at 11:43
There's a showdown looming between the Government and the South African Medical Association and it looks like it's going to get ugly Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has threatened to dismiss any doctors who take part in the planned march to parliament on Friday if they neglect their patients by doing so. The ANC is also planning a march outside parliament earlier in the day, supposedly to celebrate '10 Years of Democracy', that some have claimed is there to 'drown out' the doctors protest. With the growing numbers of black medical students, who I assume will be taking part in the march, it will be very hard for the ANC to turn this into a black-vs-white fight which they usually attempt to do to avoid criticism.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 4th of February 2004 at 15:24
Tony Leon 's concerns about a possible third term for Thabo Mbeki can pretty much be put to rest for now. The ANC say it will be up to their National Executive Committee to decide whether to put Mbeki back in for a third time and considering the presidential hopefuls in the NEC, I don't think Thabo will be making use of the Union Buildings come 2010...
Mbeki will however be giving his State of the Nation address at the opening of parliament so expect more frantic words from Tony Leon shortly.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 3rd of February 2004 at 16:23
With all the talk of Hefer Commission's and the upcoming elections I almost forgot that Parliament will be opening this friday . Expect much grandstanding in the months to come before the election.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 2nd of February 2004 at 15:10
Boycotts work when your staying away hurts someone else. Boycotting elections only hurts yourself.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 30th of January 2004 at 15:02
Tony Leon (who else?) is worried that Thabo Mbeki might try to stand for a 3rd term as President and is trying to get the President to state that he will not do so. Personally I don't think Thabo has much to worry about, as there are a number of ANC high-ups who have their eye on the presidency and would surely be a bit miffed to have to wait another 5 years. Trevor Manuel I'm looking at you...
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 29th of January 2004 at 18:27
We've really come too far to have violence mar the upcoming elections. Which is why I'm glad to see that the ANC and the IFP are holding talks about the tension in KwaZulu . It's been a hotbed of political violence in the past and it's going to be one of the most hotly contested results of the entire election.
It's good to see the PAC pick themselves up off the floor after their dismal showing in the last elections and the loss of star MP Patricia De Lille by forging a strategic alliance with the... Dikwankwetla Party . Who?
And finally, if you feel Trevor Manuel might need a bit of help in drawing up the 2004 budget why don't you drop him a line at his Tips for Trevor page.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 27th of January 2004 at 15:31
Everyone knows that in order for the DA to gain a share of parliamentary seats that would allow it to actually have some clout in government, that they need to start going after the black vote. It's the logical thing to do. So when there are only four blacks in the top twenty positions of the DA's Gauteng Legislature List then you have to wonder what the heck is Tony Leon thinking? Sure he doesn't want to lose his entrenched base of white, supposedly liberal voters but unless he starts casting his eyes seriously towards Soweto and Gugulethu then the DA is never going to become a viable opposition. And Tony, if you're reading this, for the love of all that is good learn Xhosa or Zulu or Sotho already and start giving speeches in people native tongue's. Heck even Dubya knows Spanish, which he put to good use when he was governor of Texas, so I'm sure you can do the same.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 26th of January 2004 at 09:52
The ANC 's money problems have been lessened a bit with the generous donation of R500 000 from mining magnate Brett Kebble . Of course this is the same Brett Kebble who accused Bulelani Ngcuka and Justice Minister Penuell Maduna of being "CIA backed" in a letter to the Hefer Commission . And of course there's the fact his dad, Roger Kebble , is up on fraud charges. So is Mr Kebble's political philanthropy due to him being a "patriot and an ardent supporter of our new democracy" or out of potentially mutual back scratching scheme. Kebble however has claimed to given money to other political parties, whether the amounts are as large as this donation is unavailable.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 23rd of January 2004 at 11:52
Mark your calendars! The date of the elections will be announced on the 11th February . All signs so far point to the election being held in April sometime.
It is quite clear that the two most heated battles will be in KwaZulu and the Western Cape . The DA is seemingly determined to keep the W. Cape. Whether that determination translates to votes, we'll find out only later.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 21st of January 2004 at 12:28
Well the Hefer Report has been released and suprise! Bulelani Ngcuka was cleared of being a spy for the NP government. So can we get back to focusing our attentions on the arms deal now?
There was however some criticism against Bulelani Ngcuka and the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions mainly that the NDPP is full of leaks . but I don't see why we needed this waste of time to tell us that.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 20th of January 2004 at 13:13
There there Marthinus, don't you worry, the ANC will never leave the NNP after the elections.... *snigger* *muffled laughter*
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 20th of January 2004 at 11:13
The release of the Hefer Report is imminent and things are not looking good for Mac Maharaj and Mo Shaik . Thing is, the ANC can't really punish them as neither have seats in parliament. They do however, and this is especially true of Shaik, have business interests that depend heavily on their easy access to government which might take a bit of a knock now.
Marthinus Van Schalkwyk 's nightmares are coming true. If the ANC manage to get enough votes in the election to carry the Western Cape by themselves then they are cutting the NNP .
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 14th of January 2004 at 19:59
Political parties are getting a bit angry the way the ANC has been using the SABC to do some electioneering. PW must be proud...
The Western Cape ANC branch is aiming for a 51% majority in the Cape without the NNP . Could this (finally) be the end of the NNP ?
And fiery politico Patricia De Lille is chomping at the bit waiting for the election date. No doubt she's ready to rider her popularity into a greater number of seats in parliament than the single one she currently occupies.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 12th of January 2004 at 20:54
A shack today, a house tomorrow or so says Pres Thabo Mbeki . Of course the electorate is going to ask itself (we hope) "Didn't we hear that in '94?" . Which raises an interesting question. How long will the ANC's voters tolerate the, so far, reduced speed at which poverty is being fought. While numbers of R100-billion are being thrown around by the ANC , the poor aren't getting any less hungry. And anyway who the hell are they going to vote for if they do get fed up? IFP (tribalism)? DA (Not with Tony at the helm)?
Trevor Manuel is trying to smooth out the rifts in the ANC in the Western Cape , where Trev cut his teeth as a bigwig in the UDF . I wonder if he's getting a bit worried about his position on the ANC electoral list and is trying to get some party support....
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 8th of January 2004 at 17:23
Well the elections are looking promising as the IEC is close to registering a record number of voters. Whether they'll all actually turn up on the day is a different story.
And if you've got some spare change around the house perhaps you'd like to donate some to the ANC who have revealed they're in a bit of a cash crisis . I guess that's another reason for them opposing IDASA 's attempts to open their donor rolls, they don't want to embarass their donors by having them labelled as ' snoep '. C'mon folks! If you're gonna give, give big!
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 6th of January 2004 at 16:29
The Hefer Report is finished although the findings are not being made open to the public... yet.
And when they are, the ANC is getting ready to put the kibosh on ' name tarnishers '. They aren't saying yet whether this is Mac Maharaj and Mo Shaik (and possible Vice Pres Jacob Zuma ), but these three are not sleeping easy that's for sure.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 2nd of January 2004 at 16:36
But it's not all bad news for Mbeki, the latest polls show the ANC might be able to wrestle control of KwaZulu from the IFP with the help of the NNP. Seems the NNP are good for something besides holding on to the Western Cape, so this might be a lifeline in case they lose the Western Cape to the DA .
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 24th of December 2003 at 13:49
Seems like Thabo Mbeki might have gotten a few ideas during his recent visit to Zimbabwe : Mbeki poised to speed up land expropriation
And to all of our readers, a merry Christmas/Channukah/Kwanzaa/Yule and a peaceful New Year!
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 23rd of December 2003 at 15:56
We're back from the dead! Or rather back from a holiday on the Garden route .
Lots has happened in the past week. The Hefer Commission has concluded and Judge Joos Hefer is off to deliberate on the scant evidence presented.
Meanwhile Thabo Mbeki is scrambling to make himself look good in the Zimbabwe ordeal.
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 14th of December 2003 at 10:53
After the Hefer Commission is over, Mac Maharaj and Mo Shaik might still have the ANC to deal with.
Morale in the ANC has got to be getting low if they're already prophesising their own break up...
Farrel Lifson on Saturday, 13th of December 2003 at 14:39
Next year's elections look set to be held during April .
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 11th of December 2003 at 00:26
Things are looking up for Bulelani Ngcuka . If Judge Hefer does not find any evidence of him being an apartheid spy, then the allegations of his abuse of power fall away. And judging by the lack of any evidence to convince Hefer so far, Ngcuka must be sitting back, relaxing and waiting for the commission to come to it's seemingly obvious conclusion.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 9th of December 2003 at 13:23
Yow! IDASA (the guys trying to force the political parties to open their books) is estimating that the ANC spent R100-million in the last elections, with the DA spending R20-million. That's gonna go up at least 15% next year. I really hope IDASA are successful in their court case as I'd like to see where that kind of money is coming from.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 8th of December 2003 at 16:51
One of Bulelani Ngcuka 's accusers has apologised for creating the wrong impression that Ngcuka was a spy. Why are we even bothering with the Hefer Commission anymore?
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 7th of December 2003 at 13:14
Hefer Commission to be over before Christmas.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 5th of December 2003 at 12:13
Well at least someone sees soething concrete coming out of the Hefer Commission, as Kessie Naidu believes there will be ' a number of casualties ' when the commission is finished. And I don't think he is referring to Bulelani Ngcuka and Penuell Maduna .
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 4th of December 2003 at 13:41
Looks like Bulelani Ngcuka won't be alone any more. Jackie Selebi (SA Police Commissioner) is to be probed over the arrests in the Thabo Mbeki assassination (although now it looks like there was none) plot (is it too early to call it a debacle?)
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 2nd of December 2003 at 17:10
Looks like Schabir Shaik was unsuccessful in his bid to the Constitutional Court to get the NPA off his back. Hopefully this will turn a bit of attention back to the arms deal and away from the Hefer Commission.
Ouch , this cartoon has got to sting.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 1st of December 2003 at 16:21
So much for the idea of 11 official languages: Judge says " Let there be one language of record in courts "
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 28th of November 2003 at 16:35
Vusi Mona (editor of the City Press) who published the initial allegations of Bulelani Ngcuka being Agent RS452 has apologised to Ngcuka after taking a heavy beating on the stand at the Hefer Commission . Of course this opens up a lovely opportunity for Ngcuka to sue for defamation.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 27th of November 2003 at 17:45
The Institute for Democracy in South Africa have begun their initiative to force SA's four largest political parties to open their books and reveal all large private donations made to them. SA does not have as transparent a process as other countries (such as the US) when it comes to political donations so this is one court case I approve of. Only the ACDP has voluntarily opened their books, something they should be commended for. The ANC and DA/NNP are opposing the court case on differing reasons. The ANC probably fears non-stop allegations of corruption being thrown their way, while the smaller parties are worried that the ANC will use their open books to target their donors. If IDASA win I think it will be a great step forward towards an even more transparent, responsive government.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 26th of November 2003 at 17:39
Patricia De Lille: The state of our democracy
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 25th of November 2003 at 21:38
As much as the DA would like it Judge Hefer is not currently planning to get Jacob Zuma to take the stand. Doing so would probably cause even more infighting in the ANC . It's one thing having ex-intelligence operatives ( Mo Shaik ) and retired politicians ( Mac Maharaj ) on the stand but the minute it becomes a fight between current ANC beaurecrats things get ugly.
Only another four more years of crap driving and stress on the highway. Wasn't the taxi recapitalisation supposed to have happened already?
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 24th of November 2003 at 14:05
The ANC have released their national and provincial election lists. Here's the top 10:
Jacob Zuma might be number two on the ANC national list, however dependent on what happens in the Hefer Commission, that might not be for long. Some higher ups in the ANC (who of course declined to be named) are feeling uncomfortable with the fact that Mo Shaik has a few secret intelligence documents in his possession and that Zuma might still face prosecution.
The DA nows a good opportunity when it sees one and they are also calling for Zuma to appear before the Hefer Commission .
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 23rd of November 2003 at 13:02
Jacob Zuma must've been relaxing for the past few days as the Hefer Commission took the spotlight off his alleged dirty dealings. So no doubt he's a little po'ed that Mo Shaik is now calling for him to testify . If I was him I would avoid it at all cost, the second he's under oath Bulelani Ngcuka 's lawyers will use the opportunity to grill him on the arms deal in a public forum.
And in case you are getting confused between all the various Shaik siblings, here is a summary of their involvement so far.
Parliament is getting ready to debate the controversial Anti-Terrorism Bill (now redrafted as The Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Bill). Thankfully they removed the detention without trial clause that was in earlier drafts.
Farrel Lifson on Saturday, 22nd of November 2003 at 17:25
The ANC have managed to get their various provincial branches under control and have compiled a preliminary election list. I'd be interested to see who's moving up the ranks, and who has lost favour and is on their way out.
Looks like the SACP and the ANC are fighting again. The SACP obviously gets fed up with the way the ANC steamroll over their ideas, but I feel no remorse for them as they choose to play lamprey on the ANC blue whale. If they want a stronger voice they should go it alone.
I've added two new sections of links: A collection of SA Non-Govermental Organisations on the left and a collection of blogs by other South Africans on the right.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 21st of November 2003 at 10:37
I was watching the Hefer Commission while eating my cereal this morning and witnessed Kessie Naidu (leader of the evidence) destroy Mo Shaik on the stand. Kessie basically forced Mo to admit that it was only possible that Bulelni Ngcuka was a spy rather than probable . Of course it's possible that I am a former spy as well. It's also possible I'm Elvis. He also made Shaik concede the fact that Shaik had produced mostly theory and assumptions based on the single fact that Ngcuka received his passport in a timely manner and was allowed to travel on it. Ouch!
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 20th of November 2003 at 12:37
While the Hefer Commission is adjourned so that Mo Shaik can recover from his chronic anxiety , let's have a look at what the DA have been up to lately.
As expected the DA rejected parliament's ethics commitee finding that Jacob Zuma be cleared of charges relating to his non-declaration of gifts.
And seeing they're on rejection roll, they also rejected the HSRC prediction that the ANC will win over 2/3 of parliament's seats. Well I guess they would, wouldn't they? The DA is hoping to increase it's 10.5% share of the votes, and it will need to make some gains in order to get the attention of the black vote.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 19th of November 2003 at 19:01
According to the latest survey by the Human Sciences Reseach Council, the ANC is set to capture over 2/3 of the vote in the next elections. The sample was quite large, over 7000 people, however only 7.8% of the respondents said they would not vote. Considering that in the last election that number was closer to 10%, and likely to get larger we might be in for a few suprises yet.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 19th of November 2003 at 15:47
Mac Maharaj : "I do not know if Bulelani Ngcuka was an apartheid spy." The Hefer Commission slides further into a farce. I'm sure old Judge Hefer himself must be wishing he could just dismiss the whole ordeal . What a way to cap off a career. So now that it seems this is not going anywhere can we turn our attention to the arms deal?
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 18th of November 2003 at 13:30
Mo Shaik is in deep, deep trouble . So not only did he confirm the allegations when they initially surfaced, but it turns out he was the one who initially leaked the report that fingered Bulelani Ngcuka as a 'probable' spy. I'm pretty sure some laws were broken there... And Mac Maharaj 's claim that he only went along to prevent further alleged abuses by Ngcuka is a bit odd seeing there are far better ways to address a politician abusing his power than by accusing him of being a spy.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 17th of November 2003 at 20:58
Well here's a shocker we didn't see coming: Ngcuka spy allegations linked to arms deal. As if anyone believes Mac Maharaj would have come forward had he not been under investigation by the Scorpions.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 17th of November 2003 at 10:06
Well the time has come. Mac Maharaj and Mo Shaik are appearing before the Hefer Commission today to present their evidence.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 14th of November 2003 at 12:13
Remember how three days ago we criticised the ANC for pushing bills through parliament without thoroughly debating them? Guess they never learn .
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 12th of November 2003 at 12:09
Alright Saffies overseas, you've got the right to vote , so more than 3000 of you better show up at South Africa House come elections next year.
And the Hefer Commission is back underway... for about 15 minutes
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 11th of November 2003 at 23:08
Looks like Penuell Maduna is not going to be included in the Hefer Commission . Bulelani Ngcuka ... you're on your own.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 11th of November 2003 at 12:32
The ANC has a bit of a history ramming bills through parliament, and then actuactually debating the ramifications and making corrections to the bill after the fact. They did so recently with the Electoral Act which prevented South Africans overseas from voting, and now that Act might be amended to allow them to vote. They seem to be doing it again with the Land Rights Bill, which is attracting widespread criticism from a large number of organisations.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 10th of November 2003 at 16:23
Update on the expat voting story: " Amendment may allow overseas vote" Hope this gets wrapped up ASAP.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 10th of November 2003 at 13:47
Well the IEC election drive only managed to register 300 000 out of the 9.5 million unregistered voters. These downward trends of the numbers of people actually voting are pretty much universal (only about 50% of people of voting age actually do so in the US) across all democracies where voting is not enforced by legislation (such as Australia). You can still register at any municipal office so if you haven't registered, you still have the option of taking part in the democratic process.
And speaking of disenfranchised voters, various opposition parties are gearing up to challenge the restriction on SA'ers voting overseas. Of course they're fighting over who is doing it better with the DA planning to table a bill in parliament while the FF plans to go through the court system.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 7th of November 2003 at 15:37
This weekend the IEC is hoping to register 9.5 million voters for next year's elections. They also claim that they will be ready to hold elections at the end of March, so I expect elections to be held in May/June.
And if you're unsure if you are registerd the IEC will tell you: Am I registered? . I know I am.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 6th of November 2003 at 19:23
Dept President Jacob Zuma has lodged a formal complaint againt Bulelani Ngcuka for the way in which he was investigated. He does have some justification what with Ngcuka claiming to have prima facie evidence but neglecting to prosecute. However you also have to wonder if it's just another attempt by Zuma to discredit Ngcuka what with the Hefer Commission not having the desired result for him.
Apparently the Dept of Home Affairs is looking to cut down on the number of public holiday's in order to boost productivity. The Dept. says it might consider combining public holidays into a single day. I'm personally looking forward to National Women's Labour Day (where men apologise for not being able to give birth) and Youth Freedom Day (Where the SABC will play nothing but Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' and Alice Cooper's 'Schools out for Summer').
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 4th of November 2003 at 14:37
Boeremag High Command: Teazers strip club in Pretoria. No doubt sound tactical planning ( "All blacks to Zim on the N1, all Indians on the N3 to Durban" ) was going on while some nubile thing shaked her rear in their faces. You can't make this stuff up...
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 3rd of November 2003 at 14:11
The DA and IFP coalition is now official . Not as tightly bound as the DA
NNP alliance (I think Tony Leon has learnt his lesson there) it bills itself as the (ugh) "Coalition for Change" . Both parties hope to win back their traditional provinces (Western Cape for DA, Kwazulu for IFP) in the next election. The DA can help the IFP in KZN but I'm afraid the IFP doesn't have much support in the Cape.
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 2nd of November 2003 at 12:24
There might be some in the ANC who don't like him but Bulelani Ngcuka is getting plenty of love from the banking industry.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 31st of October 2003 at 14:19
Lately the Landless People's Movement has been calling for a boycott on the upcoming elections, obviously unaware that doig so would only disenfranchise them further. Boycotts are well and good when your lack of participation helps your case (product boycotts etc) but in elections the opposite is true. Removing yourself from the the political process does does not, hast not, and will not help anyone.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 31st of October 2003 at 12:29
"Old NP was more corrupt than ANC", or so says Louis Luyt (ex-Rugby honcho, MP and key player in the Info Scandal), and I can believe it. As much as people believe the ANC is becoming more and more corrupt, they have nothing on the crap that went down when when the Nats were in office.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 30th of October 2003 at 16:03
Even though South Africa has had two successful democratic elections, the spectre of political violence still resurrects it's head every now and then. The fact that it is still present ten years after the end of Apartheid is a cause for concern. One would hope the ANC/DA/NNP/IFP would get together to produce a joint media campaign promoting democracy and respect for each other but in the current atmosphere where political sniping is reaching a peak, I don't see that happening.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 29th of October 2003 at 21:21
If Patricia De Lille wants to get her party going and ready for the elections next year she is going to have to do better than this .
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 29th of October 2003 at 14:28
Looks like the Hefer Commission will be sending out subpoenas to the various intelligence agencies to bring forth documents and testimony to the court. The heads of these agencies aren't really keen on the idea and this might drag the whole commission out a bit longer while they sort it out.
Winnie Mandela while still having grassroots popularity, is getting no love from the ANC in Gauteng (her strongest area of support is probably Soweto) as witnessed by her name not appearing on the provincial and national list. Considering that the Gauteng ANC branch probably most closely mirrors the ANC caucus nationally it looks doubtful whether the once 'Mother of the Nation' will be stepping into parliament next year.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 28th of October 2003 at 19:19
Mac and Mo : Still fishing ...
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 28th of October 2003 at 10:20
I heard on the radio this morning that the Institute for Democracy in South Africa is planning on taking the ANC, DA, NNP, IFP and ACDP to court in order to get them to declare the contributions they get from private sources who are allowed to be kept anonymous. IDASA claims that keeping it secret encourages corruption and is against the prinicple of transparency in elections. Not suprisingly the political parties aren't too thrilled releasing their donor lists. IDASA has been bringing this up since 2001 , but it seems like they are going to take some action now with elections on the horizon.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 27th of October 2003 at 12:42
Is the 'Die Stem' section of our national Anthem headed for the dustbin ? The government says they have no plans to change it but frankly I wish they would. Currently it's just too long and unwieldly jumping between two distinct tunes. A simplified Nkosi Sikeleli Afrika with verses in Zulu and Sotho would be ideal.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 27th of October 2003 at 12:26
Well it looks like the Hefer Commission is being adjourned for a few days while the accusing parties involved try to prevent the whole thing entering the realm of absurd comedy. Your tax money at work. Anyway it looks to reconvene once a decision has been reached on what documents the various intelligence agencies are allowed to hand over. This also gives Mac Maharaj and Mo Shaik a bit more time to find some evidence, any evidence, against Bulelani Ngcuka .
Interesting article in The Star detailing which politicians will be leaving the political stage in the next election. Most of those retiring have served their alotted two terms in office while some, like Penuell Maduna , are leaving due to the rise in infighting and political maneuvering in the ANC (or so he says). Due to the two term limit it is going to be interesting to see what happens to Trevor Manuel in two years time. Will they find a place for him when his run as Minister of Finance is over? Or will they use that oppurtunity to bury him in some minor cabinet role? I guess it all depends on who is holding the reins of power in the ANC at the time. From the article it seems that Speaker of the House Frene Ginwala will be retiring which is a shame. She really took her job to heart and despite being an ANC member would waste no time in admonishing any of her fellow ANC MP's who got out of hand. A real class act she was.
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 26th of October 2003 at 14:03
Is Cyril Ramaphosa making a political comeback after being placed on the ANC 'sWestern Cape national list? Will the former golden boy of the ANC be able to muscle his way back in to the inner sanctum? Also don't forget that this list will have to be submitted to the national office of the ANC who no doubt will do some editing...
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 26th of October 2003 at 12:44
Required Reading : Towards Ten Years of Freedom
Farrel Lifson on Saturday, 25th of October 2003 at 11:21
The general feeling seems to be that the Hefer Commission is not going to produce any evidence implicating Bulelani Ngcuka as an Apartheid spy. The various intelligence agencies have so far refused to name any spies they might know of, stating that Mac and Mo already claimed to have evidence so there is no need for them to provide any and doing so would transgress a few laws (and no doubt make few faces in the ANC red). The ANC say they have no further records available to give to the commission and seeing that so far there is no evidence supporting the accusations it seems that the ANC is leaving Mac and Mo in the cold.
And in any case, even if Mac and Mo did have evidence, they might have broken the law and are liable to be charged!
The Freedom Front is threatening legal action over the Electoral Bill restricting South Africans overseas from voting.
The ANC Western Cape provincial list conference is finally going ahead after the brief outburst of infighting recently. When it comes down to the crunch the ANC is always a happy family no matter how, as provincial chairman Ebrahim Rassool says, "the ANC's political opponents sought to exploit" their "most open and democratic process"
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 24th of October 2003 at 10:41
From testimony so far at the Hefer Commission it seems that the mysterious Mr X was the main Apartheid spy, and so far all the witnesses have indicated that Mr X is not Bulelani Ngcuka . So who is he? I don't think we'll ever find out. For one the witnesses have indicated that he is dead. Secondly since 1993 the ANC have had a moratorium on naming spies, of course this didn't stop Mac Maharaj and Mo Shaik .
Meanwhile Jacob Zuma is taking is not waiting for the commission in Bloem to finish and is organising his own informal investigation. I don't get it, he's going to investigate his own suspected misconduct? Conflict of interest anyone?
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 23rd of October 2003 at 12:37
It seems that Mac Maharaj and Mo Shaik are feeling the pressure now that the onus has fallen back on them to prove their allegations. They have both been absent from the Hefer Commission (hell even their lawyer Yunis Shaik was absent for the past few days) and it looks like they will be subpoena'd soon. With the agent RS452 allegation now dead the lawyers for Ngcuka and Maduna will be taking off the kid gloves and going for the kill. Expect some tough questions when Maharaj and Shaik take the stand.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 22nd of October 2003 at 14:29
" Mac Maharaj and Mo Shaik appeared to distance themselves today from allegations that prosecutions chief Bulelani Ngcuka was security police agent RS452. " The commission will still go forward but this really is a win for Ngcuka . Shaik and Maharaj will have to produce concrete evidence from now on to be taken seriously.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 21st of October 2003 at 13:57
What the hell is George Bizos doing representing the National Intelligence Agency at the Hefer Commission ? You'd think a guy like him who represented Apartheid era victims before the Truth and Reconciliation Comission would be against the State protecting those old secrets. Guess not.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 21st of October 2003 at 09:49
Vanessa Brereton : "I am Agent RS452, not Bulelani Ngcuka" And with that Mac Maharaj and the Shaik Brothers just collectively crapped their pants. Unless they come up with evidence, any evidence, supporting themselves and do it quick they are going to find themselves in more trouble than they started with.
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 19th of October 2003 at 16:06
Deputy President Jacob Zuma has been cleared of violating the parliamentary code of conduct. But the heat is far from being over. The Schabir Shaik trial will put the spotlight on him once again and the DA is not going to let us forget it. Meanwhile Thabo Mbeki just wishes this polticial mud storm would hurry up and go away .
The Independent Democrats , full of hope, full of promise.... full of the bickering and infighting that is prevalent in every single other political party. Let's hope Patricia De Lille gets that house in order and quick. Otherwise she might regret leaving the PAC .
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 17th of October 2003 at 14:00
Make no mistake the Hefer Commission is nothing short of a proxy battleground for factions in the ANC . While usually the ANC presents a united front, the mudslinging between the Maduna / Ngcuka and Maharaj / Zuma / Shaik camps has brought it all to the fore in an extremely messy way. The ANC has attmepted to give the cold shoulder to both camps to get them to shut the hell up but there is just too much momentium, with reputations (and money) now on the line. And I belive that Maharaj/Zuma will not be the winners. While the commission trundles along in Bloemfontain, parliament is still looking into his conduct with regards to his parliamentary gift dealings. Added to this is the fact that Maharaj/Shaik had to ask for a delay at the commission to find evidence supporting their claims. Why set the wheels in motion for a commission, when you have no evidence? And it remains that once the commission is over (as it seems it will not drag on for too long) and forgotten , the Shaik, and possibly Zuma, trial will still be in full swing.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 15th of October 2003 at 19:11
I don't know... it seems Mac Maharaj in his zeal to see Bulelani Ngcuka get taken down at the Hefer Commission (which he basically orchestrated, quite convenient) is starting to look just a little too desperate.
DA : " What about Zuma? Hello?!? "
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 14th of October 2003 at 19:47
Maduna guns for De Lille : You've gotta hand it to Patricia De Lille, she's turning into a firebrand who has no problems picking a fight.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 14th of October 2003 at 18:43
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 13th of October 2003 at 16:18
Eager not to be left out of the news, it seems the IFP might have a rift growing in KZN.
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 12th of October 2003 at 15:47
Minister of Justice Penuell Maduna has stated he will no longer make himself available for a cabinet position after the next elections. I guess he can be called the first victim of the Hefer Commission which has yet to actually start. How many more will find their standing in the ANC reduced we must wonder? A telling quote from Maduna: " The ANC is hurting badly " Couple the commission along with the current rumblings in the Western Cape and it seems there is a real struggle going on in the ANC. Of course no organisation can be as big as the ANC without there being problems...
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 10th of October 2003 at 10:36
Not so fast with those election lists! It seems the various ANC branches around the country are trying to sneak members not in good standing, such as Tony Yengeni , on to the election lists. I guess the Western Cape isn't alone after all...
Well it seems Patricia De Lille is something of a political prophet: Mbeki includes Maduna in spy probe .
The war of words between satirist Pieter Dirk Uys and the office of the presidency is heating up .
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 9th of October 2003 at 11:38
While the various ANC factions in the Western Cape continue to fight like children, at least they have their act together in Gauteng .
The IEC is continuing it's good work and has set a target to register another nine million voters.
Trevor Manuel : The future of the United Nations as a strong international organisation is under threat
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 7th of October 2003 at 15:08
The ANC Western Cape Conference has been postponed as the lobbying for positions on the voters roll turns hostile. It seems the ANC is split into two groupings with Ebrahim Rasool feuding with Mcebisi Skwatsha , where both groups have drawn up lists excluding all members from the other group. ANC sources are dismayed that "comrades have been pitted against comrades" . I kind of see it as a good thing and a reminder that the ANC is not the monolithic entity it's made out to be.
Hopefully the warring ANC factions won't go to the lengths of ' bewitching ' each other like their counterparts in Mpumalanga.
The wheels of justice turn... slowly : Shaik tial postponed to Feb 2004.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 3rd of October 2003 at 15:02
The Electoral Laws Amendment Bill has been approved , including the controversial clause preventing South African's resident overseas from voting. No word yet if any of the opposition parties are aiming to challenge it.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 3rd of October 2003 at 14:56
Mbeki : " Those who feel free to charge others in our ranks with having been agents of apartheid would have to answer for the charges they made. "
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 2nd of October 2003 at 16:03
COSATU is getting behind the drive to register voters . Of course, what political party wouldn't???
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 30th of September 2003 at 10:40
Good news for Thabo Mbeki : Mbeki is more popular
It seems COSATU have finally had enough and might be moving to slowly seperate alliance ties. Although when they come out with howlers like this:" he SACP is our only political assurance and insurance. ". The only thing the SACP can assure them is a quick ride to obsolesence. I'm sure as we get closer to elections COSATU will forget about any ideas for a split.
The IEC is still trying to get as many young voters as possible registered
Meanwhile the Jacob Zuma/Bulelani Ngcuka spat continues to drag on ...
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 29th of September 2003 at 12:50
At the Aardklop Arts Festival they've had a number of debates with various politicians including ID leader Patricia DeLille , FF leader Piet Mulder and old PFP (the party before the DP before the DA) leader Van Zyl Slabbert . Here are some interesting quotes: " Landsberg disagreed, saying Mbeki wanted a woman as leader of South Africa, and would therefore push Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. " Not if Trevor Manuel can help it... " But there was consensus, which was also clear in the audience, that members of government circles had already started pushing for a third term for Mbeki - because they were dependent on him for their own power. " If ever there is going to be a split in the ANC it will probably be over this issue.
Speaking of splits in the ANC it seems there's a few rumblings happening in the Western Cape as evreyone begins to jockey for position on the electoral lists.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 26th of September 2003 at 11:02
Patricia DeLille has reiterated her allegation that Minister of Justice Penuell Maduna was also included on the list of potential Apartheid spies, and should therefore be part of any investigation into Bulelani Ngcuka 's past. Can you smell the witch hunt?
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 25th of September 2003 at 13:26
The overseas voting question looks set to head to court, but in the mean time check with the IEC if you are registered .
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 24th of September 2003 at 12:55
Well it's Heritage Day , so most of the politico's are taking the day off...
Except for ankle-biters-in-chief the DA
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 21st of September 2003 at 15:40
To paraphrase a certain rapper: I'm the PAC, yes I'm the real PAC All you other PAC's are just imitating So won't the real PAC please stand up ?
I have updated the design, and it may continue to change over the next few weeks.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 18th of September 2003 at 12:25
Cosatu , being the starry eyed dreamers they are, still seem to still believe they are equals in the tripartate alliance. Luckily the ANC is there to bring their flights of fancy crashing back to earth
The DA is now going after the expatriate vote (that is if they are allowed to vote, nice about face there ANC ...). The estimated 1million expat Seffricans potentially could control 6% of parliamentary seats, which Tony no doubt has his eyes on.
Zinger of the Week: Speaker of the House Frene Ginwala giving ANC MP Muntukayise Bhekuyise Ntuli (who was caught with his hand in the parliamentary travel cookie jar) a public tongue lashing in parliament: " "By your actions you have wilfully breached the public's trust and you have undermined the integrity of the House and indeed the entire democratic process " That's got to sting...
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 17th of September 2003 at 12:45
It's funny because it's true.
The Zuma fracas is continuing but I have decided to shift focus off it a bit for the time being at least until something new pops up in the whole sordid deal...
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 15th of September 2003 at 11:50
CityPress has released another article in support of their claims that Bulelani Ngcuka was an apartheid spy. I wonder if they have any objections to past Prime Minister of the Transkei (and now Minister for Public Works) Stella Sigcau ?
Robert Kirby :" It's been but nine short years since the Union Buildings became head office to our bold new government, but quite enough time for the ANC, like some insect, to slough off its older and politically shapely exoskeleton, to metamorphose. ANC now stands for the Association of Nepotists and Cronyism. "
Farrel Lifson on Saturday, 13th of September 2003 at 15:53
Obviously for the Honorable Zandisile Ncincane all the excitement over the Zuma probe is just too much...
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 11th of September 2003 at 17:35
Wow! Go away for a few days and you miss out on all the excitement!
Mac Maharaj : And forget about Zuma and myself, Bulelani Ngcuka was a spy !
Anyway Zuma will seemingly get his day in court... in France .
Speaking of registering gifts to MP's it's good Land Affairs Minister Thoko Didiza is doing a good job making sure the "boxes of bandage strips, scour pads, electrical tape, a glue stick, self-laminating luggage tag protectors with loops, and sandpaper" are listed . No flies on her!
And the DA and IFP have seemingly solidified their "Coalition for Change" for the next election. And they're calling on others to join. Except the Independent Democrats who, according to the DA, can't cut the mustard .
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 5th of September 2003 at 13:15
Zinger of the Week: " We are ashamed that the ANC has chosen to side with those who seem bent on besmirching its proud traditions. " - The Mail & Guardian
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 5th of September 2003 at 13:13
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 3rd of September 2003 at 17:07
Patricia De Lille , who originally made accusations of suspicous goings on in the arms deal, has stated that the current probe into Zuma should be expanded to include State President Thabo Mbeki .
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 3rd of September 2003 at 13:27
In what is either the cleverest or stupidest move he has ever made Jacob Zuma is trying to force the National Director of Public Prosecutions to reveal documents that allegedly detail Zuma soliciting bribes. Depending on the content it can put even suspicion on Zuma.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 2nd of September 2003 at 17:14
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 1st of September 2003 at 19:00
Robert Kirby in his latest column (dealing mainly with Telkom bungling): Or is it just that someone high up in the African National Congress is still waiting to be paid off? Eina!
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 28th of August 2003 at 18:05
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 27th of August 2003 at 19:47
There would appear to be only one honourable course for Zuma to follow, in the interests of both the country and the ruling party. - The Star .
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 27th of August 2003 at 19:40
Welcome home , President Mbeki.
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 26th of August 2003 at 19:31
I think it's officially safe to say: Jacob Zuma is in deep, deep trouble. Today Schabir Sheik appeared in court and the charge sheet presented is just as damning for Zuma as it is for Sheik. There have been payments going back eight years for everything from education to car payments to Zuma's ANC dues(!!!). Zuma it seemed was also in overdraft at multiple banks and Sheik bailed him out. Whatever the reasons Bulelani Ngcuka had for not prosecuting are, I don't see how he can ignore the evidence (or be told to ignore the evidence) for much longer. He will be presenting evidence to Parliament in the next few days
One politico who can definitely cash in on this affair is Patricia DeLille . She has been making noises about corruption in the arms deal since 1999. If she uses it correctly, the publicity she is getting now can greatly help her get a few seats next year.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 25th of August 2003 at 17:19
After a bit of a week short of news, the Zuma probe is back on the front page of most newspapers today. With the Scorpions/NDPP , halting their prosecution of Zuma for the meantime (they are still prosecuting Shaik though and Mac Maharaj is still off the board of FirstRand).
Zuma then got a bit more confrontational, challenging NDPP chief Bulelani Ngcuka to " show me the money " (as the Cuba Gooding would say).
While Zuma can breathe a bit easier not having to face a full on Scorpions investigation, he probably will face a parliamentary investigation pretty soon.
Of course this latest round of sniping between Zuma and Ngcuka has given ample opportunity for political parties to get in on the act. The DA (who else) and UDM want Zuma to resign while the FF are all calling for judicial enquiry for Zuma to clear his name. The NNP are, of course, keeping quiet lest the ANC break their alliance in the Western Cape .
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 24th of August 2003 at 14:43
Zuma off the hook , but only until Bulelani Ngcuka can make a better case. We have concluded that, whilst there is a prima facie case of corruption against the deputy president, our prospects of success are not strong enough," he told reporters in Pretoria. . That's gonna hurt Zuma's position on the ANC election list. Good news for Trevor Manuel though. His popularity among the ANC and the electorate is continuing to climb and this will help him quite a bit as well.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 22nd of August 2003 at 11:38
It looks like Allan Boesak , who seemed to have a lot of ANC support (remember Dullah Omar fawning over him) despite his fraud convictions, has found that the ANC have short memories
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 18th of August 2003 at 11:09
Yesterday the Sunday Times reported that former ANC stalwart, and now capitalist extrodinaire, Cyril Ramaphosa , was intervening in the Zuma/Scorpions affair in order to negotiate a plea bargain for Zuma. Yes you read correctly, a plea baragain which usually follows some sort of admission of guilt . Ramaphosa, being the astute businessman, has now decided to not get involved . He made a clever choice there, because this story is just going to get uglier and uglier...
Speaking of things getting uglier and uglier, it seems that the report released by FirstRand investigating Mac Maharaj was not so exonerating as first thought.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 15th of August 2003 at 16:18
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 14th of August 2003 at 20:19
It seems Shaik is not stopping getting leave of appeal. He's going straight to the Constitutional Court . Interesting note from the article: Shaik had no problems turning over information on Maharaj but stopped short of doing the same for Zuma .
Maharaj meanwhile has come out sharply against the Scorpions , claiming they are leaking information to the press and that the FirstRand enquiry has found no evidence of corruption. Which still didn't stop him resigning though.
The DA of course welcomed the resignation but just wish Shaik would roll over and turn State's evidence on Zuma...
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 13th of August 2003 at 18:35
Well after Mac Maharaj's resignation there hasn't been much news about lately about the Zuma/Shaik scandal . Shaik was recently granted appeal againt the rule forcing him to answer the Scorpions' 35 questions .
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 11th of August 2003 at 19:38
When they aren't arguing with the DA , the NNP like to take their anger out on talk radio DJ's .
Farrel Lifson on Sunday, 10th of August 2003 at 15:39
Mac Maharaj has resigned from his position as a director of First National Bank . The National Prosecuting Authority has put Maharaj under extreme pressure to cooperate with their investigation into Schabir Shaik and Vice Pres Jacob Zuma . It seems clear that they are the main subjects of the investigation. Will Maharaj turn? I doubt it. But this resignation does not help Zuma at all.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 8th of August 2003 at 14:39
And it looks like Pretoria will remain Pretoria , at least for the time being. Personally I like to call it " that other capital ".
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 8th of August 2003 at 14:32
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 7th of August 2003 at 19:52
You never know till it happens to you : It seems some enteprising burglars broke into the government security compound and ransacked the homes of a few cabinet ministers as they slept. I wonder if the police will finally get a bit more governmental support after this? I'm sure Trevor Manuel must be a bit bitter his laptop is gone.
And it seems the Scorpions will indeed be sticking around . When units like the Scorpions get parliamentarians as jumpy as this you know they 're doing their job correctly .
The death penalty has been shifted back in the spotlight recently, and of couurse that means it's time for some political parties to get in on all that action. Lovely zinger from DA representative Nick Clelland-Stokes to the NNP's Danie Swanepoel over Swanepoel's insistence that the NNP has always been consistently in favour of the death penalyty : "Mr Swanepoel has conveniently forgotten that it was the National Party in 1990 that stopped the death sentence operating in South Africa." . Eina! Which is quite ironic isn't it? The old, bad NP getting rid of it while the shiny, transformed NNP wants to bring it back...
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 5th of August 2003 at 19:49
It seems Pres Mbeki might have been more than hinting about a review of the Scorpions . Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi has stated that they will in fact be reviewed shortly, although she claims it is a regular review . The Justice Dept , who ultimately oversee the Scorpions, have no idea what she is talking about. So did Minister Fraser-Moloketi jump the gun in making the statement or is this, as the DA call it, "nothing short of a veiled threat" ? Either Fraser-Moloketi is doing some serious currying of favour, or she's getting herself needlessly involved in some messy politics .
Other political parties are beginning to get their election strategies in place and it seems AIDS and the governments reluctance to distribute treatment is going to play a big role . The DA already has their Fire Manto web page, and now the IFP is calling for a " doctors revolt " while the ID want to see a " AIDS Truth Comission ".
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 4th of August 2003 at 12:47
The other big political news is the Boeremag trial . For those of you who don't know this trial is about 22 hardline Afrikaners who attempted to overthrow the government prior to the last elections. That's right... overthrow the country, with 22 people. It seems the Apartheid governments inferior education was not only limited to the black population.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 4th of August 2003 at 11:46
Well the Zuma/Shaik scandal has roped in another top level ANC official into it's sticky web. It seems that former Minister of Transport Mac Maharaj received an all expenses paid holiday to Disneyworld courtesy of Mr Shaik . Whether this links up with the various contracts companies owned by Shaik received from the ministry is yet to be known. Maharaj is keeping quiet now about it all though, but on the Friday before the story came out on he wasted no time in professing innocence on Tim Modise's show on CapeTalk 567.
And as this scandal continues the press is predicting there will only be one survivor , either Zuma or National Prosecuting Authority Director Ngcuka , although if the heat does fall on Zuma, I would theorise that Shaik will be the sacrificial lamb . Although what we really need now is Mel Gibson, Tina Turner, the Thunderdome and a rabid crowd screaming "Two men enter, one man leaves!!! Two men enter, one man leaves!!!"
The Zuma probe is also causing a bit of a furore inside the ANC . Some are rallying to side of the president , while others believe that the VP should have no special rights , especially when it comes to criminal investigation. President Mbeki , who is claiming to remain neutral in this affair, has hinted that the Scorpions might become a division of the South African Police which would put Ngcuka out of a job....
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 31st of July 2003 at 14:17
With the NNP no longer an opposition party DA leader Tony Leon is looking to create a 'coalition for change' to counter the ANC . Already he has roped in the IFP and one wonders who he will go for next? Tony left his ethics at the door when he joined up with the NNP so one wonders if he'll do the same to get the ACDP or PAC on his side. Knowing Tony and his quest for seats, probably.
Dept President Jacob Zuma is still furiously fighting any claims of wrongdoing. He almost accuses the National Prosecuting Authority of a witch hunt in his latest statement and has hinted he could defy the deadline set by the Scorpions . His co-accused Schabir Sheik (who is Zuma's personal financial adviser) is also proclaiming inoccence . Although if I were him I'd be careful , if there is any sign of dirty dealings it will be him who falls on his sword and not Zuma.
As expected Masioua Lekota received a paltry R5000 fine while Tony Yengeni was suspended from the ANC for five years, which was then suspended for three years as long as he keeps his hands out the cookie jar(or at least isn't caught with his hand in the cookie jar). Other political parties aren't so impressed with these verdicts, calling them a "ceremonial slap on the wrist" .
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 29th of July 2003 at 19:14
Well the fur is flying over the Zuma/Scorpions questions . Pres Mbeki wants the investigation over ASAP , while the DA surprisingly concurs but obviously for differing reasons . Mbeki would like to get it over with and forget it but the DA wants the findings as fodder for their election attack on the ANC .
Meanwhile the ANC Government is scrambling to find the source of the leak , with many a harsh worded memo being fired at the Scorpions boss , National Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka 's way.
And in other scandal related news , ANC stalwarts Tony Yengeni and Mosiuoa Lekota will learn their fate after the ANC Disciplinary committee releases it's judgement . Yengeni is out of parliament already, but it seems Lekota will be able to keep his position as Defence Minister thanks to his forthrightness, as opposed to Yengeni who denied any wrongdoing.
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 28th of July 2003 at 17:51
After The Sunday Times released the 35 questions that Dept. President Jacob Zuma will answer when the Scorpions grill him about various arms deal shenanigans , Zuma hit back calling the report "totally unacceptable and despicable" . However, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa has stated that he believes that the leak came from within the ANC and is part of the succession wars as ANC MP's jockey for place before the 2004 election . Quite interesting that, and it will have serious consequences for the ANC if true.
Meanwhile the electioneering in Kwazulu-Natal has heated up with the ANC labelling a local radio (SABC owned) station biased as it called on people "not to forget the IFP" . The ANC claim this is part of the IFP's efforts to use provincial resources as vote getting tools.
Farrel Lifson on Saturday, 26th of July 2003 at 12:27
With elections on the way opposition political parties are moving quickly to get ready for their upcoming battle the ANC majority . In KZN the IFP, DA and UDM are all huddling together to take on the election onslaught .
Meanwhile, past DA member, the NNP is hoping to prove it's worth to the ANC by appealing to coloured voters in the Western Cape . If they can't win the province for their ANC overlords they might find themselves without protection ...
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 24th of July 2003 at 18:10
Remember that dubious Nigerian oil deal ? Neither does the government .
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 24th of July 2003 at 12:39
From the Sunday Times : Author and academic Herman Giliomee says he believes that former South African president FW de Klerk was out foxed by events leading up to democratic changes in South Africa. Why was he out foxed ? Because he never kept Apartheid going when he could have! "You don't have to do this," the academic reported that he had said to De Klerk. Why transition to democracy when you can run the country into the ground with a bankrupt government for another 10 years ...
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 22nd of July 2003 at 18:51
Want to get a development built but don't want to wade through all that red tape ? Just get the MEC in your pocket to back date the authorisation even when he's out of office. Simple really.
"He never sleeps..." - Don't fall asleep in your office, supposedly being caused by the the air conditioning being turned up to high ... yeah that would've been my excuse as well, or Dumisani Makhaye will get you !
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 21st of July 2003 at 20:16
Well here's some good news for the ANC . Minorities are more reluctant to vote in the next election . Whether this will counter ANC voter apathy and dissatisfaction , we'll have to wait and see .
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 18th of July 2003 at 15:17
And all is quiet on the political front other than that. It's Nelson Mandela's birthday and no one wants to spoil it .
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 17th of July 2003 at 13:14
Mbeki : Judges are independent . Well at least we have his permission .
But not too independent "President Mbeki has told judges to discard old ways. He said there was a need for judges to make decisions that were in touch with the people." Well if that's the case then I guess the death penalty is on the way back ?
Aaaaaah... Kwazulu-Natal , the home of democracy and fair politics . Or maybe not .
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 16th of July 2003 at 13:05
More Travel Scam Stories: Parliament stops payment to travel agencies - And still no MP's have been named yet, although Frene Gin wala claims MP's "across the spectrum" are being investigated .
How the scam works and how it cheated parliament out of R4 million .
Not content to see other political parties hog the spotlight it seems the PAC is heading for a split . After losing their best known MP , Patricia DeLille, and a disastrous national conference that only highlighted their internal strife the PAC seems to be in a terminal tail spin . Can they pull out before the next election?
Farrel Lifson on Tuesday, 15th of July 2003 at 15:49
Government has released a statement detailing the ongoing investigation into the travel funds fraud . As noted no MP's have been implicated (this despite the Sunday Times fingering and ANC MP as part owner of one of the agencies being investigated). However National Assembly Speaker Frene Ginwala (and one tough lady when it comes to MP discipline) says "there will be no immunity" for MPs that are implicated and they are better off confessing now . Or out comes the comfy chair.
Tony Leon : "In a hard-hitting attack during the president's budget debate in the National Assembly, he said Mbeki had used the "race card" to deflect criticism, rekindling fear and hatred among the population." Patricia De Lille : "This level of antagonism has grown to a level of hatred on the part of both parties that threatens to polarise our already fragmented society. The only war that we need to be fighting in this country is the war against poverty and both parties seem to have lost sight of that" Seems De Lille is throwing her hat into the ongoing DA/ANC spat . Hope she survives the crossfire .
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 14th of July 2003 at 15:05
Mongesuthu Buthelezi (Minister of Home Affairs and head of the IFP) stated at the IFP National Congress that he has been 'humiliated' and 'belittled' by the ANC Government and that his time in the cabinet has been 'difficult' . So will he resign what with ANC and IFP relations becoming increasingly strained? Of course not !!!
And it's not just the IFP who the ANC is ticking off . Longtime alliance members the SA Communist Party and COSATU are angry that a number of their members have been left off the ANC election lists . I think the SACP are beginning to realise they are becoming nothing more than a tool for the ANC to trot out whenever they are accused of abandoning their socialist heritage . ANC : "Us? Capitalists? Let's ask our good friend SACP Deputy Chairman and ANC MP Comrade Cronin if the ANC is capitalist?" Cronin : "The ANC is dedicated to upholding the socialist cause. Capitalism bad. Socialism Good. Therefore the ANC is good." ANC : "Good boy. Here have a seat in parliament. Now roll over. Play dead. Good boy."
Farrel Lifson on Monday, 14th of July 2003 at 10:58
Firebrand HIV/AIDS activists, the Treatment Action Campaign have leaked a government report detailing that over 700 000 lives could be saved if the government provides anti-retroviral treatment . This is a major, major leak as it's one of the few times (and certainly the first time from such a high authority) the government would have officially admitted that ARV treatment will save lives . The infuriating part of this story is that the report has been ready for months and has only been waiting for Cabinet approval . It seems the Govt. has it's foot firmly stuck in it's mouth here and one wonders if our Minister of Health will have any response to this or will she keep her usual stony silence ...
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 11th of July 2003 at 16:41
Well it looks like we have our first scandal of the upcoming election . The M&G has obtained documents showing the IFP were planning to use public funds in a campaign against the ANC. Some of the charges brought up seem a bit empty (KZN Premier would try and take credit for ANC Provincial Chairman S'bu Ndebele's achievements) however others are more worrying (cutting the budgets of departments headed by ANC members). Whether this leads to an invesitgation (as the ANC would like) or fizzles out doesn't change the fact that SA politics is probably some of the dirtiest and highly entertaining politics on the planet.
Farrel Lifson on Friday, 11th of July 2003 at 11:14
Transcript of the joint press conference between Pres. Bush and Pres. Mbeki.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 10th of July 2003 at 18:05
Following the Bush visit, Mbeki is off to Mozambique for the AU Summit . The AU needs to seriously start getting it's act together quickly otherwise it will wind up being just as toothless as it's predecessor.
Farrel Lifson on Thursday, 10th of July 2003 at 10:36
Cool reception for Bush : Mbeki has been put in a bit of a tight spot , with ANC members of parliament giving the snub to Bush . While it's good to see the ANC sticking to it's ideological guns , it must be hard for Mbeki to negotiate while half of his ANC MP's are demonstrating outside .
Despite all the brouhaha happening outside, Mbeki has obtained support from Bush for a number of aid programs. No time frame has been set yet for the delivery and distribution of the aid yet.
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 9th of July 2003 at 18:06
Zimbabwe's MDC have stated that the claims put forth by Pres. Mbeki to Pres. Bush that the MDC and Zanu-PF are in talks is false . However Bush has stated that he is in 'one mind' with Mbeki over Zimbabwe.
Bush has been met by a number of protesters including some Americans. However it seems they weren't too happy with the tone the protests were taking: A disillusioned member, 20-year old Brian from Ohio, was seen hastily walking away. ...."I came here to build peace and break down barriers caused by apartheid. I've come to learn, but this rally is not about peace," he said.
Due to Bush's visit Mbeki is also looking to be seen as more proactive when it comes to HIV/AIDS . He has signalled that the government might roll out anti-retrovirals nationally which, if it happens, is a very good thing . Mbeki even used the word 'anti-retroviral' in a speech, which as the article notes is a very rare occurrence .
And in matters not related to the US state visit, the DA is once again criticising the President. Following Mbeki's article in the Guardian, the DA has some harsh words on some of the terms Mbeki uses: Taljaard accused Mbeki of distorting the "neo-liberal" approach to development. "There is not a single 'neo-liberal' economist who would argue that capital must be given free rein without any government intervention."
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 9th of July 2003 at 14:18
The Pretoria News has an interesting article ( note : subscription required) about the two female powers behind the Presidents: Condoleeza Rice (US National Security Adviser) and Mojanku Gumbi (Legal Adviser to the President). The discussion between these two might be more important than that between the heads of state.
News24 has a gallery dedicated to Pres. Bush's visit
And it's good to know that the Dept of Home Affairs has made sure Bush isn't crossing the border illegally
Farrel Lifson on Wednesday, 9th of July 2003 at 14:06
Here's a reversal of business accusing government of corruption: Parliament lays criminal charges against travel agencies