Ramaphosa’s ‘credibility gap’ now stands as a yawning chasm of disbelief

Last Thursday in the United States, a special prosecutor, Robert K Hur, exonerated President Joe Biden on charges of mishandling classified documents in a report of more than 400 pages. But just nine words of it could mark the epitaph for the president and herald the return of Donald Trump to the White House. Hur (appointed [...]

In SA, hard and soft power battle against each other

In the degraded discourse around local politics a niche backhander on social media — aimed at dissenting or decamping DA figures that are usually black — is “watch out, you’ll soon be sent to Harvard”. This meme suggests, absurdly, that the official opposition has the magical ability to use Harvard, the world’s pre-eminent and richest [...]

Yikes! The moonshot pact is run from a pizza shop basement

As a Brics scene-stealer, it was hard to beat the offstage and out-of-the-sky antics of Pretoria’s absent friend, Vladimir Putin. Apparently on Wednesday a plane crash in Russia killed Wagner mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, once known as “Putin’s chef”. His death exactly two months after his short-lived mutiny against the Kremlin proves anew the adage [...]

The multiparty coalition needs cool heads and a spirit of compromise

Last week’s opposition get-together at Emperor’s Palace (previously World Trade Centre) in Kempton Park provided fodder for both cheerleaders and cynics about prospects for a post-ANC future in South Africa. For the sceptics, there was plenty of evidence that this “sideshow”, to quote our esteemed president, will not move the voting dial much in 2024. [...]

Coalition politics: when to do a deal with the devil?

Novelist John le Carre offered the thought that “a desk is a dangerous place to view the world”. These past weeks, true to his dictum, I have been far from my South African desk and about in the world. Two days in Israel was to be thrust into the maelstrom of the largest civil discontent [...]

Pay attention to the ticking of the Doomsday Clock

How, in the face of unimaginable horror in the deepest pit of a dystopian nightmare, surrounded by mass death, do you maintain a scintilla of faith and hope? That horror, the Nazi Holocaust and its factories of industrialised human slaughter, featured in several conversations at last weekend’s Franschhoek Literary Festival. The most direct and extraordinary [...]

Polycrisis calls for opposition party unity

Three recent events compel attention and suggest the narrow path South Africa treads between possible salvation and collapse. We don’t have the luxury to follow advice from Yogi Berra, the famed US baseball catcher, who said: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Two of the events occurred on the same [...]

The nightmare keeping us awake during load-shedding: Malema in the Union Buildings

In April 1992 Britain’s most read newspaper, The Sun, hit its readers with a vivid front page on election day. Across a photograph of Labour leader and electoral favourite Neil Kinnock, placed in a light bulb, ran the headline: “If Kinnock wins today will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights.” [...]

When it comes to cabinet composition, the buck stops with Ramaphosa

Anyone who endures the regime of intermittent fasting or carb-counting (or both) might be interested in the news that there are now two new weight-loss drugs — in advanced trial stages — which by way of weekly injections ensure weight loss of about 15%. This is achieved by stimulating “a feeling of fullness” and by [...]

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