A local obsession

How do we tell the story of economic policy in South Africa? As an analyst my tools are statistics and substantiation, and even sometimes a case study. Steve Mandy, a fashion artist, tells the story through art. His exhibition, which I viewed only online, tells a more accessible story. It offers a profound and demanding…

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Public-service strikes: It seems the cowboys are still in charge

We have been here before. The third major public-service strike since 1994 is upon us. During the first major public-service strike since democracy, in 1999, trade unions suffered a significant defeat with government’s unilateral implementation of wages. But in 2007, public-service unions turned the tables on government conducting an unprecedented strike, and building an unlikely…

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Resting before sunset on Mandela Day

This conversation from the movie Before Sunset provides a reason why the people who provide the little achievements of the day should be resting on Mandela Day. Céline: Yes, of course. (Hands him a cigarette.) Um, here. (He takes the cigarette and taps it three times on the table.) In my field, I see these…

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Prophet cartoon: Welcome to the ‘clash of civilisations’

Two incomplete and complicit strands of thought characterise South African responses to the publication of a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the Mail & Guardian. The first strand of thought rooted in the Muslim community explains the offence caused by the cartoon through explaining that Islam has a problem with the depiction of…

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Budgeting with the gorillas

There is some confusion over whether the idiom should be a “600-pound gorilla” or the much larger “800-pound” creature. The usage also differs with some using it as a form of praise for companies that have dominant positions in markets, and others using the idiom to describe a difficult situation, which is not being addressed….

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The SABC’s turnaround strategy via Professor Pink and Snazzy

As Professor Pink, lead narrator on the SABC educational programme, Knock Knock, explored Galileo’s confrontation with power, the SABC was engaged in its own tryst with changing power. President Thabo Mbeki appointed the board of the SABC in a move interpreted as incongruous with resolutions taken by the ANC at its Polokwane conference. In possibly…

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The joking oppressors of today …

One line of comments stood out for me as I reacquaint myself with Thought Leader. It stood out because of its callousness. In response to an article by David Saks a commentator called Michael Liermann writes: Yes, surely there will be no peace in the Middle East until Palestinians stop ruthlessly damaging IDF rifle-butts with…

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Time for the taxi industry to reinvent itself

The 1980s saw the mushrooming of the taxi industry. Informally it provided a better alternative to riding the train or using largely unreliable bus operators. Commuters voted with their feet, providing our burgeoning taxi industry with a solid customer base, as well as largely captive routes. The foundation of the taxi industry is rooted in…

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M-Web retrenchments: Just like that

M-Web have confirmed rumours that it will be retrenching about 7% of its staff. The number of jobs is about 66, out of about 1 000, according to its CEO, Rudi Jansen, speaking on The World at Six radio programme. The reduction in staff numbers cannot however be attributed to the global economic slowdown, as the…

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SACSIS – Telling the quiet story of social justice

Whose reality counts? The Chief Economist of Very Large Bank in South Africa had just argued that ‘a food crisis was a direct result of improving living conditions’. I wanted to hurl a copy of Das Kapital across the airways hitting his talking head. Let us run that again: increased demand for food, by a…

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