Ten days that shook South Africa

3 years ago

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Weekend Thing    
Weekend of 19 December, 2015
"We should never agree to be puppet-mastered as if there are no rules and principles that govern this country. We call on all South Africans to stand up
against the Gupta syndicate because we will soon be left with no country."
- Floyd Shivambu (Deputy President of the EFF)
Picture of the Year  
President Jacob Zuma reacts with laughter as violence breaks out during the 12th of February State of the Nation
address. If a photo could capture the sentiment of South Africa in 2015, it's this one.
 DM/Greg Nicolson
Ten days that shook SA
Willful Sabotage
As the emotional rollercoaster that is South African politics played out over the last ten days, it is safe to say the country has been rocked by the events that started with the axing of finance minister, Nhlanhla Nene. Our editorial described it as an act of willful sabotage. "It is the act of a leader who
despises those he leads, a leader who has no respect for his office, a leader who is there to serve a closed network of friends, advisors, backers and loyalists."
The country, financial markets and the world reacted with disdain as the Rand crashed to R16:$1 and sparked a wholesale destruction of value on the JSE.
Mounting Pressure
As the weekend rolled around, the presidency, usually aloof and bulletproof to the reactions of both the media and public voices, issued a series of statements that attempted to placate the controversial appointment of David van Rooyen and
Nene's axing. Stephen Grootes read this to be a sign of the extreme pressure
mounting on number one that could very well have caused an involuntary number two.
The Comeback Kid
And he was right. By late Sunday night, President Zuma had reappointed former minister of finance, Pravin Gordhan. Editors ordered frantic rewrites of columns, as the rand recovered most of it losses, but the game of musical finance ministerial chairs had eroded what little was left of the public's
confidence in the president, with mounting calls urging for a recall by the ANC of it's elected leader.
Plot thickens
Adding further intrigue to the unfolding drama, was the ruling by the Press Ombudsman that found the Sunday Times' reporting of the existence of "Rogue Unit" within SARS had contravened the Press Code. In what appeared to be a political dirty tricks
campaign, Pravin Gordhan and two senior SARS officials were implicated in a series of apparently false reports which were exposed by the Sunday Times. The ombudsman ordered the Sunday Times to apologise to Gordhan, whilst the country was
still reeling from aftershocks of the week's events. The Sunday Times is appealing the ruling.
Sparks of Activism
As people took to the streets in marches around the country, online petitions were calling for Advocate Thuli Madonsela to flex her authority and help remove the President from power. In a move of alternative activism, Nic Haralambous argued that the best way to affect change is from within and duly signed up
to join the ANC. 
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Editor's picks from this week
2015 South African Person of the Year: The Student
2015 International Person of the Year: The Refugee
2015 South African Sportsperson of the Year: Wayde van Niekerk
2015 International Sportsperson of the Year: Serena Williams
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Video of the week 

Evita's Day of Reconciliation Video

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