Big in 2015: Who’s in, who’s out

2015-01-01 08:00

From key public institutions to parastatals and Parliament, Ferial Haffajee sheds light on some of the crucial changes in store for SA this year The year of institutions

Vital decisions will determine the future of key institutions.

The Public Protector

Last year, the Cape High Court determined that reports and recommendations of the Public Protector were of a persuasive, but not binding, nature. Incumbent Thuli Madonsela is challenging this judgment.

Constitutional advocates say because the office of the Public Protector is a constitutional body, its findings carry a legal status.

A big legal battle is brewing and the jury is out on this one. Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)

The departure of IEC chairperson Pansy Tlakula has left a vacancy at the commission. Eight candidates’ names have been submitted to President Jacob Zuma.

We think he will choose his special projects adviser, Vuma Glenton Mashinini, as a likely replacement for Tlakula.

Vice-chairperson Terry Tselane might be overlooked for the post.

SA Revenue Service

New commissioner Tom Moyane is likely to dominate the headlines as he gets rid of the old executive team and puts his own people in place. Will his twice-suspended deputy chairperson, Ivan Pillay, go quietly into the night or fight to see another day?

National Prosecuting Authority

National Director of Public Prosecutions Mxolisi Nxasana is facing a presidential inquiry into his fitness to hold office. He acts like he doesn’t know it and we don’t think he will see the year out.

SA Police Service

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega is facing a ministerial inquiry into her fitness to run the police service, but she doesn’t want to know about it. We don’t think she will last the year either.

Last week, the head of the Hawks, Anwa Dramat, was placed on precautionary suspension for an alleged rendition in 2010. This also places the elite police unit in a state of flux. E-tolls Electronic tolling is facing a provincial inquiry into whether it’s an effective and fair system to pay for driving on Gauteng’s beautiful highways. Gauteng Premier David Makhura doesn’t like them. We think a compromise will be hatched, but Gautengelengers will still not pay. The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance estimates that fewer than 30% of cars using e-tolled highways were tagged and are paying to use the roads. The year of mayors

Local government elections will be held in 2016, so the spotlight will be on the mayors.

We predict there will be many infrastructure projects, and major transport and job plans. (We pray for working traffic lights and a razor-sharp pothole brigade.)

Political bosses will be breathing down the necks of Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau and Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa because the voters who can swing the election live in cities.

The governing party has Ekurhuleni all sewn up, but Mayor Mondli Gungubele can’t rest on his laurels. Expect a change in Nelson Mandela Bay, where the ANC will face a real challenge. It’s likely to drop 82-year-old Benson Fihla as mayor. And if eThekwini’s James Nxumalo doesn’t win the party nod in a much-delayed regional party poll, he could also be dropped. In Cape Town, Mayor Patricia de Lille must bring home a clean victory for the DA. The year of Parliament From February, it will be all eyes on the beautiful legislature at the foot of Table Mountain. Will the Economic Freedom Fighters disrupt the opening of Parliament and the delivery of the state of the nation address? We just have to wait and see. The national budget speech in February will also be keenly watched as Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene delivers his maiden budget. The year of parastatals

Our limping state enterprises will continue to dominate the headlines. Eskom must implement load shedding for at least two more years to keep the power stations in decent nick – the new Medupi and Khusile operations are way off schedule. The funding of Eskom will be the financial story of the year. SAA needs an equity partner, but Emirates-owned Etihad Airways said at the weekend it would not buy a stake. The national carrier is losing money hand over fist and has changed CEOs almost annually. It will do so again this year. Meanwhile, the SABC will continue to star in its own soap opera. Chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng will spend most of the year in court appealing a judgment that found he was not qualified for his job and that he awarded himself illegal salary increases. The year of the pressure cooker consumer

That’s you and me. Watch out this year for tax hikes promised by the finance minister. Electricity costs are definitely going up, as are food prices and many school fees. But the plummeting oil price might offer relief for hard-hit consumers in the first half of the year.

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