Does the Gordhan correction undo the damage wrought by Nene’s axing?

You might be surprised at how carefully some people who’ve never set foot on these shores, people who are mostly blindingly clever at maths and informed to a scarily deep level about our politics and history and whose job includes trading our currency and bonds, have asked me that headline question in the last week.Continue reading “Does the Gordhan correction undo the damage wrought by Nene’s axing?”

Our Maggie moment

The Numsa exit from the alliance is a natural consequence of what appears to me to be a ‘Maggie Thatcher moment’ in South African politics. (This is a loose characterisation and it purely means that I believe there is evidence that government is taking a much harder line with the union movement and is backingContinue reading “Our Maggie moment”

Strikes, Alliance shenanigans and the very criminal justice system

Herewith an extract from my recent political news update. Strikes – turbulence as the cycle hits the secular trend Num (the National Union of Mineworkers) has served notice on the Chamber of Mines (COM) of its intention to strike across the gold sector, beginning with the Tuesday night shift this week. Num represents 72,000 ofContinue reading “Strikes, Alliance shenanigans and the very criminal justice system”

Ten days that shook my world

Preface  I wrote what follows in July 1990 immediately after returning from a two week trip to Moscow. I was part of a group with the now sadly departed Institute for a Democratic Alternative for South Africa (Idasa). The original was published in Democracy In Action, the institute’s monthly newsletter. I had looked for a copy forContinue reading “Ten days that shook my world”

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”

ANC’s economic policy – a bit like being wounded without the pleasure of a scar

It is no easy matter to explain how a paragraph from Michael Ondaatje’s poem “The Cinnamon Peeler” speaks to me about the ANC’s economic policy process. The poem is a  sensual delight – quite unlike the ANC’s policy discussion. Anyway … here is the relevant paragraph: what good is it to be the lime burner’sContinue reading “ANC’s economic policy – a bit like being wounded without the pleasure of a scar”

My growing worries about the ANC’s plans for economic intervention

Remember kaleidoscopes? Basically a tube that you held up towards a light and peered through as if it was a telescope? But unlike kid’s telescopes –  which, like kid’s microscopes, were blurry and disappointing and stupid – the kaleidoscope was a device of astonishing power and beauty. The point for my six-year-old self who received his first kaleidoscope for a birthday, probably,Continue reading “My growing worries about the ANC’s plans for economic intervention”

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”

‘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”

African National Congress – under history’s flood

Following a previous post: The Limits of Politics I want to argue that what the ANC is becoming is less a function of the failings of its leadership and more a consequence of the titanic forces of social change. The past and present history of the African National Congress could be characterised (in shorthand) likeContinue reading “African National Congress – under history’s flood”

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”

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”

Cosatu, Zuma and the New Growth Path

Busy, busy … and everything is slower; the brain and hands struggle with what they did with alacrity before the December holiday. Anyway … It is becoming clear that South African Investment Risk is going to be all about the New Growth Path (NGP) this year. So picking up from where I left off fromContinue reading “Cosatu, Zuma and the New Growth Path”

If this is the New Growth Path what’s the Old Growth Path?

This is the second of three articles about the New Growth Path (NGP) Framework released last week by the Ministry of Economic Development. One of the architects (I must assume) of the NGP, Neva Makgetla  (an economist long associated with Cosatu and now deputy director general in the Department of Economic Development) recently examined bothContinue reading “If this is the New Growth Path what’s the Old Growth Path?”