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”

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”

Black Middle class saves our world …. and other plausible hopes for salvation

Greeting … and compliments of the season to you all. I was too busy to post here during the last few months of 2014. I had been writing and then road showing (here and abroad) an argument that suggested pressures acting on the ANC might, ultimately, save the organisation from its slow-motion collapse into whatContinue reading “Black Middle class saves our world …. and other plausible hopes for salvation”

Jacob Zuma – will he stay, will he go and does it matter?

I will get on to the weighty question of whether Jacob Zuma might retire before his term of office is completed momentarily, but first let me mention that I have been busy with what started as an idle rumination about the South African Communist Party. But has turned, inevitably perhaps, to “become persistent and recurrentContinue reading “Jacob Zuma – will he stay, will he go and does it matter?”

Julius Malema the (still) coming man

This is obviously a season of reflection for me. Here is (another) post from the past, this one from November 4 2009. For a long time Julius Malema is the Coming Man was the most viewed and most commented upon article here.  (Later this post about Chris Hani became ‘most viewed’ if not most commented upon.) Remember, whenContinue reading “Julius Malema the (still) coming man”

Hold fast comrades – the Thatcher-lites are upon us

I intend, in the near future, to dust off my Marxist theory.* I am going to need a framework through which to express my growing conviction that much of our politics can be understood as a function of the collapse of the alliance of classes that underlay the national democratic revolution – and the African National Congress. The bigContinue reading “Hold fast comrades – the Thatcher-lites are upon us”

Brics and stones can break our bones …

I often send out commentary before I am satisfied with it. That usually means typos and misspellings that I have failed to find in a rushed edit, but sometimes it means the analysis is … less in-depth (trite? … shallow? … Ed) than I would have liked. It’s the price of procrastination when chasing deadlines – andContinue reading “Brics and stones can break our bones …”

Is the ANC beyond redemption … yet

On my return on Sunday from 10 days relaxing in and around the unparalleled Lake Malawi a friend took me aside and said he had visited my blog and found only cobwebs, spiders and dust. Forgive me. So putting my shoulders back and girding my loins I logged on to deal with the decay and sayContinue reading “Is the ANC beyond redemption … yet”

Top ranked in the Political Trends and Industrial Relations category In the Financial Mail 2014 survey

The Financial Mail recently conducted its annual survey of the fund management industry’s ranking of the broker analysts  in South Africa. As I have mentioned previously I find it faintly awkward crowing about it here. However, in the spirit of our age of frenzied self-promotion, I feel compelled to share with you the fact that I topped the rankingContinue reading “Top ranked in the Political Trends and Industrial Relations category In the Financial Mail 2014 survey”

Some thoughts on the ANC, the DA and the EFF

A couple of asides as I tinker away at a framework for assessing Sunday’s Cabinet announcement. The media noise surrounding Helen Zille’s putative attitude towards Lindiwe Mazibuko is interesting, but largely because it is so loud. In the last hour I have been asked twice (by journalists) for an opinion on Mmusi Maimane‘s acceptance of nomination to theContinue reading “Some thoughts on the ANC, the DA and the EFF”

The looming threat of the proto-fascist, demagogic, hybrid neo-Stalinist business unionists, ethnically-tinged vigilantes and the preachy capitalist philanthropists

I am up to my neck in it, trying to tease out the main implications and trends of the election – in a way that might be useful to investors in our financial markets. As part of the process I read everything I can find that has been written about the elections. I have just readContinue reading “The looming threat of the proto-fascist, demagogic, hybrid neo-Stalinist business unionists, ethnically-tinged vigilantes and the preachy capitalist philanthropists”

#mansplaining listicles and click bait

This is a quick and casual aside as I await the more weighty matters of Pravin Gordhan’s medium-term budget policy statement at 14h00 today. For various reasons* I attempt to keep abreast of the rapidly evolving technological and cultural aspects of what we call ‘social media’ New cultural trends drive developments in language and thereContinue reading “#mansplaining listicles and click bait”

Stuff happens to some people, but some people happen to stuff

Jacob Zuma has forced me to reread Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli’s The Prince, published 500 years ago this year. He (Jacob Zuma) didn’t threaten me with the red lightsaber or catch me in a honey trap. My natterings, fortunately, are not impactful enough to draw the attentions of the Dark Lord (Darth Vader, dah! –Continue reading “Stuff happens to some people, but some people happen to stuff”

Zimbabwe, Vavi, EFF, Amcu and other delights

Herewith my news commentary as of yesterday morning. I thought I would republish it here because it includes my brief assessments of how to think about the Zimbabwe election, Vavi and the EFF. I also, politely, imply that the Seriti commission might be a cover-up and that Amcu’s underlying objectives in the gold sector areContinue reading “Zimbabwe, Vavi, EFF, Amcu and other delights”

If the ANC was a soap opera slipping in the ratings …

Imagine you are the producer of a major and successful television soap-opera. Gradually, for reasons that are not immediately apparent, market research begins to indicate your share of the prime-time television audience is diminishing – and, further, that the declines are accelerating. I suspect what you do is try to work out whether the viewersContinue reading “If the ANC was a soap opera slipping in the ratings …”