2011: The Year of Juju
Marianne Merten looks back at tough period for President Jacob Zuma
the government takes possession of the new planes: the tender is currently before the courts after a bit of a bungle.
And as if public works had not kept up a sufficiently horrid reputation this year, what with lease scandals, internal corruption and the like, there was also the tender to supply 45 posies a week to the president and his deputy’s homes – where the maintenance of pot plants has also gone out on tender – and a series of other floral requirements. Then there was the tender for 596 rose bushes at the official ministerial estate in Pretoria, although those ministers who live in private homes also qualify for free garden service. Between tackling investigations into two cabinet minis- Matriculant Thomas Ferreira was critically injured and in a coma after being knocked off his bike by the official car of Gauteng local government and housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi. While he and Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane apologised, it took several days for police to arrest and charge the driver.
The jogger who gave the presidential blue light convoy the middle finger last year, Chumani Maxwele, is still waiting for an apology from Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa for being bundled into a car and locked up in a jail cell for the weekend. That’s after the SA Human Rights Commission found in July his rights had been violated.
In Pietermaritzburg, the trial of two VIP protection unit policemen on six counts of attempted murder and unlawfully firing a pistol is finally under way after the 2008 incident in which shots were fired at a car, apparently too slow to get out of the way of KwazuluNatal MEC Meshack Radebe. The court heard in November the police fired because they feared for their lives after the driver of the Mazda braked repeatedly.
A petition against the blue light brigade was signed by opposition party leaders – the DA’S Helen Zille and the Freedom Front Plus’s Pieter Groenewald – while it appears Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele, who led a prayer day for road safety, has been unable to persuade any of his colleagues to do likewise. Statistics South Africa conducted Census 2011 – a R3bn project involving over 150 000 enumerators who knocked on the doors of an estimated 15 million households – which should give the government reliable statistics to work from.
Brigalia Bam, who led the Independent Electoral Commission for 14 years, retired and former chief electoral officer Pansy Tlakula is now at the helm.
A commission of inquiry into the multi- billion rand arms deal was announced and should get down to work next year. However, the cricket bonus scandal is under scrutiny by a ministerial committee, without powers to subpoena or call witnesses.
National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel hit the circuit with his commission’s diagnostic report, which identifies nine challenges to SA’S future, including the lack of quality education and unemployment, but is optimistic that this is a plan behind which all South Africans can unite.
And COP17 showcased Durban’s attractions, but its impact remains to be seen.
STIRRER: Self-styled freedom fighter and irrepressible motormouth Julius Malema.
BLACK WEEK: Chairman of The National Press Club Yusuf Abramjee addresses a crowd during a protest against the government’s Protection of Information Bill.
ANGER: A protester outside the Ficksburg Magistrate’s Court for the appearance of the police who killed Andries Tatane.
BRASSED OFF: Suspended commissioner of police Bheki Cele.
AXED: Minister of Public Works Gwen Mahlangu-nkabinde lost her job over the police lease debacle.
BRIGHT SPARK: Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Lindiwe Mazibuko.