I am writing from Cape Town where I have just had the opportunity to visit the University of Cape Town and interact with students. I also visited Nelson Mandela Metropolitan and Rhodes universities last week. At all of these campuses I...
The two bankrupt tea estates, Magwa and Majola, are a legacy of the former Transkei homeland’s agricultural schemes. These, like so many others of this era, have just not been able to become self-sustaining and rely on continuous heavy...
Unlike the calendar, social reality doesn’t lend itself to being compartmentalised. The year is new in date alone. Challenges and anxieties remain unchanged. The newness of the time, however, does offer new opportunities to try different ways of solving old problems. This...
The right of the child to safety, to quality education, and to a future filled with opportunity must remain foremost in the minds of each South African as the debate around the legalisation of recreational dagga rages. Over the...
Our collective inertia in the face of the human catastrophe that is engulfing this nation has contrived to remind me of Pastor Martin Niemöller’s now legendary words about the atrocities committed by Hitler and his Nazis. He said: “First they...
In a pinch-me-I-am-dreaming moment, Fikile Mbaloser has managed to produce yet another set of remarks destined for Hall of Demagogic Infamy, in which he is already well represented. Because he is a clown, one who thinks politics is showmanship, not...
SO WE think we understand poverty in South Africa? We see it is as a “black thing”, something that can be easily understood, a life below a certain “datum line”, a quantum associated with a rand value or basket...
As crazy as it might sound the proposal by a United Democratic Movement provincial parliamentarian to declare an amnesty for all civil servants who come forward to admit their fake degrees and other qualifications should not be laughed off...
East London’s struggling IDZ, it’s universities and the stagnant city centre are seemingly disconnected, but significant events have happened in recent weeks that link them. The first was the long awaited announcement by Buffalo City Metro (BCM) that it intends to...
Sweet Valley Primary School in Bergvliet, Cape Town, recently asked me something nobody had ventured before: “Come and speak to us about your philosophy of education.” I am a practical man, not one drawn to needless abstraction about what we...
IN 2014 I took up my first invitation to be an analyst for a major television station on the 2014 national elections.   It was also my last ever stint as a TV analyst because of how absurd the televisions soundbyte...
With less than a month to the ANC Mangaung Conference in December 2012, the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) delivered a judgment that had a bearing on the composition of delegates. The dispute was over the legitimacy of the party’s provincial...
Why did the ANC destroy itself? This question is likely to exercise the minds of concerned historians decades from now if the party does not reverse its self-inflicted decline in moral standing. Part of the problem lies in the withering...
The outcome of the ANC’s Eastern Cape provincial conference has been billed as a big victory for Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidential campaign. There is no doubt that the election of Oscar Mabuyane as the provincial chairman gives impetus to...
An inspirational poem on youth penned by VP Mahur goes like this: When united is our youth Every hurdle, every obstacle Every path becomes smooth When in a chorus it speaks All ill-fated voices and will Hide away with fearful squeaks When it steps out in...
So the children at Pretoria West High School are protesting the right to wear skinny pants. The uniforms are too big, they say. This is funny, of course. In this land of incessant demands, why not? If further up...

Communication frontlines

IF I said I am confused about the process Buffalo City Metro is following to resolve its dispute with the Gonubie residents who claim to own a portion of the main road, it would be an understatement. And the fault...

SACP mask now off

NOW that Numsa is resolute to form a new political party, what will become of Cosatu? Can the 29-year old federation be saved from a possible break-up? A similar question applies to the SACP. The SACP has never been so...
In a recent decision, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled in favour of a group of recreational fishers (the Border Deep Sea Angling Association) and against the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries that had placed a...
At best,  telesales scripts go big on the benefits of the proposed deal and skim over the not-so-great bits. At worst they mislead the consumer either directly or by omission.The Consumer Protection Act states that when marketing any goods...
President Jacob Zuma is more powerful in his cabinet now, after all his travails, and he is not going anywhere. Let that sink in. I know that many have been saying that Zuma is a lame duck, that he is...
“THERE was no general election that pronounced an unalterable and unavoidable verdict; just the steady draining away of members, support and relevance,” Tony Blair observes in his autobiography, Tony Blair: A Journey. Blair was referring to the electoral fortunes of...
HOW does real change happen? This is a question that was very much on my mind when confronted with the phenomenon of single women acquiring residential sites in communal areas after 1994. The version of “official” customary law that we...
WHY does South Africa seem, economically, like the sick man of the continent? Across Africa, the story is of rising GDPs, improving foreign direct investment levels and education systems that produce better, more agile, talent. In his budget speech two...
Substance abuse is killing our society and the future of our country. The link between substance abuse and violence cannot be underestimated. Police Minister Fikile Mbalula reported recently that children who abuse drugs were being used to fuel tensions and...
HAMAS in Gaza is not a national liberation movement, like the ANC or the PAC in the struggle against apartheid. South Africans should study the published charter of Hamas, available online, in order to know about this essential difference. The...
South Africa is in the grip of a skills shortage. Among the top 10 skills needed to boost its lacklustre economic growth are civil, mechanical, industrial and chemical engineers. But of the just more than 3000 students the Department of...
SOMETHING tragic happened in Orlando, Soweto, on June25. An old power station building, the Orlando Towers, suddenly collapsed. It was one of the defining features of the township and an important landmark in the landscape. The collapse claimed lives and limbs. There...
Africa is likely to slide down the list of foreign policy priorities of a Donald Trump administration. This is because America’s foreign policy is determined by both domestic and foreign issues. When it comes to domestic factors President Trump is...
THE ANC, once a proud, clear-eyed and capable organisation, cannot come up with the solutions that SA needs to get itself out of the massive problems we face. The battle to build a prosperous, united and non-racial South Africa...
Could it be that the promise of Polokwane may finally be materialising, or are we being sold a mirage, yet again? Gathered almost 10 years ago at the ANC’s 52nd conference, delegates chose Jacob Zuma over Thabo Mbeki. They...
AFRICAN nationalism and Zionism spring from the same source: the desire of oppressed people for freedom. It begins in the mind: self-regard, to believe in yourself, to have confidence in yourself as a human being and thus to overcome the...
PERHAPS the Christian church – in its many local denominational variants – was built for crisis. Or maybe, crises build or form the local church community. Certainly, the early church – the small, motley group of people who had followed...
While Busisiwe Mkhwebane sits flat on the State of Capture report, and the ANC acts all dumb, the South African Council of Churches has released the explosive Unburdening Panel report. It is a timely report, produced by an admirably...
We would be more effective at dealing with the endemic racism in our society if we didn’t relentlessly speak in a manner that reduces racism to apartheid and “apartheid tendencies”. The reason for this is not because historical trauma should...
“I've got the keys. They’re looking for the keys to the big safe.” This was the dire warning of Public Investment Corporation CEO Dan Matjila that there are forces trying to remove him as a gatekeeper of the PIC....
MY FIRST trip to the Eastern Cape took a little longer than expected. We’d spent a few days holidaying in Cape Town with a couple of relatives and decided to return to Joburg the long way round, taking in...
PRESIDENT Barack Obama and his top aides have launched a fullscale political offensive to persuade a skeptical Congress to approve a military strike against Syria, but face a struggle to win over lawmakers from both parties and a war-weary...
A MONTH ago Gauteng members of the ANC held their provincial conference as usual every fourth year, but there was nothing usual about the 12th conference. Elections didn’t follow the normal course nor were policy discussions characteristic of a provincial...

Troubles in aerospace

Back in the pre-internet, pre-cellphone days, we booked our air tickets through a travel agent, paid by cheque or went to the bank to make a cash deposit, then we would stand in a queue to check in at...
Historically, with regard to the Zimbabwe liberation struggle, the ANC had good relations with Zapu and none with Zanu when it broke away from Zapu. Despite this history, in 1978 Zanu sent a delegation from Mozambique to Lusaka to meet...
Sending a child to a tertiary institution is a source of pride and joy for any family. It is not only about enhancing the child’s chances in life but also about taking that family out of dire straits as the...
The last time the “699” saga came before a judge, it didn’t end well. In August, a Port Elizabeth firm of attorneys sought to have all the “699-ers” – an estimated 27000 of them – certified as a class,...
Why now? Will he really #PayBackTheMoney? How much of it will he pay back? These are some of the questions on the lips of many South Africans. These questions come after President Jacob Zuma’s surprise announcement that he would pay...
There was a point, in Barack Obama’s nearly hour-long speech at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa on Tuesday, when the American president deviated from the script that had been circulated beforehand to journalists. He was talking about human...
Not too long ago I was part of a popular but controversial table conversation about whether South Africa was ready for its first black female president. My willingness to participate was based on the assumption that it is crucial for those...
It seems clear that the ANC never learnt one of the most fundamental lessons of the apartheid era – that a government or ruling elite which resorts to dirty tricks to retain power is signing its own death warrant. Details...
LAST year started with jitters for the ANC Youth League, and this year is unlikely to be different with the threat of financial liquidation still looming over the league. The ANC national conference in Mangaung in December 2012 had given...
The Pan South African Language Board declared February as the month to promote the use of all South African languages. I write to echo this idea, which seeks to enhance the status of all our languages and also to...
PHUNYUKA bemphethe, so goes the joke in the black community as folks watched President Jacob Zuma attempting to wiggle himself out of yet another scandal. While suggesting disbelief in one instance, the phrase also expresses awe. Zuma has an uncommon...