William Saunderson-Meyer

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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Farmers take the heat while the chiefs sit pretty

Nothing in South African politics is as emotionally loaded as land restitution. It is so emotive an issue – emblematic of centuries of discrimination, exploitation and humiliation — that there exists an array of radical populists who clearly have a vested interest in the matter never being resolved. At least, not peacefully. After all, “drive…

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Sports quotas: At last, a role for designated whiteys

The Congress of South African Trade Unions this week expressed support for the imposition of race quotas in soccer, pointing to the absence of white players in the national team as a grave social injustice. On the paleface of it, what a breakthrough this is for minorities. Bafana Bafana – The Boys, The Boys –…

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Zuma’s State of the Nation address: Sona or just sonorous?

“Now is the hour. This is the moment. South Africa can no longer afford endless rhetoric and mutual recriminations. My government needs to act. It has an electoral mandate to act. And act we shall. We stand or fall by the deliverables that we pledge today.” These are extracts from what political observers, both locally…

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Mining strike: Ominous clouds of history

Working as a miner is a filthy, frightening and dangerous occupation. Death and dismemberment are the spectres lurking every moment at your side. And that’s while you are still above ground, as was demonstrated during the Marikana massacre in which police fire killed 34 miners and left another 78 injured. Actually go below ground and…

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Doing panga surgery with the National Health Act

Legislators are like tik addicts. They’re convinced that after just one more hit they’ll find Nirvana. But the law, especially when cack-handedly drafted, is an imperfect instrument for changing society. It’s like using a panga for plastic surgery: the results are likely to please neither practitioner nor patient. Filled as it is with a righteous…

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Time to have Faith in the ANC’s ‘good story’?

Keep your friends close but your enemies closer, is what the mafia don advised. It’s a Machiavellian strategy that President Jacob Zuma has embraced and is taking to absurd lengths with his new Cabinet. It is now a veritable army of ministers and deputy ministers that oversees South Africa’s government. This week’s oath taking ceremony…

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Is it time for the DA to ditch Helen Zille?

What is the optimal length of tenure for a political leader? How to judge the moment when the adulation of your followers curdles, as it inevitably does, and turns to aversion? Do you jump, or do you wait to be pushed from your pedestal? These are questions that Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille will be…

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Cinderella and the ugly sisters take it public

The South African electorate had its Cinderella moment at the May 7 Ball – briefly courted and feted. Now it’s back to the domestic drudgery of the other 364 days of the year – abused and ignored until the local elections role around in two years’ time. Unfortunately, unlike as in the fairy tale, there…

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