South African Politics

Vietnam War-like outcomes loom over social engineering schemes

With SA’s currency crashing through the floor, the petrol price going through the roof and confidence going out of the window, few bright spots shine amid a winter of discontent.

But one stay-at-home value proposition (at a monthly subscription of just $9) is Netflix. It provides a cornucopia of viewing richness, unadorned by adverts or imposed […]

Looking backwards to go forward is hardly the way to make progress

Fear of being on the wrong side of history shows up again at celebrations around Helen Suzman’s centenary

One of the many features of SA today is a fascination with looking in the rear-view mirror, almost to the exclusion of the road ahead. But often, the view backwards is distorted.

Tuesday November 7 provided seminal centenary events […]

By |November 18th, 2017|Helen Suzman, South African Politics|0 Comments

A state of mindlessness: Our nation’s continuing plummet to disaster defies belief

South Africa faces multiple disasters: a combination of reckless misgovernance and now, with the worst drought in living memory, the Hand of God thrown in for good measure.

On the subject of the divinity, the old saw “Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad” has been given a uniquely modern South African update.

You […]

By |November 15th, 2017|Jacob Zuma, South African Politics|0 Comments

Helen Suzman Was An Intensely Human Politician And Not A Saint

We should learn the right lessons and draw the correct conclusions from the extraordinary and well-lived life of Helen Suzman.

Exactly 10 years ago, on 7 November 2007, I telephoned Helen Suzman in Johannesburg from Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I was a resident Fellow at its famous university. I called to congratulate her on her 90th birthday […]

By |November 7th, 2017|Helen Suzman, South African Politics|0 Comments

Once disgraced Mbeki era now seems like the golden age

In 1967, US author Allen Drury wrote a book on apartheid South Africa entitled A Very Strange Society.

Fifty years later, and two-plus decades into our post-apartheid story, we have added several new chapters to our national tragedy, though that title remains very contemporary.

The strangest part started just shy of 10 years ago: at the 2007 […]

By |November 1st, 2017|Jacob Zuma, South African Politics, Thabo Mbeki|0 Comments

Creating a desert where excellence can’t bloom

Many years ago, Harry Oppenheimer suggested that “In Johannesburg there is nothing to see and in Cape Town there is no one to talk to.” Recent population shifts have altered the conversation imbalance.

But that does not mean each conversation in the Mother City offers reassurance.

Last Monday, I asked a senior academic at University of Cape […]

By |October 29th, 2017|South African Politics|0 Comments

The parallels between Jacob Zuma and Harvey Weinstein cannot be missed

There are obvious comparisons to be drawn between fallen Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and beleaguered President Jacob Zuma. Both have been accused of inappropriate conduct, or worse, misconduct, towards women and abusing their positions of power.

Zuma was of course acquitted of rape charges and Weinstein has yet to be charged. With eight women, at least, […]

By |October 18th, 2017|South African Politics|0 Comments

Contenders to succeed Zuma offer dismal prospects of growth reform

Top duo represent ‘evil of two lessers’, which is not exactly a recipe for dynamic or even dynastic change

Is SA capable of making the deep and swift reforms needed to lift growth, restore business confidence, create jobs and dent poverty? And who might lead this process of urgent renewal? On the leadership question, the answer […]

By |October 11th, 2017|South African Politics|0 Comments

Zuma administration is in a league of its own

If the US constitution resembles a durable oak, ours is like a bonsai tree

With the horrific gun-killings in Las Vegas, it might seem trite to mention one of the great TV series of the past decade, The Sopranos.

But sometimes escapism beats deadly reality. And that mould-breaking psychodrama mixed the humdrum New Jersey suburban life of […]

Impressions can be deceiving, but has Cyril got the guts?

“You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”. Recent events here have, however, turned this old caution on its head.  

Who would have thought, for example, that South Africa’s top capitalists would mourn the firing in March of finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas –two top line Communists? The […]

By |September 24th, 2017|South African Politics|0 Comments