There’s nothing I hate more in politics than pettiness. And this report from the Johannesburg City Council is a prime example.
As a result of a ruling approved by the ANC’s 136 councillors last week, the amount of time each party is allowed on the floor of the chamber will be proportional to their amount of elected representatives.
The smallest parties such as the IFP will therefore only be allowed to speak for four seconds while even the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), which has 59 councillors, can only speak for two-and-a-half minutes.
I think the ANC councillors knew exactly that when they passed this ruling. Of course with the size of the ANC majority in the council it wouldn’t have mattered if the opposition parties were given unlimited time on the floor, the outcome would have been the same.
Has Gauteng Premier
Mcebisi Mbhazima Shilowa ever seen a multi-billion Rand train project he didn’t like? First we had the Gautrain (R20 billion and probably rising) and then we had the proposed Soweto Monorail which would have cost R12 billion, although it seemed it was going to be privately funded. That was quickly shot down by the national Transport Ministry but lo and behold it seems to be possibly back on the drawing board.
Minister of Transport Jeff Radebe says the first time he heard about the proposed monorail between Soweto and Johannesburg was when he read about it in the paper.
Radebe said it was not clear “what particular process” had been followed to secure the contract for the monorail. “I’m as in the dark as you are at the moment,” he told the committee.
Now the federalists amongst you out there might very well be cheering the Gauteng provincial government along, after all what business does the national government have in a province’s affairs. Unfortunately with the current administrations love for central planning and considering that all rail projects are considered an area of ‘national competence’ I guess we can assume the monorail is all but dead now.
The building of a 44,7 kilometre monorail between Johannesburg and Soweto has been “put on hold”, the Transport ministry said on Friday.
What is it with Gauteng and expensive railway projects? Gauteng Finance and Economic Affairs MEC Paul Mashatile has announced the building of a R12 billion monorail linking Soweto and Johannesburg.
This one actually makes a bit more sense than the Gautrain (which links Johannesburg, OR Tambo Airport and Pretoria) as the Soweto Monorail will carry close to 1 500 000 people a day, compared to the Gautrain which will carry a pitiful 20 000/day.
It seems despite being all the way up north Gauteng DA leader John Moody is putting his vote next to Helen Zille’s name as new leader of the DA.
“To me, Helen is the most appropriate person to head the party. She has a personality that draws people to herself… Helen has become for Cape Town and the DA, our own Helen Of Hope,” said Moody, the party’s first black provincial leader.
‘Helen of Hope’? I guess it’s better than ‘Kortbroek’, but only just.
It seems the DA leadership race is going to be a three horse race between Zille, DA Federal Chairman Joe Seremane and DA Eastern Cape leader Athol Trollip.
Gauteng MEC for Housing Nomvula Mokonyane is planning to blacklist any company that employees a senior department official. I guess she’s decided to accelerate the proposed cooling off period for civil servants entering private enterprise.
The MEC however still has a lot of explaining to do for the housing backlog in Gauteng and can’t place all the blame on departing staff. Perhaps she’d like to explain how a R58 million contract to build low cost housing granted in 2004 has yet to actually produce a house.Update: And now the Department of Correctional Services is coming under fire for the same problem
Correctional Services came under fire on Tuesday as parliament demanded to know why the very same high-level officials who awarded contracts for the construction of new prisons later became directors of the same companies that won the lucrative tenders.
In recent US history, the easiest way to become president was first to become governor of a state. George W. Bush was governor of Texas, Clinton of Arkansas, Regan of California and Carter of Georgia.
In SA we have not had a long enough period of democratic rule to extrapolate any kind of trend of who will be president, but one thing that has been a recurring theme is that the Premier of Gauteng has always been mentioned as a presidential contender. When Tokyo Sexwale was premier under the Mandela administration there was a lot of chatter about him being the next president. That he was forced out of politics, supposedly thanks to Mbeki, before any of the chatter could become reality is an indication of the prestige and weight the position holds.
So while reading through this article about current Premier of Gauteng Mbhazima Shilowa’s speech at the opening of the provincial legislature I couldn’t help but wondering if we have another stealth presidential candidate in the making. The speech seemed to be everything that people wanted out of Mbeki’s opening speech at parliament. A new focus on combating crime (R600 million for the 10111 emergency system alone – which seems a bit much to me), focusing on underperforming schools, a planned 60% increase in the number of HIV+ sufferers on anti-retrovirals – what’s not to like?
Shilowa has kept his head down and quiet over the whole Mbeki/Zuma struggle, hasn’t been involved in any political scandals that I’m aware of and to top it all off he’s got lots of cred with the various left wing factions thanks to his past leadership of COSATU. The only black mark I can put against his name is the Gautrain which is still in my opinion the wrong approach to take to reduce congestion and traffic but at least there’s the possibility of something cool coming out of the whole process.
Now of course this is all speculation on my part so take it all with a grain of salt but if he is playing the quiet under the radar game then he’s playing it very well.There’s still a few months to the ANC congress and I really do hope we start getting a better idea of who the potential candidates are in the near future.Update: Shilowa unveils plan to tackle crime rate
GAUTENG premier Mbhazima Shilowa yesterday gave one of the strongest undertakings from a senior government leader to address the high crime rate as he unveiled a number of crime-fighting initiatives.
The province, which has taken a strong stance on a number of issues, including HIV, was the first to make public its crime-fighting initiatives, following criticism of President Thabo Mbeki’s and government’s alleged failure to deal effectively with crime.
The accounting records kept by the department were so poor that Gauteng Auditor-General Adronica Masemola chose not to express an opinion on the department’s audit report and refused to confirm its claimed R980-million revenue.
Gauteng Transport MEC Ignatius Jacobs admitted that his department – which has had qualified audits for the past two years – deserved just one star (out of five) for its woeful administration record.
Well at least they won’t be in charge of the entire R20 billion Gautrain budget right? Right?!?
It’s about time that the Dept of Transport has finally decided to allocate some funds towards upgrading the trains that hundreds of thousands of commuters use everyday.
Except that the R40 million to be spent nationwide on new coaches over the next 3 years is miniscule when compared to the R20 billion(!) budget of the Gautrain, which will carry (an estimated) 20 000 people a day. Now it might be just me but things would make a whole lot more sense if those numbers were swopped.
R40 million is 0.2% of the entire Gautrain budget, and yet it is to be spent on a national level as opposed to the regional focus of the Gautrain. Now granted this R40 million is just for new coaches but it’s indicative of where the effort is being made and it’s just not making much sense to me.
For those of you not in the SA political know, let’s just say that the FF+ is pretty much a bunch of white Afrikaner (ex?)nationalists.
The stranger thing is that of the 787 votes the FF+ got in Soweto, 430 were ward votes which implies that the FF+ actually had a ward candidate running for that area.
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