About Tony Leon

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So far Tony Leon has created 115 blog entries.

Can Ramaphosa’s multiparty govt revive South Africa’s stature in global affairs?

On Thursday evening, many South Africans will tune in to Cyril Ramaphosa's opening address to Parliament on behalf of his newly installed multiparty government. But few in the world will take notice. This is not just because Sygnia CEO Magda Wierzycka, no doubt accurately, opined recently that "South Africa has become irrelevant in terms of [...]

SA enters a Kafkaesque era of opposition leadership in Parliament

The 1996 Constitution formalised the office and role of the leader of the opposition. Section 57(1)(d) of the Constitution obliges the National Assembly to recognise "the leader of the largest opposition party in the Assembly as the Leader of the Opposition". The first holder of the post was also the briefest occupant of the office: [...]

Hubris syndrome claims the pretend king of Gauteng

My recent reimmersion into the murky waters of SA politics during the negotiation for the new and very large government of national unity was a reminder of why I quit political leadership in 2007. I have renewed admiration for those who toil at the political grindstone but, politics like acting (and former British prime minister [...]

The ANC faces its own ‘Sophie’s choice’

Realpolitik - or the triumph of ruthless pragmatism in pursuit of national ends - is a word correctly associated with Germany's "Iron Chancellor" Otto von Bismarck, whose 19 years in office (1871-1890) forged the modern German state. Popularly, but apparently incorrectly, attributed to Bismarck is the aphorism: "Anyone who loves the law or sausages should never [...]

The most difficult part of the GNU starts right now

"Never make predictions, least of all about the future" is wise advice. Undeterred by such caution, three years ago, in 2021, in my book, Future Tense - Reflections on my Troubled Land, I suggested that, in 2024, 30 years after the founding democratic election here, the liberation party would likely run out of road and face defeat [...]

A crucial fork in the road for South Africa’s future

Never has the Chinese curse or cliché, "May you live in interesting times," been more fitting for South Africa in the aftermath of the momentous 29 May election. As we navigate genuinely uncharted waters, it could be said that the map to hand, our Constitution, will guide us safely to calmer waters. That is both [...]

Spot the difference: ANC’s populist pivot in 2024 election

Decades back, the Sunday newspapers boasted large comic supplements featuring everyone from Prince Valiant to Batman. One weekly cartoon was called "Spot the Difference". It sported a two-panel drawing each of which looked, at first blush, identical to the other. But in fact, the second panel contained some subtle differences from the first drawing. The job [...]

Fanfare for NHI, whisper for Political Party Funding Act amendment

Uncosted, untested, and – arguably – unconstitutional, our consensus-loving President Cyril Ramaphosa signed into law last week the National Health Insurance Act. "Whether you like it or not" is the new eve-of-poll presidential mantra. One can only look in wonderment at how the state – over three decades – has ravaged and pillaged practically every [...]

ANC’s foreign policy: A misguided quest for global peace leadership

For a good dose of inflated rhetoric, dodgy statistics and magical thinking, check out the ANC's 2024 election manifesto. The last section of the document, dealing with international relations, takes grandiosity to new heights, even as South Africa plunges to new lows of foreign interest. Recently, former finance minister Trevor Manuel underlined how far we [...]

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