FRIDAY BRIEFING | Best of 2022: How war, darkness and the Zondo report defined a rough year

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Best of 2022: How war, darkness and the Zondo report defined a rough year

We had high hopes for 2022. We were just coming out of Covid-19. Things were starting to open up. It allowed us to finally spend time with our friends and family and return to some sort of normality after two years of wearing masks and being isolated.

But if we thought this would be an easier year, 2022 had other ideas. At the end of February, Russia invaded Ukraine, impacting not just the region but the world as the price of petrol and diesel rose, resulting in the cost of living increasing dramatically. This was quite a shock for many who had lost their jobs and were just starting to recover financially. The war continues, which means we will probably continue to feel the impact economically into 2023.

Back home, the issue of racism reared its head once more after a Stellenbosch student urinated on the belongings of a fellow res mate. The university would go on to experience two more such incidents over the course of the year.

The full extent of corruption in the country was also laid bare as State Capture Inquiry chairperson and now Chief Justice Raymond Zondo released his report following the end of the inquiry, revealing an overwhelming case against the ANC, and particularly its former leader, Jacob Zuma, for being active participants in the expansive state capture project executed by the Gupta family.

We were forced to grapple with this seminal moment in history in the dark, as Eskom implemented what could be regarded as the worst year of load shedding as the country experienced Stage 6 load shedding in June, July, September and again in November and December. It's unlikely that we will have any reprieve soon, and many experts are predicting that load shedding will be with us for another two years.

And while coalition governments treaded treacherous ground after the 2021 elections to the disappointment of citizens, two court judgments – namely the Constitutional Court ruling to release Chris Hani's killer on parole and the Supreme Court of Appeal's judgment that granting medical parole to Zuma was unlawful – saw the rise in attacks on the judiciary. 

The year ended with Cyril Ramaphosa claiming victory at the ANC's elective conference a week after his party's MPs backed him and voted against adopting a Section 89 report into the Phala Phala scandal. If it had gone the other way, Ramaphosa would have faced an impeachment hearing.

It is unlikely to be a smooth ride ahead for Ramaphosa as we await the outcome of several other investigations into the matter.

To contextualise what a ride this year has been, we've compiled six top editions of Friday Briefing, so you can look back and make sense of 2022. 

Friday Briefing is taking a break and will return on 13 January. 

All the best for the new year. May 2023 be less bumpy. 

Warm regards, 

Vanessa Banton, opinions editor

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FRIDAY BRIEFING | The politics of urine: Stellenbosch under siege 28 years after apartheid

We are once again dealing with the politics of urine, and questioning whether, after 28 years of democracy, if there ever will be social cohesion.

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Editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson, as well as Qaanitah Hunter, Adam Habib and Pieter du Toit analyse the findings of the Zondo Commission.

FRIDAY BRIEFING | Kaput: Things fall apart (at Eskom) 

While the warning lights have been on since 1998 about the electricity problem, we are nowhere close to resolving it. 

FRIDAY BRIEFING | Under siege: Concerted attacks on SA's judiciary should have us all worried

News24 senior legal writer Karyn Maughan analyses how these concerted attacks on the courts are threatening the judiciary's resilience.

FRIDAY BRIEFING | From Ramaphoria to Ramafailure

The Phala Phala scandal has forced a premature assessment of Ramaphosa's term in office, with his security of tenure still very much in the balance

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