Zuma, Gordhan, Hawks and spy tapes: This week’s M&G

The Mail & Guardian’s March 4 edition is on stands today. Here’s an idea of what to expect. 

Watch your back, JZ
Leaders from the ANC-led alliance this week rallied behind President Jacob Zuma, who faced yet another motion of no confidence, tabled by the Democratic Alliance in Parliament.
 But behind the scenes senior alliance leaders were quietly discussing his removal from office, and other former loyalists were said to be turning against him. 

ANC Chief Whip: We told Zuma to pay back the money all along
Outgoing ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani does a surprising about turn in an exclusive interview with the M&G and says the ANC parliamentary caucus, under his leadership, always wanted President Jacob Zuma to repay a portion of the millions of rands spent on security upgrades at his Nkandla homestead and had always supported the public protector, Thuli Madonsela, in that regard. 

We answer the Hawk’s 27 questions to Pravin
The Hawk’s 27 questions to finance minister Pravin Gordhan ahead of this year’s crucial budget speech, linking him to an investigation into SARS, has sparked a storm within the country, with those sympathetic to Gordhan seeing it as an attempt to intimidate the minister. Long-time investigative journalist Sam Sole answers the 27 questions in the M&G. How much of it is legitimate – and how much is just plain ridiculous?   

Sex-crazed dragonfly on ‘suicide mission’
New research shows that the Pantala flavescens, a type of dragonfly, flies up to 7 000km in a single journey. The record-smashing trip is all about sex. This wanderlust makes the Pantala different from their cousins — the average dragonfly struggles to leave the pond where they’re born. Maybe Pantala just don’t find each other that attractive. 

White women trumping black people for transformation targets
White women are scoring top jobs at the University of Cape Town as a way to beat transformation targets, according to a group of black alumni. Out of eight dean appointments in the past three years at UCT, only two were black African men, one was a coloured woman and the rest were white people.      

Mahikeng, Potch & Vaal: A tale of three campuses  
In 2004 a historically black institution, formerly known as the University of Bophuthatswana, combined with the Afrikaans Potchefstroom and its extension campus in the Vaal. Last week protests highlighted how although there have been many efforts to unify the three campuses, according to the students, it will take more than just a name to bring that about. 

Spy tapes: Get the lowdown on the 3-day hearing this week
To charge, or not to charge, President Jacob Zuma with corruption again will define how the public view the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), all those involved in the so-called spy-tapes saga agree. What they cannot agree on is whether putting Zuma in the dock will bolster democracy, or undermine it. 

Barclays sale: what next?
It’s not often that a controlling stake in a high-quality bank comes on to the market, but hard times have hit the global banking sector and are forcing Barclays Plc to sell off its African business. But the news comes at an inopportune time for almost all likely buyers. Whatever happens it’s not going to be the usual suspects this time around.    

Windpower: beating fossil fuels at their own game
Five years ago there were just eight wind turbines spinning in South Africa. Today there are at least 495 on 13 wind farms and they supply energy to more than half a million households. Meanwhile Eskom’s coal-fired power stations Medupi and Kusile remain many years behind schedule and many millions of rands over budget. 

South African romcoms a hit with audiences
The recent local success of Happiness is a Four-Letter Word seems to herald a new box-office momentum for romantic comedies in South Africa. Thabang Moleya, the director of the movie, believes this success is related to the relief and escape from the “times that we are living in” offered by such films – and the fact that audiences can journey with “characters they can relate to”. Read more in tomorrow’s M&G.

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