Why stake the credibility of Transnet on someone with disciplinary charges?

By Judith February

There is an ugly spat brewing at Transnet. It’s one which is not unlike some of the others taking place in various institutions across the country where the interests of party and state continue to collide in a messy and undermining way. Transnet has a potentially pivotal role to play in the economy, though of course the para-statal has been beset with challenges. Not even the talismanic powers of former CEO, Maria Ramos were enough to turn this complex animal around.  A row over the appointment of a new CEO is not what it needs now, but it looks increasingly likely.
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Choosing a New Public Protector for SA

Over the next few weeks, parliament (a committee representing all political parties) will interview potential candidates for our new public protector.
So what does the “public protector” do?
The primary duty of the Public Protector is to ensure that ordinary citizens benefit from efficient and fair public administration. We need more South Africans to voice their opinion about the choice of the person in this office … Continue reading

SA Needs Pragmatism and Reassurance – Pre-State of the Nation

A month has passed since the April 22 election. The South African economy has entered its first official recession since the early 1990s. With a contraction of 6.4 percent in gross domestic product (GDP) in the last quarter and zero percent growth forecast for the second quarter of this year, all indications are that the worst of this recession is yet to come. The country needs a dose of pragmatism, reassurance and solutions.

 During the Mbeki years, characterised by stable but unequal growth and a booming global commodities market that meant relative economic stability, the State of the Nation addresses were increasingly mechanical and predictable. Mbeki was not afraid to court controversy and used this platform to espouse his Two Nations thesis, which later developed into a Two Economies analysis. However, criticism of his addresses focussed more on the deafening silences on critical issues, most notably, HIV/AIDS and Zimbabwe.

Jacob Zuma and the ANC ran a strong election campaign, focussing on an agenda of socio-economic transformation. The campaign slogan of Together, we can do more holds an implicit admission that the ruling-party has not delivered enough on its previous goal of a Better life for all, and it is this theme which is likely to take centre stage at Zuma’s State of the Nation address. Given recent public protests at poor service delivery and continued threats of public service strikes within the municipal and health sectors, Jacob Zuma will need to Zuma engage with citizens on these issues and demonstrate strong leadership and will on behalf of the new government to deal balance various competing interests.  Zuma’s address will thus come in for keen scrutiny from the opposition benches and more importantly, he will experience increasing pressure by extra-parliamentary formations such as the ANC’s Alliance partners. The alliance partners will be looking to Zuma for the quid pro quo for their election support and citizens will be looking to him for direction during difficult economic times. In addition, business will want to see continuity in the midst of change. So, Zuma will have to navigate tricky waters if he is going to satisfy the high expectations of a variety of divergent stakeholders.       Continue reading

Zuma and His Cabinet

– By Judith February –  South Africans’ capacity for magnanimity has been well-displayed these past weeks. Jacob Zuma is our President. Despite the cloud of corruption which will continue to hang over his head despite occupying the highest office, we, the people, have a responsibility not only to demand accountability but to put our shoulders to the wheel. In Zapiro-speak, the shower-head has been suspended. Temporarily. Continue reading

Zuma and his cabinet

-By Judith February – South Africans’ capacity for magnanimity has been well-displayed these past weeks. Jacob Zuma is our President. Despite the cloud of corruption which will continue to hang over his head despite occupying the highest office, we, the people, have a responsibility not only to demand accountability but to put our shoulders to the wheel. In Zapiro-speak, the shower-head has been suspended. Temporarily. Continue reading

What did they spend? Party Funding and Campaigns in SA …

By: Judith February

With the elections over and the African National Congress celebrating its victory, it is clear that, along with the people, the money has also spoken.

Estimates put the ANC’s election spending at between R200million and R400m. No one can be sure of the actual amount, given the lack of transparency in the funding of political parties.

All political parties seem to agree that transparency is a good thing but appear to lose their appetite when it comes to disclosing their own sources of funding. It has been a case of “show me yours and I’ll show you mine”. Continue reading