Zuma’s brittle grip tightens

Early on Monday mornings I send my clients a review of the previous week’s political news which might be of relevance to financial markets. This morning I thought the issues were of more general interest. Thus … Summary: It is difficult not to see the main items in this review as connected: The ANC yesterdayContinue reading “Zuma’s brittle grip tightens”

Political risk and the weeklies

Sunday’s newspapers were more interesting from a political risk and investment point of views than normal. This is what I thought mattered, as far as financial markets were concerned, in last week’s Mail & Guardian, the Sunday Times, Sunday Independent and City Press: Construction industry – possible prosecution and fines for fraud and racketeering GovernmentContinue reading “Political risk and the weeklies”

Talking head, the kept politician, Mangaung, Ramaphosa, Motlanthe and other matters

I was interviewed on eCNA by the excellent Gareth Edwards yesterday about some matters relating to Mangaung, policy and succession. Catch that here. … and here is a part of my weekly news summary from Monday morning: Nelson Mandela hospitalised on the eve of Mangaung conference; A leaked KPMG audit conducted for Zuma’s corruption trialContinue reading “Talking head, the kept politician, Mangaung, Ramaphosa, Motlanthe and other matters”

A few (more) deep blue thoughts as we rush towards Mangaung – Part 2

By the way “deep blue” in the headline was not meant to be a riff on IBM’s chess playing supercomputer. Rereading Part 1  I can see how someone might accuse me of being a little too certain about the shape of the future.  I am not running “deep blue” regressions and algorithms, modelling South AfricaContinue reading “A few (more) deep blue thoughts as we rush towards Mangaung – Part 2”

The connection between violent ANC contest and the piles of Nkandla treasure

I am not encouraged, in my professional life, to be too colourful in what I write or say. This morning I reviewed the weeklies – as I do before 06h30 every Monday morning – and found myself having to strip more metaphor and vitriol than usual from what I had to say. For example –Continue reading “The connection between violent ANC contest and the piles of Nkandla treasure”

Is it time to sell South Africa ?

I am sometimes tempted to think of myself as a company analyst, with South Africa as my company,  government as management and the currency and bonds as the share price Company analysts make sell, hold or buy recommendations. Obviously a buy means the analyst believes the shares are cheap – in some difficult to determineContinue reading “Is it time to sell South Africa ?”

What could derail Jacob Zuma at this late hour?

Well it is certainly not Julius. Last night his expulsion from the ANC and the ANC Youth League was confirmed by the ruling party’s national disciplinary committee. His ‘fixer’, secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa, was suspended for a year – making any attempt to ‘rule-by-wire’ difficult. The appeals committee chaired by Cyril Ramaphosa also confirmed the three-yearContinue reading “What could derail Jacob Zuma at this late hour?”

Notes on the relationship between Cosatu and the ANC

After last week’s Cosatu strike against labour brokers and e-tolling the question of the future of the relationship between the Cosatu and the ANC has again consumed public debate. I have quickly jotted down some of the issues as I see them and how I think the situation might play out in the longer termContinue reading “Notes on the relationship between Cosatu and the ANC”

The SACP and Cosatu are trying to rescue the ANC and the state – but there is an optimism differential between them

Has the South African state become an instrument in the hands of the class of predators that dominate our politics? Think a crowbar or a 9mm automatic and think of the Nkandla or Limpopo crews using that tool to rip or rob huge sections of  provincial and national budgets. Cosatu is clearly suspicious of theContinue reading “The SACP and Cosatu are trying to rescue the ANC and the state – but there is an optimism differential between them”

The ANC as a proxy for the nation?

It’s tempting to focus on the ANC as if its history and prospects are a proxy for the history and prospects of the country as a whole. The party’s centenary celebrations this week will strengthen the sense that this is indeed the case. The last hundred years of South African history has been about theContinue reading “The ANC as a proxy for the nation?”

Going into the dark

The previous post was headlined “The ANC’s surprising return to form” and it stayed as the face of this website throughout a week in which we were reminded of the nest of corruption our president emerged from. … oh yes, and a week when the ANC in parliament passed the Protection of Information Bill –Continue reading “Going into the dark”

Game of Thrones in the ANC

A good friend of mine in New York* recently put me on to “A Song of Ice and Fire” – a seemingly endless series of swords and sorcery novels by George R R Martin. This is the crack cocaine of fantasy fiction but it is also a surprisingly brilliant study of politics and power vacuums.Continue reading “Game of Thrones in the ANC”

Julius Malema and predicting the future you want

The déjà vu is washing over me like the phantom symptoms of a late winter bout of hypochondria. I remember the lead-up to Polokwane. The thuggish crowds outside Jacob Zuma’s court appearances. The man we had known was in Shaik’s pockets since 1993, he who famously couldn’t keep it in his pants, the rape accusedContinue reading “Julius Malema and predicting the future you want”

‘Economic Freedom’ debate rescued from hijackers

Two brief thoughts – on a rainy Cape Town Sunday: Firstly – a by-product of Malema’s (possible) retreat I have a feeling that debates ranging from mine nationalisation, land distribution and continued white economic dominance in the South African economy have just been saved from the gangsters in the ANC Youth League who have beenContinue reading “‘Economic Freedom’ debate rescued from hijackers”

Some observations about the election lead-up

I am feeling the welcome pressure of a flood of paid work. The only drawback to this happy state of affairs is I have not been able to put as much effort into updating this website as I would like. In future I will generally be posting the quirkier side of politics and investment riskContinue reading “Some observations about the election lead-up”