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About Tony Leon

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So far Tony Leon has created 208 blog entries.

Ramaphosa, Eisenhower ace the same hole – up to a point

At the height of America’s postwar supremacy in the 1950s, which birthed the baby boomer generation and saw the US standard of living soar, the country’s 34th president was emblematic of its elevated national mood and international standing. President Dwight D (“Ike”) Eisenhower – Supreme Allied Commander in Europe during the war – and thereafter [...]

IEC shows mediocrity has become the norm in SA

The biggest loser in Wednesday’s election was an institution, not a party or any leader: the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC). Heedless of 25 years’ experience, it contrived to combine, in the words of Helen Zille, incompetence with “ineffable smugness”: double voting due to indelible ink that wasn’t; voting stations that were meant to open [...]

We all know that Ace is far from alone. Now let’s do something about it

The recent Easter weekend coincided with the intensification of campaigning for the upcoming general elections. The double advantage of a large audience and the ennoblement of the speakers with the blessings of a higher authority created a magnet for politicians to harangue congregations across the country. There were no reports of any of the political [...]

Vote for the party of obstructionists? Surely you jest

The old gag "the problem with political jokes is that they get elected" was given new meaning last weekend in embattled Ukraine. There, a television comedian, Volodymyr Zelensky, won a landslide victory, ousting hapless incumbent Petro Poroshenko. Voters ignored the latter's warning that "voting for a comedian is no joke". The obvious jokers in the [...]

More votes for opposition could shift SA from its mix of toxic politics and bad economics

In 2014 Financial Times columnist Philip Stephens went to Moscow. He was in search of an answer to the question why Vladimir Putin was, in the teeth of his weak economy and restive populace, doing such apparently risky things as invading neighbouring Crimea and threatening the states in Russia’s “near abroad”. The best response he [...]

SA’s parlous politics are more ‘Game of Thrones’ than Notre Dame

On Monday night, in the real world and in one of its cultural capitals, Paris, 800 years of French history and an icon of Christianity dating to the Middle Ages, went up in smoke. While the lasting damage inflicted by the fire that devastated Notre Dame Cathedral is being assessed, the global shock and horror [...]

When SA stops chasing away miners and tourists, we can talk of a new dawn

I am currently, literally, an ocean away from the homeland doing my semi-annual gig lecturing on a modern, rather sumptuous cruise ship which has journeyed up the west coast of Africa and now approaches Mediterranean Europe. Happily, the ship’s generator keeps it fully lit, so no load-shedding. But my role, along with some eminent Washington [...]

By |2019-04-03T12:56:52+00:00April 3rd, 2019|Brexit, South African Politics|0 Comments

Running out of options, Cyril plays the struggle card

Did Cyril Ramaphosa morph in the past few days from Teflon Man - to whom nothing sticks - to Mr Velcro, to whom every stain attaches? Certainly, Bosasa is proving very sticky, and, given the sticky fingers of Gavin Watson and his gang who built their business on corrupting state tenders, that is entirely apt. [...]

Keep SA’s lights on? We’re too busy having fun

A few weeks ago, after a family commemoration, I was sitting at a restaurant in Durban North,  the suburb where I was born decades ago. I noticed that our Greek taverna was situated on the corner of Swapo Road and Adelaide Tambo Avenue, neither name immediately evocative for this English-Indian-Zulu suburb. One of our guests [...]

By |2019-03-20T07:50:39+00:00March 20th, 2019|African National Congress (ANC), Eskom|0 Comments

How DA can play the coalition game while sidelining the calamitous EFF

I once compared being leader of the opposition to making bricks without straw. You desire to change things or shift opinion, but objectively lack an essential ingredient to do so. Tony Blair on the comparison said: “When I was leader of the opposition I started the day with ‘what can I say’; now that I [...]