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”

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”

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”

The Second Transition

Occasionally┬áI publish slides from a current presentation series and here are a few from something I am busy with called: “The Second Transition – SA politics and policy somewhere twixt hither and yon”. The general idea is the ANC government is determined to move beyond the ‘transitional’ arrangements that it agreed to in 1994 andContinue reading “The Second Transition”

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?”

The centre holds – for now

A guest post from my friend and colleague Sandra Gordon. Sandra is a respected financial market economist and we increasingly present work as a team in what is often called “a dog and pony show” … although in our case there is some disagreement over who will be the dog and who will be theContinue reading “The centre holds – for now”

How to look at the budget

The budget is the spending, taxation and borrowing plans of government. Don’t just think of it as a series of  hefty documents (the national budget review, the estimate of national expenditure, the appropriations bill and the division of revenue bill) – hundreds of pages and millions of calculations, graphs and tables. It is more thanContinue reading “How to look at the budget”

On having agency

The Activist Developmental State is an idea I feel deeply ambivalent about. The picture below of Shanghai in the 1990s and then again last year is from a blog by Roger Pielke, Jr, professor of environment studies at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado. (Thanks to Anthony forContinue reading “On having agency”

New Growth Path Framework bloodline

This is the first of three articles that look at the political and policy bloodline of the New Growth Path and the main criticisms that have emerged about the policy in the public domain over the last few days. This first post is a summary – using quotes and paraphrasing – of Ruling Alliance statementsContinue reading “New Growth Path Framework bloodline”

Suddenly it’s all sweetness and light?

It’s been a difficult week, and I started the following post on Monday soon after hearing the general tone of the press and analysts response to the cabinet reshuffle. I wanted to publish while the accolades for Jacob Zuma were still glowing and, unfortunately for both the President and me, the corrective doubts and scepticismContinue reading “Suddenly it’s all sweetness and light?”

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”

Jacob Dlamini on National Service – nobody says it better

I had been gearing up to say something snide about Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s ridiculous call for a reinstitution of national service. I know many people will instinctively approve of her suggestion. It speaks directly to our despair about the failure of  the education system and the worry about the “Lost Generation”. Well, be thatContinue reading “Jacob Dlamini on National Service – nobody says it better”

Eskom, the ANC, government and public trust

The extreme nature of the reaction to the electricity price increase is about a number of things, perhaps most obviously: the public and institutional suspicion that the crisis in Eskom is due to cronyism at a management level and looting via tender abuse by a politically connected elite, and the Great Recession has left theContinue reading “Eskom, the ANC, government and public trust”

Zuma – time for his democratic technocrats to shine

This is not a budget review. There are just too many of them out there and I am in the middle of a roadshow to the South African fund management industry where the budget is being VERY well received. This is more a comment on the whole budget season that yesterday’s excellent National Budget began.Continue reading “Zuma – time for his democratic technocrats to shine”

The State of the Nation nutshell note

I have whipped through the State of the Nation address while Jacob Zuma is just getting started. My initial impression is good, maybe even very good …. but maybe there has just been so much bad news and poor performance that any detailed and thoughtful stuff from government is likely to impress me … HereContinue reading “The State of the Nation nutshell note”