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About Tony Leon

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So far Tony Leon has created 35 blog entries.

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 [...]

Power of the courts prevail against SA’s once-most-powerful citizen

“This is the way the world ends”, TS Eliot wrote at the conclusion of his 1925 poem The Hollow Men, “Not with a bang but a whimper.” An apt epigraph for how the Nkandla stand-off ended late on Wednesday evening as Jacob Zuma was arrested and sped off to spend his first night incarcerated. No insurrection, [...]

By |2021-07-09T11:48:49+00:00July 9th, 2021|African National Congress (ANC), Jacob Zuma|0 Comments

Stop trying to hide your failings with euphemisms, weasels

This week’s standoff in Nkandla will tell us a lot about who we are as a country. It will speak volumes on where we stand on the rule of law and equal treatment of all citizens, and how even-handed the state and its agencies will be in applying the adage that no-one is above the [...]

It’s a steal: billionaires right on the money

'Insert the topic of billionaires in a book title and you have a seller'', is the view of Jeremy Boraine, publishing director at Jonathan Ball Publishers. Indeed. Of the top five bestselling titles in SA right now, three of them deal with that tiny subset of local billionaires, the Afrikaans super-rich. The Stellenbosch Mafia by Pieter [...]

By |2021-06-27T08:11:27+00:00June 27th, 2021|African National Congress (ANC), Opinion|0 Comments

By groveling to the EFF, the ANC is digging SA’s grave

At the ANC national conference in December 2017, which elected Cyril Ramaphosa as president by a tiny margin, the party adopted a resolution that consisted of two mutually destructive elements. On the one hand it resolved that nationalisation of land without compensation “should be one of the methods used by the state to address land [...]

By |2021-06-23T07:36:41+00:00June 23rd, 2021|African National Congress (ANC), EFF|0 Comments

Racial nationalist governments start to resemble each other

In the heyday of Die Burger newspaper and the National Party (NP) — for which the publication served as both house journal and chief cheerleader — their influence was consequential and often baleful. Posterity attributes to long-time Die Burger editor the late Piet Cillie the quote: “We had to practise apartheid to prove it could [...]

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