William Saunderson-Meyer

E-tolls: An ANC act of rare political courage

There is a slowly dawning realisation on the part of the African National Congress government that South Africa is staring down the fiscal abyss. The situation is dire. There are at least four public agencies — electricity supplier Eskom, SA National Roads Agency (Sanral), South African Airways (SAA), and the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) —…

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Ignoring the Oliphant in the room

During her Budget speech this week, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant extolled the virtuous circle of wages and economic growth. Workers needed to be paid decent wages to drive economic growth, she told MPs. “At the risk of sounding too simplistic” this made sense because South Africa’s economy is largely consumer-driven. “When workers earn a living…

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The miserable death of a courageous man

I’ve never spoken with or had any dealings with Robin Stransham-Ford. But I now know enough to conclude that he was a man of great courage. Stransham-Ford died last week. His prostate cancer had metastasised to his spine, kidneys and lymph nodes. Stransham-Ford had applied to the North Gauteng High Court asking that if his…

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Time to say bye-bye Phiyega?

It’s going on almost three years since the South African Police Service (SAPS) shot dead 34 striking miners and wounded 78 others at Marikana. And it’s now a full month since President Jacob Zuma was handed the findings of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into those deaths. Given that the inquiry dragged on for more…

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Moving SA beyond a state of denial

It’s simply the way that South Africa is governed. A state of denial followed by a state of chaos. Then there is the slow dawn of reality, the gainsaying of responsibility and the search for scapegoats. Only when the cost of torpor becomes unsustainable come any attempts to address a problem until then steadfastly held…

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How Helen Zille turned the DA upside down and inside out

Politics nowhere is for sissies. But South African politics is particularly vicious — a cesspit of blind hatred and vitriol, possibly unsurpassed among the democracies. Today’s leaders of both the governing African National Congress and the opposition Democratic Alliance have been particularly targeted. That they stoically endure this abuse is a measure of the resilient…

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Warming the cockles of President Mugabe’s despotic heart

How seamlessly the South African discourse has shifted from a national conversation to spitting threats. And how ineffectual government has been in the face of property destruction and threats of public violence. A fortnight ago University of Cape Town (UCT) students were seducing a placatory commentariat with their #RhodesMustFall campaign. This week these same students,…

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Waiting for the crap attack on Zuma’s statue

When the statue of President Jacob Zuma is eventually erected at the Union Buildings, carefully sited to avoid falling into the large shadow cast by that of Nelson Mandela, there will be joy and ululation throughout the land. For despite his manifest failings and a large bill still outstanding for home renovations, he is our…

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Sissy Cecil tests the mettle of university administrators

The statue of Cecil John Rhodes, 19th century Cape prime minister, southern African mining magnate, and British imperialist, is to be removed from its commanding position over the rugby fields of the University of Cape Town.  In response to pressure from a small but effectively organised gang of students — who alternated the shock tactics…

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Farlam to Eskom: Finding the truth or hiding it

The commission of inquiry is one of the most useful tools in the politician’s toolbox.  In the Westminster system of government it developed as a mechanism for government to seek opinion, advice and information from outside the narrow confines of the civil service. It soon grew into a way to build public trust by addressing…

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