Mkhize vibes off into the sunset

It looks increasingly likely that Zweli Mkhize’s tenure as Minister of Health will come to an end sooner rather than later – he dodged a parliamentary inquiry on the morning of the 4th and has given up on giving the statistical briefings on his own Twitter account. It is not surprising that Mkhize, through choiceContinue reading “Mkhize vibes off into the sunset”

Cornered RET

This piece was written jointly with my colleague Laurent Balt. So where to now for Ace Magashule, and what future for the RET forces? The state of the RET Unpacking the health of an ANC faction nowadays is tricky business, in that they are generally not factions in the traditional political meaning, but rather looseContinue reading “Cornered RET”

NEC finally discards the Ace

It was a long night. Ramaphosa’s allies were careful to keep the focus largely on Magashule himself, rather than open a broader front against the whole RET faction – a move we expect Ramaphosa and his cohorts to embark upon in the next several weeks. Magashule and his camp appeared to go to the meetingContinue reading “NEC finally discards the Ace”

Teatime at Nkandla, AstraZeneca and the mutant strain

Tea as theatre I was adamant I wasn’t going to add to the verbiage about the Nkandla tea party. But then City Press led with the headline “THE GREAT TEA PARTY FIGHTBACK” (yes they were shouting) to give voice to the strategist supposedly leading the Zuma and Ace defence league and running the campaign toContinue reading “Teatime at Nkandla, AstraZeneca and the mutant strain”

Key person risk, Molefe’s attack on Ramaphosa and other matters

Some tenuously connected thoughts about political risk and financial markets in recent South African newsflow: For whom the bell tolls The marginal victory of Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC conference at Nasrec in December 2017 immediately raised the matter of ‘key person risk’ inherent in having one portly fellow as the absolute lynchpin of theContinue reading “Key person risk, Molefe’s attack on Ramaphosa and other matters”

Public sector wage bill – slugging it out in Labour Appeals Court

As I write the government and labour are clashing in the virtual Labour Appeal Court, in between freeze frames, dropped connections and the acerbic wit of the inimitable Judge Dennis Davis. In essence: Whether or not the government is able to ‘hold the line’ on freezing the public sector wage bill is the biggest identifiableContinue reading “Public sector wage bill – slugging it out in Labour Appeals Court”

Ace in the hole*

Ace Magashule’s 10th November arrest linked to his involvement in the Asbestos Scandal has the potential to be a seismic political event for South Africa, should he be successfully prosecuted and sentenced. This caveat is important, given both the long-standing capacity constraints at the NPA and the botching of previous state capture prosecutions, including theContinue reading “Ace in the hole*”

The Ramaphosa Heuristic

Tracking the momentum of Cyril Ramaphosa – his vulnerability to attack within the ANC, his ability and intention to implement structural reforms and accountability for corruption – has become a widely used heuristic for assessing the state of South Africa more generally. A heuristic is a mental shortcut. In this case, it’s a way ofContinue reading “The Ramaphosa Heuristic”

Corruption arrests and Land ho!

Several posts will be attempts to catch up on relevant news, and argue why I think these are, or are not, important. This is one of those. Corruption Arrests Do the corruption arrests constitute a step change in attempts to unpick the tangled web of ‘normal state and economic activity’ from rent-seeking and the criminalContinue reading “Corruption arrests and Land ho!”

Under Construction

Apologies for the inconvenience but this site is undergoing reconstructive surgery – please wear a hat and mask at all times. The regular political commentary that has not been published here for two years will resume when the management finds a WordPress technician who can speak any of South Africa’s official languages. Meanwhile here isContinue reading “Under Construction”

Ne ne ne Nene

The Minister of Finance, unlikely hero and protector of the public purse, has slipped precipitously in public affections as he apologised for visiting the Guptas while Deputy Minister and his son appeared to be at the centre of a scandal at the PIC, the institution for which the Deputy Minister of Finance is responsible –Continue reading “Ne ne ne Nene”

Counterrevolution and the Tiffany Smith & Wesson

The counter revolution is not gonna headline the Sunday Times That Sunday organ is a well established field of play for leaks from factions struggling for power in and around the ANC – and, just as an aside, proved itself most obliging to the whole State Capture initiative by assisting the decimation of SARS throughContinue reading “Counterrevolution and the Tiffany Smith & Wesson”

As I was saying …

Greetings. I have decided to resume updating this WordPress site. Mostly with commentary based on news coverage about South African politics and investment risk. Occasionally with articles that I think someone following South African politics may find interesting. Land ho Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on the land question as president of the ANC has been thoroughlyContinue reading “As I was saying …”

Zexit? Make me …

The last two weeks have been given over to overoptimistic outpourings of happiness. Here is the grumpy note I put out on April Fool’s Day as the aforementioned came out skipping into the park, hope reliably triumphing over experience: The Constitutional Court ruling against Jacob Zuma yesterday is another significant blow to his credibility and will reflectContinue reading “Zexit? Make me …”

Does the Gordhan correction undo the damage wrought by Nene’s axing?

You might be surprised at how carefully some people who’ve never set foot on these shores, people who are mostly blindingly clever at maths and informed to a scarily deep level about our politics and history and whose job includes trading our currency and bonds, have asked me that headline question in the last week.Continue reading “Does the Gordhan correction undo the damage wrought by Nene’s axing?”