Those aren’t Polokwane chickens!

I was dreading yesterday’s mini-budget. Firstly the objective conditions were against us. It was clear that the Great Recession was going to squeeze revenue – and therefore the space available for the new Minister of Finance to operate in. As it turns out, lower revenue and higher than expected expenditure has pushed the estimated deficitContinue reading “Those aren’t Polokwane chickens!”

The Polokwane chickens are coming home today …

Today Pravin Gordhan presents his (and Jacob Zuma’s) first Medium Term Budget Policy Statement. The post-Polokwane guillotine has been working overtime off late and we have seen the last remnants of the Ancien Régime flushed from the party, the state and government. The last man standing is Trevor Manuel, balancing precariously on a rapidly shrinkingContinue reading “The Polokwane chickens are coming home today …”

Some (more) light weekend contempt

On the drift to the left in South African policy making: When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators. – P. J. O’Rourke On certain young leaders in South African politics: Fame is but the breath of the people, that is often unwholesome. – ThomasContinue reading “Some (more) light weekend contempt”

Farewell to Peter Mayibuye*

Joel Netshitenzhe has resigned as Director General in Trevor Manuel’s National Planning Commission in the presidency. This comes a day after President Zuma reshuffled and attempted to explain the various roles to be played by the various ministers who fall into the economics cluster. The Business Day article suggested that Zuma had caved in toContinue reading “Farewell to Peter Mayibuye*”

The People’s Flag is … a sort of murky grey

I have been trying to figure out whether Billy Masetlha’s criticism assertion that there appears to be an attempted communist take-over of the ANC is accurate or relevant. During this endeavour I came across an interesting passage from ANC Today, September 2007 (the lead-up to Polokwane). It quotes Joe Slovo: “But, despite the fact thatContinue reading “The People’s Flag is … a sort of murky grey”

It is impossible to avoid: Cosatu is the enemy of the unemployed

Let’s be clear here. Cosatu might oppose unemployment, but that is an abstraction and Cosatu’s opposition is largely symbolic and ineffectual. It is the interests and strivings of the unemployed themselves that Cosatu actively works to counter. It’s obvious really. Cosatu is a federation of trade unions. A trade union is the representative of employed people, asContinue reading “It is impossible to avoid: Cosatu is the enemy of the unemployed”

A back-to-the-future quote from FDR

Here’s FDR in an interesting quote I dug up. It’s from about 1935 – in the lead-up to his re-election in 1936 – and it is made to a journalist from the Hearst organisation. This gives one a sense of how threatening was the Great Depression – to the very system of capitalist accumulation itself. This is,Continue reading “A back-to-the-future quote from FDR”

Ruling party’s populism – such a clever trick

Just how broad a church is a broad church? The ANC and the Congress Movement has always liked to refer to itself as “a broad church” – which basically means that people of different ideological persuasions should be able to find a home within the movement. The Ruling Alliance is giving new definition to ‘broadness”Continue reading “Ruling party’s populism – such a clever trick”

An Unhealthy Debate

Is wealth the cause of poverty? Is everything in development a zero sum game? Listening to how the ANC and the SACP motivate their proposed national health insurance scheme gives a disconcerting inkling of how they think about development. Their proposal is for a compulsory national health insurance (NHI) to be the main solution to a number of  problems that besetContinue reading “An Unhealthy Debate”

The striking times in which we live

A couple of things about the current wave of strikes. Firstly, a strike entails costs for all parties involved in the collective bargaining process. We tend to think of the costs to the company and the customers of the company. But equally significant costs are born by the union and its members. Generally they don’tContinue reading “The striking times in which we live”

The Spirit of Polokwane?

… probably Johnny Walker Blue Label … The leadership of the African National Congress are feeling quite satisfied with themselves – and they have some justification. They have finessed both the SARB governorship and the transition at the Treasury and everyone, apparently, feels like a winner. For now. The two positions about which the financial marketsContinue reading “The Spirit of Polokwane?”

Architects of Poverty – Book Review

Architects of Poverty Architects of Poverty by Moeletsi Mbeki (Picador Africa – Pan Macmillan 2009) R152 at Exclusive Books in the V&A Waterfront …it was the Africans who caught the people in the interior and sold them to the owners of the ships that transported them to the Americas to be sold into slavery. SoContinue reading “Architects of Poverty – Book Review”

Cosatu – the dog that caught the car?

Remember dogs running after cars, their nails screeching across the asphalt and all that desperate barking? And remember the old chestnut: what would the dog do if it ever actually caught the car? Well, then think of Cosatu. There is something about the way Zwelinzima Vavi and his colleagues are behaving in relation to the ANC and governmentContinue reading “Cosatu – the dog that caught the car?”

The Zuma Cabinet – Upside Surprise

First published May 14 2009 Jacob Zuma’s cabinet was announced in mid-May. This report looks at each minister and deputy minister and gives a brief  introduction to each one. Summary conclusions  This cabinet is shaped by the competing objectives of improving performance/delivery and the political requirement to satisfy both the SACP/Cosatu constituency who backed Zuma’sContinue reading “The Zuma Cabinet – Upside Surprise”