Tag Archives: Zuma

South Africa – ANC says media ganging up on it

Mail and Guardian

ANC cadres in government can expect a media training course to help them counter “escalating ideological and political attacks” against the party.

The ANC says the media has been ganging up on the party, and they want to make it compulsory for ANC cadres deployed in government to go on a media training course. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

In its discussion document on the battle of ideas, media transformation and diversity and accelerating digital future released on Monday ahead of its national general council on October 9 to October 12, the ANC expressed its unhappiness with the consistent negative coverage by the media on the party and the government under President Jacob Zuma.

The ANC government has over the past few years come under criticism on a number of issues, including the electricity crisis, the slow pace of economic growth, the killing of striking workers in Marikana by police and the spending of R246-million at Zuma’s homestead in Nkandla.

“The news media has been filled with raging attacks on the nature and character of the movement. Opposition parties who lost the elections have been provided with ample space to question the outlook of the mass democratic movement and substitute with their own visions. There is a ganging up on the ANC and the movement’s representatives by the media analysts, media commentators, the ultra left and ultra-right forces. All the media outlets, including unfortunately the public broadcasting outlets are dominated by the persistent attack on the NDR [National Democratic Revolution],” read the document.

But the ANC insists it has done a lot more positive things, which are deliberately ignored by the media. It want its cadres to tell the good story themselves.

To set the agenda in the national discourse, the party believes all its cadres “must be obligated to attend media coaching and training”. The party complains that its spokespersons remained largely lone voices, as there was no co-ordinated machinery that drew on the collective political and ideological base of the movement.

“As a result, the ANC has failed so far to set the agenda in the national discourse through the limited dialogues on all media platforms. The ANC has not effectively demanded its rightful share of the media space. In many instances the right to reply to baseless attacks have not been followed upon.

It is now usual to hear one-sided discussions, attacking the ANC, in print, radio and television platforms without ANC cadres and spokespersons participating. There is a need for co-ordination of the participation by ANC cadres on the different platforms where the ANC voice is in deficit,” reads the document.

The party is also proposing a review on government policy that mandates placements of advertising on national newspapers, saying this reinforces media monopoly.

“These so called national newspapers are not available in all local municipalities and rural areas. This policy therefore is not reflective of the real media landscape in our country, in terms of national coverage platforms.

To transform the way government communicates, to its citizenry, the party proposes the development of a National Government Communications Policy to provide a framework for communications at different spheres of government.

“The national government communications policy should provide for the use of all official languages and all platforms to reach all citizens”.

The party has reiterated its view that the existing self-regulatory mechanism [Press Ombudsman and Press Council] remained ineffective and that it needed to be strengthened. The document raises concerns about the continuing dominance of the media by the big four namely Naspers, Times media Ltd, Caxton and the Independent Group, which has changed ownership to Sekunjalo.

“The print media is still dominated by four big players. These companies also dominate the entire value chain of the market especially printing, distribution, advertising and research. This integration and the very market structure is perhaps the biggest barrier to market entry and potentially show possible anti-competitive behavior. Other mainstream media players include the M&G Media and TNA media”.

South African Editors Forum [Sanef] chairperson Mpumelelo Mkhabela said the organisation was humbled by the fact that the governing party was leading a discussion among its members on media issues.

“Whatever the direction or conclusion of the discussion, it should be within the parameters set by the Constitution. We hope there will be due regard to the important role the media plays in society more broadly and in enhancing the quality of our democracy. The quality of our democracy is measured not only in holding regular clean elections and socioeconomic empowerment, but also on how the state respects the media’s right to remain critical without worrying about advertising threats.

“There is a real danger that some threats – whether they materialise or not – could result in financially distressed outlets resorting to journalistic niceties in their coverage. To paraphrase UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, ‘let journalism thrive’. We hope the governing party will assist us in making this call a practical reality. We look forward to the outcome of their debate,” said Mkhabela.

South Africa – Malema says he will see Zuma in court


“Let’s meet you in court,” said Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema at the close of this afternoon’s question-and-answer session with President Jacob Zuma in Parliament. 
Malema got the last word after Zuma, who was asked when he was going to pay back the money for Nkandla, referred to the parliamentary process that is currently under way. 
Although speaker Baleka Mbete had not “recognised Malema”, he stood up and said: “It is very clear that we are never going to get an answer. Let’s meet in court.” 
In his reply, Zuma also answered that the Public Protector’s report had stated that he should instruct the minister of police to determine how much he should pay back for “security upgrades” at his home in Nkandla. 
This was despite the Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, pointing out last week that her report did not say this. 
Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane corrected Zuma, saying that Madonsela’s report required him to determine, with the treasury’s assistance, how much he should pay back. 
The sitting took place with members of the controversial Parliamentary Protection Services standing guard outside the doors of the National Assembly. A DA member commented that he recornised two of the new recruits – former SAPS members – mostly dressed in white shirts and black pants, from a previous sitting of the house, when the EFF MPs were forcibly removed. 
After Malema asked his question and Zuma said that the parliamentary investigation was still under way, EFF members repeatedly rose for points of order even though Mbete had not recognised them. 
Opposition MPs – especially United Democratic Movement MPs, whose leader Bantu Holomisa was unable to speak due to the constant interjections – became visibly fed up with the EFF’s behaviour.

South Africa – two Nkandla tours but no answers

Mail and Guardian

Both parliamentarians and selected media have now been inside Nkandla, but no group has emerged with answers to the most important questions.

Both tours have to date failed to address Madonsela’s finding that Zuma was guilty overexpenditure on the Nkandla project. (Madelene Cronje, MG)


On Sunday, the gates to the presidential homestead in rural KwaZulu-Natal were cracked open just wide enough to admit a small group of journalists to what the presidency considers the publicly-funded areas of the core compound.

The group included no representatives of the Mail & Guardian, nor any from City Press, the two newspapers most responsible for bringing the spending of public money there to public attention since December 2009.

As was the case when MPs were granted access last week – the first access ever granted to anyone not in the employ of the state or a Chapter 9 institution – the official media tour did not include the actual residences of the Zuma family, instead being limited to outside areas and structures built from scratch by the state. Through that omission it neatly avoided problematic features such as the (state-funded) air-conditioning units noted by investigators from the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) in a report first made public in September 2014.

The media tour also did not include any answer from President Jacob Zuma on burning questions, such as why he initially told public protector Thuli Madonsela he was willing to repay taxpayers for the cost of building a larger cattle kraal (which he requested because the size of his herd had increased) then tacitly recanted.

Both tours – and the ongoing deliberations of Parliament’s ad-hoc committee on Nkandla – have to date failed entirely to address Madonsela’s finding that Zuma was guilty of an ethical breach for failing to protect state money from wild over-expenditure on the Nkandla project. Nor have any of the events and discussions addressed the findings of the SIU that Zuma’s personal architect and his agent in his dealings with the state on Nkandla was responsible for an enormous waste of taxpayers’ money – some of it money diverted from allocations where it would have contributed to regenerating city centres and protect against the disaster of dolomitic sinkholes.

Instead, the tours and deliberations have brought focus on the poor state of repair of state infrastructure in and around Nkandla and the often shoddy workmanship of the initial construction.

For the ANC, apparently hellbent on protecting Zuma from personal liability, this has served to undermine the narrative of comfort and luxury bought for Zuma and his family at state expense, even though the actual living conditions of the family have never been on show.

For the opposition, the Democratic Alliance in particular, the poor construction and upkeep have presented an opportunity to hark back to its primary election message: that the state under the ANC is incapable and wasteful. With Nkandla unlikely to sway voters in upcoming local government elections and with Zuma not in contention in the national elections that will follow, the opposition has shown a distinct liking for this broader criticism of the government, even at the price of turning Zuma into a perceived victim of graft and state ineptitude rather than a recipient of largess.

That leaves only Madonsela’s office insisting that Zuma must take some personal responsibility and make at least token amends and that only through what Madonsela has herself described as soft power, limited to persuasion by public shaming.

And it leaves unaddressed the structural problems of a system in which a President is responsible for policing his own ethics, and where half a decade of state misspending and overspending can pass without any public representatives being held to account.

South Africa – Accountability Now lays corruption charges against Zuma and Masutha


2015-07-21 08:47

Justice Minister Michael Masutha (GCIS)

Justice Minister Michael Masutha (GCIS)

Johannesburg – Charges of corruption and defeating the ends of justice have been laid against President Jacob Zuma and Justice Minister Michael Masutha over the R17m payout to former National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Mxolisi Nxasana, Accountability Now director Paul Hoffman said.

The civil complaint was laid at Ocean View police station in Cape Town on Monday, Hoffman said.

The charges are in terms of Section 9 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

Accountability Now is a registered NPO that works to keep political leaders accountable for their actions.

He explained that the Constitution says the NDPP must act independently and without fear or favour. There must also not be any interference in the functioning of the NDPP.

In May a commission of inquiry into Nxasana’s fitness to hold office was called off at the last minute by Zuma’s office and it was later reported that Nxasana had received a R17m settlement to leave.

No reason was given for Nxasana’s departure and he has since been replaced by advocate Shaun Abrahams.

Corrupt activity

Accountability Now believes the settlement is allegedly a corrupt activity and could be a contravention of Section 9(2)(d) of the Act.

This is because it allegedly shows favour to Zuma by vacating office rather than pursuing charges relating to his home in Nkandla, or the charges that were dropped against Zuma after his former financial adviser Schabir Shaik was convicted of corruption for facilitating a bribe to Zuma from an arms company.

Shaik is on parole.

The organisation included allowing ”certain well connected wedding guests” to land at Waterkloof Air Force Base – a reference to guests landing at the base in a private jet to attend a Gupta family wedding – and ”defeating the ends of justice by spiriting [Sudanese President Omar] Al-Bashir out of the country” to its complaint.

Bashir managed to leave the country after an African Union summit, in spite of an order to all border posts preventing his exit pending an application to have him handed to the International Criminal Court to face accusations of crimes against humanity and genocide.

South Africa – Police minister Nhleko says Nkandla security needs checking and could cost more

The ANC and its ministers, led from the top by the avaricious and amoral Zuma, are quite unbelievable in their mindless trampling over the country and use of its resources as their personal property, KS


Mail and Guardian

Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko has said that security at the president’s residence needs to be reassessed, which could result in further costs.

So-called security upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's residence have so far cost taxpayers R246 million.

Security at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla residence needs to be re-evaluated due to the public scrutiny it has come under, Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko said on Tuesday.

In addition, the cost of the upgrades could still increase as the investigation had forced some of the work to be halted, he told Parliament’s ad hoc committee on Nkandla, in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature in Pietermaritzburg.

The committee, which includes members of the ANC, DA, ACDP and NFP, is expected to visit Nkandla on Wednesday. It is studying Nhleko’s report—released on May 28—in which he said Zuma did not have to repay any of the R246-million spent on so-called security upgrades at Nkandla.

“This is exactly nwhat we are saying—that the security experts must go back to assess the extent of the vulnerability and how the president has bee exposed,” Nhleko said.

“We won’t know how much it will cost before this exercise is done. But [with] the security issue, we will arrive at a different conclusion because of the re-evaluation.”

‘We all know how this is going to play out’

FF Plus Chief Whip Corne Mulder pointed out that public protector Thuli Madonsela had made recommendations for Nhleko to act on.

“We all know how this is going to play out. You came to the conclusion that the president was not liable for the upgrades. The truth, minister, is that your appointment depends on this because you are looking into the same person that appointed you.”

Nhleko replied that Mulder did have a point, but that judges, for example, were also appointed by Zuma and were not expected to make rulings in his favour.

“I think it’s childish and unethical to think that just because you are appointed by someone that you can’t be critical of them. In the report that I have produced, I stated clearly how I came to the conclusions.

“If these features are said to be security, I need to question why they are. That is the exercise we are doing here. The fact is that there is authority in place that said what must be done.

“My oath of office requires me to be honest in terms of my work.”

Nhleko said the amphitheatre and soil retention wall, visitors’ centre, “firepool”, kraal and culvert, were all security features and maintained Zuma did not have to pay for these.

This contradicted Madonsela’s own findings, released in March 2014, that Zuma should pay for those features not related to security, like the pool and the amphitheatre.

Sacred kraal

Nhleko also told the committee that a kraal in the Nkandla homestead could not be moved due to Zulu culture.

Thus a new animal enclosure that included a culvert and a chicken run had to be built in a remote part of the homestead so the animals would not trigger the motion detector beams, Nhleko explained.

“In Pretoria we had a problem at Mahlamba Ndlopfu [Zuma’s official residence] and the OR Tambo house. We had a problem with cats. The system triggered false alarms and security personnel became despondent because of the false alarms,” he said.

He said they consulted a retired University of KwaZulu-Natal lecturer, a Mr Ntshangase, on whether the kraal, which also houses chickens, could be moved.

“He told us that a kraal was a sacred place, a place where meat is eaten, a place to bury a loved one. He told us that it was rare to move a kraal and you must have an exceptional reason to move a kraal.” – News24

South Africa – NUM endorses Ramaphosa and Mantashe to succeed Zuma

Mail and Guardian

Regional leader Mpho Phakedi wants Cyril Ramaphosa and Gwede Mantashe to become the next president and deputy president of the ANC and the country.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (AFP)

Mpho Phakedi, the provincial secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers’ largest region, PWV [Gauteng], might differ with deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa’s new e-toll dispensation, but he believes the former unionist-come businessman is the right man to lead the ANC and the country after President Jacob Zuma’s term in office ends.

The NUM regional leader also said he would support ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe to take over as Ramaphosa’s deputy when the party holds its elective conference in 2017.

Both Ramaphosa and Mantashe previously served NUM as general secretaries. The two ANC leaders delivered speeches at the NUM national congress at the weekend.

Phakedi’s PWV region played an instrumental role in the election of Free State provincial secretary David Sipunzias NUM’s new general secretary on Saturday – a move which is expected to shift the balance of forces within the labour federation Cosatu ahead of its special national congress this month.

Zuma’s successor
Some within the ANC prefer African Union Commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to replace Jacob Zuma as president. Those that have been mentioned for the position of deputy president include ANC policy head and minister in the presidency Jeff Radebe, ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize and Gauteng ANC chair Paul Mashatile.

Cosatu and its affiliates have in the past played a significant role in influencing the leadership direction in the ANC. The federation supported Zuma’s election during the ANC’s national congress in Polokwane in 2007.

Phakedi said while he differed with Ramaphosa on the issue of e-tolls, he regarded him as one of the greatest leaders the ANC has ever produced.

“He [Ramaphosa] is one of the most matured leaders within the ANC. His experience in business and the trade union movement comes as an advantage for him. It has been the tradition of the ANC that the deputy president takes over as president. Ramaphosa and Mantashe still have a huge support within the NUM. I don’t see anything wrong with Mantashe becoming deputy president,” said Phakedi.

Ramahosa became ANC deputy president in 2012 after then-deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe declined the nomination for the position and contested Zuma for the position of president instead.

Since being appointed as Zuma’s deputy after last year’s general elections in May, Ramaphosa has taken over some important roles in government. These include the responsibility to fix problematic parastatals like Eskom, the South African Post Office and South African Airways. He was also tasked to deal with the controversial e-tolling system, which has divided the ANC-led alliance.

Ramaphosa announced the new dispensation for the implementation of the e-toll system last month, which included reduced tariffs for motorists and discounts on outstanding e-toll bills.

Phakedi and other unionists want a total scrapping of the e-toll system.

Ramaphosa’s detractors are hoping his political career will be tarnished by the outcome of the Marikana report.

Lawyers for the wounded and arrested Marikana workers want Ramaphosa to face criminal charges for his role in the August 2012 Marikana shooting.

Zuma has promised to release the Marika report before the end of this month.

South Africa – Zuma shocks them until they’re numb

Mail and Guardian

No 1’s strategy: Shock them till they’re numb

The president appears impervious to the effect of his outrageous remarks and behaviour.


  In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Americanah a key character, the Romeo in the story, is a cultured young man with a middle-class upbringing by the name of Obinze. He ends up as an expatriate toilet cleaner in London. One day at work, Obinze gets the shock of his life “to discover a mound of shit on the toilet lid, solid, tapering, centred, as though it had been carefully arranged and the exact spot had been measured”.
Stunned, Obinze stands before the perfectly misplaced contents of human bowels, wondering what kind of an English person would do such an unEnglish thing. In his outrage, Obinze takes off his toilet-cleaning gloves and quits.
We react differently to shocking acts, scandalous utterances, outrageous performances and chilling discoveries. South Africa has become a country with an uncanny penchant for the outrageous – a country alive with the possibility of excess and shock. It would be neither correct nor fair to attribute this national talent solely to President Jacob Zuma, but it must be said that he is a great asset in this regard.
The Zuma political strategy of choice is one of excess, outrageousness and shock. As Steve Biko once observed, the main strategy of the apartheid police towards blacks seemed to be “harass them, harass them”; the Zuma strategy appears to be “shock them till they’re numb”.

Some of the most outrageous things that have occurred in the land have a direct causal link to him and his person. Other shockers simply derive inspiration from him before forking off towards their own destructive destinations. Few leaders, political or corporate, have had half as many shocking things done or said by them, of them, for them or on their behalf. I will return to this theme later.
First, we must hasten to say that Zuma is not unique, either here in South Africa or elsewhere. That is not to suggest, as some lazy thinkers sometimes do – often with naked racist intent – that Zuma is bad because he is black and, “like the rest of them”, he can’t govern. I suggest that we render unto Zuma what is due to Zuma.
Yet even Zuma has stiff competition at home and abroad. He has, for example, nothing on Allister Sparks’s “smart” South African politician, Hendrik Verwoerd. Nor does he come close to John Vorster and PW Botha and their sheer ability to sow fear and mayhem. Internationally, Zuma also had considerable competition in the form of Sepp Blatter, who has gallantly, if also shamelessly, led Fifa from ignominy to ignominy for decades and will take until at least December to leave the stage.
Nor are those to whom Zuma has generously given this occasion to criticise the ANC correct to reduce that gallant movement of the people to Zuma or any single individual, Nelson Mandela included. That is, of course, not to gainsay that the movement is indeed in grave danger of losing its way and its place.
All this is meant to say that the Zuma flair for the outrageous and the excessive must be appreciated in context. Part of that context is a country that has not disappointed when it comes to its own share of excess and outrageousness, reaching a crescendo in the lead-up to and during the Zuma presidency. Who can forget that day in April 2008 when Mokotedi Mpshe, then the acting national director of public prosecutions, announced the dropping of all charges against Zuma – and unleashed the Zunami upon us?
In August 2012, from the comfort of our homes, we watched the first post-apartheid massacre, in Marikana, unfold before our eyes.
The nation was shocked when its born-frees found a cause, and succeeded in getting the University of Cape Town’s statue of Cecil John Rhodes removed. Even more shocking to the nation was the realisation that (the) Rhodes (statue) had been sitting in that prime position, pretending to be thinking, with a smirk on his face, for the past 21 years.
  Zuma’s outrageous list of faux pas, in word and in deed, are legendary. In a seemingly rushed and poorly contextualised book, Clever Blacks, Jesus and Nkandla: the Real Jacob Zuma in His Own Words, Gareth van Onselen tried to compile a compendium of the choicest Zuma bloopers. But Zuma is so prolific in the production of slip-ups and gaffes that even this book, published in 2014, is already outdated.
  Similarly, Max du Preez and Mandy Rossouw’s The World According to Julius Malema has been overtaken by time and Malema’s ability to manufacture one-liners and hyperbole. Both books make great South African toilet-reading material.
The highest or lowest point – depending on one’s vantage point – in the evolution and execution of the Zuma strategy came on May??28, when Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko released his Nkandla report on the so-called security upgrade, at a cost of R246-million to the South African taxpayer, of Zuma’s private homestead. Surely, this will go down as the most outrageous report delivered by government since the end of the apartheid era. With Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi by his side, making lively, agreeable faces while moving his reading glasses comically on and off, Nhleko stoically read his report like a loyal and disciplined cadre of Jacob Zuma.
The report was designed to finalise a long-established security cluster and ANC strategy to relativise and ultimately discredit the report of the public protector on Nkandla, particularly its recommendation that Zuma should pay back a portion of the money used for the nonsecurity aspects of the upgrades to his private homestead.
To back up his findings, Nhleko showed a hilarious amateur video about how Zuma’s “fire pool” works. He also had a video-recorded interview with a cultural expert who “unpacked” the complex notion of a modern Zulu homestead. He quoted the “authoritative” Wikipedia to shed light on the imperial Roman origins of the Nkandla amphitheatre.
Unsurprisingly, Nhleko found that the Nkandla swimming pool, chicken run, cattle culvert, the amphitheatre and the double-storey house called a visitors’ centre are not what they seem to be. They are essential and strategic security features in the great national task of providing protection to Number One.
  Not only did Nhleko come close to blaming the media and the public protector for “the magnitude and intensity of scrutiny that … Nkandla … has been subjected to”, he also added a bullish parting shot: “The outstanding security-related work at Nkandla should be funded and completed expeditiously,” he said. Thixo wase Nkandla! (God of Nkandla)
I take my hat off to those who have tried to verbalise and articulate their dissent, shock or outrage over Nhleko’s report. But I also notice how many of them seem to fail dismally at matching the Zuma/Nhleko levels of outrageousness without sounding worse than they do, or insane, or both.
  The genius of the Zuma shock strategy is to get his detractors to foam at the mouth and choke in anger or disgust before they can finish a speech. It is precisely in the frequency of their reference to Nkandla (or any other Zuma scandal) that they begin to sound monotonous, hapless, inarticulate, ridiculous, uncreative, hateful and too obsessed (with Zuma). Take, for example, Adriaan Basson’s book titled Zuma Exposed. What can anyone do or say to expose Zuma that Zuma and his lieutenants have not done already?
Nkandla cannot be out-scandalled. No words of outrage will express the scandal in terms worse than those already captured by Nkandla itself. When his detractors are worked into a frenzy, as they stampede to insult Zuma, the Zuma strategy of shock and awe is working beautifully.
It is often at this stage of the combat that Zuma turns on the heat and deploys some sarcasm, deriding his opponents for having finally succeeded in learning the pronunciation of one African word. In Parliament he mimicked political novice Mmusi Maimane’s speech about a broken president. He laughed at the Economic Freedom Fighters’ filibustering tactics.
And, as the jaws of his detractors and supporters drop in synchronised shock, Zuma belts out his famous belly laugh.
“How can he laugh like that at a moment like this?” we ask one another. Let me give you five reasons why Zuma laughs. One: He laughs because he can. Yes, he can! Two: He laughs because derision and sarcasm are an essential security feature – Nhleko missed this one – of his tried and tested political strategy. Three: He laughs because he is arguably the most powerful ANC president since democracy began. Four: He laughs because the joke is not on him. Five: He laughs because he is having fun – at our expense.
Tinyiko Maluleke is a professor at the University of Pretoria. The views expressed here are his own