Bob’s Weekend News Wrap – 16 January 2017
Let’s start with the Sunday Times and a story that I am sure has a lot of parents quite nervous – the 2017 tertiary academic year. The paper reports that a lot of “fees must fall leaders” have been quietly organizing and pretty much focusing on getting as many students registered as possible. As soon as that is done, it seems students will hit the streets once again. Apparently, they see NSFAS as a debt trap and they maintain that they want “Free Education For All” – that indeed has been their war cry. They will also be elated and emboldened to know that Irvin Jim of NUMSA has thrown in the powerful Unions for their cause. Meanwhile, it would be wise for all to keep in mind that the cost of last year’s University unrest is upward of R700 million. I don’t know if this will count for anything, but we have seen how during the holidays, a lot of universities and their alumni have raised millions to support tertiary education. Some compromise needs to happen and the two sides need to find common ground, and do things differently.
The same paper reports on the Municipal budget cycle, which is about to commence, and I see trouble in Gauteng. Especially in the City of Gold. This is the schedule as it stands: Municipal Managers must make a call on budget adjustments by end of this month. Budgets must be approved by end of February by councils. Before the end of March, draft budgets and Intergrated development plans have to be tabled in councils and approved for public participation; and end of May all things budgetary must be completed. Now, if this time table is delayed for whatever reason, the ANC will have an opportunity to intervene at Provincial and National level – where they are in control! With this in mind, the EFF and DA councilors will have to find each other and streamline their different agendas and objectives to agree and deliver. At National level the two parties look to have things wrapped up; it is the soldiers at council levels who might actually unravel and see the ANC take over. A very mouth watering prospect for ANC GP, I am sure!
The City Press has focused its page two story on the SABC parliamentary inquiry. Former Chairperson Ben Ngubane has testified and so far, there are a lot of glaringly contradictory testimonies. Ngubane went so far as to say that Phil Molefe may have been economical with the truth on the TNA part of this inquiry. I was left with my jaw on the floor when former Chairperson Ellen Tshabalala mentioned SACP leader, Blade Nzimande by name, as one of the politicians who may have made one of those notorious midnight calls. The SACP intends consulting their lawyers on this issue but also more noteworthy is the Chairperson of this enquiry, Vincent Smith, hinting on possible prosecutions after the report has been tabled. What has amazed me about the hearings so far is that every Chairperson and EXCO member of the SABC seems to have “rescued” the organization after finding it in a mess. As far as I remember, the likes of Zwelakhe Sisulu, Peter Mahlare and Dali Mpofu left the SABC in good health. But then again; I am not an auditor!!!