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?”

Brics and stones can break our bones …

I often send out commentary before I am satisfied with it. That usually means typos and misspellings that I have failed to find in a rushed edit, but sometimes it means the analysis is … less in-depth (trite? … shallow? … Ed) than I would have liked. It’s the price of procrastination when chasing deadlines – andContinue reading “Brics and stones can break our bones …”

The looming threat of the proto-fascist, demagogic, hybrid neo-Stalinist business unionists, ethnically-tinged vigilantes and the preachy capitalist philanthropists

I am up to my neck in it, trying to tease out the main implications and trends of the election – in a way that might be useful to investors in our financial markets. As part of the process I read everything I can find that has been written about the elections. I have just readContinue reading “The looming threat of the proto-fascist, demagogic, hybrid neo-Stalinist business unionists, ethnically-tinged vigilantes and the preachy capitalist philanthropists”

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”

If the ANC was a soap opera slipping in the ratings …

Imagine you are the producer of a major and successful television soap-opera. Gradually, for reasons that are not immediately apparent, market research begins to indicate your share of the prime-time television audience is diminishing – and, further, that the declines are accelerating. I suspect what you do is try to work out whether the viewersContinue reading “If the ANC was a soap opera slipping in the ratings …”

SA political risks for investors

I was looking for a shorthand way of summarising what I thought were the main political risks that are in the minds of investors in South African financial markets. Note that the emphasis here (in what appears below) is what I think is an appropriate prism for investors in financial markets, and specifically those withContinue reading “SA political risks for investors”

A few (more) deep blue thoughts as we rush towards Mangaung – Part 2

By the way “deep blue” in the headline was not meant to be a riff on IBM’s chess playing supercomputer. Rereading Part 1  I can see how someone might accuse me of being a little too certain about the shape of the future.  I am not running “deep blue” regressions and algorithms, modelling South AfricaContinue reading “A few (more) deep blue thoughts as we rush towards Mangaung – Part 2”

Beware the thing that might pick up power lying in the street*

There is something that seems to have been missed in the public discourse about Marikina. Without wanting to be over dramatic, I think Marikana is a clear warning that we are under immediate and serious threat; in ways that I will discuss below. What happened – both before and after the police shooting – hasContinue reading “Beware the thing that might pick up power lying in the street*”

Is it time to sell South Africa ?

I am sometimes tempted to think of myself as a company analyst, with South Africa as my company,  government as management and the currency and bonds as the share price Company analysts make sell, hold or buy recommendations. Obviously a buy means the analyst believes the shares are cheap – in some difficult to determineContinue reading “Is it time to sell South Africa ?”

Are we in the predator’s labyrinth?

Nedbank chairman Reuel Khoza provides the lead headline in today’s Business Day as “warning of a rogue state future for SA”. So imagine if you could, for a moment, that you are playing a sports game. As in a dream, you suddenly realise you don’t know the rules; you don’t know how to score, who’sContinue reading “Are we in the predator’s labyrinth?”

Cosatu, the Democratic Alliance and the middle classes – is it love, actually?

Think of the various interests of classes and groups in our society as constituting an ecology in which political parties and organisations find niches to graze, hunt and be sustained. The system can change and niches shift, narrow or broaden –  and in response the denizens that live in each niche must adapt or becomeContinue reading “Cosatu, the Democratic Alliance and the middle classes – is it love, actually?”

Weather – tis nobler in the mind to suffer

In a Woolworths queue in the Gardens Centre yesterday evening I idly picked up the Cape Argus. It’s the only time I actually read anything in that newspaper. I like to casually glance at its headlines during my journey from the beginning of the endless tunnel of sweats sweets (damn morning rush) and magazines. IContinue reading “Weather – tis nobler in the mind to suffer”

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”

Julius Malema and predicting the future you want

The déjà vu is washing over me like the phantom symptoms of a late winter bout of hypochondria. I remember the lead-up to Polokwane. The thuggish crowds outside Jacob Zuma’s court appearances. The man we had known was in Shaik’s pockets since 1993, he who famously couldn’t keep it in his pants, the rape accusedContinue reading “Julius Malema and predicting the future you want”

Neither the best nor worst of all possible worlds

Arrived late last night in New York from London (and Edinburgh and Frankfurt)  and the lag means I am only going to want to fall asleep at exactly the time it will be most unsuitable to do so. I have been travelling (for Indian owned Religare Capital Markets, where I have a new berth) withContinue reading “Neither the best nor worst of all possible worlds”