Year in review: Juju on a tightrope. Cassel sitting pretty

2011-12-23 14:10

The decision by Cabinet to put five key provincial departments under administration; the Hawks’ investigation into tender corruption in which suspended ANC Youth League president Julius Malema is implicated; and Premier Cassel Mathale’s stunning re-election as chairperson of the provincial ANC, top the list of key moments of the year in the province.

Why it matters:

President Jacob Zuma’s decision to take over half of Mathale’s government, through Cabinet, is significant because it not only sets a precedent, but may jostle other provinces to manage taxpayers’ money more efficiently. This also reminds politicians they can no longer spend from the public purse as and when they wish.

» The Hawks’ corruption probe is key because it might lead to the arrests of senior politicians, civil servants and their business partners.
Among others, it is expected to unravel a web of corrupt business dealings and end up rearranging provincial and national politics ahead of the governing party’s national elective conference in Bloemfontein in December.

» Mathale’s victory against his challenger Joe Phaahla, who is also deputy minister of arts and culture, not only keeps him in the driving seat of the province’s politics, but offers Malema a potential political lifeline in the wake of his five-year suspension. The victory could also provide a base for anti-Zuma forces, setting the tone for Mangaung in the process.

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