Business Day’s top 10 political reads of 2018
The year saw major political developments, including the removal of a sitting president, an amendment of the constitution, and testimony of how the South African state was captured
1. The controversial commission of inquiry into state capture has witnessed some jaw-dropping testimony. It was broadcast live on TV and online, and will continue in 2019 and, most likely, heavily influence the upcoming general elections.
2. Shortly after Cyril Ramaphosa ascended to the ANC presidency, it became very evident that his predecessor’s controversial years in the Union Buildings were coming to an abrupt end.
3. Opposition politics saw almost as much turbulence as the governing party. A story that defined 2018 for the DA, and possibly haunt it at the ballot box in 2019, was its divorce with Patricia de Lille.
4. Even after leaving office, Jacob Zuma was very busy, politically speaking. The former president continued to find himself on the front pages of newspapers for all the wrong reasons, taking current ANC leaders with him to the headlines.
5. Land expropriation without compensation was not only a contentious matter in parliament, but will also play a significant role in the 2019 election, not to mention the economy.
6. As soon as Pravin Gordhan returned to the cabinet, the EFF set its sights on him. Attacks came in the form of accusations, protests and finally what was later described as questionable charges against the public enterprises minister.
7. Supra Mahumapelo’s term as premier in the North West came to an abrupt end amid violent protests and allegations of widespread corruption.
8. As soon as Ramaphosa assumed office, he made a number of changes to his executive team. Some were considered vital for repairing the damaged departments and state institutions, while others were seen as political compromises.
9. In August, Athol Trollip became the second DA mayor to be removed from office since the party won over a number of metros in the 2016 local elections.
10. Just to round off the year of political scandal, the president himself — elected on an anti-corruption ticket — had to backtrack on a response to a parliamentary question by DA leader Mmusi Maimane on a suspicious donation to his campaign.