William Saunderson-Meyer

2014: The SAS Zuma adrift in choppy waters

The year’s close is traditionally a time for introspection. It is not only an opportunity to dwell nostalgically on what was good, but also to identify patterns that if extrapolated give plausible shape to our future. South Africa’s first year without Nelson Mandela around has been a rudderless one. And since Madiba was absent from…

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Tokoloshe stalks the ANC’s clever high flyers

Poor Ellen Tshabalala and her BCom (Unisa) DipLabRel (Unisa). No one wants to believe that the dog ate her homework. Last week Parliament’s communication portfolio committee recommended, for the second time, that Tshabalala be suspended “with immediate effect” from her position as chair of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board because she had lied…

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The traitorous Clive Derby-Lewis: Killing him softly

Personally, I was all in favour of Clive Derby-Lewis, conspirator in the 1993 killing of SA Communist Party leader Chris Hani, being hanged. Nor would his also being drawn and quartered, the medieval punishment for traitorous assassins, been lamented. Unfortunately our Constitution is a model of jurisprudential enlightenment and eschews such state-enacted barbarism. So the…

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Just a thin line that keeps SA from going bust

When a top businessman like Johann Rupert states unambiguously to his shareholders that the country is in the dwang and going bust slowly, the riposte is predictable. It’s along the lines: “Of course he would say that. He’s an old, white, wealthy Afrikaner, hankering for the days when his Nationalist Party mates ran things.” They…

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SA Post Office – It’s time to pull the plug

How long do you keep a family member on life support? Especially one that is utterly useless? We are speaking here of Auntie Sapo, or the South African Post Office, although the question applies equally to her infirm, twilight zone siblings, Telkom and South African Airways. Despite a hardwired organisational tendency towards profligacy, state entities…

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Humpty Cosatu’s fall is the best news in a long time

The Humpty Dumpty of South African trade unionism has fallen off the wall. And all Emperor Zuma’s horses and all Emperor Zuma’s men never will put Humpty together again. Callooh, callay, oh frabjous day! On balance, the exit of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) from union federation Cosatu is a damn…

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All that Emperor Zuma wants is respect, mon. Respect!

South Africa is devolving into an imperial presidency. At its head stands Emperor Jacob Zuma, an incipient despot taking critical decisions on apparent whim. It emerged this week that six weeks after announcing a R1-trillion deal with Russia for nuclear power stations, struck mano a mano between the South African and Russian presidents, the most…

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Close the gate quietly behind you when you leave, Mr President

Watergate set the trend. Since then we have locally had Muldergate, Travelgate, Guptagate and now Nkandlagate. There are others, quickly forgotten as new political outrages displace the old more swiftly than one can keep track. The gate suffix is now so ubiquitous through journalistic overuse as to be meaningless. Especially given what separates the first…

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The strange case of the disappearing president

President Jacob Zuma is South Africa’s invisible man. The person elected to lead the nation is slowly fading away like Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire Cat, until eventually, one assumes, only the grin will remain. Like many a politician before him who found the heat in the local kitchen too much to endure, Zuma has become a…

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Lost for words to describe Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma

It is something that is always at the back of the minds of leaders: the question of how they will be remembered by subsequent generations. In the deferential East, the Chinese will happily bob and scrape to such obvious fibs as The Great Helmsman to describe mass murderer Mao Zedong, while North Korea hails Kim…

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