South African Politics

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 [...]

By |2017-10-30T21:23:51+00:00October 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 [...]

By |2017-10-23T14:20:09+00:00October 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 [...]

By |2017-10-23T14:39:30+00:00October 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 [...]

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? [...]

By |2017-10-23T14:30:38+00:00September 24th, 2017|South African Politics|0 Comments

Powerful lessons on what it means to be a leader

Two encounters with remarkable women revealed a glimpse of a future in a "better South Africa in a better world", to adapt the slogan of our Department of International Relations and Co-operation. First was an interaction with the first Hispanic woman ever appointed to the US Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor. Sotomayor, an appointee of Barack [...]

By |2017-09-20T08:31:13+00:00September 20th, 2017|South African Politics|0 Comments

Mandela put SA first. The same can’t be said of Jacob Zuma

Nelson Mandela was born last week 99 years ago, when the telegraph was the means of mass communication. But much of the commemoration of his July 18 birthdaywas in cyberspace across social media platforms. One such meme sent to me on the birthday, appropriately encased in a black border, bore the legend: “It ’s little use having 1 Mandela day and [...]

By |2017-07-26T10:41:47+00:00July 26th, 2017|Jacob Zuma, South African Politics|0 Comments

The Big Read: Thank you, Bell Pottinger

Imagine you own a large and successful plumbing and sanitation company. You decide to go big with the launch of your new corporate headquarters. You invite your major clients and the media to the event. Then, moments after the event commences, disaster strikes. In full view of the assembled dignitaries, the pipes burst, spewing water [...]

By |2017-07-12T13:08:50+00:00July 12th, 2017|Jacob Zuma, South African Politics|0 Comments

Lessons from the battle for an open public space

' The courts, despite some energetic rigging attempts by the majority party, still push back against a delinquent state; civil society, far from being muzzled, is fully throated in its denunciations of state capture and corruption' Does distance lend enchantment, or just more distance?Writing this column in Tel Aviv, on the day Israel celebrates its [...]

By |2017-05-03T20:37:04+00:00May 3rd, 2017|Jacob Zuma, South African Politics|0 Comments

Cometh the hour, cometh the man — in Pretoria as in Paris

Last Sunday heralded the promise of real political change in France and South Africa. Tony Leon analyses the parallels and differences There’s a pessimistic French expression Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose, which translates as  the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Two unrelated political events exactly one week ago [...]