Anti rape protesters stole the show at the IEC elections announcement when they staged a protest against President Jacob Zuma, in support of his rape accusor “Khwezi”. (more…)
The DA, EFF and ANC have campaigned for the last time before the elections. (more…)
The fees crisis and financial shortfall in tertiary education were only briefly mentioned in the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday. This comes despite the anticipation of many students, faculty and analysts who hoped that President Jacob Zuma would outline the details of how the financial shortfall will be dealt with.
“Government has responded to the financial shortfall arising from the zero per cent university fee increase, as agreed in meeting with students and vice-chancellors last year,” said Zuma during the 2016 SONA. Zuma postponed discussing the details and rather referred to the budget speech later this month. “The minister of finance will provide the details of education shortfall funding in the budget speech,” said Zuma.
In a statement by Witwatersrand University, the university expressed their surprise that the issues relating to student access and finance were not raised during the speech. “We are hopeful that these matters will be dealt with in detail in the upcoming budget speech,” according to the statement.
Prof Ruksana Osman, the dean of humanities at Wits, expressed her concern over the lack of details discussed by the president. “The issue was not addressed sufficiently because it lacked in finer details around the big questions on how the shortfall with work, for who and under what conditions,” said Osman.
She also raised concerns over the lack of acknowledgement of the far reaching consequences of the fees crisis. “The speech was measured and did not acknowledge the magnitude of the financial crisis and the socio economic impact on the country as a whole,” said Osman.
Many now look towards the budget speech on Feb 24 to tackle the issues that Zuma deferred to the recently appointed Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan.
“My expectations are not of dramatic moves at this point – perhaps a budget raided here or there to help universities meet immediate shortfalls but probably not much more than that,” said Prof Daryl Glaser the head of department of Political Studies at Wits University.
The president added that a Judicial Commission of Inquiry was appointed into higher education and urged all stakeholders to cooperate. However, some think that the government may not be able to take on the financial burden of moving towards free education after Zuma’s speech focused on the economic situation and the tough time ahead for the country.
“This enables the executive to delay action in financially straitened times, but of course it’ll be necessary to see what the commission finds,” said Glaser.
Zuma announced that fees would not increase at tertiary institutions last year. This came after university students across the country embarked on the #FeesMustFall protests, demanding a zero percent fees increase, curriculum transformation, an end to outsourcing and a commitment toward free tertiary education.
The presidency has denied rumours that the first lady has had charges laid against her by the National Prosecuting Auhority (NPA) for poisoning president Jacob Zuma last year.
Zuma’s wife, Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma was an alleged co-conspirator in the plot, which was said to be the idea of a Kwa-Zulu Natal businessman and local and foreign nationals according to Timeslive.
Law firm, BDK Attorneys who are representing Ntuli-Zuma, have issued a statement denying several claims that that the first lady was served with court papers.
The statement comes in response to a City Press article published on Monday, stating that she had admitted to poisoning her husband. Her attorney, Ulrich Roux says they have not yet decided which course of action to take against City Press, as they are not sure who exactly was responsible for publishing the story about Ntuli-Zuma.
BDK Attorneys added that City Press did not allow Ntuli-Zuma the right to reply regarding the story and made no attempt to verify the allegations.
The Sunday Times broke the story of how Ntuli -Zuma was banned from Nkandla after Zuma and his aides caught wind of the plot. The president fell ill in June last year and upon a trip to the US, doctors detected poison in his system and this was further confirmed by Russian medics.
President Jacob Zuma managed to survive an opposition-led vote of no confidence when The National Assembly voted against the motion on Tuesday March, 17.
The final result of the vote was 113 in favour, 221 against and eight members abstaining.
Voting was delayed by about 10 minutes when the electronic ballot system froze and technicians had to be called in to fix the problem.
This is the second motion of no confidence against the president this year. The first motion was brought forward by political party Agang SA in February but was withdrawn when a secret ballot was denied. The DA filed for a motion of no confidence on Tuesday March, 03 following Agang’s withdrawal.
During the no confidence debate, DA Parliamentary Leader Mmusi Maimane commented that those opposed to the motion would “…vote against their conscience…”and “vote for a thief…”. ANC chief whip Stone Sizani objected to Maimane’s comment that the president is a thief. Maimane reluctantly withdrew the comment but said it was allowed by the constitutional court.
Watch some of Maimane’s speech below:
A member of the Economic Freedom Fighters Nokolunga Sonti made similar comments to Maimane, providing an ultimatum that the vote was either for President Zuma or South African citizens. The Freedom Front Plus’s Pieter Groenewald said that “The president runs away from his responsibilities”.
The debate included numerous insults made by assembly members such as Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu saying Maimane is “a desperate man trying to prop up a desperate party [the DA].” Opposition members responded by saying speaker Baleka Mbete was acting impartially.
The president was not present during The National Assembly as he was attending the inauguration of new Lesotho Prime Minister-elect Pakalitha Mosisili according to a statement by the office of the President.
Given the controversial findings of the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s Nkandla Report late last week, the media has been abuzz with possible implications of the report.
Some political parties have said the enough evidence in the report to have President Jacob Zuma impeached.
Wits Vuvuzela found out what some Witsies have to say about this. You can also view our gallery on Facebook.
- Wits Vuvuzela. Madonsela: Zuma gave incorrect information. March 20, 2014.
So it looks like Limpopo might produce a whole generation of Malemas. Education is the key to success but these northern youngsters aren’t exactly experiencing the “better life for all”.
The textbook saga is just another example of the ANC’s failure to curb corruption and mismanagement. But are voters finally going to ask: “What about the kids … what about my kids?”
Voting for the ANC in 1994 was certainly no mistake. Voting for them ever since, out of loyalty, fear, hope or whatever other reason, might’ve been a bad idea. Unemployed youth are angry and from these hopeless masses rise the likes of Julius Malema. Whether he still stands for that crowd or just stands to profit from their desperation is debatable. But he represents where it all went wrong – trying to fix things that may not be broken and further breaking things that need fixing. Case in point: education.
In a radio interview this week president Zuma insisted that education is a top priority as it receives a hefty portion of the budget. But one can’t help question why things are so bad in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo if that were true. Perhaps the wrong aspects within education are being prioritised.
It seems the ANC-led government may be trying to fix the problem from the top down. BEE, possible lower university entrance requirements, alleged inflated matric results … why not make just a slightly better effort at improving primary and high school education? Delivery of textbooks is such a basic process, how could it possibly have gone this wrong? Why not pay teachers, arguably the most important members of our society, a better salary? If you are a teacher in the Eastern Cape you might appreciate being paid at all.
The ANC-led government is giving our children a slap in the face. Yet parents and young adults keep voting for the party. Is that not a slap in the face to everyone who is trying their hardest to get ahead? Minister Angie Motshekga’s defence of her actions, or lack thereof, is offensive to say the least.
The Ethics Institute of SA should be supported for saying this week that officials should take responsibility for this debacle. An emotional observer might go further and say that Minister Motshekga is a disgrace to women who lead and a disgrace to what the ANC once was.
But forget about her. Just think of all the opportunities school children in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape will miss out on. Malema is right about one thing: the gap between rich and poor is widening. But neither he nor the current government has the solution.
The money is there, we just need the corruption and mismanagement to stop. For our children’s sake.