The year 2019 was an eventful one in the political space with many unexpected moves and a few major legal fights.
As the year veers towards the end, the EW Blog team picked the top five stories which dominated the political scene in the country.
1. Cyril Ramaphosa assumes the highest office
The country held its sixth democratic National and Provincial elections in May. As it was expected, the ANC’s numbers dropped further on the national ballot with 58% of the votes. The party, however, retained power with President Cyril Ramaphosa given the full mandate by the electorates. Ramaphosa became the fifth democratically elected President of the Republic and broke his two decades wait for the top position. The issues of the election’s fairness was a hotly contested issue by small parties.
2. Thandi Modise takes charge of the National Assembly
It was expected that Baleka Mbete was not going to return back to the National Assembly after the elections. It came as no surprise when President Cyril Ramaphosa decided to promote Thandi Modise from the National Council of Provinces to the National Assembly. Modise, who has thus far has been credited for having retained the decorum of the house, is seen as an impartial presiding officer by the majority of the parties.
3. Zandile Gumede forced out of the eThekwini chambers
After many ups and downs, the ANC in Kwa-Zulu Natal finally decided to axe Zandile Gumede as the mayor of eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality. Gumede is facing fraud, corruption and racketeering charges over the Durban Waster project tender. While she maintains her innocence, it remains to be seen whether the court will agree with her stance when her trial starts next year.
4. Mmusi Maimane resigns from the Democratic Alliance
Following the DA’s poor showing in the National and Provincial elections. Mmusi Maimane’s future in the party was forever on everyone’s lips. The election of Helen Zille into the Federal Council marked the end of Maimane. Maimane finally announced his resignations at the party’s headquarters in October ending his four-year rule.
The Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has been on the news throughout the year. One story that kept her dominating headlines was her fight with Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan. Mkhwebane found that Gordhan had acted unlawfully in the creation of the so-called ‘ SARS Rogue Unit’ and also on the Ivan Pillay’s early retirement.