Overreach – how generals, tyrants and puffed up fools implode

Business Day  this morning published an article suggesting that Nhlanhla Nene was on the verge of being shuffled out of his Minister of Finance position to some face-saving backwater. I wrote early last week in a client note: “It is widely held that the National Treasury and Minister Nhlanhla Nene have come under hostile pressure forContinue reading “Overreach – how generals, tyrants and puffed up fools implode”

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”

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”

Nationalisation revisited revisited … if you know what I mean

In case anyone was wondering if I had disappeared into the ether: I have been seriously busy and have had no time to post on the blog. If you were paying extra attention, you may have noticed that a post reviewing the nationalisation of mines debate appeared and disappeared a few weeks ago. My mistakeContinue reading “Nationalisation revisited revisited … if you know what I mean”

‘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”

Defining The Enemy

What happens when we define ‘the enemy’ in terms that would justify shooting them down like mad dogs in the street? I have often felt that the terms of our political debate are too extreme – from all sides of the political spectrum. The idea or assertion that the government, the state and the rulingContinue reading “Defining The Enemy”

Is this the way the cookie crumbles?

This way: The business of government becomes the business of enriching the governors … rather than the business of governing and thereby serving the electorate’s overarching interests? The extremely rich rewards to be gained from holding political office cause the party list process – especially in the ANC – to become one of mayhem andContinue reading “Is this the way the cookie crumbles?”

Chris Hani – and my part in South Africa’s downfall

For a brief time in the late 1980’s I had occasion to spend some time with Chris Hani, then Chief of Staff of the ANC’s uMkhonto we Sizwe and Secretary General of the South African Communist Party. I was working for the Institute for a Democratic Alternative for South Africa (IDASA) and a meeting between the ANC’sContinue reading “Chris Hani – and my part in South Africa’s downfall”

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?”

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?”

Stalking Horses at the NGC

I have been sickly and trying to pay the bills. All my ‘paid for’ commentary on the NGC is done and I can finally get back to home ground where I feel more comfortable to make some wild accusations – and I will, finally, be more explicit in this post about who I think theContinue reading “Stalking Horses at the NGC”

Waiting for a saviour to rise from these streets*

Just when all hope flees, as the last good politician still within government leaves his/her post to join the feeding frenzy and as the last decent officials trying to do a public service throw up their hands in disgust; and as the striking workers blockade the last functional HIV/AIDS clinic and trash the streets again;Continue reading “Waiting for a saviour to rise from these streets*”

Strike – not as easy as it looks

The news media is full of toyi-toying fat people in red T-shirts blockading hospital gates interspersed with pictures of dead and dying babies. Alternatively the coverage is of other fat people in red T-shirts clutching sticks and whips trundling around, with their fat bottoms swaying, looking for pupils (bravely trying to uplift themselves by continuingContinue reading “Strike – not as easy as it looks”

Parastatals: fleshpot flashpoint

How to explain the decision to start a review of the parastatals by a presidential committee just as Public Enterprises minister Barbara Hogan was busy with that job? When anything in our country seems confusing it is always useful to abide by the famous injunction from Watergate’s ‘Deep Throat‘: follow the money. The raison d’├¬treContinue reading “Parastatals: fleshpot flashpoint”