27 May 2014

South Africa: Ngoako Ramathlodi - Straight Into the Platinum Fire


On Tuesday, Statistics South Africa told us, and investors, that our economy shrank in the first quarter. Broadly, we want our economy to go the other way. One didn't have to look far for the big contributor: mining GDP was down a whopping 24%, thanks to the platinum mining strike led by the Association of Mining and Construction Union (AMCU). The strike is biting down hard. It is having a dramatic impact on our economy. It is a culmination of broken systems, broken politics, and broken lives. On Sunday night, advocate Ngoako Ramathlodi was put in charge of finding a solution.

I have two strong memories of Ngoako Ramathlodi; fairly contradictory ones, come to that.

The first is from 2009. Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe was gunning for a spot in the Constitutional Court. There was some suspicion that he wanted the job of Chief Justice itself. He had been accused of trying to interfere with two cases in that court relating to the corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma. And just a few months before, the Judicial Service Commission had concluded, quite irrationally, that it could not proceed with the case against him. Its reasoning...

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