Numsa, Cosatu, the ANC, the SACP and all of that jazz

I have been completely taken up with a project (now completed) that argued that the black African middle-class was our single biggest asset and the workings of the interests of that class in the world would save our politics and help our economics. Yaay! The basic argument looked at the defection suffered by the ANC inContinue reading “Numsa, Cosatu, the ANC, the SACP and all of that jazz”

Gordhan (the good, the bad and the ugly), DA succession, Cosatu split looking more likely, Zuma’s delightful gaffes … and much more

As promised some comments on the politics of Pravin Gordhan’s medium-term budget … but first forgive me for expressing some of my irritation at two of his (Gordhan’s)  recent statements. That will be followed by some of  the bits and pieces I found interesting in the weekly newspapers – if you didn’t see the ‘Zuma gaffes”Continue reading “Gordhan (the good, the bad and the ugly), DA succession, Cosatu split looking more likely, Zuma’s delightful gaffes … and much more”

The sound coming from business about policy, especially labour policy, is hurting my head

Forgive the dearth of postings here … I was brought low by some late winter dreaded lurgy and as a result my life came to grinding halt for almost two weeks. The big story (which I will deal with later today or tomorrow)  is the astonishingly decisively manner in which the ANC and its governmentContinue reading “The sound coming from business about policy, especially labour policy, is hurting my head”

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”

Therefore send not to know for whom the bell tolls – it tolls for free

I think the e-tolling saga is important precisely because my headline bastardising the denouement of John Donne’s famous poem is, in truth, wrong. Gauteng’s road upgrade does not come for free. The R20bn was borrowed by Sanral and lent by people and institutions (which) who assessed the risk attached to repayment on the basis that e-tolling wasContinue reading “Therefore send not to know for whom the bell tolls – it tolls for free”

The forces for and against a South African revolt

Some of the things we think we know about revolts and revolutions – but that do not always apply: Where there are adequate elective processes dissatisfied people believe they can influence outcomes through voting and therefore are unlikely to make the sacrifices required of a revolution. Revolts are generally lead and organised by the middleContinue reading “The forces for and against a South African revolt”

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”

The State of the Zuma Nation

‘Not as bad as I feared; perhaps even better than I hoped’ – is my reply to the question implicit in the title. I have been flat-out covering the event for paying clients and I was at parliament in the gracious hands of the lovely people from Radio 2000 – where I commented for aboutContinue reading “The State of the Zuma Nation”

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?”

Cosatu’s plans for full employment

Cosatu has released its long awaited document in which it provides the facts (as it sees them) and theoretical underpinnings for “A Growth Path Towards Full Employment” – and in doing so attempts to align its views with those emanating from Minister Ebrahim Patel’s Department of Economic Planning (the Two Year Strategic Plan) as wellContinue reading “Cosatu’s plans for full employment”

Sink or swim

Here is the summary of South Africa’s performance in the Global Competitiveness Report 2010 – 2011. The highlights are mine and the seriousness of the problems is obvious.. While we quite rightly bemoan health, education and labour market failures it is interesting to note we were top ranked – in the whole world! – inContinue reading “Sink or swim”

London Calling

Herewith a note I wrote a week ago for a South African client concerning a recent whip around the London fund management industry Foreign fund managers perceptions of South African political risk I recently had an opportunity to interact with a few London-based global emerging market fund managers. These were generally from long-only equity funds,Continue reading “London Calling”

Cosatu and the ANC: the fat’s in the fire

I have been sitting on this for a few days partly because Cosatu’s Central Executive Committee statement on Thursday last week and the ANC response are as harsh as we have seen – and that includes the tone of voice that accompanied Cosatu’s huge strike against ‘Mbeki’s privatisation’ in 2002. Cosatu has a long andContinue reading “Cosatu and the ANC: the fat’s in the fire”