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?”

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?”

The election results were good but the cabinet … not so much

Below are my comments about Sunday’s cabinet announcement followed by my comments about the elections from a week or so earlier – a sort of trip back in time. In both cases the originals were written under tight deadlines and in both cases my initial impressions have been moderated by time, drifting towards the insipid end ofContinue reading “The election results were good but the cabinet … not so much”

‘Why do people still vote for the ANC?’ asked the clever child, exasperatedly

This is a quick  aside before getting onto the more riveting topics of the May 7 elections, service delivery protests (and their search for a Gene Sharp handbook as well as the predictions of the Davies J-curve), the platinum strike, Julius Malema’s sequestration hearing in the North Gauteng High Court this morning (and the pressing matter of whetherContinue reading “‘Why do people still vote for the ANC?’ asked the clever child, exasperatedly”

Election of the flesh

Walking back home from the Sea Point promenade I encountered, no more than thirty minutes ago, two tall attractive young women in blue t-shirts standing next to a table full of DA literature. Nearby is a church hall that serves as a voter registration station. This weekend is the last nationwide drive to get asContinue reading “Election of the flesh”

ANC savaged by a duck – and other matters of national importance

Some of my recent news coverage and commentary: E-tolling and the DA’s cruel billboards Last week Jacob Zuma signed into law the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill – meaning the unpopular e-tolling can begin on certain Gauteng highways. I was impressed that the President did the necessary – despite the fact that thisContinue reading “ANC savaged by a duck – and other matters of national importance”

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”

That lingering odour …

In the 1980’s I unwittingly employed an apartheid police informer, Mark Behr, to work in the Institute for a Democratic Alternative for South Africa (of which I was a regional director). Behr had a serious talent – and zest – for self-promotion. But he was also bright, ambitious and charismatic and I naively believed thatContinue reading “That lingering odour …”

Game of Thrones in the ANC

A good friend of mine in New York* recently put me on to “A Song of Ice and Fire” – a seemingly endless series of swords and sorcery novels by George R R Martin. This is the crack cocaine of fantasy fiction but it is also a surprisingly brilliant study of politics and power vacuums.Continue reading “Game of Thrones in the ANC”

It’s war out there

As the cannonade and sharp retorts of the Municipal Election become deafening, it strikes me how alike are elections and wars. Both these human endeavours are faced with comparable technological, communication, infrastructural and personnel challenges. Generals preparing for war and political leaders for elections have this in common: They must have a game plan andContinue reading “It’s war out there”