Jan 29, 2023

EDITORIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: The Republic Mail Is Back And Bigger!

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We will also welcome criticism on all fronts which will enable us to produce high-quality stories and well-researched in-depth analyses for our audience.

FILE PHOTO: The Republic Mail has chosen more important political events as we begin 2023. PICTURE: Dreamstime

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After taking a step back mid-year of 2022, after years of quality journalism and storytelling, the Republic Mail is back and more extensive.

Launched on 13 May 2017 during the heightened period of State Capture, we noted in our first editorial that we would be providing a platform that will offer a more in-depth analysis and that will certainly go beyond the headline. We committed to going beyond the headlines and taking on the work of thinking through possible routes into a viable future and navigating in a space that has been dominated by many players.

As a young publication, we commit ourselves to improve each day and strive for quality content. We will also welcome criticism on all fronts which will enable us to produce high-quality stories and well-researched in-depth analyses for our audience.

As we start the new year, much will be happening in our country and abroad. Our editorial team has taken the liberty to give an overview of some of the prolific events that will take place as the year unfolds.

POLITICAL EVENTS

BRAZIL – Mr Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been sworn in as the new president of Brazil – the third time he has held the country’s highest office

The veteran left-wing politician, known widely as Lula, also led the country between 2003 and 2010 – and defeated Mr Jair Bolsonaro in October’s poll. In his first speech, Lula vowed to rebuild a country in “terrible ruins”.

He decried the policies of his predecessor, who went to the US to avoid the handover ceremony. A sea of Lula supporters gathered in front of Congress since early in the morning early this month – decked out in the red colour of his Workers’ Party. They travelled to see their leader sworn in – but also for a celebration.

More than 60 artists and a dozen of guests including South Africa’s Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – the minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs attended the ceremony on behalf of the embattled president of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa. The Republic Mail will keep a close eye on the developments as Mr Bolsonaro’s supporters vow to protest against Mr Lula’s presidency.

US – Former US President, Mr Donald Trump will face criminal charges

There are wide speculations that former US president, Mr Donald Trump could be charged for the 2020 January Riot, duped as an insurrection at the US Capitol in Washington DC as thousands of his extremist supporters sought to prevent the certification by Congress of Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

Last month, the House select committee investigating the attack voted to refer the former president to the justice department on charges of obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the US, conspiracy to make a false statement and “incite”, “assist” or “aid or comfort” an insurrection.

The justice department will have to move with haste as the US prepares for the 2024 presidential elections in which Trump is expected to stand again.

WORLD – A BIG STORY: Putin and Xi meet against the backdrop of growing crises for both leaders

Russian president, Mr Vladimir Putin told his Chinese counterpart Mr Xi Jinping in a virtual meeting Friday, 30 December 2022, that their partnership was more important than ever in the face of “unprecedented pressure” from the West, as Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine leaves it increasingly isolated on the global stage.

While Mr Putin’s war in Ukraine rages on and Mr Xi grapples with an unprecedented Covid outbreak, a call between the two leaders on Friday underlined their mutual reliance amid mounting crises at home.

In opening remarks broadcast on Russian state TV, Mr Putin said that the stabilizing force of the Russia-China relationship was becoming even more critical against the backdrop of growing geopolitical tensions.

The Russian leader described relations between the two nations as “the best in history,” saying they could “withstand all tests,” and invited Mr Xi to visit Moscow in the spring of 2023.

“We share the same views on the causes, course and logic of the ongoing transformation of the global geopolitical landscape,” Mr Putin said.

“In the face of unprecedented pressure and provocations from the West, we defend our principled positions and defend not only our own interests but also all those who stand for a truly democratic system and the right of countries to freely determine their own destiny.”

SOUTH AFRICA – ANC January Statement, Cabinet Reshuffle and Power Crisis

The ANC has vowed to intensify its efforts in creating a better life for all South Africans in the new year. This year, the party celebrated its 111th birthday in the dirty city of Mangaung in the Free State – where the newly elected Top 7 convened. After surviving the impeachment process by South African lawmakers, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa used his party’s January 8 Statement to set the tone for the country going forward.

The party says the task of creating decent living conditions for South Africans will require members to unite. Delivering his speech, Mr Ramaphosa vowed to end load shedding as the country has been plunged into darkness by Eskom.

“We must return Eskom’s generation capacity to optimum performance. This responsibility will be given to capable and qualified individuals. We must also tackle sabotage at ANC. We will also lead a campaign against illegal connections,” said Mr Ramaphosa.

Earlier this month, the ANC spokesperson, Mr Pule Mabe said the party’s task as the year begins is to unite the party.

“As we welcome the start of 2023, and mark 111 years since the existence of our glorious movement, the African National Congress, we commit to increasing the pace of renewing our movement to serve our people faster, better and effectively. The task ahead requires that we foster unity both in action and in deeds. In 2023, we will once more double our efforts to realise the noble promise of a better life for all,” promises ANC spokesperson, Mr Mabe.

CABINET RESHUFFLE – Mr Ramaphosa is eager to reshape his cabinet after winning the ANC conference in Nasrec, Johannesburg.

The newly elected ANC secretary-general Mr Fikile Mbalula announced that Mr Ramaphosa was considering a cabinet reshuffle. The president is faced with a decision to replace Mr Mbalula as Minister of Transport following his election as ANC secretary-general.

There were also expectations that Mr Ramaphosa would remove ANC cabinet ministers who opposed him in public, such as Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Tourism Minister Ms Lindiwe Sisulu.

Some speculated that Mr Ramaphosa would appoint the newly elected ANC deputy president Mr Paul Mashatile to replace Mr David Mabuza as the country’s deputy president.

ESKOM – Eskom grid is too weak for renewables, fix existing power stations says, Russian coal billionaire

South Africa needs to upgrade its coal-fired power plants rather than focus on renewable energy, according to a sanctioned Russian billionaire who made his fortune in part from generating electricity using the fuel.

“The priority for the country should be first to fix and modernise the existing fleet of power plants because that’s fast, that’s cheap, and it allows at the same time to have a reasonable price of electricity,” Andrey Melnichenko said in an interview last week at a lodge in Irene, north of Johannesburg.

South Africa’s grid is concentrated in the northeast of the country, where its coal-fired electricity plants, which regularly break down, are located.

Meanwhile, there’s little capacity in the provinces where solar and wind resources are readily available.

As we take the journey to 2023, we hope we will be bringing you exciting and thought-provoking stories.

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