www.inside-politics.org

Analysis of and commentary on South African politics from a liberal perspective.

Category: Good Governance

The ANC’s dubious donors


ANCFlagARTICLE: I am going to try and keep Inside Politics going but my new commitments will make writing more sporadic and so, along with the odd post from the archives, so to speak, I shall probably keep things shorter. That said, the article below, originally published in 2007, is still relevant today: a good illustration of how the ANC historically placed its own financial condition ahead of any human rights considerations that might curtail from whom it solicited donations. That fact still holds true today, even if the donors are more often domestic than international. It sets out of some of the party’s more more dubious funders and what the papers said about each donation at the time.

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2012 Government Spend on Entertainment – Update: 7 Departments; R2 520 000


FEATURE: It is annual report season and that means, among other important indicators, it is possible to gauge how national departments have spent public money over the course of the last financial year. Earlier this year, I set out how much the ANC government was spending on entertainment – just under R50 million in 2011 – and, as the new 2012 reports are tabled, I shall keep a running total of how much is spent this time around. Here follows the third such update, with seven departments having tabled their reports [with PDF table at end].

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2012 Government Spend on Entertainment – Updates: 5 Departments; R2 152 000


FEATURE: It is annual report season and that means, among other important indicators, it is possible to gauge how national departments have spent public money over the course of the last financial year. Earlier this year, I set out how much the ANC government was spending on entertainment – just under R50 million in 2011 – and, as the new 2012 reports are tabled, I shall keep a running total of how much is spent this time around. Here follows the second such update, with five departments having tabled their reports [with PDF table at end].

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ERROR: ANC-run provinces do not compute


FEATURE: Some four months ago – more than 120 days past – I documented how the websites for 18 ANC-run provincial departments were broken. I recently revisted them all again, to see if anything had changed. Nothing had. In fact, 19 are now broken and, of them, 15 have been broken since April (possibly longer). As in April, the only exception was the DA-run Western Cape Government. Its websites not only worked perfectly but were the most user-friendly. That tells you much about the attitude of those governments to transparency and accountablity; for access to government information is your right. To see which didn’t work and why, read on. [GRAPHIC included]

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Like trying to sew the head back onto a chicken


FEATURE: Throughout Thabo Mbeki’s time as President he failed properly to consult other parties, as the Constitution requires, when making judicial appointments. But if Mbeki was bad, Jacob Zuma has been far worse. Things came to a head in August 2009, when Zuma – as prone to gaff as he is contempt – announced his decision for Chief Justice before consulting, indeed before he had even notified the relevant parties. His mistake was explained away by all and sundry but if you take a little more time to look at events, it becomes clear that it was deliberate. In this 2009 article, below, I show how.

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The Billion Rand President: A R1m day in the life of President Zuma


FEATURE: The privileges afforded President Zuma by the Ministerial Handbook – VIP protection; jet and helicopter flights; spousal support; etc – cost the taxpayer at least R522 million per five year term, or R105 million per year. If President Zuma is elected for a second term, his cost will escalate above, at least, R1 billion. To better illustrate how these various expenses mount up in practical terms, I have constructed a 24 hour day in the life of the President and then costed his various movements. Our imagined day works out at just over R1.1 million – to see how, read on [VIDEO and graphics included].

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The Billion Rand President: Update – R8.1m added in ‘Ferry Flights’


FEATURE: As and when new information comes to light, I shall aim to update and maintain ‘The Zuma Balance Sheet’ – the total costs of those privileges afforded President Zuma by the Ministerial Handbook. A new set of information about ‘Ferry Flights’ – empty flights by the Presidential Jet Inkwazi – has just been revealed by the DA. I have added the costs to the total. For the upwardly revised totals, read on.

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The Billion Rand President: How much Jacob Zuma costs the taxpayer


FEATURE: Cars, jets, VIP protection, spousal support, almost every week a new figure emerges suggesting that those privileges afforded President Zuma (and other members of the executive) are costing the taxpayer much money; but how much exactly is hard to say. No one has ever tried to total it all. The Presidency has certainly done everything in its power to shield the information. I have given it my best shot in the article below. It was a very difficult exercise but, using the Ministerial Handbook as a guide and by being very conservative, I have generated a total figure. To see it all set out, how much President Zuma costs per year and per term, and whether or not you think it’s excessive, read on.

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The Billion Rand President: Facts and Figures


FEATURE: As set out in detail in a previous article, the privileges afforded President Jacob Zuma by the Ministerial Handbook – cars, flights, accommodation, security, etc – total at least R514 million over the course of a five year term, or R102 million annually. Over two terms he would cost the public in excess of at least R1 billion. What follows below are a set of facts and figures drawn from those totals, as well as some comparative illustrations of what the various totals are equivalent to.

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Journalism 101: 1st Check facts; 2nd Write opinion


FEATURE: Chris Gibbons has written for the Daily Maverick an article which revolves around a central premise that is completely wrong. Thus, the whole article is wrong; likewise, all the conclusions he draws from it are wrongheaded. It’s a good example of poor journalism, not merely because the facts are all over the place, but because it relies so heavily on clichéd ideas that, given a moments consideration, are revealed to be flawed. Here is my response.

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Fresh off Twitter: Round 2 – the ANC again abuses power in eThekwini


FEATURE: Round 2 – more proof of how the ANC in eThekwini abuses power and undermines democracy, all of it fresh off Twitter where it has just happened. Read the summary and timelines of four DA councillors who describe how a Council meeting was hijacked, proper procedure ignored, oversight suppressed and the ANC’s agenda pushed through regardless. We don’t spend enough time focussing on what happens in local councils, if eThekwini is anything to go by, we have a lot to worry about.

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Fresh off Twitter: How the ANC in eThekwini abuse public money


FEATURE: Not more than an hour ago there was a huge argument between the DA and the ANC in the eThekwini council over a proposal to send an under 15 soccer team to South Korea: the ANC said two councillors should accompany them, then, when the DA opposed the idea, increased the number to five, unilaterally voted in support of their amendment and ignored a legal opinion in doing so. Here is an account of the story as it happened in council and told through the Tweets of three young DA councillors: Warwick Chapman, Mbali Ntuli and Nicole Graham.

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How the WC Office of the Premier scored best in PSC report


FEATURE: The Public Service Commission recently published a report assessing the performance of the nine Offices of the Premier. The only Office of the Premier not run by the ANC – in the Western Cape – came out on top. What follows is a summary of that report and a more detailed look at how the DA-run Western Cape Office of the Premier faired. There is some critical information in this article and some invaluable statistics. All in all, further proof that, where the DA governs, it delivers better services than the ANC, to more people.

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Some curious facts from a ballooning presidency


ARTICLE: It is often stated that the ANC is centralising power in the presidency. But what do the facts say? One way to find out is to look at its annual reports over time, which list the number of staff it employs. Sure enough, the evidence illustrates it is an ever-increasing bureaucracy. In fact, it has more than doubled in size over the last nine years. With that has come an increase in support staff, a great many of whom are dedicated to comfort rather than policy.

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More than 1 in 3 calls to SAPS police stations go unanswered


FEATURE: There are 1 116 police stations listed on the South African Police Services website. For each police station listed there is a telephone number. But do they work? And, if they do work, are they answered? In an attempt to find out, I phoned all 1 116. What follows is a summary of what I found, plus a list of every number called. The results suggest there is a profound problem and, if it’s a quick response you are looking for in an emergency – your chances of getting one aren’t too good.

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Is the ANC its own harshest critic?


FEATURE: President Zuma’s election as ANC President ushered in a new era in ANC politics. Gone were the days of tight party discipline and the seemingly unified, focused communication that defined Mbeki’s reign. Now it openly and, on a regular basis, criticises itself – often in the harshest terms. Unfortunately, it has little to do with improvement and everything to do with political posturing and so, in the run-up to Mangaung, we can expect more of it, not less.

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TARGET MIDVAAL: Postscript: Is the ANC trying to absorb Midvaal into a metro?


POSTSCRIPT: In response to yesterday’s blog, which argued the SIU investigation into Midvaal is biased a reader sent me a story from a community newspaper in Gauteng. If true, it suggests that the ANC has lodged two proposals with the Demarcations Board, to have Midvaal absorbed into what would be an ANC-run metro. Is this the ANC’s latest attempt to circumvent the result of a democratic election?

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TARGET MIDVAAL: How the ANC is using the state to target its political opponent


FEATURE: Following the Public Protector’s investigation into the DA-run Midvaal municipality, which found no corruption, President Zuma signed a proclamation authorising the Special Investigations Unit to investigate the exact same charges, except on a grander scale. Midvaal is by some distance the outstanding performer in Gauteng. Why has the President himself deemed it fit for the SIU to investigate Midvaal and not other ANC-run municipalities in Gauteng which, on the exact same criteria Midvaal is being investigated on, fail catastrophically to measure up? The evidence suggests a political agenda. Read on to see the extent of the bias.

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How the Western Cape takes corruption seriously


ARTICLE: The 2011 State of the Public Service Report sets out in stark detail how reported cases of corruption are ignored by the majority of the public service and those departments responsible for investigating them. Indeed, the percentage of reported cases for which feedback has been received has fallen from 70% to just 10% in six years. The stand out exception? The Western Cape. Read on for some significant statistics.

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Johannesburg’s pothole misery


FEATURE: In late 2011 I documented on Twitter a wide range of potholes as well as other examples of municipal infrastructure decay in Johannesburg. Today, some five months later, I returned and had a look to see if any of them had been dealt with. I am sure anyone who lives in Johannesburg will be able to guess what I found. Read on for a short photographic tour of neglect and deterioration.

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How cadre deployment has brought Buffalo City to its knees


FEATURE: Did you know Buffalo City has been without a chief financial officer for more than 1 000 days or that, in the last three years, it has had four executive mayors and six municipal managers? Little wonder its financial management has collapsed over the last five years, to the point where the province has threatened to strip it of its powers. The primary reason: cadre deployment and politicisation of a municipality that, just five years ago, received a financially unqualified report from the Auditor-General.

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How much government spends on entertainment


FEATURE: Every annual report has a line item called ‘Entertainment’ which, according to the Treasury, can include everything from lunches through to gifts and something called ‘Private Entertainment’. So, how much does government spend in this regard? R77 million in two years is the answer. To see who the biggest and smallest spenders are and, importantly, how national expenditure compares to the Western Cape and other provinces, read on. If anything, it is at least an entertaining read.

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Mangaung: The ANC’s shame


FEATURE: The ANC has spent much time over the past six months waxing lyrical about the deep significance of Mangaung and the Free State to the party, as it celebrates its 100 anniversary. But an overview of the way in which local government has been managed by the party suggests a different attitude. Indeed, so fundamentally mismanaged is the Free State, if anything the ANC owes its people an apology. What follows is a general overview of the way in which the various local authorities in the Free State – and Mangaung in particular – have performed according to the reports of the Auditor-General. It makes for disturbing reading and, I would argue, leads one to the inevitable conclusion that, if the ANC owes anything to the Free State, it is an explanation.

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How Midvaal delivers more to the poor than ANC-run councils


FEATURE: Every municipality is required by national legislation to implement an indigent policy. If someone registers as indigent, they receive from their local government a package of rebates for basic services such as water and electricity. With regard to income, the set minimum is R2 280 – earn less than that amount and you can qualify as indigent. But municipalities can set the threshold higher. Midvaal boasts the highest threshold in Gauteng. And the reason it is able to do that is because it runs the most efficient administration in the province too: proof that good governance is the key to effective poverty relief programmes.

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