Five moments from politics that had us talking this year

21 December 2021 - 13:00
EFF leader Julius Malema said DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille had reached a deal with President Cyril Ramaphosa to give hung metros to the ANC. File photo.
EFF leader Julius Malema said DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille had reached a deal with President Cyril Ramaphosa to give hung metros to the ANC. File photo.
Image: Freddy Mavunda/Business Day

SA politics and political parties never miss an opportunity to get citizens talking. 

This year was no different as some of the events that played out in public had many saying WTF.

From the questionable R15m in the ANC-run municipality in Eastern Cape to DA's Phoenix posters, many jaws were on the floor. 

Here are five moments that had the country talking. 

Sihle Zikalala assaulting 'looters' on TV

At the height of the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal in July, the province's premier was caught on assaulting someone believed to be linked to a looting incident.

In the video broadcast on Newzroom Afrika, Zikalala was seen grabbing the young man and beating him twice on his back before he runs away. A man thought to be his security guard tried to grab the young man but he got away.

In a statement, Zikalala apologised for his conduct, saying he regrets the “level of force used in apprehending the looter, who was attempting to make off with goods that had been stolen from a nearby warehouse”.

However, many, including EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, said Zikalala must be held accountable for mob justice and vigilantism.

Tito Mboweni resigning

Minister-turned-amateur chef and social media personality Tito Mboweni threw in the towel as finance minister in August after serving for four years. 

Mboweni's resignation was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa during his cabinet reshuffle. 

ANC economic policy chief Enoch Godongwana replaced him as finance minister.

“I have also accepted a long-standing request by minister Tito Mboweni to be excused from his position as minister of finance. Minister Mboweni took up this position following the sudden departure of former minister Nhlanhla Nene in October 2018,” said the president.

Mboweni captured the heart of Mzansi with his cooking skills, regularly posting his meals on social media for users to critique.

R15 million 'stadium' 

The unveiling of a sports “stadium” in the Eastern Cape, reportedly costing R15m, garnered mixed reactions online, with many questioning the price tag attached to it. 

ANC-run Enoch Mgijima local municipality opened the Lesseyton sports field in the northwest of Komani, formerly known as Queenstown.

The opening of the field came a month before the local government elections. 

According to the municipality, the facility cost R15m because of the work done to it, including palisade fencing, rock blasting, earthworks, layer works and water reticulation installation. 

An athletics track, ablution facilities, changing rooms, a borehole, sewer system with a septic tank, electrical installation, a rainwater catchment tank, high-rise water main tank, a guardhouse, and gravel car parking lot were also added to the list of costly items.

DA putting up controversial posters in Phoenix

The official opposition had a controversial start to the local government elections this year, after putting up posters in Phoenix, KZN, that were alleged to have fuelled racial tension in the area.

According to the party, the posters were to honour those who stood up to protect their property during the July unrest that resulted in 36 people losing their lives in the area.

However, after a massive backlash from many, including police minister Bheki Cele, the DA removed the posters and issued an apology.

The party replaced the posters with the message: “DA or ANC: Your choice”, that many claimed gave “free advertising” to the ruling party.

EFF endorsing DA in local government municipalities

In a surprise turn of events after the local government, the EFF caused a political stir by throwing its weight behind DA candidates in major metros.

This is despite the DA previously saying it would not be part of any coalition arrangement with the EFF.

However, EFF leader Julius Malema said his party's backing of DA candidates was not an endorsement of the party, but a move to remove the ANC. 

“Helen Zille thinks she is smart. She thought they would upset the opposition. We made her contest for real and win, now she must run municipalities. It is in her hands, and she has no-one to blame. We did not vote for the DA, we voted against the ANC,” he said. 


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