South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party has lost control of Johannesburg, the country’s largest city and economic center.
Herman Mashaba from the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has been elected as mayor by Johannesburg council.
The ANC had run Johannesburg since the fall of apartheid more than 20 years ago. It lost its council majority in local elections, although it is still the largest party.
It has also lost control of the capital Pretoria and Cape Town.
Of South Africa’s six biggest cities, the ANC only won an outright majority in Durban, seen as a stronghold for South African President Jacob Zuma.
On August 22, there was drama at the Johannesburg council meeting, which lasted 11 hours.
A scuffle broke out between opposition party members and electoral commission officials and an ANC councilor who was sworn in earlier in the day collapsed and died shortly after Herman Mashaba was elected.
The ANC had won 44.5% of the vote, more than the DA’s 38.4%. The left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) with 11% found itself in the position of kingmaker and refused to give its votes to the ANC.
Herman Mashaba, a 56-year-old businessman, has promised to reform Johannesburg administration.
“As of this evening, corruption is declared public enemy number one in this city,” he told cheering supporters.
“Public monies that have been misspent, misused, over the last five, 10 years or so … we’re going to take this money, we’re going to look after it, so that we can provide basic services to our people.”
Herman Mashaba also pledged to tackle unemployment saying: “Over 800,000 of our residents, one-in-three, are today unemployed. We need to address this and we need to address this as a matter of urgency.”
The African National Congress (ANC) members have paid final tributes to Nelson Mandela at a ceremony in Pretoria ahead of Sunday’s funeral.
President Jacob Zuma and other ANC leaders attended the event, which included a multi-faith service and a musical tribute.
Afterwards, Nelson Mandela’s coffin began the journey by air and road to his ancestral home at Qunu.
It is being accompanied by family members and officials.
At least 100,000 people saw the former South African president’s body lying in state in Pretoria over the last three days, but some had to be turned away.
The 95-year-old former leader died on December 5.
More than 1,000 members of the ANC, which Nelson Mandela once led, attended the ceremony at the Waterkloof air base in Pretoria.
US civil rights activist Jesse Jackson and Ireland’s Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams were among the foreign guests invited.
Nelson Mandela’s coffin began the journey by air and road to his ancestral home at Qunu
Mourners heard President Jacob Zuma pay his own tribute to Nelson Mandela, calling him a “towering figure”, “a man of action” and a “democrat who understood the world.”
“Yes, we will miss him… He was our father, he was our guardian. He was something special.”
“We’ll always keep you in our hearts,” Jacob Zuma said.
The coffin is being flown to Mthatha airport in the Eastern Cape ahead of the burial in Qunu.
The C130 military aircraft carrying the coffin was escorted by two fighter jets after take-off.
Chief mourners from Nelson Mandela’s Thembu clan and family, as well as senior government officials, would be accompanying the coffin, army officials said.
However his widow Graca Machel, and former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, were travelling on a separate flight, in accordance with Thembu tradition.
A military guard of honor will welcome the flight in Mthatha, and the coffin will be placed on a gun carriage and transported to a hearse.
People have been invited to form a human chain to pay their last respects as the cortege makes its way to Qunu.
In Qunu, the Thembu community will conduct a traditional ceremony in a giant white marquee that has been specially erected.
Some 4,000 people, including presidents from Africa, several prime ministers, the Iranian vice-president, and the Prince of Wales, are expected to attend.
On Friday, the South African government said in a statement that “the third day closed with over 50,000 paying their respects to our national icon and first democratically elected president of our country”.
South Africa’s Deputy Disability Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu says the government is investigating how interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie, who faked sign language at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service was given security clearance.
Thamsanqa Jantjie, who stood alongside world leaders at the event, has denied being a fraud, and said he panicked when he began hallucinating.
The sign interpreter said he had schizophrenia, which had in the past made him act violently.
The agency that employed him, SA Interpreters, has reportedly vanished.
Thamsanqa Jantjie, who stood alongside world leaders at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, has denied being a fraud
The African National Congress (ANC) said it had used Thamsanqa Jantjie as an interpreter several times before, and “had not been aware of any of complaints regarding the quality of services, qualifications or reported illnesses” of the interpreter.
Tuesday’s memorial at a stadium in Johannesburg was organized by the state, not the ANC, so the ruling party could not comment on security arrangements.
The South African Translators’ Institute said earlier there had been complaints over Thamsanqa Jantjie’s work before, but that the ANC had taken no action.
The ANC said it would “follow up the reported correspondence that has supposedly been sent to us in this regard and where necessary act on it”.
During the memorial, Thamsanqa Jantjie stood on the stage next to key speakers including President Barack Obama, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma and Nelson Mandela’s grandchildren, translating their eulogies.
Thamsanqa Jantjie ‘s performance was watched on television by millions of people worldwide and angered the South African deaf community. Pressure has been mounting on the government to explain why he was hired for such an important event.
Deputy Disability Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu told a news conference on Thursday: “Firstly, I don’t think South Africa as a country would put at risk anybody’s security, especially those of heads of state.
“Secondly, when somebody provides a service of a sign language interpreter, I don’t think… somebody would say: <<Is your head ok? Do you have any mental disability?>> I think the focus was on: <<Are you able to sign? Can you provide the services?>>”
But she said: “In terms of security clearance that is in a process, we are requesting to check his vetting.”
Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu apologized to the deaf community but said there was no reason for South Africa to be embarrassed.
Most of South African newspapers have published images of President Jacob Zuma’s private residence in Nkandla, defying a government warning that this would break security laws.
Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla residence is at the centre of a row after it emerged that the government had used $20 million of taxpayers’ money to refurbish it.
Cabinet ministers on Thursday said anyone who published images or footage of the estate would face arrest.
A group of South African editors described the warning as “absurd”.
The Times newspaper has the headline “So, arrest us”, above a picture of the luxury thatched-roof compound.
The Star newspaper has a photo of the homestead with a big red cross over it and the caption: “Look away! What ministers don’t want you to see“.
The upgrades to Jacob Zuma’s private residence include a helipad and an underground bunker, which the government says are needed for security reasons.
Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla residence is at the centre of a row after it emerged that the government had used $20 million of taxpayers’ money to refurbish it
The contract is being investigated by South Africa’s public protector, or anti-corruption watchdog, Thuli Madonsela, amid allegations that costs were inflated, and that the renovations went far beyond what the rules allow for a politician’s private home.
Earlier this month, security ministers went to court to try to block Thuli Madonsela from publishing her report.
State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele on Thursday warned newspapers: “No-one, including those in the media, is allowed to take images and publicize images even pointing where the possible security features are.”
“It is not done anywhere. We have not seen the images of the White House showing where the security features are. It is not done in any democracy.”
Following the publication of the photos, the government has issued a statement, saying that newspapers are within their rights to publish photos of the estate but “zooming into safety and security features… is a challenge as it compromises national security”.
The newspaper editors say the public paid for the upgrades and have a right to see how their money was spent.
The warning has created public outrage, with many expressing their dissatisfaction on Twitter and also posting pictures of the home.
The main opposition has lambasted the upgrade and called for investigations into why so much was spent and whether Jacob Zuma was aware of the cost burden to the state.
The Democratic Alliance has always insisted that the upgrade was not only morally wrong and unjustifiable given the country’s social needs, but that it is also possibly illegal.
Other opposition parties have called it an abuse of state funds.
They also want to know why Jacob Zuma’s home was classified as a place of national security, despite being a private residence.
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has been re-elected as leader of country’s governing African National Congress.
Jacob Zuma, 70, received an overwhelming majority of votes cast by some 4,000 delegates at the party’s Mangaung conference.
Kgalema Motlanthe has been replaced as deputy president by anti-apartheid veteran Cyril Ramaphosa.
Jacob Zuma had been favourite to secure the leadership after he was challenged for the top job by his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe.
Jacob Zuma won 2,986 votes out of the 3,977 cast – making it a decisive victory against his rival.
“We can boast that we’re a leader of our society, that therefore we have something to contribute to the democratic life of this country, to this democratic Republic of South Africa,” Jacob Zuma said after his win.
He stepped on to the stage beaming to shake hands with fellow ANC members.
“We are certain that at this course in our democracy we are correct, that what we do at all material times, it is in the interest, not just of our organization, but of our country and its people,” he said.
The ANC, which has governed South Africa since white minority rule ended in 1994, is widely expected to win nationwide elections due in 2014. Jacob Zuma is therefore likely to remain president until 2019.
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has been re-elected as leader of country’s governing African National Congress
There were deafening sounds of vuvuzelas, huge applause and singing as the results of the election were announced.
More than 4,000 ANC delegates crammed into the marquee, erupting into cheers as Jacob Zuma’s win became clear.
The election of Cyril Ramaphosa, a veteran of the anti-apartheid movement and a successful businessman, marks a return to the political front line for him.
His decision to run as Jacob Zuma’s deputy has been seen by analysts as a way of shoring up the president’s flagging support.
“With a man like Cyril, our country is going to be booming. Our economy is going to be tops,” ANC delegate Peter Rankoe told Reuters.
Jacob Zuma has been accused of failing to reduce poverty or tackle corruption within the ANC and government, while in August there was widespread shock when police shot dead 34 striking miners in the most deadly police action since the end of apartheid.
The country’s former President FW De Klerk has explained that a significant proportion of the South African population were unhappy with Jacob Zuma.
“If the head of state loses the respect, I think that person loses the capacity to govern effectively. I think it would be in the best interest of South Africa if there can be a change of leadership in the ANC,” he said.
Though he has also been dogged by personal scandals, his popularity within Nelson Mandela’s ANC is overwhelming.
“I don’t care what people say about Jacob Zuma,” another ANC delegate, Sinovuyu Kley, said.
“When you hear him sing, you know he is one with the people. He speaks our language and knows our struggles.”
It is less clear where the results leave Kgalema Motlanthe, who ended months of speculation by announcing his decision to run against Jacob Zuma for the leadership and declining to stand again as deputy leader.
Meanwhile, four white men have appeared in court accused of being part of a right-wing extremist plot to bomb the ANC conference.
The men were arrested on Monday in raids across the country and reportedly face treason and terrorism charges.
One was apprehended by police at a guesthouse in Mangaung, police said, according to the Associated Press.