Goodbye to 2020, a truly bad year
As 2020 comes to a close, many people will meet it with a huge sigh of relief as it had been truly annus horribilis, a bad year.
The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated what was already a difficult economic outlook for the country, plunging the economy into deeper crisis.
But while the focus was understandably on the coronavirus, the news cycle kept churning out a lot more – both good and bad – developments, from left to right, and somewhere in between.
Ravishing beauty and university graduate Shudufhadzo Musida became the new Miss South Africa, from one end of the news cycle to the country losing Auditor-General Thembekile Kimi Makwetu to lung cancer at 54. Makwetu was the third Auditor-General of the country since the dawn of democracy in 1994.
Among the most topical news lately, outside the Covid-19 death-toll, were the utterings of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, captured in a prayer, around his wishes for the much-sought vaccine to be free of the mark of the devil, 666.
Needless to say, he took much flak from those outside his Christian faith who felt he should “stay in his lane” and stick to the law.
Former President Jacob Zuma could easily be Newsmaker of the Year for his familial tiff with Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, chairperson of the State Capture Commission.
After the unsuccessful the application brought by Zuma for Zondo to recuse himself as chair of the commission, the former president staged a walk-out from the commission hearings.
New dates in January and February 2021 have been sought for Zuma to appear before his nemesis.
Shortly thereafter, more drama was to unfold before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo when defence advocate Dali Mpofu, for former SARS commissioner Tom Moyane, took on Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan in cross examination.
The cross examination descended into an open spat of disrespect and personal attacks from both sides.
The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein acquitted Phillip Schutte and Pieter Doorewaard on all charges against them in the so-called sunflower murder of youngster Matlhomola Moshoeu.
Schutte and Doorewaard were earlier found guilty of murder by Judge Ronnie Hendrick.
The SCA heard the appeal despite the High Court in Mmabatho having denied the two leave to appeal the case in March.
Still in the courts, the five men accused of the murder of the former Orlando Pirates and Bafana-Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa appeared in the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court.
The accused persons were identified as Muzikawulahlelwa Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokosizi Maphisa and SifikuhleNkani Ntuli Sifiso.
Curiously, Londwe Twala, the son of musician Sello Chicco Twala, one of the people alleged to have been present in the house when Meyiwa was gunned down at the Vosloorus home of his then girlfriend, singer Kelly Khumalo, was not among the accused.
Meyiwa was shot dead on October 26, 2014.
A warrant of arrest was issued against ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule to appear in court on November 13, 2020, which he duly did and was released on R200 000 bail.
Magashule appeared on charges of fraud and corruption related to his term as Premier of the Free State.
His supporters turned out in large numbers on court day in Bloemfontein.
The Integrity Commission of the ANC, which recommended that Ace Magashule step aside while his matter is still before the courts, is proved to be a toothless watchdog, yet again.
Magashule vows it is only the ANC branches that can decide his fate.
The country got a glimpse of what a race war would look like when two men appeared in court in Senekal, in the Free State, following the murder of Brendin Horner (22), a farm manager in Paul Roux.
White protestors, who torched a police vehicle and ransacked the court building, demanded that the two suspects be handed over to them.
A high profile murder took place in Cape Town where Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear was gunned down outside his Bishop Lavis home.
Kinnear was instrumental in investigating gang-related crime in the Western Cape and his murder has revealed factions within crime intelligence and a batting of heads between National Police Commissioner Kehla Sitole and Police Minister Bheki Cele.
Ace Magashule was in the news earlier in the year after he led an ANC delegation to Harare, Zimbabwe.
The trip drew attention for the use of an Air Force plane.
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Ngakula, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, was drawn into the fracas but the ANC quickly admitted wrongdoing and agreed to pay their share of the costs for the flight.
Struggle hero and lawman Advocate George Bizos, a long-time ally of the late Nelson Mandela, died on September 9, 2020 of natural causes at his Joburg home. He was 93.
The last of the Rivonia Triallists Andrew Mokete Mlangeni dies in July 2020, aged 95.
Courts continue to be a voodoo place for Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane who doesn’t fare well in any judgment involving her office.
The Western Cape High Court has refused the Public Protector’s leave to appeal its judgement handed down on October 9, 2020, which dismissed her application for an interim order to stop National Assembly Speaker, Thandi Modise, from continuing to process a motion for her removal from office.