Phew! 2009, What a year

2009-12-28 10:17

 January

The ANC celebrates its 97th anniversary in Eastern Cape amid

fears that it might be weakened by its splinter group, the Congress of the

People (Cope).

The party launches its election manifesto and reaffirms its

president, Jacob Zuma, as presidential candidate. This heralded the beginning of

the most bruising election campaign since 1994 and saw DA leader Hellen Zille

launching the controversial “Stop Zuma” campaign. Zuma was facing charges of

fraud, corruption, money-laundering, racketeering and tax evasion.

The ANC gives a clear indication of plans to get rid of the

charges by questioning the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) motives for

charging Zuma. This is after the Supreme Court of Appeal reinstated the charges.

February

) IFP supporters block buses ferrying ANC supporters to an election

rally in Nongoma, KZN. This was as the temperature of the election campaign

rose, with politicians calling each other names and intimidation spreading

quickly.

) Thousands of ANC supporters hold a night vigil outside the

Pietermaritzburg High Court to support Zuma’s bid to have the NPA drop charges

of corruption against him.

) Cope founding member Mosiuoa
Lekota loses the race for

presidential candidate to cleric Mvume Dandala. This is after factional battles

between Lekota and former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa forced the party to

settle for the compromise candidate, Dandala. The decision proved costly at the

polls and heralded the infighting now plaguing Cope.

) ANC bigwigs including former deputy president Phumzile

Mlambo-Ngcuka and Saki Macozoma join Cope with only 51 days remaining to

elections.

March

Cope election co-ordinator Mlungisi Hlongwane returns to the ANC,

rattling the party’s ailing election machinery.

The Constitutional Court rules that South Africans living abroad

can vote. This was seen as a victory for the opposition parties, among them the

DA and Freedom Front Plus.

Some ANC leaders leak information that corruption charges against

Zuma will be dropped, as a strategy to check the reaction of the public and

create a climate of expectation.

April

The NPA drops charges against Zuma just two weeks before the

elections.

The ANC wins with a two-thirds majority although its seats

dropped by 15 from the previous 279. The DA wins 67 seats, an increase of 17

seats. Cope wins 30 seats.

May

President Jacob Zuma is inaugurated.

Shortly afterwards, Zuma announces his cabinet. One of the

country’s longest-serving finance ministers, Trevor Manuel, is moved to the

newly created portfolio of minister in the Presidency responsible for the

national planning commission.

No sooner is Zuma inaugurated than his transport minister, S’bu

Ndebele, gets into trouble for accepting a gift of a R1-million luxury German

car and ­cattle from small contractors who used to do work in his erstwhile

department .

Anwa Dramat is appointed head of the Hawks, the new elite police

agency that replaces the Scorpions.

Mangosuthu Buthelezi loses his position as chair of the

KwaZulu-Natal House of Taditional Leaders.

June

Gauteng agriculture MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko is forced to step

down after her R900 000 Mercedes Benz ­vehicle is stolen from her property. It

turns out the taxpayer-funded car was uninsured and proper procedures were not

followed in buying it.

President Jacob Zuma promises to deliver half a million job

opportunities by Christmas, in his first state of the ­nation address.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe behaves like a prime

minister and raps Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan over the knuckles

for suggesting that some ailing parastatals may be sold. Who is really in charge

of the country, ask critics?

Questions arise over the relationship between the State and

Luthuli House when other ministers meet in Luthuli House to resolve the dispute

over the occupation-specific dispensation for civil servants.

President Zuma decides not to renew controversial police boss

Jackie Selebi’s contract.

July

Cope is hit by the sudden resignation of Lynda Odendaal, the

party’s second deputy president.

Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda splurges R2?million on two

luxury BMWs. Bling cars bought by his Cabinet cause Zuma’s first scandal.

The ANC dissolves the provincial leadership of the party in

Western Cape and North West.

Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni refuses to renew his contract

for another term. Gill Marcus takes his place.

August

The ANC Youth League says more Africans should lead the financial

positions in Cabinet – the posts are filled mainly by whites and Indians.

Zuma flouts protocol by announcing the “appointment” of new Chief

Justice Sandile Ngcobo to replace outgoing Chief Justice Pius Langa. Opposition

parties cry foul, but Zuma later backpedals and says he was merely expressing a

preference.

The Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier causes a stir when he

accuses government of selling arms to “rogue” states such Syria and Zimbabwe.

SABC boss Dali Mpofu gets a R14-million golden handshake to

leave.

September

The Canadian Immigration Board grants former Cape Town resident

Brandon Huntley refugee status on the basis that he is not safe in the country

because he is white. Government and black South Africans are incensed; whites

are generally sympathetic.

More than 2 000 SA National Defence Force members who demand

better working conditions and salaries march on the Union Buildings, Pretoria,

leaving Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu angry. Later they

get huge increases.

SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande buys a BMW worth R1.1

million.
Cosatu holds its 10th congress in Midrand, Gallagher Estate,

where Manuel comes under heavy attack from unions.

Advocate Thuli Madonsela is appointed the new Public Protector.

This was after the term of the controversial Lawrence Mushwana, who now heads

the Human Rights Commission, ­expired.

Eastern Cape health MEC Phumulo Masualle is elected to the chair

of the ruling party in the province. Masualle is also the SACP’s national

treasurer. The SACP sees the elevation of Masualle as an important step in

consolidating the communists’ influence within the ruling party.

Violence erupts in four provinces – Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo

and North West – as residents march to demand the delivery of services.

President Jacob Zuma pays a surprise visit to

municipalities.

Auditor-General Terence Nombembe releases his report into

corruption at the SABC.

October

Zuma appoints Welile Nhlapo as his national security special

adviser and former transport Mac Maharaj as his special envoy.

Former education minister Kader Asmal clashes with Deputy Police

Minister Fikile Mbalula on government’s call that the police should not hold

back when facing armed criminals.

Professor Jonathan Jansen is appointed the first black rector and

vice-chancellor of the University of Free State. The ANC congratulates him, but

the two later clash after Jansen pardons students who ill-treated black

university employees.

Moe Shaik, the brother of convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik, is

appointed as the new head of the SA Secret Service. Lizo Gibson Njenje, who

former president Thabo Mbeki suspended for spying on businessman Saki Macozoma,

is ­appointed head of the National Intelligence Agency while Jeff Maqetuka

becomes director-general of the State ­Security Agency.

November

Former Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon is appointed South

Africa’s ambassador to Argentina. Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe

Sisulu and Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale are embroiled in a public

spat after the latter canned a R5?million production to promote government’s

housing plan.

Zuma appoints former justice department director-general Menzi

Simelane as the new national director of public prosecutions, leaving many

baffled about the move. Archbishop Desmond Tutu urges Zuma to reconsider his

­decision.

The national treasury gives the SABC a R1?billion bail-out.

Eskom chair Bobby Godsell resigns after a fallout with CEO Jacob

Maroga, who is eventually pushed out of the electricity utility.

December

Delegates boo ANC Youth League president Julius Malema at a

special SACP congress in Limpopo. This caps a year of fighting between

communists and nationalist youth.

Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang dies.

Cope celebrates its first anniversary. Nobody notices.

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