Cornered RET

This piece was written jointly with my colleague Laurent Balt. So where to now for Ace Magashule, and what future for the RET forces? The state of the RET Unpacking the health of an ANC faction nowadays is tricky business, in that they are generally not factions in the traditional political meaning, but rather looseContinue reading “Cornered RET”

NEC finally discards the Ace

It was a long night. Ramaphosa’s allies were careful to keep the focus largely on Magashule himself, rather than open a broader front against the whole RET faction – a move we expect Ramaphosa and his cohorts to embark upon in the next several weeks. Magashule and his camp appeared to go to the meetingContinue reading “NEC finally discards the Ace”

Teatime at Nkandla, AstraZeneca and the mutant strain

Tea as theatre I was adamant I wasn’t going to add to the verbiage about the Nkandla tea party. But then City Press led with the headline “THE GREAT TEA PARTY FIGHTBACK” (yes they were shouting) to give voice to the strategist supposedly leading the Zuma and Ace defence league and running the campaign toContinue reading “Teatime at Nkandla, AstraZeneca and the mutant strain”

Key person risk, Molefe’s attack on Ramaphosa and other matters

Some tenuously connected thoughts about political risk and financial markets in recent South African newsflow: For whom the bell tolls The marginal victory of Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC conference at Nasrec in December 2017 immediately raised the matter of ‘key person risk’ inherent in having one portly fellow as the absolute lynchpin of theContinue reading “Key person risk, Molefe’s attack on Ramaphosa and other matters”

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!”

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”

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 …”

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?”

Lesotho, Guptas, Jacob’s Ladder, Julius huffs and he puffs but he doesn’t blow the House down, Cyril’s hard week down at the commission …. and so much more

Here are some bits and pieces I highlighted for investors over the last few weeks. Thanks as always to BNP Paribas Cadiz Securities for allowing me to republish these snippets here … it is also a touch more information that most people require, but I post it here for the record, if nothing else. IContinue reading “Lesotho, Guptas, Jacob’s Ladder, Julius huffs and he puffs but he doesn’t blow the House down, Cyril’s hard week down at the commission …. and so much more”

Strike out, the presidential health, SONA2014#2 and EFF and the landed gentry gets a finger wagged in its direction

Some humble and not so humble opinions on various snippets of recent and not so recent political news. Platinum strike finally over Amcu and the platinum producers announced a settlement on Tuesday. The industry reports the strike cost producers R24-billion in lost revenue and the workers R10.6-billion in forsaken wages (see the pro-industry website here for other data.) SoContinue reading “Strike out, the presidential health, SONA2014#2 and EFF and the landed gentry gets a finger wagged in its direction”

Glacial progress in employment equity and Ronnie gets hilarious

(Note: please read Jonny Steinberg’s comments on my miscasting of the implications of the recent HSRC’s South African National HIV Prevalence, Incidence and Behaviour Survey, 2012. Jonny argues that I have taken “a story of resounding success and twisted it into a tale of alarm”. Jonny Steinberg is correct on all counts and I hope to redress myContinue reading “Glacial progress in employment equity and Ronnie gets hilarious”

Nigeria GDP rebasing flutters, HIV infection rates up, Cosatu crumbles, the vibrant SA democracy (yay) and our myopic exceptionalism (boo)

(Part of this is from a news update I published for the clients of BNP Paribas Cadiz Securities on Monday – 07/04/2014. Thanks as always to them for allowing me to republish here a few days later. None of opinions expressed here are those of BNP Paribas Cadiz Securities.) Nigeria’s GDP rebasing is normal and welcome – for SouthContinue reading “Nigeria GDP rebasing flutters, HIV infection rates up, Cosatu crumbles, the vibrant SA democracy (yay) and our myopic exceptionalism (boo)”

The very fat goose, the socialists* party, all Zuma’s bets are on the NDP, mining companies show some fang and much much more

I am on my way to London to speak to the funds that buy and sell South Africa’s corporate and government bonds i.e. the market that sets the price at which the world is prepared to lend us money. Daily I become more convinced that the South African political economy is, like quick clay “so unstableContinue reading “The very fat goose, the socialists* party, all Zuma’s bets are on the NDP, mining companies show some fang and much much more”

Outlook 2014 – and other messages from the future

I have been agonising over whether to keep this website going –  or to consign it to the wastelands of the interwebs there to wander mournfully, accumulating lurid advertisements for secret ways of getting rid of belly fat and invitations from young, beautiful and lonely people, in your area, waiting by their phones for a call from you. AfterContinue reading “Outlook 2014 – and other messages from the future”