Amanda Watson news editor The Citizen obituary

By Amanda Watson

News Editor


2021 Newsmakers: How Zuma took on Covid-19 news

It's anyone’s guess what 2022 will hold, but look out for the Zondo report ...


If one thing has dominated the news cycle this year other than Covid, it has to be Jacob Zuma’s continued dismissal of the laws of this country which apply to everyone else, but not to him.

Zuma’s defiance of the Zondo commission and the Constitutional Court, followed by his arrest, which led to incredible violence and hundreds dead, his subsequent release, then having his parole overturned again leading to yet another court case … it has become the never-ending story of our times.

His actual corruption trial still has to hear its first testimony from when he first sat in the box in court A at the Durban High Court on 6 April, 2018. With billions spent on the State Capture commission, billions more are likely to be spent trying to make people accountable.

The first Zondo report is expected to be handed to President Cyril “Fall on my Sword” Ramaphosa, sometime in January, who will no longer have a way to hide exactly what members of the ruling party have been up to.

Of course, despite Ramaphosa’s best efforts to divert attention from corruption within party ranks, voter turnout was the lowest ever in South Africa’s young democracy, and the ANC lost much of its power to run ailing municipalities further into the ground.

This meant parties were forced into coalitions to run municipalities, with the EFF being the surprise kingmaker. It still leaves the ANC in a unique position of having a majority of votes, and time will tell if it will use its power for efficiency – or for power’s sake alone by blocking every motion it can.

ALSO READ: Holomisa wants Zondo, not Ramaphosa, to present state capture report to parliament

The other bogeyman of 2021, which pushed Covid off the front, was, of course, Eskom. Each successive stage of load shedding knocked whatever gains the Covid-battered economy made back on its heels. The cost of virtual power stations, when aluminium smelters were asked to switch off power for about two hours when Eskom had shortages, would have been prohibitive at a time when Eskom is still more than R400 billion in debt.

The 30 ton elephant in the room remains Covid and the misery it has caused. While some are viewing omicron as “mild”, and our government is being called on to relax Covid lockdowns even further, others are warning we haven’t seen the end of it yet.

Certainly, its ability to evolve into different variants will continue. This all makes predictions for 2022 rather easy.

Expect Ramaphosa to sit on the Zondo report and, when it is finally released, pressure from a corruption-weary public on the National Prosecuting Authority to act on it sooner, rather than later.

Service delivery, or the lack thereof, will become a focus point as disjointed municipalities finally start kicking into gear. Government, and our, response to Covid will continue to stumble on and off the front pages, as will Zuma’s continued evasion of his day in court.

It has been said by others: living in South Africa is an extreme sport. Roll on, 2022.

amandaw@citizen.co.za

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