South African Politics

It’s time the state stopped spin doctoring and started doctoring

Reading director general of government communications Phumla Williams’s defence of SA’s desirability as an “investment destination of choice” reminded me of the rejoinder of Upton Sinclair. In 1935 this American Pulitzer Prize-winning author and political activist wrote: “It is difficult to get a person to understand something when their salary depends on them not understanding [...]

Presidential sounds of silence are fuelling the fire engulfing SA

Workers Day, May 1 2022, offered South Africans sharply contrasting images of President Cyril Ramaphosa and leader of the official opposition John Steenhuisen. Ramaphosa had a double indignity heaped on him at a rally at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, North West. The obvious injury to presidential pride was his forced removal from the keynote [...]

There’s more chance of seeing the Easter bunny than relief funds reaching victims

This past weekend saw Christians and Jews celebrate Easter and Passover respectively, two of the principal holidays in both religions’ calendars. Easter of course is the post-crucifixion celebration of the miracle of the resurrection, while Passover celebrates the exodus from the enslavement of pharaoh in ancient Egypt, delivered in part by God visiting 10 deadly [...]

Is SA going to hell or to heal? Well, it depends on how you look at it

Are you an optimist or a declinist? Or to use the old cliché, do you see the bottle as half full or half empty. The lens we use to view events can inform our decisions. That, at any rate, is the view of SA’s economic cheerleader, Adrian Gore, founder and head of the Discovery medical [...]

Punch-drunk public runs out of faith in its leaders

Cascading corruption, sky-high unemployment, and state incompetence. This daily diet of misery is now so mundane and common that what once induced shock and outrage in us is shrugged off. We have, as South Africans, learnt to normalise the abnormal. Last Sunday, readers were treated to the front-page headline of “Spy boss ‘took R112m’ ” [...]

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

The big disconnect between preparation for Covid-19 and the Credit-20 crash

A famous question was asked by British monarch Queen Elizabeth II: “Why did no-one see it coming?” This was not her question on the coronavirus pandemic, but her inquiry at the London School of Economics back in November 2008 on the credit crunch set off by the global financial crisis, which the British queen described [...]

ANC replicating apartheid past

The rear-view mirror is the preferred reflector for our government. Far easier to remember the apartheid past, in which most members of the governing party were victims, than the dire times that confront SA. But even this litigation of the past has both its distortions and its ironies. Take, for example, the latest piece of constitutional nonsense [...]

The good news first: SA isn’t as doomed as you think

As we end the first week of the year and enter the brave new world of the third decade of the century (not true for the pedants, as the last decade strictly ends on December 31 2020), note one big thing. According to the 2011 SA census, more than 40% of our 57 million population [...]

Well-intentioned men of zeal and the harm they do

In his famous 1928 dissenting opinion in Olmstead vs United States, US Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis offered a warning to freedom-lovers everywhere. He wrote: “Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their [...]

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