News/Politics

Budget votes revealing of state’s agenda

The annual budget speeches delivered by the finance minister provoke a bonanza of commentary and coverage — then the chatter falls silent. The budget speech is really an entrée that sketches the year ahead but does not provide the detail wherein the devil lurks. Flushing him out means paying attention to the departmental budget votes…

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‘Hitler got it right’ goes multiracial

A posting by Rene Smit, an obscure ANC party worker in the Western Cape, quickly went viral when it emerged that it sang the praises of Adolf Hitler for killing off the Jews and intimated that had been retro-actively justified by the behaviour to date of those Jews who survived. The post featured a picture…

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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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Mandela Day – a neocolonial exercise in the commodification of the good black

While every other black leader in a post-1994 South Africa has been constructed as an inferior “other” by the dominant discourse, Nelson Mandela has been deified as a saintly black and is held in high esteem by whiteness. He has been hailed as a decent and rational African by the moderate liberal white discourse and…

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Lindiwe Sisulu and the myth of ‘welfare queens’

Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu is no stranger to the spotlight. Despite being one of the highest-ranking female leaders in the ANC, the spotlight tends to follow her for all the wrong reasons. And that’s why I’ve always watched her carefully. The daughter of a political dynasty and a surviving doyenne in the continuous internal struggle…

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The difficulty with De Kock

By Clare Ballard By not releasing apartheid’s most notorious assassin, De Kock, we have released all those who benefitted from his actions … – Tshepo Madlingozi On Thursday, Justice Minister Michael Masutha conveyed his decision to refuse former death squad commander Eugene de Kock’s application for parole to the public. His decision, although unsurprising, is…

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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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Worlds in collision

Individuals are “worlds” set on what is often a collision course. In a previous post I wrote about the “diversity of individuals”, where the thought of such potential “collisions” was already latently present. In the last few days I have come across a number of things that have impressed upon me the realisation that the…

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A case for rethinking Africa’s development

Development is an indispensable aspect of socio-economic progress and civilisation — development should be thought of far more than just economic growth. As Thandika Mkandawire has put it, the search for development has become so consuming that it, more or less, assumes the form of an ideology to which post-colonial African leaders subscribed to under…

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Mr X versus the Marikana miners

The mysterious Mr X has been testifying against the striking miners at the Farlam Commission for the past two months in which he claimed the miners engaged in murder conspiracies and flesh-eating rituals. But Geoff Budlender has questioned parts of Mr X’s claims and provided evidence that disputes his claim that Association of Mineworkers and…

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