If I had to cook up an explanation ….

(I posted this in the boarding queue at Cape Town International on my way to Johannesburg and that means there were a few typographical errors, some of which I have now corrected. Where the sense has changed – as in the final paragraph – I indicate the changes I have made.) If my life dependedContinue reading “If I had to cook up an explanation ….”

Sink or swim

Here is the summary of South Africa’s performance in the Global Competitiveness Report 2010 – 2011. The highlights are mine and the seriousness of the problems is obvious.. While we quite rightly bemoan health, education and labour market failures it is interesting to note we were top ranked – in the whole world! – inContinue reading “Sink or swim”

Excellent Crime Stats – against a dark background

From murder to car jacking and from GBH to rape the April 2009 – March 2010 Crime Statistics published yesterday indicate significant and welcome improvements. Unfortunately the absolute levels are still extraordinarily high and in one area, crimes against women and children, there have been large and distressing increases. See the really unusually well writtenContinue reading “Excellent Crime Stats – against a dark background”

Zuma recalled? I just can’t see it …

I want to discuss this business of commentators predicting that Zuma will be recalled before he has finished his initial term – but first a brief advertisement. This blog was set up, in part, to generate paid work for myself. One of the things that I do for a living is talk to (or writeContinue reading “Zuma recalled? I just can’t see it …”

The end of the ruling alliance

Commentators and politicians are outdoing themselves announcing either the end or the permanence of the ANC/SACP/Cosatu alliance. This is Jacob Zuma on the subject – at the Kwazulu-Natal ANC General Council on Friday: I have read so many alliance obituaries. If leaders express their views, people think that we are fighting … The alliance willContinue reading “The end of the ruling alliance”

The resurrection of Julius Malema

Chasing my tail trying to get the bills paid. But two important things not to lose sight of: Firstly, Julius is back. The weekend National General Council of the ANC Youth League was a personal triumph for him and he emerges from Gallagher Estate with his star, once again, steadily on the rise. In theContinue reading “The resurrection of Julius Malema”

Waiting for a saviour to rise from these streets*

Just when all hope flees, as the last good politician still within government leaves his/her post to join the feeding frenzy and as the last decent officials trying to do a public service throw up their hands in disgust; and as the striking workers blockade the last functional HIV/AIDS clinic and trash the streets again;Continue reading “Waiting for a saviour to rise from these streets*”

Strike – not as easy as it looks

The news media is full of toyi-toying fat people in red T-shirts blockading hospital gates interspersed with pictures of dead and dying babies. Alternatively the coverage is of other fat people in red T-shirts clutching sticks and whips trundling around, with their fat bottoms swaying, looking for pupils (bravely trying to uplift themselves by continuingContinue reading “Strike – not as easy as it looks”

World Cup Prequil …

I am going to have to keep a straight face as I do this. I am not unaware that “sex sells” – and I come from a political tradition that is endlessly anxious about the depiction of women’s bodies and about whose cause is being served by that depiction – but here goes … TheContinue reading “World Cup Prequil …”

Are we there yet?

The ArcelorMittal /Imperial Crown Trading deal (in all its complexity) is deeply threatening to the future of investment in South Africa. If I ran a display indicating threat levels to the South African democracy the readings would be higher now than at any time since the successful establishment of majority rule in 1994. Such aContinue reading “Are we there yet?”

Jeremy Cronin – the acceptable face of the Media Tribunal

Jeremy Cronin’s light defence of the proposed media tribunal couldn’t have come at a worse moment – a few hours before the showy arrest of the Sunday Times journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika. That’s a pity, because his comments were more sensible and readable than those of his comrades – although still misguided and, ultimately, dangerous,Continue reading “Jeremy Cronin – the acceptable face of the Media Tribunal”

Make the circle bigger Nathi – or dance alone

Occasionally our correct and coded political dialogue is enlivened by a less experienced politician whose staff were out to lunch when their boss put pen to paper – or word in mouth, as the case may be. One such instructive episode has been a piece by Minister of Safety and Security (Police) Nathi Mthethwa inContinue reading “Make the circle bigger Nathi – or dance alone”

Youth unemployment – our deepest sytemic threat

If you thought the interminable debates about the laws and institutions that structure our labour market and government subsidies for first time youth workers were just silly ideological wrangling then take a look at this graph from the OECD economic survey of South Africa. Let the extraordinary relative numbers speak for themselves. Youth unemployment seemsContinue reading “Youth unemployment – our deepest sytemic threat”

Politicians tend to hate markets – for good reason

… politicians and chief executives of all political colours become angry when anonymous markets do not take their assertions at face value. The anonymous market cannot be dictated to or defeated in debate. Leaders cannot shout down, fire or arrest the nonexistent Mr Market. This from a fine piece of commentary from John Kay inContinue reading “Politicians tend to hate markets – for good reason”

Selebi plays Zuma, Agliotti plays Shaik

I can’t help but think of the Selebi corruption trial and conviction as a proxy for the big one that never happened. There’s a story about Glenn Agliotti wandering around Shell House in the early 90’s, undoubtedly looking to meet and great the returning leaders of the ANC. Somewhere in those chaotic corridors where incompetenceContinue reading “Selebi plays Zuma, Agliotti plays Shaik”