‘Tis reasonable to hope this might be the season to be (faintly) jolly

For those who were tortured by my somnolently incoherent post last night, here is the follow up. Hopefully a little clearer. The flip-flops around the Minister of Finance leave Jacob Zuma looking weak and vulnerable. There are grounds to begin questioning whether he will see out his full term. The appointment of Pravin Gordhan isContinue reading “‘Tis reasonable to hope this might be the season to be (faintly) jolly”

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 …”

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”

Madonsela, Manuel, Mining and other things that are not quite what they seem

Herewith some of my latest news updates. (Just as an aside before I start: I couldn’t help but smile at Richard Poplak’s seriously over-the-top take on the Nkandla report in Daily Maverick this morning: “But Madonsela has certainly nailed Zuma to history’s grimiest post—he will be forever remembered as a thief, a fool, and a Zulu man whoContinue reading “Madonsela, Manuel, Mining and other things that are not quite what they seem”

Numsa, Nkandla, the SACP and other matters

Herewith some comments on the latest political news. Apologies that I have posted so seldom here of late. I see a New Year’s resolution coming on. I see a New Year’s resolution exiting stage left. Numsa, Cosatu and the SACP … and Jacob Zuma During this past week the National Union of Metalworkers of South AfricaContinue reading “Numsa, Nkandla, the SACP and other matters”

Alliance ‘boycott’ of Marikana commemoration and Vavi axing are both monuments marking the retreat of ANC power

Zwelinzima Vavi’s suspension from Cosatu and the ANC/SACP/Num decision not to attend the Marikana commemoration, both on Friday last week, are, to my mind, indicative of a significant retreat of ANC hegemony. ‘Hegemony’,  as I imbibed the concept from probably slightly fevered readings of Antonio Gramsci’s sublime Prison Notebooks while I was a student activist (and from endlessContinue reading “Alliance ‘boycott’ of Marikana commemoration and Vavi axing are both monuments marking the retreat of ANC power”

Cosatu’s splitting headache, the ANC and DA try on new party dresses and those awful Mandelas

In high anxiety at my failure to publish here for several weeks (what with 12 days visiting fund managers in the UK and Europe and new commitments to the Daily Maverick – see here and here for the first two of those) I have decided to again post a modified version of my usually bespoke Continue reading “Cosatu’s splitting headache, the ANC and DA try on new party dresses and those awful Mandelas”

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”

Mangaung – takes, outtakes and takeouts

Various commentators, politicians and analysts have attempted to characterise Mangaung, to define the moment’s essential nature. Below are two takes I found interesting with some words from me on why I found them thus. After that I include a more general summary of what happened with the voting results for the Top Six and theContinue reading “Mangaung – takes, outtakes and takeouts”

Is any one version of a post-Mangaung ANC better than another?

First off, let me admit, that I have no choice but to believe that the answer to the question in the title is: yes. It’s an article of faith. Who can live in a world where the bullies and thugs, the greedy and manipulative, the powerful and the arrogant have won so decisively that it isContinue reading “Is any one version of a post-Mangaung ANC better than another?”

African National Congress chasing its tail … and biting it

This is a screenshot from the front page of the ANC’s website accessed early this morning: It’s those latest press statements I am interested in. That’s the last five major releases from the Ruling Party, every one of which is exclusively concerned with the vicious battle taking place within the organisation. Working backwards: April 4Continue reading “African National Congress chasing its tail … and biting it”

Beat the dog till the owner comes out

Tokyo comes out to defend Julius Malema in the disciplinary hearing? To be followed by Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Tony Yengeni? It is an almost too perfect reversal of Julius Malema’s own metaphor after his victory at the Eastern Cape provincial conference of the ANC Youth League in August 2010: “We will never surrender to Blade.Continue reading “Beat the dog till the owner comes out”

Manyi – when Race meets Class

I’ve been itching to get in my two cents worth about Jimmy Manyi’s various comments concerning ethnic minorities (here for his original statement on YouTube, here for Trevor Manuel’s robust criticism, here for the ANCYL’s counter-attack on Manuel  and defence of Manyi, here for ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe’s implicit criticism of Manuel … “weContinue reading “Manyi – when Race meets Class”

Raw fish served on a bed of … human sweat?

I love that scene in the Bucket List where the poor but proud Morgan Freeman character quietly points out to the rich and arrogant Jack Nicholson that the coffee he brews in a silver pot and savours from Dresden china is made from beans shat out by a lemur in South America – well that’sContinue reading “Raw fish served on a bed of … human sweat?”

Pictures of a possible future

I occasionally publish slides that I have used for clients as part of my attempt to examine political and investment risks to them. Below are 3 from a presentation I delivered soon after the ANC NGC. See if you can identify all the people concerned – a sort of politics general knowledge test ( youContinue reading “Pictures of a possible future”