WE TOOK a drive along the East Coast road the other day – and almost killed a hapless pigeon. It came out of nowhere, as they do, flashed across the windscreen in the blink of an eye, followed the...
THE repeated hospitalisation of global icon Nelson Mandela is of concern not only to South Africans but to the whole world. But his illness has had an unintended effect that we hardly talk about – it has exposed our inability...
ONE of the oddest afternoons I ever spent was going through the books of a dead friend and choosing which ones I’d like to keep. It was his widow’s idea. Bittersweet, it’s true but, surprisingly, not a bit morbid. Like...
AMONG the many things to be learnt from the Bangui debacle must surely be the broad lesson that publicly elected representatives should do the jobs they are paid to do. The ANC in the Eastern Cape is still trying to...
THE marketers of expensive goods decorate them with gold or platinum labels and elaborate claims and advertise them in glossy places mostly to justify the exorbitant prices they want to charge you.   It is called building your brand, rather than...
I AM glad that I am neither a soldier nor a mercenary. Both are instruments of war and destruction. Nobody should ask me to put on a uniform to go into some strange country in the heart of Africa to...
NEW Zealand, according to a recent international survey, is the world’s second most tourist friendly nation. We found just that on our recent three- and-a-half week stay. So which is first, you might ask? Iceland, apparently, but surely the reception...
SHORTLY before he goes to appear before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate and the Jewish authorities as a prelude to his crucifixion, Jesus Christ asks his disciples: “Who am I?” or more correctly “Who do you say that I...
SOUTH Africa is back at the top of the world news agenda. As always when this happens, the most pressing question is whether we can handle it. The Brics summit was never going to lead world bulletins by itself, but...
THE five developing world leaders gathering in Durban from Tues day for the fifth Brics summit are politicians with divergent agendas and different domestic challenges to address. They do, however, conform to the more-or-less universal laws of political leadership —...
WHY bother? is always a good question – not always to be asked out loud. Either Stan Motjuwadi or Tom Jones (as in Henry Fielding) or somebody else of hum ble birth asked (roughly): “Why did I bother to learn...
THE French dubbed it the neglected “Cinderella” of their African colonial empire; modern observers have called it a “phantom state”. Landlocked, isolated and poverty-stricken, despite its reserves of gold, timber, uranium and quality diamonds, the Central African Republic (CAR) has...
WHICHEVER way you look at it, 24 hours in a day is about right. When there are 11 extra, more routines are disrupted, especially in a cramped aircraft. That was about the sum of our return journey from New Zealand...
THE EASTERN Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) is a business of the state with a complex mission which involves being a catalyst for the economic development of the Eastern Cape. Its job is to grow the Eastern Cape economy, facilitate job-creation...
HAVE you ever noticed what happens when construction companies land up in small towns? Well, some say that within a week you will see women’s clothing start to appear on the washing lines of men working for the construction companies. Talk...
BUFFALO City mayor Zukiswa Ncitha spoke out this week against the growing tendency to press demands with violence and vandalism. This was after a crowd in Mzamomhle, Gonubie, burned down a community hall, a development centre and a spaza shop...
THE preamble to the South African Press Code states that the press exists to serve society, but the same society doesn’t understand how journalism works. Our mass media are filled with stories of journalists being killed, harassed, beaten or arrested...
PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has again sought to deny that which seems obvious to most South Africans, telling parliament there is no reason to investigate police brutality. Answering opposition questions, Zuma asserted that the recent cases of alleged policy brutality did...
TODAY is Human Rights Day in South Africa, a day to take stock of how we, as a nation, are promoting or hindering the basic human rights of those around us. Each time I return to South Africa following a...
A “TRUCK full of treasure” is an apt description of the investment of R410-million in the East London Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) announced this week. The creation of 200 permanent jobs in the city is equally welcome. Economists calculate that...
NEARLY 20 years into our democracy, South Africans are stalled by failure fatigue. We just cannot muster another round of righteous indignation to greet another report about another government department or institution that has dropped the ball – or sold...
Shutting down dissent and debate IN DECEMBER last year President Jacob Zuma – emerging victorious from Mangaung despite the best efforts of certain sec tors of the ANC Youth League – announced that he intended “sorting out” and “correcting”...
ALTHOUGH the ANC has now perfected the art of showing public unity while being deeply divided, the party is most probably at its most fractious since it came to power in 1994, making it arguably the best moment for...
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...
THE exhumation last week by the National Prosecuting Authority from a paupers’ grave of two bodies, thought to be those of Sibuniso Tshabalala and Lolo Sono, has brought from the shadows a matter that must come fully into the...
THE death of Mido Macia in police cells from head injuries and internal bleeding has once more alerted us to the culture of violence which has entrenched itself in South African society. This gentleman was shown being dragged behind a...
IT IS an axiom of medicine that disease is most effectively combated when it is identified early and therapy begins before it takes a fatal hold. The same is true for most social scourges – Aids, unemployment, debt and violence. Nelson...
MANY excuses have emerged in the aftermath of the death of Mido Macia, the Mozambican taxi driver who died in a cell after being handcuffed and dragged for 400m behind a van by police officers. Some, including President Jacob Zuma,...
BUFFALO City Metro is scheduled to meet a business delegation today in a further step towards a public-private partnership to make East London the cleanest city in South Africa by 2015. From the low base of our current state, that...

Inside Story

SINCE we resumed publication of two editions of the Daily Dispatch last April, we have been trying to find the right mix of stories for each. It’s what is known in the trade as copy tasting. The First Edition prints...
EDUCATION MEC Mandla Makupula needs to go back to school. Not only does he know little about our law, our constitution and his duty as an MEC and a human being – but he chose to proclaim his ignorance...
AFTER months of squabbling the ANC has clearly had enough, and sent its big guns down to the Eastern Cape to fire the executive mayor of the province’s biggest metropolitan municipality. The mere fact that President Jacob Zuma and his...
WHEN scenario planner Clem Sunter declared that after the Marikana massacre the chances of South Africa becoming a failed state had increased from one in 10 to one in four, a collective intake of nervous breath followed. Recent events...
LINDIWE Sisulu, the minister of public service and administration since June, has given notice of a shake up in the civil service. Sisulu has a mixed record in previous portfolios of housing and defence, but she has established a reputation...
HOW ironic that the most serious political attack on Zwelinzima Vavi comes from within the Congress of the South African Trade Unions (Cosatu). Ironic but not unexpected. Inside Cosatu, the SACP hacks and storm-troopers of the dominant faction in the...
WHEN I was a child, my parents used stories about attacks by hyenas to scare us against coming home after dark. Hyenas assumed such scary roles in our minds because they were portrayed as “evil” animals that enjoyed biting off...
THE Eastern Cape government has implemented a virtual hiring freeze for the next three years in an effort to address the size and cost of the bloated civil service. In the cash-strapped environment we are in and with the slow...
FROM an Eastern Cape perspective there were grounds for both considerable satisfaction and a measure of disappointment in last week’s national budget tabled by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. On the negative side, there will be disappointment that Project Mthombo, the...
WHAT will people say? This was an important rebuking question the elders would ask us whenever we, the children, misbehaved. It was an appeal for order, to make amends for wrongdoing. In some cases, the question was followed or accompanied...
THERE is a wonderful debate raging across US media and social networks about what is referred to as the fallacy of false equivalence. It is an old debate that has flared up over the media’s coverage of the latest...
2013 promises to be another tough year for the global, South African and Eastern Cape economies. The World Bank predicts the global economy will grow by just 2,4% this year, a level similar to last year. The Eurozone will most...
ON SATURDAY a reader of the Daily Dispatch commented that the “strange logic of leaders defies common sense”. He might well have been referring to the mayor of Buffalo City Metro Zukiswa Ncitha who has splashed out R1.2-million on a...