Corona Virus

Shades of ’80s SA in this mysterious modern Star Chamber

The reason we use a 19th century remedy - washing our hands - for a novel 21st century virus is that the outer shell of the coronavirus is weak. The "lipid envelope" is easily destroyed by soap and water. I read this virological fact in an article by master novelist Ian McEwan, who also, via [...]

Plagues, locusts and SA’s political R factor

The fiscal apocalypse outlined in Wednesday's emergency budget was biblical in proportion and probably could add a new page to the Book of Revelation. Instead of reminding us of the End of Times, which is certainly on the cards as the country careers off the economic cliff face, Tito Mboweni settled for the Book of Matthew. He reminded [...]

SA ignored warnings about its debt crisis. Now you and I will pay dearly

When Tito Mboweni rises in parliament on Wednesday afternoon to present his revised budget, the normally emollient finance minister will likely replace his usual beaming smile with a grim rictus. This, after all, in the direst economic circumstances in more than 70 years (cue the Great Depression of the 1930s as an approximate marker on [...]

How Cyril went from secular saint to Mampara

Dominic Cummings - the controversial adviser to Boris Johnson who is in the eye of the storm for bending if not bypassing the UK lockdown regulations he imposed on the country - has a gift for pithy phraseology. He famously crafted the winning slogan of the 2016 referendum: "Take Back Control". Then, to provide the [...]

The clunking government fist on corona echoes Stalin’s Soviet Union

“The National Coronavirus  Command Council”, which for past 10 weeks has governed our lives sans any input from parliament, sounds ominous enough to be plucked from the old Soviet Union playbook. Actually it is far more a case of command than council. On Sunday evening, beyond the clichés and warmed-up rhetoric of Cyril Ramaphosa, he [...]

Too many Covid-19 puzzlements an uneasy resonance with pre-Nazi Germany

As South Africans endure the seventh week of home imprisonment, the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic is, to borrow from the song in The King and I, “a puzzlement”. First puzzle is our new overlord, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. She seems to imagine that viral microbes possess an intelligence wing. And while several of her fellow ministers, [...]

This is not our Mao or Pol Pot moment – there’s a pandemic to fight

Academic-turned-politician Prof Belinda Bozzoli MP recently noted that that there is “weird sort of millenarianism floating around in certain quarters”. “Millenarianism” is a reference to the belief, usually religious or political, of a coming fundamental transformation of society in which “all things will be changed”. In Bozzoli’s view this manifests itself here in the belief [...]

Virus requires extreme measures, not the extreme wittering of Malema et al

Freedom Day 2020 was the most baleful in SA’s recent history since we spent it under house arrest. That phantom from our past, ostensibly banished by our 1996 constitution, is back with a vengeance due to a viral pathogen we cannot see, cannot interdict effectively but can, under stringent conditions, delay. And since so little is known [...]

By |2020-04-29T07:54:54+00:00April 29th, 2020|Corona Virus, EFF, Julius Malema|0 Comments

Pandemic covers and uncovers a multitude of sins

Senator J. William Fulbright occupies a place in the political Pantheon reserved for a breed now extinct: he was a Southern Democratic Senator who staunchly opposed the war in Vietnam in the 1960’s and 1970’s. He lost his re-election bid in 1974 for being too out of touch with his conservative voters. But he did [...]

Instead of a virus national command, what SA really needs is a ‘Goat’

At the dawn of democracy SA gave birth to a Gnu. In the midst of a global pandemic is it not time for a Goat? I do not refer to animals, although Animal Farm remains the best take on politics ever written, but to a constitutional shorthand. The government of national unity (GNU) mandated under our interim [...]

By |2020-04-15T07:53:13+00:00April 15th, 2020|Corona Virus, South African Politics|0 Comments