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The Big Read: Expect only the unexpected

‘Present at the Creation’ was the title of US Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s autobiography.

As the US’s chief diplomat between 1949 and 1953, he inaugurated and witnessed key events that shaped our world after the end of the war against Hitler and the commencement of the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union.

The […]

By |June 14th, 2017|Brexit, International Politics, World Politics|0 Comments

Restive voters pull rug from under the feet of complacent potentates

It’s the memes wot won it. This shorthand definition of an image, video or cartoon — usually humorous and shared rapidly by internet users — is one of many explanations for the extraordinary results posted in Thursday’s British general election. Bundled off the campaign just three days before the poll because of a series of […]

By |June 12th, 2017|Brexit, International Politics, World Politics|0 Comments

Two lessons from abroad on how to bring our rainbow back

Israel is one of the few countries available for the South African political establishment to burnish their human rights credentials. 

For reasons of solidarity and expediency or simple inattention,  such gross rights violators as Venezuela, Zimbabwe and Syria –where political protestors are shot dead, imprisoned or gassed  with poison respectively, escape both attention and censure.

Thus  the […]

A tale of two seriously damaged presidents. One of them is ours

‘The return of Molefe to Eskom and the ridiculous reasons offered for it makes even Trump’s explanation for firing James Comey seem plausible’

Here are two — of several — quotes plucked from the weekend which seem to describe the depressing national condition into which the Jacob Zuma presidency has plunged South Africa with its continuing […]

Unravelling constitutional threads that keep fabric of nation intact

Small business minister is the latest recruit to the ranks of thread-pullers that put hard-won settlement at risk

From the balcony of my temporary accommodation on a marina outside Tel Aviv last Monday, I witnessed the flyover of the latest additions to Israel’s air force, already by far the mightiest in this war-ravaged region. Israel is […]

By |May 10th, 2017|International Politics|0 Comments

Lessons from the battle for an open public space

‘ The courts, despite some energetic rigging attempts by the majority party, still push back against a delinquent state; civil society, far from being muzzled, is fully throated in its denunciations of state capture and corruption’

Does distance lend enchantment, or just more distance?Writing this column in Tel Aviv, on the day Israel celebrates its 69th […]

By |May 3rd, 2017|Jacob Zuma, South African Politics|0 Comments

Cometh the hour, cometh the man — in Pretoria as in Paris

Last Sunday heralded the promise of real political change in France and South Africa. Tony Leon analyses the parallels and differences

There’s a pessimistic French expression Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose, which translates as  the more things change, the more they stay the same. 

Two unrelated political events exactly one week ago will- depending […]

This doctor won’t cure SA

If you have liked the presidency of Jacob Zuma so far, you will love the possible future rule of his former wife, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

And while our Department of International Relations and Co-operation has been mute on the use by the Syrian government of poison gas on its own people, it has found the time […]

By |April 19th, 2017|Jacob Zuma, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, South African Politics|0 Comments

TONY LEON: ANC faithful loath to find fault with Zuma despite SA’s downward spiral

Party members, like victims of Stalin who believed in the system, cannot accept movement has lost the plot

In his final tour de force before his death in 2010, the great modern historian Tony Judt described how key victims of Stalin remained — to the bitter end, often unto death — true believers in the system […]

The Big Read: Shaky hands on the joystick

New Finance Minister Malusi Gigabi loves fashion shows and dressing up. Two cabinet posts back, he arrived at the opening of parliament impersonating an SAA pilot.

I thought at the time – given that he was the minister responsible for the disastrously mismanaged national carrier – there was something deeply symbolic in a politician pretending to […]