Cosatu’s unquestioning support, however, deserves scrutiny. The hard and undeniable fact is that Zuma has never offered support to Cosatu on any major policy issue—not on HIV/Aids, the Zimbabwe debacle, macroeconomic policy, the fight against the neoliberal restructuring of the public sector or privatisation. Where was this “friend of the people” during those hard days? Not only was he silent in the often heated clashes between Cosatu and the government, but as the second-most senior leader of the ANC and government, he took major responsibility for those policies and their negative effects, including massive job losses.
We’ve discussed this before because it seems there’s a disconnect here and I have the feeling both sides are trying to take advantage of the other, or perhaps they are both in an understanding of some sort where both parties try to come out on top. COSATU have decided that they want ‘anyone but Mbeki’ in power and have chosen Zuma as their man because he enjoys some popular support and I would hazard to guess they believe he will be easily influenced to carry out their policies. Zuma has implicitly welcomed their support because it will help him get back in office, although it is unclear if he ever intends to return their favours.
Just in case you thought it was all sweetness and light within the DA it’s refreshing to know that even they resort to a bit of intra-party bickering.
The Independent Group (publishers of a majority of SA’s newspapers) has asked for public help in fighting the new Film and Publications Amendment Bill. Here’s a joint statement released by the Freedom of Expression Institute, the National Editor’s Forum and the Media Institute of South Africa about the bill:
If this proposal is accepted by parliament, the effect will be that the print and broadcast media will be subjected to the dictates of the Film and Publications board. The practical effects will be that the media will be subjected to pre-publication censorship, probably forced to expunge large amounts of their news coverage from their pages or broadcasts and submit to procedures which will prevent papers from being distributed on a daily or weekly basis and result in broadcasters having to delay news broadcasts. The fact that the Bill makes provision for exemption matters little, as to impose this duty on the media amounts to seeking licence to publish.
When he’s not having unprotected sex with an HIV positive woman, he’s getting ready for a bit of gay bashing.
Despite often going head to head with the Presidency and the Minister of Health, Zackie Achmat is still a card carrying member of the ANC. Indeed in my one brief conversation I had with him a while ago he seemed upbeat on the ANC, believing the TAC’s issues with government were more the fault of Mbeki/Msimang than the policy of the ANC itself.
So it’s suprising to see that Achmat (along with the TAC) is so far opposed to Local Government MEC Richard Diyanti’s move to restructure the Cape Town Council calling it “undemocratic”. He even went so far as to call it “the ANC’s attempt at a power grab”, so perhaps he’s grown a bit tiresome of the ANC since I last spoke to him.
But it seems to be getting even worse for Diyanti with SACTWU one of the larger COSATU unions asking to have a meeting with Diyanti to ask about the proposed changes, although I’m unsure of whether they’re actually opposed to the changes or just ticked off because they were not consulted beforehand.
The interdict preventing the M&G from publishing a story on Maanda Manyatshe has been thankfully dismissed. The story will now be published on Friday. It better be juicy!
In what can only cap off a controversial day, Trevor Manuel has claimed that he has no desire to be president as he “loved his freedom too much to take up the country’s top post” although he will gladly continue to serve as Finance Minister.
Now long time readers will know we are Manuel supporters here at Politics.za so this makes us kind of sad. However there might still be hope! Manuel states that currently the president’s security has to literally “send out dogs and that just does not fit in with my lifestyle”. Well you can still be president and not send out dogs… right? Right?!?
The corruption case against Jacob Zuma has been struck off the court roll!
It seems the prosecution will have to wait until the current appeal against a search and seizure order against Zuma is completed.
The case is not dismissed but the prosecution will now have to refile charges at a later date pending the outcome of the appeal.
For all the talk (by me included) of him being a canny politician Thabo Mbeki is being seriously outmaneuvered here. First he is out of the country during the COSATU congress and now this.
It’s official. Western Cape MEC for Local Government Richard Diyanti has notified Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille thay he intends to reorganise the Cape Town council into an executive committee type system. This system would make the mayor largely ceremonial and place most of the power in a 10 person committee which would comprise of the DA (4 seats), the ANC (4 seats) and the ID (2 seats) although the linked article mentions it might be DA:4/5 ANC:4 ID:1 ACDP:1(?), with the smaller parties (ACDP who may or may not get a seat, FF+, AMP) shut out.
Prior to their election victory the DA claimed preference for the executive committee model when it seemed possible the ID would join them in a coalition. When the ID decided to back the ANC in the mayoral vote the DA were basically left with no choice but to stay with the executive mayoral system or face defeat.
Diyanti justifies the move saying that an executive committee would be more ‘stable’ and the executive committee would be more ‘inclusive’. Which begs the question. So when is Tony Leon (or Joe Seremans considering the ANC’s distate for Leon) getting his ‘inclusive’ cabinet position? Sure the ANC received 69% of the national vote but with the DA that would be an even more inclusive 80%! If Diyanti was so worried about stability he might want to recommend that floor crossing be scrapped as it’s probably the single greatest cause of upheaval in local councils (usually in the ANC’s favour though).
Here’s a telling quote from the ANC’s Max Ozinsky:
The recent local government election did not produce a clear winner and at the moment only half of the voters are represented in the mayoral committee, leaving the other half outside.
Will someone please call a whaaaaambulance? Perhaps someone should remind Max that the ANC were the ones who introduced the executive mayoral committee system in the first place and during their time in power excluded the DA from it. He also doesn’t mention that every single other council in the Western Cape uses the executive mayoral system currently. Max also somehow implies that the ANC is somehow totally shut out of the political process which is not true as while they are not on the mayoral committee they still have 88 votes on the council and also does not consider such facts that the budget that was passed in May was largely drawn up by the previous ANC committee and that the new city manager appointed by the DA, Achmat Ebrahim, was a member of the ANC’s management team.
Business Day had an opinion piece yesterday that called such a move as smelling of ANC desperation. The guys at Commentary say it show’s the disrespect the ANC shows towards the democratic process. DA Mal, who comments on the Commentary thread, seems suprisingly upbeat and indicates he believes this will probably be killed in the courts and should it go through the ANC will suffer in subsequent provincial and local elections.
Now what about the ID? Well give them credit they have been consistent from even before the elections that they preferred an executive committee system and obviously they stand to gain if this change goes through. However if you consider the beatdown the ID took when it sided with the ANC during the council mayoral vote and the near revolt amongst it’s members they will have to be be very careful not to fuel further uprising if they are seen as helping the ANC in this. If the reforms do indeed go through I wouls assume that the ID would be siding more with the DA than the ANC, especially after the DA successfully picked up the council seat in Tafelsig after the ID councillor (Sheval Arendse who then ran under the DA) resigned from the ID in protest of their support of the ANC’s mayoral candidate.
Finally I’d like to mention that as of a month ago in the Eastern Cape, three of the largest municipalities were so rife with infighting in the ANC that they have yet to actually appoint mayors. And yet I have yet to hear of the Eastern Cape provincial government intervening there despite the complete chaos and shambles those councils are in when compared to Cape Town.
So once again I implore government to scrap this law. It’s intended aim, to register pre-paid SIM cards so that cell owners can easily be traced to fight crime, is easily subverted by even the most simpleton of criminals. However it is this laws onerous regulations, that require nearly 25 million people to register their phones within a year, that threaten to remove the only source of telecommunication from millions of poor South Africans that is the real reason this law needs to be thrown out.