Sparks didn’t mention me as one of his ‘smart’ politicians. To my delight.

However good and well-intentioned a leader you are, your leadership will often be defined by how quickly you douse the fires
Some wise owl once observed: “Your victories can land up costing you more than your defeats.”

It seems churlish, on the back of his comprehensive and surprising victory last Thursday, to sound this note about David […]

By |May 13th, 2015|Opinion, South African Politics|0 Comments

Tony Leon’s message to the DA

Speech by Tony Leon to the DA Federal Congress, Port Elizabeth, Sunday, May 10 2015: “The Power of an Idea”
As I was saying at the last DA Congress I spoke at exactly eight years ago yesterday, before I disappeared from your midst-

All is not lost if courage remains. We can make South Africa great. […]

By |May 10th, 2015|Democratic Alliance, Opinion, South African Politics|0 Comments

Time of political fracture links polls continents apart

TWO rather different leadership contests are happening this week. In the UK tomorrow, a new prime minister will be chosen, and in SA on Sunday, the Democratic Alliance (DA) will choose a new leader. The consequences of these choices will have hugely different effects.

The UK might count for less in the world these days than […]

By |May 7th, 2015|Opinion, South African Politics, World Politics|0 Comments

Ministerial estates – where the lights never go out

True load-shedding would involve the ANC dumping the dead wood of clueless cadres.
Is it a contradiction, in these darkened days and nights of load-shedding, to have a light-bulb moment?

Actually, you can – especially if you live, as I do, in the southern suburbs of Cape Town. And this has nothing to do with the fact […]

By |April 30th, 2015|Eskom, Opinion|0 Comments

Jacob Zuma has missed his Truman moment

Leaders should stop thinking their electorate are stupid and and own up to blunders they make.
When he assumed the presidency, he was widely regarded – to borrow a phrase from Helen Zille – as “unfit for purpose”.

He was relatively undereducated and the product of a corrupt political machine. He was only picked for the No2 […]

By |April 30th, 2015|Opinion, South African Politics|0 Comments

Maimane facing the challenge of weighty expectations for future success

Next year’s local government poll, and articulating a credible message for it, is the test Helen Zille’s successor will have to pass — and time is limited.
Here’s the story of two sisters on different ships leaving Nazi Germany in 1938. The one ship arrived in South Africa and the other sailed on to Argentina. On […]

By |April 30th, 2015|Opinion, South African Politics|0 Comments

My advice to a new DA leader: Don’t follow the path of least resistance

As Karl Marx observed: ‘Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please’
In May 2007, I stood down as leader of the DA after seven years as its head and, six years before that, as the leader of its predecessor movement, the Democratic Party. Thirteen exhilarating, exhausting and often hair-raising […]

By |April 30th, 2015|Opinion, South African Politics|0 Comments

Logic pushed to back seat as past is reinvented by rage

Logic pushed to back seat as past is reinvented by rage
AS OUR local brigades of “Monuments Men” move around SA removing or redecorating symbols from our conflicted past, there’s an old joke from the Soviet Union that has currency.

A listener calls up a radio station with the question: “Comrade, is it possible to foretell the […]

By |April 30th, 2015|Opinion, South African Politics|0 Comments

Lessons from a leader who banned chewing gum

The ‘guided democracy’ lead by the late Lee Kuan Yew had plenty of lessons — both good and bad — that can come in useful for leaders around the world
Nineteenth-century French writer Gustave Flaubert was of the view that “our worth should be measured by our aspirations more than our works”.

He would go down a […]

By |April 30th, 2015|Opinion, World Politics|0 Comments

Lost and found in Africa’s rising star

Public service corruption on a grand scale, private sector excellence in the same place
It is beyond our darkest imaginings. The act of deranged killer co-pilot Andreas Lubitz — who deliberately crashed a plane into the French Alps — strikes fear into every airline passenger.

Against this sombre canvas, it probably seems trite to recount the saga […]

By |April 30th, 2015|Opinion, South African Politics|0 Comments