William Saunderson-Meyer

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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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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