American Politics

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 [...]

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 [...]

Faced with a difficult election, the ANC is fuelling a ‘paranoid style of politics’

At the Grammy Awards on Sunday night, pop sensation, an understatement, Taylor Swift became the first honouree to win Album of the Year for the fourth time, eclipsing Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra and Stevie Wonder in the process. At just 54kgs, Taylor Swift bestrides the world of music today as a modern-day colossus, her concerts [...]

Yikes! The moonshot pact is run from a pizza shop basement

As a Brics scene-stealer, it was hard to beat the offstage and out-of-the-sky antics of Pretoria’s absent friend, Vladimir Putin. Apparently on Wednesday a plane crash in Russia killed Wagner mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, once known as “Putin’s chef”. His death exactly two months after his short-lived mutiny against the Kremlin proves anew the adage [...]

While US stays on top, the bucking horse of the rule of law throws SA off

Famed 19th-century British constitutional scholar AV Dicey is credited with popularising the concept “the rule of law”. Among its core tenets is that no person is above the law or beyond its reach. Subsequent scholarly warnings that the rule of law is an “unruly horse” have received some recent, alarming updates here and beyond these [...]

It seems ANC chicanery can bring deeply divided US parties together

You have to hand it to the ANC and our spectacularly misnamed department of international relations and co-operation (Dirco). Both have achieved the rarest of rare feats: uniting the bitterly factitious and brutally acrimonious Democrats and Republicans in the US Capitol. The two major parties, which control the three branches of the US government, agree [...]

What ails our gaffe-prone president?

“Senescence” is defined as the condition or process of deteriorating with age. This week’s video announcement by President Joe Biden that he will seek re-election as US president next year sent the commentary class into overdrive on the risks of senility or physical impairment afflicting Biden, who would be 82 at his inauguration. Cognitive decline [...]

Democracy is slowly chipping away at the denialists in the US

Last Tuesday, election day for the mid-terms in the US, found famed American historian and presidential envoy Deborah Lipstadt thousands of kilometres from home. Instead, she was addressing a seminar at the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Cape Town. Lipstadt, who achieved celluloid fame via her portrayal by Rachel Weisz in [...]

Ramaphosa’s meeting with US president a non-event, just like his reforms

One of Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite aphorisms was, apparently, “I have to be seen to be believed”. Yesterday, after the pomp, circumstances and flummery of her state funeral at Westminster, and later, her final committal at Windsor, her grandson Prince William, the Prince of Wales, tweeted “5.1 billon people watched the queen’s funeral, 63% of [...]

Babbling while Ukraine burns

For the least populated area in America, the Mountain West state of Wyoming has received outsize attention across the world in recent days. That’s because it was the site of the landslide defeat in a primary election of US congresswoman Liz Cheney, a three-term US Representative. Cheney is the daughter of a Republican dynasty headed by [...]

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