Five of the biggest newsmakers of 2018

24 December 2018 - 09:00 By Odwa Mjo
Former mayor of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille.
Former mayor of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille.

From political scandals and court cases to never-ending allegations, here are some of the biggest newsmakers this year. 

1. Patricia de Lille 

The former mayor of Cape Town had a long battle with the DA.

De Lille resigned as mayor of Cape Town in October after a lengthy legal battle to retain her job. She was replaced by Dan Plato. 

In May, De Lille filed an interdict against the City of Cape Town for making her mayoral position vacant. She also fought a legal battle against the DA for revoking her membership of the party.

In December she launched a new political party, called Good, to contest the 2019 national elections. 

2. Tom Moyane

The embattled former Sars commissioner has not had an easy year after facing heat for mismanagement of the revenue service.

Moyane was fired by President Cyril Ramaphosa in November. 

Ramaphosa fired Moyane after accepting the recommendation by Judge Robert Nugent who headed a commission of inquiry into Sars.

In March, Moyane was suspended after his management of the tax agency was brought into question - including a R100bn hole in tax revenue collection.

Moyane had to appear before the Sars commission of inquiry to answer for the mismanagement that occurred during his tenure.

He also faced a disciplinary hearing, which was halted after he took the matter to the Constitutional Court. Moyane was also implicated in irregular contracts with Bain & Company.

3. Malusi Gigaba

The former minister of home affairs resigned in November after months of controversy.

After a brief stint as finance minister, Gigaba returned to home affairs in February after a cabinet reshuffle by Ramaphosa. 

In September, Gigaba appeared before parliament's home affairs committee, which questioned him on the naturalisation of the Gupta family.

He also appeared before parliament on allegations that he had lied about authorising a VVIP terminal at OR Tambo airport for Fireblade Aviation, owned by the Oppenheimer family. 

In the same week, public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane found that Gigaba had lied under oath and gave Ramaphosa 20 days to respond.

A sex tape featuring Gigaba's self-love was leaked in early November. The video went viral, putting him under further public scrutiny.

After mounting internal and public pressure, Gigaba resigned as minister and as a member of parliament.

4. Timothy Omotoso

The senior pastor of the Jesus Dominion International church was arrested in April. 

He appeared in the Port Elizabeth high court on multiple charges relating to alleged rape and sexual assault. 

He stood trial in October along with two women, Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho, who were allegedly responsible for recruiting girls for the pastor. The trio face 97 charges including rape, sexual assault and human trafficking.

Many social advocacy organisations and women's movements as well as the ministry of women were vocal in supporting the victims.

Omotoso's televised trial captured the country's attention for its chilling testimonies by alleged victims. 

Cheryl Zondi received death threats after testifying against her alleged rapist.

Controversial pastor Timothy Omotoso, Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho in the Port Elizabeth High Court.
Controversial pastor Timothy Omotoso, Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho in the Port Elizabeth High Court.
Image: Eugene Coetzee/The Herald

5. Gupta family

From the state capture inquiry, the Estina dairy farm project and Transnet, to name just a few, the Gupta family has been at the centre of many of the biggest news stories of 2018. 

Former Transnet head Siyabonga Gama was axed after investigations found that Gama, former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe and Gupta associates may have acted unlawfully with regards to buying 1,064 locomotives for Transnet. 

Nhlanhla Nene resigned as finance minister in October after eight months back at Treasury, following a public outcry after he admitted that he had multiple private meetings with the Gupta family - after previously insisting he had not.

Nene made this revelation during his testimony at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

Other officials who have had to make appearances before the Zondo Commission include former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, minister of public enterprises Pravin Gordhan, former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan, former government communications head Mzwanele Manyi, and former SAA chairperson Cheryl Carolus.