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About Tony Leon

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So far Tony Leon has created 30 blog entries.

Reasons for the ANC’s continuing failure to think

Why do governments pursue policies contrary to their own interests? That paradoxical question was at the heart of Barbara Tuchman's 1984 popular history, The March of Folly. In her panoptic sweep from the wooden horse at Troy to the quagmire of US folly in Vietnam, she noted: "Mankind, it seems, makes a poorer performance of government [...]

By |2021-09-26T09:08:15+00:00September 26th, 2021|African National Congress (ANC), Opinion|0 Comments

It’s a sad indictment on the ANC that it couldn’t get a quorum for its own bill

Last Thursday, as my column, “Do the ANC’s small disasters signal the large collapse?", for our sister publication Business Day was in the works, I had no idea an event in parliament would provide another example of my thesis. In the Business Day column, I catalogued the serial chapters of ineptitude and crass negligence, from unpaid staff and tax [...]

By |2021-09-15T09:14:20+00:00September 15th, 2021|African National Congress (ANC), Elections, Opinion|0 Comments

Do the ANC’s small disasters signal the large collapse?

Schadenfreude — taking pleasure in the misery of another — is not regarded as a civic or social virtue. Still, it was difficult for SA’s long-suffering citizens — long reconciled to the ineptitude and crassness of the governing ANC — to suppress some delight knowing many of the sins our political overlords have visited on [...]

The JSC is shaking the foundations on which it was built

A millennium or so ago, sometime between the first and second centuries, the Roman poet Juvenal asked a question that resonates now in troubled SA. “Quis custodiet Ipsos custodes?” or “Who will guard the guards themselves?” remains key, especially for a country which, on the one hand, celebrates its constitution and, on the other, finds [...]

By |2021-09-01T09:33:48+00:00September 1st, 2021|African National Congress (ANC), Helen Zille, Opinion|0 Comments

Punch-drunk public runs out of faith in its leaders

Cascading corruption, sky-high unemployment, and state incompetence. This daily diet of misery is now so mundane and common that what once induced shock and outrage in us is shrugged off. We have, as South Africans, learnt to normalise the abnormal. Last Sunday, readers were treated to the front-page headline of “Spy boss ‘took R112m’ ” [...]

Was Biden weak or is he doing a Ramaphosa and playing the long game?

Last Thursday, while driving in the English countryside, various authoritative voices on BBC Radio Four provided a counterpoint to the heavy traffic. The topic was, of course, Afghanistan, and the experts speculated that the capital city, Kabul, was in danger of encirclement at some future point, “perhaps even on the anniversary of 9/11”, in view of [...]

By |2021-08-18T06:27:13+00:00August 18th, 2021|Opinion, World Politics|0 Comments

Beijing’s mood-souring tech clampdown shows power of totalitarian state

There are many reasons to mourn the absence from the public space, and in some of our lives, of Jonathan Ball, the outsize SA publisher who died prematurely of cancer at 69 in early April. Ball was a consummate and brave book publisher, a combination of coruscating wit and curmudgeonly opinions, and a paid-up member [...]

By |2021-08-11T08:22:33+00:00August 11th, 2021|Opinion|0 Comments

SA should insist the UK changes its ludicrous Covid travel curbs

The Venn diagram, where public health imperatives and political needs intersect, is opaque, if not a mess. It is the meeting point between poor policies and arbitrary decisions. South Africans found plenty to justly criticise about government overreach in the 16 months since the country was first placed under lockdown on March 26 2020. The [...]

By |2021-08-04T07:13:56+00:00August 4th, 2021|Boris Johnson, Corona Virus, Cyril Ramaphosa, Opinion|0 Comments

If we can’t have a GNU, let’s have a GOAT

Perhaps only a tragedian playwright of ancient Greece can do rhetorical justice to the leadership legacy of Nelson Mandela. Sophocles wrote: "One must wait until the evening to see how splendid the day has been." Last Sunday, shell-shocked South Africans, some in the midst of the rubble and disaster of a five-day looting spree which [...]

Public trust gone: look what happened while Cyril played his ‘long game’

Prof Harry Hindsight and the School of Post-Event Rationalisations have been in overdrive these past days in looted and riot-ravaged parts of SA. Though conspicuous by their absence from KwaZulu-Natal during the intense first days of the lawless violence, police minister Bheki Cele and the oxymoronically titled “minister of state security” Ayanda Dlodlo proved to [...]

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