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 Post subject: Ramaphosa
 Post Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:11 pm 
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New topic, because this is no longer the Zuma Story; Zuma has been demoted to a bit player in his own, separate saga, and Cyril Ramaphosa has taken over.

But first, a bit of a dramatis personae:

Cyril Ramaphosa: New President. Business mogul, smart, tends to hold his metaphorical cards close to his chest. He's the current leader of the ANC, which is the same party that followed Zuma through all the years of corruption - despite Cyril's brave words, there are a lot of people still active in the party who were implicated in the Zuma corruption saga, in one way or another. And he was elected to the party leadership position with a hair over 50% internal support from his own party.

The DA: The party that considers themselves the official opposition. They're calm, methodical, and competent at their best - though their detractors claim that they're more interested in taking care of the rich than of the poor, and they've been putting a lot of effort into getting rid of their perception as the party of the white elite. Tend to get more votes in urban areas than in rural areas. They have control over the Western Cape, which is rumoured to be the best-run province - which means that either it is, or they have a truly great marketing department.

The EFF: Also known as the Red Berets (after their distinctive headgear), this is the party of Julius Malema, who was thrown out of the ANC by Zuma. Bore a grudge against Zuma, which turned into a firm anti-corruption stance when Zuma's corrupt activities became clear. Their most loudly shouted policy is the idea of land restitution without compensation for the current landowners (and, as they have recently gone to great pains to add, without being conditional on food security). They seem to have failed to pay attention to the example of Zimbabwe.

There are plenty of other parties, but these three are the ones that tend to make it on the news; the first two because they're the biggest, the third because they're disruptive and don't much care for the rules of civil debate.

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Right. Well, since Ramaphosa moved in, what's been going on?

First, very shortly after he became President, there was a new Budget speech from the finance department; in short, Zuma and his cronies had take so much money out of the country that there were some nasty increases in various taxes. VAT, which is a sales tax which has been sitting at 14% for literal decades, went up to 15%; increase in fuel levy; and so on. Basically, everything got more expensive to try and fill up the hole in the budget left by Zuma and his cronies.

Talking of 'cronies', Ramaphosa has announced his first new cabinet. And he's got rid of a lot of the more... troublesome corrupt politicians. But, interestingly enough, not all of them. News outlets seem a bit divided - some asking if there was really no way to get rid of Malusi Gigaba (who was so thoroughly enmeshed in the Gupta saga that some news outlets have been calling him Malusi GiGupta), while at least one other suggested that perhaps that was truly the best he could do before the 2019 elections. (Oh, and after the cabinet reshuffle, news has emerged that at least one department (Water and Sanitation) is apparently on the edge of bankruptcy - due to either mismanagement or blatant corruption and theft, I'm not sure yet).

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And then there's the issue of land restitution. A nasty business to start off with (basically; in the Bad Old Days of Apartheid, tonnes of people were forced off their land. This land was then sold, sold again, inherited, built up, etc., etc.; however, the people who were forced off the land had heirs and descendants of their own. What to do with the land, then, after Apartheid collapsed? Some effort has to be made to recompense the heirs for the theft of their ancestral land...)

Up until now, the ANC has handled this land reform via a willing-buyer-willing-seller program - which basically (as I understand it) means that they offered to buy the land from the current tenants at a fair price (or, at least, what they said was a fair price) and then distributed it as required. Somewhat expensive for the government, but none of the landowners really had any complaint - they did not have to accept the offer given them, after all. But some people did, and so the land reform programme chugged along, slowly. Too slowly, according to many of those descendants, who found themselves swayed by the EFF's call for the government to simply take the land, without compensation...

Interestingly, the EFF seems to have been able to start talking the ANC around on this issue. (The DA is flatly opposed to the idea of the government taking land without paying for it). So, now there's been votes in Parliament about setting up a committee to figure out how to amend the constitution to allow the government to take land without paying for it - supported by the ANC and EFF, and opposed largely by the DA.

No-one seems to have any idea exactly how this will work, though.

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 Post subject: Re: Ramaphosa
 Post Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:18 pm 
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Any word on what the administration is planning on doing about the water shortage?

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 Post subject: Re: Ramaphosa
 Post Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:59 pm 
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The Western Cape water shortage?

Last I heard, estimates suggested that there was enough water in the dams to last Cape Town until mid-July, though the surrounding farmland has been taking a bit of a knock. And the rainy season should start around May/June. So, there's a good chance of that deadline being somewhat extended.

At the same time, I believe there's something like four different desalination facilities in the process of being built? Almost all behind schedule, naturally, but they seem ready to come online before the water actually runs out.

It would be really great to have decent rain in the Western Cape, but I think the place is going to very narrowly avoid much more than a really bad year to be a farmer.

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