South Africa is burning

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I usually keep my political and social views to myself, but I felt it necessary to share three brief clips from recent news articles that I found interesting. They paint a picture (hopefully!) of imminent change.


the situation at Rhodes University has escalated to the point where students are being arrested and shot at with rubber bullets.

Student protests turned to student riots this week, and it shows little chance of slowing down this time. Several universities have already shut down (exactly what Gwede Mantashe said he would do, incidentally), and if it goes on for much longer, the ripple effect into 2017 is going to be scary.

Last year the ANC was able to resolve the crisis in the short-term by mandating a 0% increase, but they don’t seem to have the same resolve this time around.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng

Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s “unlawful” appointment as SABC group executive of corporate affairs is the last straw that breaks the camel’s back, the ANC in Parliament said on Wednesday

Honest to god, this one surprised me. People have always accused the SABC of being the mouthpiece of the ANC, and Hlaudi worked really hard to turn it into that – but to now have the ANC itself take issue with it?

I’m sure there’s a far more astute political analyst out there who can point out how this is showing up the cracks in the ANC’s unified stance, but honestly, that started showing right after the municipal elections. This just makes the bleeding obvious.

Jacob Zuma

but it struck me that the ANC caucus was simply not defending their president. He was on his own and it seemed that he felt it.

This one might be the biggest news of all.

The one thing that all the opposition has accused the ANC of is twisting itself into contortions to protect one man, eroding all of the country along with it. And that’s been the case – slowly and systematically over many years, Zuma and his patronage network have bullied state institutions and SOEs into compliance.

But somehow, maybe, quietly, that ended. I thought it was a bit odd that after Treasury announced Zuma owed R7.8m for Nkandla, that the solution came from a Venda bank. I would have expected a Gupta-affiliated bank, like the Bank of Baroda, to come to his rescue. And what about the Friends of Jacob Zuma trust? The Big Four banks?  The President is a strategic client, after all, no?

But the Guptas seem to have vanished. Zuma’s source of finance might be gone, and so too might his ability to feed his network of patrons. Could it be the case that he’s starting to lose control of his tribe, that he’s being hung out to dry?

Interesting times, indeed.

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Wogan May

By day, I run a software development agency focused on business tools, process optimization, data integration and automation. By night, I build tools and platforms that serve online creators.

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