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?”

Hold fast comrades – the Thatcher-lites are upon us

I intend, in the near future, to dust off my Marxist theory.* I am going to need a framework through which to express my growing conviction that much of our politics can be understood as a function of the collapse of the alliance of classes that underlay the national democratic revolution – and the African National Congress. The bigContinue reading “Hold fast comrades – the Thatcher-lites are upon us”

Glacial progress in employment equity and Ronnie gets hilarious

(Note: please read Jonny Steinberg’s comments on my miscasting of the implications of the recent HSRC’s South African National HIV Prevalence, Incidence and Behaviour Survey, 2012. Jonny argues that I have taken “a story of resounding success and twisted it into a tale of alarm”. Jonny Steinberg is correct on all counts and I hope to redress myContinue reading “Glacial progress in employment equity and Ronnie gets hilarious”

Polling, polling, polling down the river

It’s the 1st of April and I have already seen that Helen Zille has accepted an ‘elecnomination‘  to spend two weeks living in Khayelitsha, surviving on the minimum wage and using a bucket toilet. Good for her, I say. In other news the DA has announced that the Western Cape government it is going to upgrade Zille’s private residenceContinue reading “Polling, polling, polling down the river”

‘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”

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”

Zimbabwe, Vavi, EFF, Amcu and other delights

Herewith my news commentary as of yesterday morning. I thought I would republish it here because it includes my brief assessments of how to think about the Zimbabwe election, Vavi and the EFF. I also, politely, imply that the Seriti commission might be a cover-up and that Amcu’s underlying objectives in the gold sector areContinue reading “Zimbabwe, Vavi, EFF, Amcu and other delights”

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?”

What could derail Jacob Zuma at this late hour?

Well it is certainly not Julius. Last night his expulsion from the ANC and the ANC Youth League was confirmed by the ruling party’s national disciplinary committee. His ‘fixer’, secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa, was suspended for a year – making any attempt to ‘rule-by-wire’ difficult. The appeals committee chaired by Cyril Ramaphosa also confirmed the three-yearContinue reading “What could derail Jacob Zuma at this late hour?”

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”

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”

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”

The great South African soapie

Has anything changed? The guy in the middle is the ANC and his lying entreaties are addressed to Cosatu and the SACP while his real passion – and the furtive fumbling in the dark – are with business, global and domestic. I commissioned that cartoon in 1999 and Cathy Quickfall did a better job thanContinue reading “The great South African soapie”

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?”

Looking backwards and going forwards

I came across a long research note that I wrote in early 2007 exploring the impending succession process in the ANC to culminate at the Polokwane conference 7 months later. So I was writing before the June 2007  National General Council during which Jacob Zuma’s resignation/suspension as ANC deputy president was overturned from the floorContinue reading “Looking backwards and going forwards”