The Ramaphosa Heuristic

Tracking the momentum of Cyril Ramaphosa – his vulnerability to attack within the ANC, his ability and intention to implement structural reforms and accountability for corruption – has become a widely used heuristic for assessing the state of South Africa more generally. A heuristic is a mental shortcut. In this case, it’s a way ofContinue reading “The Ramaphosa Heuristic”

Under Construction

Apologies for the inconvenience but this site is undergoing reconstructive surgery – please wear a hat and mask at all times. The regular political commentary that has not been published here for two years will resume when the management finds a WordPress technician who can speak any of South Africa’s official languages. Meanwhile here isContinue reading “Under Construction”

Ne ne ne Nene

The Minister of Finance, unlikely hero and protector of the public purse, has slipped precipitously in public affections as he apologised for visiting the Guptas while Deputy Minister and his son appeared to be at the centre of a scandal at the PIC, the institution for which the Deputy Minister of Finance is responsible –Continue reading “Ne ne ne Nene”

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?”

Don’t call me stupid, stupid

Having been woken by my children to tell me we had a new, new finance minister I blundered out of bed and scribbled this for my paying clients – forgive the blurriness it is essentially the sleeping pill that’s doing most of the world work. There were 7 more errors in this paragraph. I justContinue reading “Don’t call me stupid, stupid”

Be careful what you wish for

Listening to the EFF be the rock against which Zuma’s blithe refusal to account finally dashed itself yesterday I felt briefly elated. Gangsters! Bashi-bazouks! Yes, PAY BACK THE MONEY! PAY BACK THE MONEY! Billions of Blue Blistering Barnacles! But after a moment’s reflection I pulled myself, by the ear, back into the vehicle. “You irresponsibleContinue reading “Be careful what you wish for”

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”

The very fat goose, the socialists* party, all Zuma’s bets are on the NDP, mining companies show some fang and much much more

I am on my way to London to speak to the funds that buy and sell South Africa’s corporate and government bonds i.e. the market that sets the price at which the world is prepared to lend us money. Daily I become more convinced that the South African political economy is, like quick clay “so unstableContinue reading “The very fat goose, the socialists* party, all Zuma’s bets are on the NDP, mining companies show some fang and much much more”

#mansplaining listicles and click bait

This is a quick and casual aside as I await the more weighty matters of Pravin Gordhan’s medium-term budget policy statement at 14h00 today. For various reasons* I attempt to keep abreast of the rapidly evolving technological and cultural aspects of what we call ‘social media’ New cultural trends drive developments in language and thereContinue reading “#mansplaining listicles and click bait”

Freedom day good news, the bargaining season, Vavi and other matters

Herewith is an extract from my weekly news summary/analysis of what I thought was important in the main weeklies. Freedom Day, April 27 – nineteen years on from the first democratic election … a good story by-and-large City Press has a useful op-ed page by the always excellent Ferial Haffajee (who is also the editor)Continue reading “Freedom day good news, the bargaining season, Vavi and other matters”

Originally posted on Nic Borain:
Here is something I wrote during the April general election – with a few minor edits. It is becoming increasingly relevant, as “the left” is backed into a corner and the Malema style populists seem to hold sway. Bread and Circuses Opinion polls indicate that the ruling African National Congress…

Marikana – ways of seeing

Background This is a summary of my analysis of the news from of the weekend press (August  19) – and radio and TV commentary – concerning the events in which 34 striking miners were killed by police last Thursday (August 16) at Lonmin’s Marikana mine in Northwest Province. (Written Sunday night, so some new factsContinue reading “Marikana – ways of seeing”

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?”

Originally posted on Nic Borain:
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…