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?”

‘Tis reasonable to hope this might be the season to be (faintly) jolly

For those who were tortured by my somnolently incoherent post last night, here is the follow up. Hopefully a little clearer. The flip-flops around the Minister of Finance leave Jacob Zuma looking weak and vulnerable. There are grounds to begin questioning whether he will see out his full term. The appointment of Pravin Gordhan isContinue reading “‘Tis reasonable to hope this might be the season to be (faintly) jolly”

Don’t call me stupid, stupid

Having been woken by my children to tell me we had a new, new finance minister I blundered out of bed and scribbled this for my paying clients – forgive the blurriness it is essentially the sleeping pill that’s doing most of the world work. There were 7 more errors in this paragraph. I justContinue reading “Don’t call me stupid, stupid”

Overreach – how generals, tyrants and puffed up fools implode

Business Day  this morning published an article suggesting that Nhlanhla Nene was on the verge of being shuffled out of his Minister of Finance position to some face-saving backwater. I wrote early last week in a client note: “It is widely held that the National Treasury and Minister Nhlanhla Nene have come under hostile pressure forContinue reading “Overreach – how generals, tyrants and puffed up fools implode”

The race is on …

… but it’s difficult to know who to back Thank you Mail and Guardian for publishing the story we all wanted even though you have probably broken the whole cannon of ethics in journalism. The story to which I refer, titled “Ramaphosa starts fight for top job”, was published in the print edition of the aforesaid newspaper on November 13,Continue reading “The race is on …”

The alliance is dead, Zuma’s dignity saved and SA dams on life support – and how I think I know what I think I know

I wanted to discuss something called heuristics, which refers to the way we make decisions or reach an understanding about something, especially when the matter under consideration is complicated. The word (heuristics) can mean the short cuts we take but the general field also deals with the many errors of thinking to which such short cuts canContinue reading “The alliance is dead, Zuma’s dignity saved and SA dams on life support – and how I think I know what I think I know”

That’s nothing! I remember ….

There were several times last week when I felt admiration for the protesting students, including those who crashed through the gates of parliament and, quite bravely in many cases, stood up to the SAPS’s counter attack, stun grenades and all. I admit to some brief, irresponsible, trickster elation – Loki let loose upon the world – good for them …Continue reading “That’s nothing! I remember ….”

To whom it may concern …

To those who noticed, apologies I disappeared without so much as a by-your-leave or hint of explanation. Two pressures and one anxiety drove my precipitous descent into silence. The first was increasing time constraints that led me to be largely republishing here bespoke material a few weeks after those who had paid for it had seen it. AndContinue reading “To whom it may concern …”