William Saunderson-Meyer

Time to pull thumb, Mr President

Some of President Jacob Zuma’s top people were all thumbs this week. First up was deputy Defence Minister Kebby Maphatsoe, who also heads the party’s Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) Military Veterans’ Association. Speaking at a Soweto memorial service, he accused the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela of being an agent for the United States Central Intelligence Agency….

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Ebola lays bare the fragile nature of the ‘Africa rising’ narrative

The “Africa rising” narrative of the past couple of years is emotionally compelling for anyone living here. Not because such a rise would be deserved, but because it happens to be true. Investment in sub-Saharan Africa has been booming and the middle-class is burgeoning. Although not everywhere triumphant, democracy has taken vigorous root. On the…

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Time for the media to catch a wake-up over the EFF

It’s easy to forget that 94 out of every 100 voters in the May general election did not choose the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). Were one dependent only on the South African media, one would easily come away with the impression of that statistical reality being reversed. For such is the media enchantment with the…

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ANC’s ideological arteriosclerosis throttles job growth

It’s one of the staples of South African journalism. It plays as comedy but it is actually closer to tragedy. The scenario is a congress of one of the trade unions or leftist political movements. The delegates, uniformly attired in radical chic T-shirts and caps, express solidarity with the exploited working class and declaim that…

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Pallo Jordan’s exit: Cutting off our thingamajigs to spite our watchamacallits

Pallo Jordan’s political self-immolation is tragic. To lose him from Parliament and the ANC’s influential national executive committee, following his exposure by the Sunday Times as lying about his academic qualifications, is a blow for the country. The conventions of political honour – an oxymoron if there ever was one – demand an abject apology…

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Mother of the nation’s bid to be farmer of the year

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. You gotta admit, what a woman. All heart. Many pitiless people still whine about her role in the Mandela United Football Club and its Sowetan reign of terror in the closing years of apartheid. Admittedly, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission did rule that she should be held “politically and morally accountable for gross…

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Medical care or medical cruelty? Time to make gentle that parting embrace

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, with customary forthrightness, recently broke ranks with his own church to plead for a “mind shift” in the “right to die” debate. “I think when you need machines to help you breathe then you have to ask questions about the quality of life being experienced … Why is a life that…

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Don’t become just another statistic on September 5

Numbers never tell the whole story. They rarely reveal the nuance of cause and effect and are vulnerable to massaging by vested interests. Sometimes, however, they are as startling and eye popping as a punch to the nose. Take the astounding violence of this society. South African Police Service (SAPS) statistics show that between April…

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Mad dog lawmakers and Englishmen go out in the midday sun

The infantalisation of society continues apace. Instead of instilling a modicum of common sense and self-responsibility, most governments find it far less onerous to just swaddle their citizens in cotton wool and park them in front of the TV. This week the South African government tabled draft legislation to make it illegal for school tuck…

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The monster in the attic needs therapy

The president’s Cabinet should be a cosy little family of government departments — an inner circle where each ministry supports the other, in turn all making common cause for the greater national good. Instead the avuncular Jacob Zuma presides over a dysfunctional, maladjusted and in some cases, downright sinister bunch. The bullying, thug portfolios congregate…

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