This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Story of the year
Nelson Mandela was never far from the minds of South Africans during 2013. He spent most of the year in and out of hospital, and with every statement from the presidency about his health, our hearts sank or soared. Late on the night of December 5, a visibly emotional President Jacob Zuma broke the news to a shattered nation: Madiba was dead. For 10 days, ﬂags ﬂew at half-mast and the world turned its eyes to South Africa to see how one of the world’s youngest democracies would cope with losing its talisman. There were tears, there was laughter, there was controversy and there were important conversations in every corner of the country
Hamba kahle, Madiba
The year started with a crestfallen Julius Malema walking among his cabbages, complaining that he was a “leper” . But by November, Malema was the reborn commander in chief of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). The EFF’s trademark red berets are everywhere these days and Malema seems conﬁdent his party will march into Parliament after the 2014 elections. But he’s got a long, tough road ahead. His fraud and corruption trial is set down to begin in September. Will it be from Parliament to prison for Commander Malema? Malema’s not the only new kid on the block, politically speaking – another party whose launch got people talking was Dr Mamphela Ramphele’s Agang
The birth of the EFF
On September 21, news broke of gunmen attacking Nairobi’s Westgate Shopping Mall. Four days later, 72 people were dead and the siege ended. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility, calling it revenge for Kenya’s deployment of troops to its stronghold, Somalia. It soon emerged that “white widow” Samantha Lewthwaite had lived in Johannesburg and was spying on foreign embassies in Pretoria
Kenya – Westgate
Perhaps President Jacob Zuma was hoping the furore over his private home at Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal would die down. He didn’t reckon that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, among others, would stand in his way. First there was a battle surrounding the release of the report once it had been handed to Parliament’s security cluster – a court battle that had no clear winners – and then a leaked provisional report, which the ANC attributed to Madonsela herself and
which the Public Protector blamed on the ANC. Madonsela has urged South Africans to wait for the completed report, but we’re not a patient nation. Nkandlagate has been blamed for some of the boos Zuma received at Mandela’s memorial service in Johannesburg
Vavi has long been one of the most outspoken and critical voices in the tripartite alliance. And there’s no doubt many celebrated when the news broke that Cosatu’s general secretary had been caught with his pants down. Vavi admitted he’d had sex at the office with a junior employee and has since been suspended from his position at the powerful trade union federation. Nobody knows whether he’ll be 2014’s ultimate comeback kid or top of the “Where are they now?” list, but Vavi is sure to hog headlines well into the new year
Zwelinzima Vavi’s sex scandal
It started with reports of a shooting at Pistorius’ Pretoria home in February and ended with the Paralympian champion facing a murder charge. When his trial begins in March, Pistorius is expected to argue that he did not intend to kill his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, and that he mistook her for an intruder. The state will try to prove that Pistorius is trigger-happy and unstable, and that Steenkamp was, ultimately, the victim of domestic violence
In the end, it turned out to be the little deﬁance campaign that couldn’t. No amount of public unhappiness, boycott threats or court action could stop the inevitable rise of the gantries on Gauteng’s freeways. At the time of going to press, the gantries hadn’t yet collapsed, despite commuters across the province shooting death stares at them on their daily travels
In April it emerged that the inﬂuential Gupta family had commandeered space at the Waterkloof Air Force Base for a plane carrying guests to the wedding of Atul Gupta’s daughter. Fingers were immediately pointed at the man whose nickname would emerge in military tribunal documents as “Number 1” – Zuma himself. He was later exonerated by a government investigation and chief state protocol officer Bruce Koloane was demoted as punishment for allegedly masterminding the entire landing. A national debate about power, inﬂuence and the art of name-dropping ensued
The gold, platinum and automotive industry saw some of the biggest strikes this year as unions ﬂexed their muscles. Union rivalry also fuelled strike activity, particularly in the platinum sector, where newcomer the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union promised workers a 60% wage increase across the board. The auto industry took a huge investment knock when BMW decided not to bring its new manufacturing plant to South Africa because of protracted strikes, costing the country thousands of jobs
The strike “season” that never ended
and murdered in the sleepy Western Cape town of Bredasdorp. It was a crime that blasted South Africans out of their comfort zones and brought the realities of sexual violence thudding dully home, particularly coming hot on the heels of a gang rape and murder case in India that saw hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets in protest. Was Anene’s violent, senseless death the start of a real discussion about misogyny, power and toxic masculinity? For a while, it seemed that way. But by the time her killer, Johannes Kana, was convicted and sentenced in November, most people’s attention had turned elsewhere
Anene Booysen was just 17 10 when she was brutally raped
Daryl Impey became the ﬁrst African to don the coveted yellow jersey during the Tour de France
Education activist Malala Yousafzai (16), who received a standing ovation when she addressed a sitting of the UN in July
Swimming sensation Chad le Clos – 23 medals and counting
If ever anything proved the old news adage “You just can’t make it up” , it was the endlessly weird and vexing case of Czech “businessman” and alleged lord of the underworld Radovan Krejcir. His “associates” died en masse, he survived two “assassination Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency leaks and the truth of America’s surveillance state. Angela Merkel wasn’t impressed when she discovered Obama’s spies had been eavesdropping on her conversations, and public opinion swung viciously against America’s president (he could be a villain, too, depending on your politics) The SABC had another year of spectacularly bad publicity. Banning was back with a bang – politically sensitive adverts, a radio show and then an entire booing incident at Madiba’s memorial. The Public Protector’s provisional report, The Blame Game, lambasted the SABC’s bosses for unlawful and irregular promotions, and salary hikes
attempts” and the odds seemed stacked against Krejcir ever being brought to justice for his alleged crimes. But by the end of the year, his assets were seized and frozen, and he was set to spend Christmas behind bars
On Twitter, Thamsanqa Jantjie trended as #fakeinterpreter after his gibberish sign language at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. He defended his poor performance by blaming his schizophrenia. Everyone scuttled to distance themselves from the man who stood metres from world leaders and made South Africa a laughing stock during a time of national mourning Dina Pule, the sacked communications minister, will forever be remembered as a woman whose taste for expensive shoes was part of her downfall
The police officers who have been arrested and charged with tying taxi driver Mido Macia to the back of a vehicle and dragging him through the streets of Daveyton. Macia later died in a police cell. This was just one example of alleged police brutality that hit the headlines this year
Orlando Pirates, whose march to the ﬁnals of the CAF Champions League united soccer fans Public Protector Thuli Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu introduced a school for civil servants and championed a law to prevent civil servants from doing business with the state. But the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. Will these initiatives ﬁnally halt the gravy train once and for all? Madonsela, who walks and speaks softly, and carries a big stick
Major General Mondli Zuma was appointed Gauteng police commissioner – for a few hours. It then emerged that he had a criminal case pending against him. National Commissioner Riah Phiyega had to backtrack spectacularly. Between that and the police’s testimony being ripped apart at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, the men and women in blue make it on to the 2013 villain list
A Stellenbosch University study had many South Africans swearing off braais and giving vegetarianism a jolly good try. Researchers discovered that many meat labels were lying and your beef patties were just as likely to contain donkey, horse, water buffalo or pork. The researchers initially refused to spill the beans on who was telling porkies when it came to their meat’s content, but an application by Media24 revealed that some of the country’s biggest retailers were among the worst offenders
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.