Israel and South Africa: Many ironies at play as ‘hard cases make bad law’

No end of ironies emanate from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) proceedings launched by South Africa last week against Israel charging the Jewish state with genocide in Gaza. First, The Hague seat of the ICJ named "the Peace Palace" was ground zero for its opposite - a ferocious emotive attack on the words, conduct, [...]

Liberation movements tend to lose power after 30 years. Will SA join the club in 2024?

As South Africa enters 30 years under the rule of the liberation party, Tony Leon examines what success might look like in toppling a government as a liberation movement and finds SA wanting. Imagine you headed operations for a liberation army, seeking to overthrow an oppressive state and the cruel overlords who helmed it. What would you [...]

The ANC invents a sixth stage of grief

In 1969, Dr Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identified the five stages of grief as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Fifty or so years later, Eskom added one more stage, six, to the national misery index through load-shedding, though our government remains stubbornly stuck in stages one (denial) and two (anger). On Monday, we were treated to [...]

Can Poland’s PiSed-off voters show SA the way?

Political anoraks certainly, and probably many concerned citizens, will enjoy a new book by seasoned journalists Adriaan Basson and Qaanitah Hunter entitled Who Will Rule South Africa? Who indeed is the topic de jour as recent opinion polls suggest that, for the first time in three decades, ANC hegemony could end or at least be severely dented in [...]

Editing history to escape the truth

A new word, “retcon”, has entered the lexicon, shorthand for “retroactive continuity”. American journalist Lance Morrow explained this week it’s a “literary device in which form and content of a previously established narrative is changed. Retcon retrofits the past plot to suit present purposes.” Retcon is a device for novels (such as when history is [...]

Business leaders will have to fill the governance vacuum

Overlooking Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden in Cape Town beside a cedar tree is the grave of its visionary founder, Harold Pearson. His epitaph, with a bow to Sir Christopher Wren, reads, “If ye seek his monument look around you.’’ Pearson, who died at just 46 in 1916, did not live to see how, more than [...]

Maladministration and infrastructural neglect at the core of Joburg fire tragedy

The weekly columns of the late newspaper editor, Ken Owen, were described by author Mark Gevisser as “bilious and brilliant”. As a frequent target of the lacerating views of Owen, I felt the lash of the former while acknowledging the latter as well. In Business Day on April 23 1990, Owen’s weekly bucket of national [...]

While US stays on top, the bucking horse of the rule of law throws SA off

Famed 19th-century British constitutional scholar AV Dicey is credited with popularising the concept “the rule of law”. Among its core tenets is that no person is above the law or beyond its reach. Subsequent scholarly warnings that the rule of law is an “unruly horse” have received some recent, alarming updates here and beyond these [...]

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. [...]

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