Over the past few weeks, various ANC leaders testifying before the Zondo Commission on State Capture (including President Cyril Ramaphosa) struggled to explain why the party’s MPs failed to hold the executive accountable. While this failure can partly be ascribed to the stranglehold Jacob Zuma exerted over his party and the way he wielded this power to protect himself from the consequences of his actions, the system of checks and balances also makes it very difficult for governing party MPs to fulfil their constitutional oversight and accountability duties effectively.

Last week Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy voted against a proposal to launch an investigation into how bids were awarded for a multibillion-rand programme to fast-track new power production. This follows various media reports of alleged corruption and/or tender rigging in the awarding of the tender for the provision “emergency electricity”. Ironically, this happened in the same week that President Cyril Ramaphosa, testifying before the Zondo Commission, claimed that the ANC had turned over a new leaf and suggested that its MPs will do better at holding the executive to account. (more…)

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Quote of the week

My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?

Nathaniel P.Morris
Scientific American
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