Cope, Transnet executives, Afrophobia and reimagining SA’s politics

On his TimesLIVE podcast, contributor and analyst Eusebius McKaiser hosted senior investigative reporters Thanduxolo Jika and Sabelo Skiti. They engaged major news stories in the recent news cycle, diving below the headlines, offering interpretation and framing critical discussion about what matters.
The first issue they debated was whether the apparent implosion of Cope is to be lamented. Skiti offered an argument for why the party was bound to be stillborn, if one had proper regard for the motives of the founders of the party, and how they went about setting up Cope. McKaiser countered it was, nevertheless, regrettable that competitive politics, which is a precondition for a democracy to flourish, is undermined by the infighting among Cope leaders.
Jika explained the backstory to how former Transnet executives, including Brian Molefe, ended up in the docks this past week. There was also a discussion about the importance of seeing the value chain of justice being restored, with some indication that those who were at the heart of the state capture project may yet be held accountable. McKaiser cautioned, however, that the quality of the case built by the National Prosecuting Authority is important since convictions ultimately matter, and not only the initial steps of arrests and court proceedings being initiated.
There was a parenthetical debate between Jika, Skiti and McKaiser about whether Molefe should be viewed as a “tragedy” given that, for many years, many people had regarded him as an exemplar of “black excellence”. Different were expressed on the issue, which listeners will judge for themselves. Stories about the rant by the Limpopo health MEC continue to dominate the news cycle. McKaiser’s guests weighed in, debating whether or not the ANC-led government is scapegoating foreigners or legitimately expressing discontent at the cost of illegal immigration. Jika expressed strong criticism of politicians who, in his view, weaponise the discontent of ordinary South Africans to deflect from their own governance records. He also argued that the real problem has a longer history, namely SA and the region’s failure to ensure the government in Zimbabwe does not repress its own people, and thereby creating the crisis that now has a regional dimension. Skiti agreed, developing the insight further by also arguing despite claiming to speak for the majority, the Limpopo health MEC cares equally little about poor South Africans as she does desperate foreigners. McKaiser noted a worrying trend among many South Africans to “fall” for the political game that many ANC politicians are playing in scapegoating foreigners.
This “shooting the breeze” episode ended with a high-level debate about whether we could imagine a post-ANC-led state, and what that might look like.