Increasingly, journalists within the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) are finding their voice and speaking out against what can only be described as managerial authoritarianism. It’s thus time for South Africans to see the back of the two Ms: Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi, and SABC Chief Operating Officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
It is common knowledge that the South African economy is in a precarious position. Most of the key macroeconomic variables are moving in the wrong direction: economic growth is edging towards 0%; inflationary pressures are working up a head of steam more rapidly; the current account deficit is uncomfortably wide; net financial inflows have declined significantly; the rand exchange rate is at a very low level; and job creation has stagnated. Meanwhile, poverty levels are high; income remains unevenly distributed; and civil society is becoming restless and angry. Add to this toxic cocktail changes in the global economic architecture: China has just recorded its lowest economic growth rate in decades, Brazil and Russia are in recession, and commodity prices are way below the peaks of a few years ago. South Africans can therefore be excused for feeling that they are facing one of the most distressing periods in the last two decades.
South Africans were happy to see the back of 2015, having had just about enough of fractious politics and on-again-off-again finance ministers. Yet in the midst of the heat wave and New Year’s festivities, we had Penny Sparrow – a hitherto unknown real estate agent from Cape Town – spewing racism. But, enough has been said about Sparrow and her specific form of bigotry.
Since mid-2015, over 3 000 refugees from Mozambique have fled to neighbouring Malawi and are being housed in camps set up by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
There are some things that send chills down one’s spine; Jacob Zuma’s firing of capable and ethical Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, for instance. It is never easy to call a crisis, but that is what we are in as a country.