INTERACTIVE: Visualising the web of state capture

The Public Protector’s office released its report into alleged ‘state capture’ of the South African presidency and various state-run enterprises at the end of October 2016. The report was a political and social bombshell that outlined uncomfortably close and ethically (not to mention potentially legally) fraught relationships between our president, Jacob …

Visualising the web of state capture

[UPDATE 1: The South African Council of Churches released their “Unburdening Panel” report into state capture in May 2017. It is an incredibly succinct summary of state capture and I highly recommend reading it as a companion piece to the below article] [UPDATE 2: The Public Affairs Research Institute has …

Public Protector shoot-out: Thuli vs. Busi

In this post I’m going to look at 180,000+ tweets mentioning the Public Protector. The dataset includes mentions of the Public Protector’s office in general as well as specific mentions of Thuli Madonsela or the various candidates for her replacement, including her eventual successor, Busisiwe Mkhwebane. The data covers more than two months, …

University participation by race

I saw this great post by Africa Check about education statistics in South Africa and I thought that, since we’re currently grappling with the race dynamics in our country, it’s worth visualising some of the stats a bit more intuitively and building on them using some other sources that I’m …

The Black First Land First (BLF) enigma

I’m currently looking at a Twitter dataset around the Public Protector. It’s so weird how Andile Mngxitama’s Black First  Land First (BLF) party and the Gupta media entities, ANN7 and The New Age, are always so closely tied together on Twitter (here’s a previous example that I posted about). They seem to …

#FeesMustFall 2016: The first 3 weeks

As the 2016 fight for free education enters its fourth week, let’s take a look back at what the data has to say about the protests on Twitter. Let’s start off by reminding ourselves of the main communities involved (see my earlier post here summarising the initial communities forming). As I …

#FeesMustFall 2016 initial look

Here’s an initial look at about a week’s worth of #FeesMustFall data covering 217k tweets. The discussion has two main halves: “mainstream” and “students and activists“, with the media sitting right between them. It’s interesting to see several distinct student/activist communities forming in this dataset. There is a clear Cape …

Black households edge ahead in monthly spending

South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world. Our Gini co-efficient, which summarises the disparity between those with the least and most income, is one of the highest in the world (only Lesotho’s is higher according to the CIA Factbook). We can blame this inequality on the systemic structures …

SABC “capture” on Twitter

In this post, I examine a dataset around the alleged “capture” of our state-run television broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Commission (SABC), by individuals loyal to President Jacob Zuma. Hlaudi Motsoeneng, COO of the SABC (note that he’s not its CEO), has been accused of censoring the news (for example by placing …