Gwede Mantashe

Business leaders will have to fill the governance vacuum

Overlooking Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden in Cape Town beside a cedar tree is the grave of its visionary founder, Harold Pearson. His epitaph, with a bow to Sir Christopher Wren, reads, “If ye seek his monument look around you.’’ Pearson, who died at just 46 in 1916, did not live to see how, more than [...]

There’s no room for optimism without action, Cyril

I keep a collection — now spilling into multiple volumes of quotations and longer articles, even book extracts — of thoughts and writings I believe have the wisdom and wit to illuminate the context and times in which we live. Many years ago, I read a profound book by David Landes, then emeritus professor of [...]

The ANC has mastered the art of doublethink, doublespeak and double-cross

George Orwell is one of the most influential political authors of the ages. Although he died more than 70 years ago, his words resonate today. In 1946, he penned his famous polemic on political pretence and hypocrisy, in his essay “Politics and the English Language”. Two events this week — the forced ejection of Eskom's [...]

Things fall apart as weak Ramaphosa channels his inner Graaff

Douglas Gibson, veteran combatant of the internecine wars that felled the once mighty, now long vanished, United Party, offered a pithy put-down on the equivocating and irresolute leadership style of its long-serving chief, Sir De Villiers Graaff. “When in doubt, Div would appoint a committee,” he recalls. Cyril Ramaphosa claimed in his state of the nation [...]

As we teeter on the brink of the abyss, the silence of big business is deafening

The cavalcade of chaos and crises confronting South Africa right now, with electricity outages a daily grim reminder of our failing state, is probably an excellent moment to roll out the tattered red carpet in Pretoria for the visiting representative of an even more failed enterprise than our own: Russia. The presence in our capital [...]

Klein Krokodil Mantashe morphs into a Gorgon in the PW Botha mould

On September 6 1966, in the assembly chamber of parliament in Cape Town, a deranged messenger, Dimitri Tsafendas, stabbed and killed apartheid prime minister Hendrik Verwoerd. Minutes later then defence minister, and later prime minister and then president, PW Botha, stormed across from the other side of the house to confront the sole member of [...]

Waiting for Ramaphosa goes from Phala Phala party to a black Christmas

The death of acclaimed film critic Barry Ronge in early July was a jarring reminder to me of how he held our English 1 class at Wits University spellbound with his wit and articulacy 42 years ago. Ronge’s lecture topic back then was “the theatre of the absurd” — at the time very voguish with its [...]

In the misgovernance race to the bottom Mantashe is your Dunning-Kruger man

British-American editor and author Tina Brown has just published her new take on the British Royal Family, The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor — the Truth and the Turmoil, to coincide with Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee. The irreproachable queen’s third child and most wayward member of the house invited this acidic comment from [...]

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