Bob’s Weekend News Wrap – 28 November 2016
It has been a few years now since COSATU has been reduced to just another ANC organ, and most media houses and analysts had written this workers’ confederation off since Irvin Jim left. This weekend however, almost all newspapers carried some story or another on COSATU. All of a sudden, what they say matters. The biggest story is that the Federation has chosen to back Deputy President of the ANC as the next President. In making their case for supporting Cyril Ramaphosa, The City Press reports that COSATU was buoyed by a mandate from their 2015 National Congress, which pronounced on the ANC tradition that the Deputy of the ANC succeeds the President. It is reported that President of COSATU, Sdumo Dlamini, had sought to stifle that particular debate but he lost that bid to a very strong opposition. In the end Dlamini had to concede to two things – first, that the succession debate take place and that Ramaphosa is the preferred candidate. Needless to say, the ANC is not happy with their partner as they wished for the debate not to have happened at all. The COSATU Central Committee convenes next year, and you and I know that an hour is more than enough for the political landscape to take a different shape.
The “State of Capture” report made headlines as President Zuma is launching a court challenge of the remedial action recommended by former public protector Thuli Madonsela. The latest is that current Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has forwarded the game changing report to the priority crimes unit. The NPA is to study the report and then investigate if there were any crimes committed. The HAWKS are not investigating the case on the basis of the report, but rather investigating cases brought by parties such as the DA, EDF, Vytjie Mentoor and COPE. Meanwhile, the DA and EFF have announced their intention to oppose President Zuma’s review application of the report. President Zuma is buying time but he is within his rights to take the recommendations under review – this much the opposition has to accept.
And finally, I guess it is well done for now to what Minister Pravin Gordan calls “Team SA” for the BAA2 rating. We held a collective breath as ratings agencies were deciding our fate this weekend and the results look like a stay of execution – we are far from out of the woods. The Sunday Times reports that Comrade PG said that there was no evidence to suggest that political uncertainty in South Africa would result to economic uncertainty. Both Fitch and Moodys said they were concerned about political instability and runaway government borrowing relative to GDP growth. Someone should tell them that this situation is not going to change anytime soon. We cannot ignore ratings agencies more so because foreign investors hold more than 30% of government debt and our ability to pay back the money – as it were – is important.