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South Africa: Between a snafu and a fubar

On Zuma’s watch, growth has halved, the national debt has doubled and another million are unemployed

THERE‘S a grim choice confronting the US electorate in November between the two most unpopular candidates in polling history. This caused Harvard history professor Niall Ferguson — one of the most erudite and eloquent people on the planet — on […]

Snapshots of greed, gestures of change, and genuine hope

Political gestures can be low-cost or ultra-expensive, harmless or dangerous, provide evidence of sunset on the old order or can morph into a false dawn. Political assassinations are at the extreme end of such symbolism.

One hundred and two years ago, the murder in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, famously tipped […]

The Big Read: Looking for someone to blame

It’s difficult to capture in a headline the essence of what is going on, and going wrong in South Africa right now.

If you were to borrow the title from the world of books, perhaps Beryl Bainbridge’s slim 1996 classic of the night the Titanic sank Every Man for Himself, would be a handy summary.

If current […]

Can Gordhan’s Black Knight survive the repeated attacks?

There is merriment on social media, writes Tony Leon, but Zuma is in a deadly serious battle for the economy as he shrugs off election losses and takes SOEs under his control.

Memes – those social media images that go viral on the internet – were in overdrive this week to herald the improbable trifecta of […]

Herman Mashaba: Most vulnerable at the moment of his greatest triumph

Jacob Zuma once famously blamed Jan van Riebeeck for creating South Africa’s problems.

On Monday, the nation watched a chaotic marathon meeting where the most glittering metro prize of all, Johannesburg, slipped from the ANC’s grasp. Now the president can go even further back in our colonial history to cast about for his party’s woes.

To borrow […]

Why the election’s biggest winner was Patricia de Lille

‘She posted the biggest win of any party in any city’

Last Wednesday, with their pens in thousands of polling stations across South Africa, the voters delivered a stunning klap to the ruling ANC.

These local polls won outsize international attention, from affirming editorials in The New York Times to the front page of London’s Financial Times.

As […]

Elections offer the promise of a political horizon in flux

SPARE a thought for Jacob Zuma, president of the sharply diminished ANC, who presided last week over his party’s worst election result since 1994. His controversial homestead in Nkandla is now in a municipality controlled by his provincial nemesis, the Inkatha Freedom Party.

It doesn’t get any better when he goes to work: In Pretoria, where […]

Why Mmusi’s battle is also a test for SA

The DA leader faces a stiffer electoral test than his predecessors did, writes Tony Leon

On a visit to London last month, a British friend of mine had a meeting with the leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA), Mmusi Maimane.
My friend advised that he was impressed with Maimane, but embarrassed that he kept calling him ‘Moses’.

In […]

The Big Read: The Indian lesson to be learnt

Last week’s landing at Air Force Base Waterkloof by a planeload of Indian grandees was altogether a more welcome occasion than the last time arrivals there made the headlines.

Readers will recall that state- or Gupta-capture was first heralded in April 2013, when the infamous family flew in a chartered jet for a wedding and, in […]

By |July 13th, 2016|International Politics|0 Comments

Brexit vote has evaporated the certainties of decades

AMONG the many benefits of being in residence as a Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics some years back, was to become acquainted with some of the faculty at a university overflowing with the academic equivalents of rock stars. Niall Ferguson, the whip-smart and charismatic professor of history, had a keen interest in SA, which […]

By |July 8th, 2016|Brexit, International Politics|0 Comments