News that made headlines in 2016

By Drum Digital
19 December 2016

2016 was an eventful year in South Africa, and there were shocking headlines that had everyone talking. Here are our Top 5 news stories for 2016

By Koketso Ratsatsi


Thuli Madonsela

Thuli-Madonsela21 Picture/Supplied

Former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela brought to light the power of the constitution when she went after President Zuma, proving that no one is untouchable. The Constitutional Court ruled that her recommendations were binding which led to President Zuma paying back some of the money for the non-security upgrades to his home in Nkandla. Once again, she went after the President in her State Capture Report that showed that the Gupta family was using their relationship with Zuma to benefit financially from the State.

Local Government Elections

Mmusi-Maimane Picture/Supplied

South Africa’s lively democracy was on display this year, when the Democratic Alliance, under the leadership of Mmusi Maimane, claimed Western Cape, Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane, and Johannesburg in the 2016 Local Government Elections.  A surprise turn of events was when the IFP won Nkandla despite Zuma making an appearance at the voting station in his home town, and eThekwini Metro chose Zandile Gumede as its first female mayor.


Image: Mary-Ann Palmer News24 Image: Mary-Ann Palmer News24

The depth of disarray at the South African broadcaster shocked many as the board of the SABC was dragged to parliament in an inquiry to see if they were fit to hold office. Top of the firing line was SABC chairman, Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe who denied knowing of any misconduct at the SABC, despite extensive testimony from his colleagues that all was not well.  Group Executive of Corporate Affairs, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, was embarrassed when the Western Cape High Court found that it had been “irregular” and unlawful to place him in this position after a court ruling removed him from former position as Chief Operations Officer.

Prophet of Doom

Doom Picture: Mount Zion Church/Facebook Page

Pastor Lethebo Rabalago of the Mount Zion Church in Limpopo was nicknamed “The Prophet of Doom,” after pictures emerged on Facebook of him spraying his congregants with the pesticide. He caught the attention of the Human Rights Commission and sparked off some of the funniest memes in South Africa, with people making fun of the use of Doom pesticide to cure all their problems.


Benjamin Phehla Benjamin Phehla Memorial/Picture: Sharon Seretlo

Fees Must fall protests took on a more violent turn this year. Tshwane University of Technology student leader, Benjamin Phehle, was the first student to die during a protest. There were also numerous arrests of students including Wits Student Leader Mcebo Dlamini, who became a talking point. There was also the looting of shops in Braamfontein and incidences of arson at Wits University, University of Kwa Zulu Natal and Durban University of Technology. Police violence towards students was also in the spotlight.

Shaun Abrahams

Picture/ Supplied Picture/ Supplied

National Prosecution Authority head, Shaun Abrahams, made many South Africans angry after charging Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan with theft and corruption. South Africans lobbied behind the minister with NGO’s, ordinary citizens and business forming the Save South Africa group showing support for Gordhan and demanding an end to corruption in government. The Helen Suzman Foundation and Freedom under Law took to court and wrote to President Jacob Zuma, demanding for his immediate suspension.

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