As from today we will take a pause in production until the 22nd of January but we thought it would be a great idea to end the year by looking back to some of the big stories we have covered over the course of the year.
#ZumaMustFall (but refuses)
There has been a lot that happened in the political sphere of South Africa in 2017. The issue of state capture has been one of the biggest stories in most newsrooms. Through his relationship and that of his son, the president has been implicated in state capture by the Gupta family. In April this year, South Africans took to the streets protesting against corruption and how it is linked to the president.
The debacle of grant payments at South African Social Security Agency
The Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini and SASSA’s CEO admitted to breaking promises made by the Constitutional Court affecting the payment of social grants. Grant recipients took to the streets and with Black Sash and other organisations took the the grant payment service provider, Net 1, to court to stop deducting money from the bank accounts of grant recipients.
The deaths of psychiatric patients shocked the nation. The number of patients who have died while in the care of the Gauteng Health Department after they were moved from Life Esidimeni to NGOs has climbed to 143. The arbitration hearings into the murder by bureaucrats, led by former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, will re-open in the new year.
Drought in the Western Cape
The current drought in Cape Town has already affected small businesses like car-washes and salons and the City of Cape Town intends on implementing a drought levy next year.
Unpaid Benefits Campaign
Stories on unclaimed benefits became prominent this year. According to the Financial Service Board, pension fund administrators have R42-billion in unclaimed pension and provident fund benefits. Ex-mineworkers are said to be one of the biggest group of beneficiaries that the likes of Alexander Forbes have failed to trace. Many thousands of workers have been coming forward to declare to the FSB and in exasperation, even to Parliament, that ‘We are Here!’
Cape Town trains
Train delays and cancellations have become a norm in the Western Cape. Metrorail blames this on vandalism. The service has gotten so bad that the City of Cape Town has announced its intention of taking over the management of commuter rail. Just this week, trains on the Central Line that goes to Bishop Lavis, Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain were cancelled for three days leaving commuters stranded.
Community healthcare workers
In a country whose public and private healthcare services are deeply unequal, community careworkers are not recognized as employees and do not enjoy labour rights and the protection of SA’s labour laws. With the formation of the National Union of Careworkers of South Africa, careworkers have found their voice and this year they have led actions around the country demanding better working conditions.
In August this year, opposition parties brought a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma. Together with civil society organisations, they marched to Parliament urging ANC MPs to vote in support of the motion against the president. This was the eighth motion of no confidence against Jacob Zuma and he survived.
Shoprite’s abusive employment conditions
In August, 8 cashiers from Shoprite were dismissed and criminally charged for theft after they accepted tips from customers. Before they were arrested, the workers all of whom are women and contract workers, were handcuffed and paraded in front of customers.