The Biggest Newsmakers of 2016
2016 has been a year and a half. Almost everyone, can be quoted as saying it’s the year the “showed [them] flames” or the year that “did the most.” Of course, this is to be taken with a grain of salt as the year likely wasn’t much worse than many recent years. Looking back at the biggest news of 2016, politics has stood out the most. And with uncertainty and fear looming, it’s reassuring to see Americans organising and South Africans speaking truth to power. Be it through official structures such as the Public Protector or with their votes, South Africans have had a lot to say this year.
The Municipal Election
While on elections…August 3 was the day of the 2016 municipal election. Though the buildup to the occasion was filled with promise of sizeable upsets what with the Economic Freedom Fighters now in the mix, many would like to pretend they didn’t see the outcome coming. By the time ballot counting was finished, the ANC has lost The City of Johannesburg Metro, Tshwane Metro and the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.
Many political analysts are saying that should the ruling party not clean its house come the 2019 national election, voters are bound to make a bigger statement with their votes. The 2016 municipal elections was a small message to those looking to woe working class voters: Pull your socks up.
2016 was a big year for the Gupta Family in the public eye. This, of course, was set in motion by last year’s haphazard finance minister changes that happened in the space of under a week in December 2015. Everything Gupta-related has been the much discussion in 2016: the newspaper, the television station, the power plant, the breakfast show series have all been a cause for discussion and public scrutiny.
The release of the Public Protector’s “the state of capture” report on November 2, showed that South Africans who were concerned had reason to be and those who weren’t needed to pay attention.
Yet again, students at universities across the country reminded us that access to education shouldn’t be a privilege reserved for a select few. For the second year in September, students and their allies took to the streets in public protests. Many student leaders were arrested and intimidated across the country. A criminal element took hold during a few of the protests in Braamfontein, Johannesburg – with looters hiding behind the protest. The call is as clear as it ever was: Students want free, decolonised education. This year students were unable to escape a fee increase. Higher education minister, Blade Nzimande, made an announcement that universities would be setting their own 2017 fee increase. Most universities have stuck close to the department’s 8% increase recommendation.
Nobody really saw it coming. We were all of the impression that Donald Trump was happy being a reality TV show boss, the owner of pageants, billionaire and overall terrible person. When he announced his intention to run for president of the United States of America on June 16, 2016, it was seen as a joke. Even after he got the official Republican Party nomination. There was no way he could beat his doubly qualified opponent in Hilary R. Clinton. As 2016 comes to a close, Donald Trump is the president-elect of the United States of America. Things are not looking good in the country as many of Trump’s campaign promises were steeped in suspicion and hate of minority populations. The next four years will be trying for minority groups and gigantic steps backwards for the American society.