Home Affairs’ approach is “coloured by the persisting influence of the religious and social prejudice against the recognition of same-sex unions” says judge.
By Safura Abdool Karim for GROUNDUP.
The Western Cape High Court ruled on the rights of married transgender people to change their gender with Home Affairs last week.The Alteration of Sex Description and Sex Status Act, 2003 allows you to apply to the Director-General of the Department of Home Affairs to change your sex (or “sex descriptor” as it’s called in the act) on the birth register. Specifically, the Act allows for your sex to be changed if you have undergone surgical sex reassignment, have experienced a natural evolution of your sexual characteristics or you are intersex. Any rights and obligations you held before the registration, are still valid after the change. You are also entitled to a new birth certificate reflecting your amended sex.
IN THE twilight of his unpopular presidency, Jacob Zuma has to vet his crowds carefully. Almost wherever he speaks, he risks a clamour of boos and jeers, many from members of his own party, the African National Congress (ANC). A rally organised by the country’s main trade union federation, which is formally allied with the ANC, should have been a perfect opportunity for him to drone on about the party’s achievements since ending white-minority rule in 1994. But he never got the chance to speak; union members shouted him down. Two of his closest supporters were also heckled at May Day rallies in different cities on the same day. Unionised workers, who in past elections made up most of the activists going door-to-door to canvas for the ANC, are turning against a tainted president, and against a party that excuses his many scandals.
Two very different kinds of leadership. This is what we have seen dramatically highlighted through the events in our country over the past ten days.
In the Spiritual Exercises, St Ignatius asks us to reflect on the opposing leadership strategies of Christ versus that of Lucifer. He paints a graphic and metaphoric picture of Lucifer seated in that great plain of Babylon, on a throne of fire and smoke, a horrible and fearsome figure. He uses three strategies to ensnare people: the desire for riches, the desire for honour or status and pride. Once they are hooked by any, or all of these, they will do whatever they need to in order to protect them, whether lies, corruption, theft or manipulation of people.
In the second image we are invited to imagine Christ standing in a great plain in a lowly beautiful and attractive spot. His strategy is the exact opposite: simplicity instead of riches, service instead of honour, and humility instead of pride.
In our political landscape we have seen both kinds of leadership clearly in the last week.
After four days of late-night announcements, angry press conferences, furious statements, and leaked speeches, it was time for the first major ANC structure to meet to discuss President Jacob Zuma, and the reaction to his factional reshuffle and removal of Pravin Gordhan from the Finance Ministry. In the end, the National Working Committee, surprising no one, simply resolved to “discuss” with Cosatu and the SACP their calls for Zuma to leave. At first glance it looks almost as if nothing has changed, that Zuma is still the MacDaddy of our politics, and the game goes on the same way as it has for many years. But look a little deeper, and it’s possible that the rules of the game have actually changed quite dramatically.
By STEPHEN GROOTES.
The ANC is nothing if not predictable. Zuma does something. There is righteous fury and furious anger. Society gets moving, people mutter darkly about Parliament passing a vote of no confidence. After a climax of press conferences, eventually a top ANC structure meets and glosses over it all.
Two Joburg housing officials along with two accomplices have been arrested on charges of fraud and corruption linked to a syndicate involving land and RDP houses.
Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said they have appeared in court and were released on R5‚000 bail each.
The case has been postponed to 11 April 2017. “A syndicate working in collusion with the Department of Housing‚ municipal officials and a councillor started allocating stands to people at a fee wherein unsuspecting individuals bought the said stands.
A similar modus operandi applied to the allocation of RDP houses‚” he said in a statement. Many of the victims have already constructed houses on illegally sold land‚ Mashaba added.
The ruling party is at risk of further splits amid a battle for senior positions in the ANC, deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte said.
There is intense jostling to replace President Jacob Zuma, 74, as the head of the party and for other top positions, despite rules forbidding active campaigning, Duarte, 63, said in an interview. The concern is that the losing group could break away to form a new party, as has happened in the lead up to or after previous ANC elective conferences, she said.
The ANC’s leadership contest comes at a time when the party risks losing the majority it’s held in every vote since 1994. A split could drag its support down to below 50% in the 2019 national elections, giving an opportunity for the opposition to join forces to take power. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, 64, and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, 68, are seen by analysts as the main contenders to lead the ANC.
“Since 2007, every ANC conference has led to one or other split,” Duarte said. There could be “a spoilers’ breakaway after this conference,” she said.
One of Donald Trump’s often-repeated promises on the stump, was that he would “drain the swamp”. In office, he looks more like flooding it than draining it – but that’s another story. Elsewhere, there’s another successful businessman recently turned elected politician trying to drain a swamp, in his case an inherited mess of embedded corruption. That’s Herman Mashaba, in Johannesburg.
A feature of last year’s municipal elections in South Africa, was that the opposition Democratic Alliance was able to gain control of three major metropoles. The new mayor in Johannesburg is Herman Mashabe, who immediately promised to tackle corruption head-on.
An analysis of the difficulties he faces by Sara Gon, a Policy Fellow at the respected Institute of Race Relations, shows both the scale of the problem, and some of the achievements to date.
“On a daily basis employees are being suspended as they discover more and more corruption. The scale of corruption is so great that the mayor has established an independent Forensic Unit to investigate allegations and uncover evidence to the city, because the office of the mayor couldn’t cope with the sheer volume of cases. Auditors such as KPMG, EY and SizweNtsalubaGobodo are participating.”
One of the depressing difficulties in rooting out the problem, and a reason for establishing an independent forensic unit, is that they have been receiving very little help from the National Prosecuting Authority. Nevertheless, there is already some progress:
Some of the recent actions taken by the Council include:
a forensic review into City Power;
the reintegration of the services companies back into the Council;
the arrest of 106 traffic department officials for corruption – Mashaba refers to it being only one department so far and merely the ’tip of the iceberg’;
charging and suspending an employee who defrauded the Council by conniving with large property owners to reduce the values of their properties. Carte Blanche exposed this activity a year before the DA came into office, yet nothing had been done about it;
suspending a senior member of the Billing Department who was manipulating billing for her own gain;
closing down Jozi@Work, an employment/entrepreneurial opportunity programme in which former mayor, Parks Tau, recently expressed great pride. Mashaba describes it as ‘an official corruption system‘ where the ANC simply acted as a ‘labour broker’, creating a system of middlemen who were completely unjustified.